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The Roman epic The Aeneid

It is a powerful Latin national poetic epic that records complementary events to the Odyssey, just like the Iliad. although the author of the two previous epics is the Greek Homer, and the author of the Aeneid is the Roman Virgil, they are closely related to each other, as they follow the story of the Trojan prince Aeneas, who survived the fall of his city of Troy and settled in western.

The Aeneid is the third of Virgil's poems, as well as his longest and last. It tells legendary stories that depict the Roman people long before the founding of Rome, and it was composed in the heroic poetry that was known in ancient centuries.

The chapters of the Aeneid begin at the end of the Trojan War, which the Greeks won after besieging the city for twelve years, and were unable to enter it except thanks to the trick of the wooden horse.

The epic tells the story of the life of the hero Aeneas, who was born to a Trojan father, Anchises, and a mother, the goddess Venus, who supported the Trojans in their war against the Greeks.

Aeneas was able to escape from the defeated, burning Troy, and travel with a group of his family, companions, and followers through long adventures, culminating in the founding of the Roman Empire.

This epic was essentially intended to link the origin of the Romans, especially the Pauline family, with the great heroic gods, it was also intended, albeit indirectly, to glorify many of the customs and rituals of the Romans by linking them to the customs and rituals of the Age of Heroes, it consists of 12 books containing approximately 9,896 verses.

For many years, the Aeneid was the main book of the Western world, and it was reprinted at least every year, it was the most widely circulated book in Europe and the most famous since the days of the Romans. 

Author Virgilius

Virgil: A Roman poet, whose poetry was distinguished by creativity and innovation, he well deserved the title of Prince of Poets, Chief Scholar, Master of the Knowing, and Prophet of the Inspired. 

Publius Virgilius Maro, known as Virgil, was born on October 15, 70 BC, in Mantua, northern Italy, he grew up in a farming family. His father worked as a hired hand for one of the local rulers, and through his diligence and activity he was able to gain the sympathy and appreciation of his master, so he married him to his daughter, this marriage greatly helped him improve his condition, and he was able to double his meager income little by little by renting a piece of woods and raising bees in it, so Virgil spent “His childhood was in a quiet environment, and the shady trees of the north and its abundant waters remained stuck in his imagination, and this was clearly reflected in his works.

At the age of twelve he was sent to school in Cremona, and at the age of fourteen he was sent to Milan, then Rome, where he studied rhetoric, Latin poetry, medicine, mathematics, and philosophy, he was very knowledgeable, and he began writing poetry at an early age. His poetry spread throughout Rome and Greece, and he gained wide fame because he wrote in a heroic language, he enjoyed the patronage of Messinas, and enjoyed the love and appreciation of Augustus. 

He presented humanity with a poetic legacy of the utmost tenderness and eloquence, the most famous of which is the epic “The Aeneid,” which he wrote over a period of eleven years, in twelve books, and talks about the story of the Prince of Troy who fled after the destruction of Troy by the Greeks. Although he died before completing it, it was the source of inspiration for many poets, such as Ovid and John Milton. 

Virgil was the greatest person to clarify the goals of his time and express his ideals in order to achieve progress and sovereignty for the human race, he contemplated the world of the past and the world of the future in one place, and while standing between these two worlds, he expressed an honest expression of the past of his nation and the people of his race.

In the year 20 BC, he traveled to Greece, where he planned to spend the next three years finishing “The Aeneid,” but he developed a fever and was forced to return to Italy, where he died on September 21, 19 BC.

The Aeneid and the history of the construction of Rome

The Aeneid” is an epic of Roman history, a long poetic poem written by the literary poet Publius Friglius Marius, known as Virgil (70-19 BC), at the request of the founder of the Roman Empire, Octavian Augustus (d. 14 AD), Virgil spent the last ten years of his life writing this epic, and he died before finishing it, although he recommended that it be burned due to his dissatisfaction with it, Augustus ordered it to be copied, so it was published incomplete, and as fate would have it, “The Aeneid” became the greatest epic among the Romans.

It became the Roman national epic that displays the glories of heroism in the history of Rome from its inception to the new era, the era of Augustus, which heralded hope, peace, and prosperity.

Influenced by Greek literature

Perhaps someone who follows the beginnings of Roman literature will notice this great influence on Greek literature, and will notice that “The Aeneid” is the formulation of a new text that is consistent with “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey” by Homer.

Virgil did not consider his quotations from the poems of the predecessors, whether in linguistic expressions or poetic similes, to be plagiarism or piracy as much as he considered them a tribute to them and a commemoration of them.

Its tales 

The Aeneid” tells the story of Aeneis, one of the heroes of Troy, who was helped by the gods to survive, escape from the war, and reach the city of Laurentum, a city that was a figment of the author’s imagination.

There he founded the city of Lavinium, twenty miles south of Rome, and there he built a temple to the goddess “Venus.” the Romans did not have a system of worship for gods; all they had were metaphors from the Greek gods.

Pilgrimage to the temples of the Roman gods

The functions of many Greek gods changed when the Romans practiced their worship, which prompted the Romans to build special temples for those gods, to which they would make pilgrimages for the purpose of those gods responding to the demands of their worshipers.

Perhaps some of the Greek demigods, such as Heracles, Bacchus, and Eros, became true, full-fledged gods for the Romans.

The story of Rome

The events in “The Aeneid” follow, with many explanations, places, and names, most of which were unable to be verified by the first and the last, to finally stop at the King Numitor, who had only one daughter, and a brother who coveted kingship, so he turned against his brother, killed him, and imprisoned his daughter, Rea Silvia, to live as a virgin priestess in the temple of the “goddess” Vesta.

Despite all the restrictions, Rhea Sylvia became pregnant and gave birth to twins, and it was rumored among the people that her pregnancy was from the god Mars, and this exempted her from punishment and increased her honor.

When her uncle heard the news, he threw her into prison, put the two children on a raft and threw them into the Tiber River. The Tiber River was in flood, and its waves carried the raft to its resting place by a great fig tree at the foot of the valley of the Palatine Hill. The two children were crying, lonely and hungry, so a she-wolf heard their cries, so it came towards them and took over breastfeeding them.

They are Romulus and Remus, whom the god Mars wanted to take care of until they reached their full age, this was done by a shepherd named Faustulus finding them, carrying them to his home and entrusting their upbringing to his wife, Acca Larentia.

When the brothers Romulus and Remus grew up, they showed the qualities of nobility, courage, and leadership, and their fame spread, and the youth of the region rallied around them. As fate would have it, Faustulus was accused of stealing some sheep, so his two sons came to his rescue, when they arrived in the city, they learned of their story, he put their mother, Raya Silvia, in prison, so they freed her and killed their mother’s uncle, the usurper of the property.

The two young men decided to build a city on the Tiber River, at the great fig tree, where the waves had thrown them, as soon as the city was built, the people asked to appoint a king for it, this matter did not extend beyond Romulus and Remus, so their mother, the priestess, ordered each of them to ascend a hill, so Romulus chose the Palatine Hill, while Remus ascended the Aventine Hill.

 Divination, or psychic, was common in the societies of that time, as belief in the guidance of the gods came in this way. The signs of the "tira" were all on Romulus' side, so he was considered the victor and was declared king of the new city, "Rome," where the city expanded, until it reached the heights of the Palatine Hill, and was surrounded by a wall that protected it from enemies for an eternity.

 The she-wolf of Rome

This is the story of Rome, whose slogan, “The she-wolf who breastfeeds twins through her healer,” is still engraved in murals and inscriptions scattered on the walls of temples and coins. 

That is Rome, the myth of building a city, attached to the “Aeneid.” It is like all myths. It changes, develops, is added to, and is modified, the truth may be absent from it and falsified, and all that remains of it is a fabric of stories in which imagination prevails as the root of truth.

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