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Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page

Dedication

Introduction

BOOK ONE – Safe Haven After Storm

BOOK TWO – The Final Hours of Troy

BOOK THREE – Landfalls, Ports of Call

BOOK FOUR – The Tragic Queen of Carthage

BOOK FIVE – Funeral Games for Anchises

BOOK SIX – The Kingdom of the Dead

BOOK SEVEN – Beachhead in Latium, Armies Gather

BOOK EIGHT – The Shield of Aeneas

BOOK NINE – Enemy at the Gates

BOOK TEN – Captains Fight and Die

BOOK ELEVEN – Camilla’s Finest Hour

BOOK TWELVE – The Sword Decides All

NOTES

THE ROYAL HOUSES OF GREECE AND TROY

SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER READING

VARIANTS FROM THE OXFORD CLASSICAL TEXT

NOTES ON THE TRANSLATION

PRONOUNCING GLOSSARY

Other Books by Robert Fagles

Homer: A Collection of Critical Essays
(Co-ed. with George Steiner, and contributor)

The Twickenham Edition of Pope’s Iliad and Odyssey
(Assoc. Ed. among others under Maynard Mack)

I Vincent: Poems from the Pictures of Van Gogh

TRANSLATIONS

Bacchylides: Complete Poems
(with Adam Parry)

Aeschylus: The Oresteia
(with W. B. Stanford)

Sophocles: The Three Theban Plays
(with Bernard Knox)

Homer: The Iliad
(with Bernard Knox)
Homer: The Odyssey
(with Bernard Knox)

Other Books by Bernard Knox

Oedipus at Thebes: Sophocles’ Tragic Hero and His Time
Sophocles, Oedipus the King (Trans.)
The Heroic Temper: Studies in Sophoclean Tragedy
Word and Action: Essays on the Ancient Theater
Essays Ancient and Modern
The Oldest Dead White European Males and Other Reflections on the Classics

The Norton Book of Classical Literature (Ed.)
Backing Into the Future: The Classical Tradition and Its Renewal

VIKING
Published by the Penguin Group

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Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

First published in 2006 by Viking Penguin, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

Translation copyright © Robert Fagles, 2006

Introduction and notes copyright © Bernard Knox, 2006
All rights reserved

An extract from Book Two (under the title “The Death of Priam”) and two extracts from Book Six (“Dido in the Underworld” and

“Aeneas and His Father’s Ghost”) originally appeared in The Kenyon Review, Fall 2006.

Grateful acknowledgment is made for permission to reprint excerpts from the following copyrighted works:

“Secondary Epic” from Collected Poems by W. H. Auden. Copyright © 1960 by W. H. Auden. Used by permission of Random House,
Inc.

The Georgics by Virgil, translated with an introduction and notes by L. P. Wilkinson (Penguin Classics, 1982). Copyright © L. P.
Wilkinson, 1982. Used by permission of Penguin Books Ltd. Illustrations by David Cain. Copyright © David Cain, 2006.

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tendimus in Latium

INTRODUCTION

ROME

When Publius Vergilius Maro—Virgil in common usage—was born in 70 B.C., the Roman Republic
was in its last days. In 71 it had just finished suppressing the three-year-long revolt of the slaves in
Italy, who, organized by Spartacus, a gladiator, had defeated four Roman armies but were finally
crushed by Marcus Crassus. Crassus celebrated his victory by crucifying six thousand captured slaves
along the Appian Way, the road that ran south from Rome to the Bay of Naples and from there on to
Brundisium. In 67 B.C. Gnaeus Pompeius (Pompey) was given an extraordinary, wide command to
clear the Mediterranean, which the Romans claimed was “our sea”—mare nostrum—of the pirates
who made commerce and travel dangerous. (The young Julius Caesar was captured by pirates and
held for ransom around 70 B.C.; he paid it but came back at once with an armed force and crucified
them all.) In 65 B.C. Catiline conspired against the Republic but was suppressed in 63 through the
action of the consul, Cicero. From 58 to 51 B.C. Julius Caesar added what are now Switzerland,
France, and Belgium to the Roman Empire, creating in the course of these campaigns a superb army
loyal to him rather than to the Republic, while in 53 B.C. Crassus invaded Parthia, a part of modern-
day Iraq, but was killed at Carrhae, where many of his soldiers were taken prisoner and the legions’
standards displayed as trophies of the Parthian victory. From 49 to 45 B.C. there was civil war as
Caesar crossed the Rubicon River into Italy with his victorious army, which defeated Pompey’s
forces in Greece at Pharsalus in 48 B.C. Pompey escaped by sea and took refuge on the shore of
Egypt, the only country on the Mediterranean not yet part of the Roman Empire, but he was killed by
the Alexandrians and his head taken to Alexandria to be given to Caesar when he arrived. Caesar
went on to defeat another republican army in Africa at Thapsus, and in the next year vanquished the
last republican army at Munda in Spain. Back in Rome he appointed himself dictator, a position that
had always been held for a short term in an emergency, for ten years.

But on the Ides of March, 44 B.C., Caesar was assassinated in the Senate House by conspirators
led by Brutus and Cassius. However, Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony), Caesar’s right-hand man in
Gaul as in Rome, and young Octavian, great-nephew and adopted son of Caesar, soon drove the
republicans to Greece and defeated the republican army at Philippi. Brutus and Cassius subsequently
committed suicide. Antony took over the pacification of the eastern half of the Empire, making
Alexandria, where he became the lover of the Hellenistic queen Cleopatra, his base, while Octavian,
making Rome his headquarters, dealt with problems in Spain and the west.

Tension between Antony and Octavian grew steadily over time, in spite of attempts at
reconciliation, and in 31 B.C. Antony and Cleopatra’s fleet was defeated by Octavian and his
admiral, Agrippa, off the Greek promontory of Actium. Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide in
Alexandria rather than walk to execution in Rome in Octavian’s triumph, and Egypt became a Roman
province. Virgil died in 19 B.C. Octavian, who assumed the title of Augustus in 27 B.C., ruled what
was now the Roman Empire until his death in A.D. 14, when he was succeeded peacefully by
Tiberius.

In his comparatively short life Virgil became the supreme Roman poet; his work overshadowed
that of his successors, and his epic poem, the Aeneid, gave Homeric luster to the story of Rome’s
origins and its achievement—the creation of an empire that gave peace and the rule of law to all the

territory surrounding the Mediterranean, to what are now Switzerland, France, and Belgium, and later
to England. Yet when Virgil was born in the village of Andes, near Mantua (Mantova), he, like all the
other Italians living north of the Po River, was not a Roman citizen.

Full Roman citizenship had been gradually conceded over the centuries to individuals and
communities, but in the years 91 to 87 B.C. those communities still excluded fought a successful civil
war against Rome, which ended with the grant of full Roman citizenship to all Italians living south of
the Po River. The territory north of the river continued to be a provincia, ruled by a proconsul from
Rome, with an army. Full Roman citizenship was finally granted to the inhabitants of the area by
Julius Caesar in 49 B.C., when Virgil was already a young man.

Virgil was an Italian long before he became a Roman, and in the second book of the Georgics he
follows a passage celebrating the riches of the East with a hymn of praise for the even greater riches
of Italy:

But neither Media’s land most rich in forests,
The gorgeous Ganges or the gold-flecked Hermus
Could rival Italy . . . the land is full
Of teeming fruits and Bacchus’ Massic liquor.
Olives are everywhere and prosperous cattle . . .
And then the cities,
So many noble cities raised by our labors,
So many towns we’ve piled on precipices,
And rivers gliding under ancient walls . . .
Hail, mighty mother of fruits, Saturnian land
And mighty mother of men . . .
The same has bred a vigorous race of men,
Marsians, the Sabine stock, Ligurians
Inured to hardship, Volscians javelin-armed.

(2.136-69, trans. L. P. Wilkinson, et seq.)

And in the Aeneid, Virgil’s poem about the origins of Rome, though his hero, Aeneas, and the Trojan
invaders of Italy are to build the city from which Rome will eventually be founded, there is a constant
and vibrant undertone of sympathy for and identification with the Italians, which becomes a major
theme in the story of the Volscian warrior princess Camilla.

Biographical information about Virgil is scant and much of it unreliable, but we learn from
Suetonius’ “Life” of the poet, written probably in the early years of the second century A.D., that
Virgil “was tall . . . with a dark complexion and a rustic appearance” and that “he spoke very slowly
and almost like an uneducated man.” Yet when he read his own poems, his delivery of them “was
sweet and wonderfully effective” (pp. 467-73, trans. J. C. Rolfe, et seq.). And we learn from the
same author that when he read to Augustus and his sister Octavia the second, fourth, and sixth books
of the Aeneid, when he reached in the sixth book the lines about her son Marcellus, who had died
young, she fainted, and it was difficult to revive her. We know too that Virgil and his father somehow

escaped the fate of so many of the landowners in the area that Virgil refers to as Mantua—“but
Mantua / Stands far too close for comfort to poor Cremona” (Eclogues 9.28, trans. C. Day Lewis, et
seq.)—confiscation of the land to reward the veterans of the armies of Octavian and Mark Antony
after the defeat of Brutus and Cassius at Philippi in 42 B.C. We know this mainly by inference from
Virgil’s first poems, the Eclogues, published around 39 to 38 B.C.

THE ECLOGUES

Like most Roman poems, the Eclogues (a word that means something like “Selections”) have a Greek
model. In this case it is the poems of Theocritus, a resident of the Greek city of Syracuse in Sicily
who, writing in the Doric dialect of the western Greeks, invented a genre of poetry that used the
Homeric hexameter for very un-Homeric themes: the singing contests, love affairs, and rivalries of
shepherds and herdsmen who relieved the boredom of their lonely rural life by competing in song
accompanied by pipes and pursuing their love affairs and rivalries far from the city and the
farmlands, in the hills with their sheep, goats, and cattle. Their names, and the names of their lady
loves—Lycidas, Daphnis, Amaryllis—have become famous through the long tradition of pastoral
poetry that began with Theocritus, flourished in Virgil, and had a splendid rebirth in the Italian
Renaissance and in Elizabethan England; Spenser’s Shepheardes Calender was published in 1579,
and Milton’s Lycidas (written in 1637) is a masterpiece of the genre. It reached what might well be
considered its end in the parodic performance of Marie An toinette, queen of France, and her court
ladies playing the role, at the Petit Trianon palace, of simple milkmaids.

Not all of Theocritus’ poems feature shepherds; one of them, for example, is a delightful dramatic
sketch of two light-headed, gossipy housewives on their way to the festival of Adonis in Alexandria,
and another is a hymn of praise to Ptolemy II, the ruler of Alexandria and Egypt. Similarly, one of
Virgil’s ten Eclogues, the fourth, has nothing to do with shepherds; it prophesies the birth of a son
who will bring back the Golden Age on earth. Many Christians, from Lactantius on, later took this to
be a prophecy of the birth of Christ, but it seems clear that Virgil was referring to the expectation that
Octavian’s sister, married to Mark Antony and pregnant by him, would bear a son, and that this would
heal the growing breach between the two leaders. But the child turned out to be a daughter, and in any
case, Cleopatra’s hold on Antony was permanent.

But Virgil differs from his model in one significant particular: he makes two of the Eclogues that
are dialogues of shepherds, the first and ninth, reflect the sorrows and passions of the real world of
41 B.C.—the confiscation of land in the area north of the river Po, to reward the veterans of the
armies of Octavian and Antony. The first Eclogue features Tityrus, who, as a result of a visit to
Rome, has been granted, by a “young man”1 whom he will always worship as a god, a favorable
response to his plea: “‘Pasture your cattle, breed from your bulls, as you did of old’” (1.45). But the
speaker, Meliboeus, must go on his sad way,

“To Scythia, bone-dry Africa, the chalky spate of the Oxus,
Even to Britain—that place cut off at the very world’s end . . .
To think of some godless soldier owning my well-farmed fallow,
A foreigner reaping these crops!”

(1.64-71)

And in the ninth Eclogue, Moeris laments his eviction from his land, the day

“. . . that I should have lived to see an outsider

Take over my little farm—a thing I had never feared—
And tell me, ‘You’re dispossessed, you old tenants,
you’ve got to go.’ ”

(9.2-4)

It seems clear from all this that somehow Virgil, or rather Virgil’s father, escaped the fate of

Meliboeus and Moeris. Either his farm was exempt from confiscation or he was given another in
exchange. The “young man” can only have been Octavian, and somehow Asinius Pollio, who is
mentioned in Eclogue 4, and who was a patron of poets and the arts, sensing the young Virgil’s talent,
brought him to Octavian’s notice and secured his future education in the capital of the province,
Mediolanum (Milan), at Rome, and later at Naples and at nearby Herculaneum, where his name
appears on a burned papyrus as a student of Epicurean philosophy. At some point he was brought to
the attention of Maecenas, who was Octavian’s friend and another benefactor of poets. We have from
Virgil’s friend and fellow poet Horace an account of their meeting on the way to Brundisium
(Brindisi) with Maecenas on his mission to Greece to negotiate with Antony in 37 B.C. In his fifth
Satire of the first book, written in hexameter verse, Horace describes the journey from Rome with
Maecenas; at Sinuessa they meet with another group, of which Virgil is part. O qui complexus et
gaudia, “Oh what embraces and joy!” And later at Capua they stay for the night at an inn. Lusum it
Maecenas, writes Horace, “Maecenas goes off to exercise,” dormitum ego Vergiliusque, “and Virgil
and I to bed” (1.5.43, 48, trans. Knox).

Virgil’s Eclogues were an immediate success and soon gained all the trappings of general
approval—some of the dialogues of shepherds were performed in theaters, quotations and parodies
abounded. But what made them a landmark in the history of Latin poetry were the music and elegance
of the hexameter verse, the exquisite control of the rhythmic patterns.

The Latin hexameter, modeled on Homer’s, had been used by Latin poets ever since Quintus Ennius
(239-169 B.C.) had adapted it to celebrate in his Annales the history of Rome from the founding by
Aeneas down to his own day. Virgil knew and often used phrases of this poet; he also knew the great
hexameter poem of his older contemporary, Lucretius, whose De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of
Things) celebrated the Epicurean philosophy of which Virgil was a devotee: Virgil’s lines often
show the influence of Lucretius’ poem. But only Virgil’s own poetic genius can explain the lightness,
the dexterity, the rhythmic music of the Eclogues, and this is even truer of his next, and most perfect,
poem, the Georgics.

THE GEORGICS

This poem, of more than two thousand lines in four books, was first read to Octavian soon after the
suicides of Antony and Cleopatra in 30 B.C., which made him sole ruler of the Roman world, at
Atella near Naples by Maecenas and Virgil in 29 B.C. It is, like the Eclogues, modeled on a Greek
poem, Hesiod’s Works and Days, but whereas Hesiod writes of farming from firsthand experience,
Virgil has to draw on a prose work written on the subject, the De Re Rustica of Varro, which had
been published in 37-36 B.C. Of Virgil’s four books the first is on field crops, the second on trees,
the third on herds, and the fourth on bees. The only source of sweetness available to the ancient
Western world was honey—hence the importance of bee-keeping. Virgil’s poem, with its devotion to
the land, the crops, and the herds, fits admirably into the old Roman ideal: the Roman farmer is
equally adapted to work on the land and to do the work of a soldier in the legion in time of war. The
model was the legendary figure Cincinnatus, who in 458 B.C. was called from his farm and given
dictatorial power; he rescued the state by defeating the Aequi and, after holding supreme power for
sixteen days, resigned it and returned to his plow. But the Georgics is no more a real manual for the
soldier turned farmer than the Augustan ideal of the Roman soldier-farmer was realistic; as a manual
for farmers the Georgics has huge omissions and as a practical handbook would be as useless as
Augustus’s program of re-creating the Roman farmer-soldier was impractical. Most of Italy was
cultivated by slave labor on land owned by absentee landlords who lived in Rome. The Georgics is a
work of art—as Dryden declared, “the best Poem by the best Poet”—on which Virgil worked for
seven years; he compared his work on it to that of a mother bear licking her cubs into shape.

In the opening lines of the poem, addressed to Maecenas, he announces the subject of the four
books:

What makes the corncrops glad, under which star
To turn the soil, Maecenas, and wed your vines
To elms, the care of cattle, keeping of flocks,
All the experience thrifty bees demand—
Such are the themes of my song.

(1.1-5, trans. Wilkinson)

With an invocation of the country gods, Virgil proceeds to describe the farmer’s life of hard work as
in his model, Hesiod. Later he writes about the weather signs that the farmer must recognize as
prophecies of what is to come, sometimes evil, as he ends the book with memories of the recent civil
wars, of Roman blood shed on the fields of Greece, and with a finale that is a prayer and a dark
vision of the future:

Gods of our fathers, Heroes of our land . . .
Do not prevent at least this youthful prince
From saving a world in ruins . . .
For right and wrong change places; everywhere
So many wars, so many shapes of crime

Confront us; no due honor attends the plow.
The fields, bereft of tillers, are all unkempt . . .
. . . throughout the world
Impious War is raging.

(1.498-511)

Book 2 is concerned with trees and vines, principally with the olive and the wine grape. There is

much good advice here for the farmer, but the book is notable not only for the hymn of praise for Italy
already quoted, but also for its praise of the happy life of the farmer as compared to that of the city
dweller:

How lucky, if they know their happiness,
Are farmers, more than lucky, they for whom,
Far from the clash of arms, the earth herself,
Most fair in dealing, freely lavishes
An easy livelihood . . .
. . . Peace they have and a life of innocence
Rich in variety; they have for leisure
Their ample acres, caverns, living lakes,
. . . cattle low, and sleep is soft
Under a tree . . .

(2.458-70)

Book 3 is concerned with the breeding and raising of farm animals: horses and cattle in the first

part and sheep and goats in the later section. After an exordium in which Virgil promises to celebrate
the victories of Octavian, a promise fulfilled in the Aeneid, he proceeds to his subject. His discussion
of farm animals contains the famous lines that apply equally to the human animal:

Life’s earliest years for wretched mortal creatures
Are best, and fly most quickly: soon come on
Diseases, suffering and gloomy age,
Till Death’s unpitying harshness carries them off.

(3.66-68)

Virgil ends this book, as he did Book 1, on a sad note: an account of a plague that struck cattle in the
northern region of the Alps, in which he draws much from Lucretius’ portrayal of the plague that
struck humans in the Athens of Pericles, described in exact detail by Thucydides.

In his introduction to Book 4, about bee-keeping, Virgil assures Maecenas that he will describe

. . . a world in miniature,
Gallant commanders and the institutions

Of a whole nation, its character, pursuits,
Communities and warfare.

(4.3-5)

And this theme, of the hive as a community, in harmony or dissension, is a constant in the book.

A great deal of misinformation about bees is conveyed to the reader. Bees were not properly
observed in the hive until the invention of the glass observation hive, and until the seventeenth century
it was believed that the leader of the hive was the king, not the queen. But what has made Book 4
famous is the end—the long tale of Aristaeus and his bees and of Orpheus and Eurydice.

Virgil first describes the process of bougonia (the Greek word means something like “birth from a
steer”), for re-creating the hive of bees in case the original bees die. A two-year-old steer is brought
to a specially constructed hut that has windows facing in all four directions. The animal is then beaten
to death and the remains left in place through the spring. Suddenly, in the rotting flesh a whole cluster
of bees is born. This is not true, but it was widely believed in the ancient world (except by Aristotle)
and appears also in the riddle Samson asked the Philistines to answer: “out of the strong came forth
sweetness” (Judges 14:14).

Virgil’s account of the origin of this method is told through the story of the farmer Aristaeus, whose
hive of bees has died. He goes to his mother, the nymph Cyrene, and she tells him to find out what has
gone wrong from Proteus, the Old Man of the Sea, who “knows / All that has been, is now, and lies in
store” (4.392-93). Aristaeus must seize Proteus as he comes out of the water with his seals and hold
him tightly as he changes shape, “for suddenly / He’ll be a bristly boar or a savage tiger / or a scaly
serpent or a lioness” (4.407-8). But he must be held fast until he gives up and resumes his own shape,
and then he will answer questions. (This scene is adapted from Menelaus’ similar interrogation of
Proteus in the Odyssey 4.428-641.)2 Aristaeus follows directions faithfully, and finally Proteus, back
in his own shape, tells Aristaeus what is wrong. “Piteous Orpheus / It is that seeks to invoke this
penalty / Against you” (4.454-55). It is revenge for the death of his wife, the nymph Eurydice, who,
fleeing Aristaeus’ advances, ran along the banks of a river where she was killed by a serpent. After
mourning for her, Orpheus decided to seek her in the land of the dead.

And entering the gloomy grove of terror
Approached the shades and their tremendous king . . .
[Orpheus’] music shook them . . .

(4.468-71)

And Virgil goes on to describe the dark kingdom and its denizens in lines that foreshadow his more
detailed description of the Underworld later, in Book 6 of the Aeneid. Orpheus’ music wins him his
Eurydice.

She is allowed to follow him back to the land of the living, but on condition that he does not look
back at her until they reach the light of the upper world. But Orpheus,

. . . on the very brink of light, alas,
Forgetful, yielding in his will, looked back
At his own Eurydice. . . .

(4.490-91)

And as she reproached him bitterly, she

. . . suddenly
Out of his sight, like smoke into thin air,
Vanished away . . .
For seven whole months on end, they say, he wept . . .
Alone in the wild . . .
And sang his tale of woe . . .

(4.499-510)

And finally, wandering in Thrace in the north, he was torn to pieces by Bacchantes in their Dionysiac
frenzy, his limbs were scattered far and wide, and his head was thrown into the Hebrus River. And
there,

His head, now severed from his marble neck,
“Eurydice!” the voice and frozen tongue
Still called aloud, “Ah, poor Eurydice!”

(4.523-26)

So Proteus departed and Aristaeus, instructed by his mother Cyrene, made sacrifices to the shade of
Orpheus and to the nymphs, the sisters of Eurydice, and then left for his bougonia for the regeneration
of his bees. And the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, in Virgil’s musical verse, has inspired poetry and
song ever since.

In the final lines of the Georgics, published probably in 29 B.C., two years after the battle of
Actium, which made Octavian master of the Roman world, Virgil tells us that he finished the poem at
Naples (to which he gives its Greek name, Parthenope), while Octavian, soon to be given the title
Augustus, was making a triumphant progress through the East.

This song of the husbandry of crops and beasts
And fruit-trees I was singing while great Caesar
Was thundering beside the deep Euphrates
In war, victoriously for grateful peoples
Appointing laws and setting his course for Heaven.
I, Virgil, at that time lay in the lap
Of sweet Parthenope, enjoying there
The studies of inglorious ease, who once

Dallied in pastoral verse and with youth’s boldness
Sang of you, Tityrus, lazing under a beech-tree.

(4.559-66)

That last line is a quotation, slightly adapted, of the opening line of his first book, the Eclogues.

THE AENEID

Near the opening of the third book of the Georgics Virgil speaks of what will be his next work:

Yet soon I will gird myself to celebrate
The fiery fights of Caesar, make his name
Live in the future . . .

(3.46-47)

This promise would be kept by the writing of his last and most grandly ambitious poem, the Aeneid,
which he never finished to his full satisfaction. After reading Books 2, 4, and 6 to Augustus and
Octavia and completing his work on Book 12, he decided to visit Greece in 19 B.C. and spend three
years on correction and revision. But he met Augustus in Athens on Augustus’ return from the East and
was persuaded to return to Italy with him. However, passing from Athens to Corinth, at Megara Virgil
contracted a fever, which grew worse during the voyage to Brundisium, where he died on September
21. He was buried near Naples, and on his tomb were inscribed verses that he is said to have
composed himself:

Mantua me genuit, Calabri rapuere, tenet nunc
Parthenope. Cecini pascua, rura, duces.

Mantova gave me life, the Calabrians took it away, Naples
holds me now; I sang of pastures, farms, and commanders.

(trans. Knox)

There is a report that he had ordered his literary executors, Varius and Tucca, to destroy the
unfinished manuscript; if so, these orders were immediately canceled by Augustus. Imperfections
remain: some incomplete hexameters, which Virgil would certainly have tidied up, and several minor
contradictions, which he would certainly have dealt with. One passage (2.702-28), which is not in the
oldest manuscripts, was removed, according to the much later commentator Servius, by Varius and
Tucca. (In the most recent editions of Virgil’s text, for example that of Fairclough, revised in 1999-
2000 by George P. Goold, the passage is marked as spurious. Other recent commentators, however,
notably R. G. Austin and R. D. Williams, consider it genuine.) The passage pictures Helen as seeking
sanctuary at the shrine of Vesta, fearing the vengeance of the Trojans for the ruin she has brought on
them, and Aeneas’ angry decision to kill her. This passage contradicts a long and intricate story of
Helen triumphantly welcoming the …

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Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page

Dedication

Introduction

BOOK ONE – Safe Haven After Storm

BOOK TWO – The Final Hours of Troy

BOOK THREE – Landfalls, Ports of Call

BOOK FOUR – The Tragic Queen of Carthage

BOOK FIVE – Funeral Games for Anchises

BOOK SIX – The Kingdom of the Dead

BOOK SEVEN – Beachhead in Latium, Armies Gather

BOOK EIGHT – The Shield of Aeneas

BOOK NINE – Enemy at the Gates

BOOK TEN – Captains Fight and Die

BOOK ELEVEN – Camilla’s Finest Hour

BOOK TWELVE – The Sword Decides All

NOTES

THE ROYAL HOUSES OF GREECE AND TROY

SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER READING

VARIANTS FROM THE OXFORD CLASSICAL TEXT

NOTES ON THE TRANSLATION

PRONOUNCING GLOSSARY

Other Books by Robert Fagles

Homer: A Collection of Critical Essays
(Co-ed. with George Steiner, and contributor)

The Twickenham Edition of Pope’s Iliad and Odyssey
(Assoc. Ed. among others under Maynard Mack)

I Vincent: Poems from the Pictures of Van Gogh

TRANSLATIONS

Bacchylides: Complete Poems
(with Adam Parry)

Aeschylus: The Oresteia
(with W. B. Stanford)

Sophocles: The Three Theban Plays
(with Bernard Knox)

Homer: The Iliad
(with Bernard Knox)
Homer: The Odyssey
(with Bernard Knox)

Other Books by Bernard Knox

Oedipus at Thebes: Sophocles’ Tragic Hero and His Time
Sophocles, Oedipus the King (Trans.)
The Heroic Temper: Studies in Sophoclean Tragedy
Word and Action: Essays on the Ancient Theater
Essays Ancient and Modern
The Oldest Dead White European Males and Other Reflections on the Classics

The Norton Book of Classical Literature (Ed.)
Backing Into the Future: The Classical Tradition and Its Renewal

VIKING
Published by the Penguin Group

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First published in 2006 by Viking Penguin, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

Translation copyright © Robert Fagles, 2006

Introduction and notes copyright © Bernard Knox, 2006
All rights reserved

An extract from Book Two (under the title “The Death of Priam”) and two extracts from Book Six (“Dido in the Underworld” and

“Aeneas and His Father’s Ghost”) originally appeared in The Kenyon Review, Fall 2006.

Grateful acknowledgment is made for permission to reprint excerpts from the following copyrighted works:

“Secondary Epic” from Collected Poems by W. H. Auden. Copyright © 1960 by W. H. Auden. Used by permission of Random House,
Inc.

The Georgics by Virgil, translated with an introduction and notes by L. P. Wilkinson (Penguin Classics, 1982). Copyright © L. P.
Wilkinson, 1982. Used by permission of Penguin Books Ltd. Illustrations by David Cain. Copyright © David Cain, 2006.

eISBN: 9781101371619

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tendimus in Latium

INTRODUCTION

ROME

When Publius Vergilius Maro—Virgil in common usage—was born in 70 B.C., the Roman Republic
was in its last days. In 71 it had just finished suppressing the three-year-long revolt of the slaves in
Italy, who, organized by Spartacus, a gladiator, had defeated four Roman armies but were finally
crushed by Marcus Crassus. Crassus celebrated his victory by crucifying six thousand captured slaves
along the Appian Way, the road that ran south from Rome to the Bay of Naples and from there on to
Brundisium. In 67 B.C. Gnaeus Pompeius (Pompey) was given an extraordinary, wide command to
clear the Mediterranean, which the Romans claimed was “our sea”—mare nostrum—of the pirates
who made commerce and travel dangerous. (The young Julius Caesar was captured by pirates and
held for ransom around 70 B.C.; he paid it but came back at once with an armed force and crucified
them all.) In 65 B.C. Catiline conspired against the Republic but was suppressed in 63 through the
action of the consul, Cicero. From 58 to 51 B.C. Julius Caesar added what are now Switzerland,
France, and Belgium to the Roman Empire, creating in the course of these campaigns a superb army
loyal to him rather than to the Republic, while in 53 B.C. Crassus invaded Parthia, a part of modern-
day Iraq, but was killed at Carrhae, where many of his soldiers were taken prisoner and the legions’
standards displayed as trophies of the Parthian victory. From 49 to 45 B.C. there was civil war as
Caesar crossed the Rubicon River into Italy with his victorious army, which defeated Pompey’s
forces in Greece at Pharsalus in 48 B.C. Pompey escaped by sea and took refuge on the shore of
Egypt, the only country on the Mediterranean not yet part of the Roman Empire, but he was killed by
the Alexandrians and his head taken to Alexandria to be given to Caesar when he arrived. Caesar
went on to defeat another republican army in Africa at Thapsus, and in the next year vanquished the
last republican army at Munda in Spain. Back in Rome he appointed himself dictator, a position that
had always been held for a short term in an emergency, for ten years.

But on the Ides of March, 44 B.C., Caesar was assassinated in the Senate House by conspirators
led by Brutus and Cassius. However, Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony), Caesar’s right-hand man in
Gaul as in Rome, and young Octavian, great-nephew and adopted son of Caesar, soon drove the
republicans to Greece and defeated the republican army at Philippi. Brutus and Cassius subsequently
committed suicide. Antony took over the pacification of the eastern half of the Empire, making
Alexandria, where he became the lover of the Hellenistic queen Cleopatra, his base, while Octavian,
making Rome his headquarters, dealt with problems in Spain and the west.

Tension between Antony and Octavian grew steadily over time, in spite of attempts at
reconciliation, and in 31 B.C. Antony and Cleopatra’s fleet was defeated by Octavian and his
admiral, Agrippa, off the Greek promontory of Actium. Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide in
Alexandria rather than walk to execution in Rome in Octavian’s triumph, and Egypt became a Roman
province. Virgil died in 19 B.C. Octavian, who assumed the title of Augustus in 27 B.C., ruled what
was now the Roman Empire until his death in A.D. 14, when he was succeeded peacefully by
Tiberius.

In his comparatively short life Virgil became the supreme Roman poet; his work overshadowed
that of his successors, and his epic poem, the Aeneid, gave Homeric luster to the story of Rome’s
origins and its achievement—the creation of an empire that gave peace and the rule of law to all the

territory surrounding the Mediterranean, to what are now Switzerland, France, and Belgium, and later
to England. Yet when Virgil was born in the village of Andes, near Mantua (Mantova), he, like all the
other Italians living north of the Po River, was not a Roman citizen.

Full Roman citizenship had been gradually conceded over the centuries to individuals and
communities, but in the years 91 to 87 B.C. those communities still excluded fought a successful civil
war against Rome, which ended with the grant of full Roman citizenship to all Italians living south of
the Po River. The territory north of the river continued to be a provincia, ruled by a proconsul from
Rome, with an army. Full Roman citizenship was finally granted to the inhabitants of the area by
Julius Caesar in 49 B.C., when Virgil was already a young man.

Virgil was an Italian long before he became a Roman, and in the second book of the Georgics he
follows a passage celebrating the riches of the East with a hymn of praise for the even greater riches
of Italy:

But neither Media’s land most rich in forests,
The gorgeous Ganges or the gold-flecked Hermus
Could rival Italy . . . the land is full
Of teeming fruits and Bacchus’ Massic liquor.
Olives are everywhere and prosperous cattle . . .
And then the cities,
So many noble cities raised by our labors,
So many towns we’ve piled on precipices,
And rivers gliding under ancient walls . . .
Hail, mighty mother of fruits, Saturnian land
And mighty mother of men . . .
The same has bred a vigorous race of men,
Marsians, the Sabine stock, Ligurians
Inured to hardship, Volscians javelin-armed.

(2.136-69, trans. L. P. Wilkinson, et seq.)

And in the Aeneid, Virgil’s poem about the origins of Rome, though his hero, Aeneas, and the Trojan
invaders of Italy are to build the city from which Rome will eventually be founded, there is a constant
and vibrant undertone of sympathy for and identification with the Italians, which becomes a major
theme in the story of the Volscian warrior princess Camilla.

Biographical information about Virgil is scant and much of it unreliable, but we learn from
Suetonius’ “Life” of the poet, written probably in the early years of the second century A.D., that
Virgil “was tall . . . with a dark complexion and a rustic appearance” and that “he spoke very slowly
and almost like an uneducated man.” Yet when he read his own poems, his delivery of them “was
sweet and wonderfully effective” (pp. 467-73, trans. J. C. Rolfe, et seq.). And we learn from the
same author that when he read to Augustus and his sister Octavia the second, fourth, and sixth books
of the Aeneid, when he reached in the sixth book the lines about her son Marcellus, who had died
young, she fainted, and it was difficult to revive her. We know too that Virgil and his father somehow

escaped the fate of so many of the landowners in the area that Virgil refers to as Mantua—“but
Mantua / Stands far too close for comfort to poor Cremona” (Eclogues 9.28, trans. C. Day Lewis, et
seq.)—confiscation of the land to reward the veterans of the armies of Octavian and Mark Antony
after the defeat of Brutus and Cassius at Philippi in 42 B.C. We know this mainly by inference from
Virgil’s first poems, the Eclogues, published around 39 to 38 B.C.

THE ECLOGUES

Like most Roman poems, the Eclogues (a word that means something like “Selections”) have a Greek
model. In this case it is the poems of Theocritus, a resident of the Greek city of Syracuse in Sicily
who, writing in the Doric dialect of the western Greeks, invented a genre of poetry that used the
Homeric hexameter for very un-Homeric themes: the singing contests, love affairs, and rivalries of
shepherds and herdsmen who relieved the boredom of their lonely rural life by competing in song
accompanied by pipes and pursuing their love affairs and rivalries far from the city and the
farmlands, in the hills with their sheep, goats, and cattle. Their names, and the names of their lady
loves—Lycidas, Daphnis, Amaryllis—have become famous through the long tradition of pastoral
poetry that began with Theocritus, flourished in Virgil, and had a splendid rebirth in the Italian
Renaissance and in Elizabethan England; Spenser’s Shepheardes Calender was published in 1579,
and Milton’s Lycidas (written in 1637) is a masterpiece of the genre. It reached what might well be
considered its end in the parodic performance of Marie An toinette, queen of France, and her court
ladies playing the role, at the Petit Trianon palace, of simple milkmaids.

Not all of Theocritus’ poems feature shepherds; one of them, for example, is a delightful dramatic
sketch of two light-headed, gossipy housewives on their way to the festival of Adonis in Alexandria,
and another is a hymn of praise to Ptolemy II, the ruler of Alexandria and Egypt. Similarly, one of
Virgil’s ten Eclogues, the fourth, has nothing to do with shepherds; it prophesies the birth of a son
who will bring back the Golden Age on earth. Many Christians, from Lactantius on, later took this to
be a prophecy of the birth of Christ, but it seems clear that Virgil was referring to the expectation that
Octavian’s sister, married to Mark Antony and pregnant by him, would bear a son, and that this would
heal the growing breach between the two leaders. But the child turned out to be a daughter, and in any
case, Cleopatra’s hold on Antony was permanent.

But Virgil differs from his model in one significant particular: he makes two of the Eclogues that
are dialogues of shepherds, the first and ninth, reflect the sorrows and passions of the real world of
41 B.C.—the confiscation of land in the area north of the river Po, to reward the veterans of the
armies of Octavian and Antony. The first Eclogue features Tityrus, who, as a result of a visit to
Rome, has been granted, by a “young man”1 whom he will always worship as a god, a favorable
response to his plea: “‘Pasture your cattle, breed from your bulls, as you did of old’” (1.45). But the
speaker, Meliboeus, must go on his sad way,

“To Scythia, bone-dry Africa, the chalky spate of the Oxus,
Even to Britain—that place cut off at the very world’s end . . .
To think of some godless soldier owning my well-farmed fallow,
A foreigner reaping these crops!”

(1.64-71)

And in the ninth Eclogue, Moeris laments his eviction from his land, the day

“. . . that I should have lived to see an outsider

Take over my little farm—a thing I had never feared—
And tell me, ‘You’re dispossessed, you old tenants,
you’ve got to go.’ ”

(9.2-4)

It seems clear from all this that somehow Virgil, or rather Virgil’s father, escaped the fate of

Meliboeus and Moeris. Either his farm was exempt from confiscation or he was given another in
exchange. The “young man” can only have been Octavian, and somehow Asinius Pollio, who is
mentioned in Eclogue 4, and who was a patron of poets and the arts, sensing the young Virgil’s talent,
brought him to Octavian’s notice and secured his future education in the capital of the province,
Mediolanum (Milan), at Rome, and later at Naples and at nearby Herculaneum, where his name
appears on a burned papyrus as a student of Epicurean philosophy. At some point he was brought to
the attention of Maecenas, who was Octavian’s friend and another benefactor of poets. We have from
Virgil’s friend and fellow poet Horace an account of their meeting on the way to Brundisium
(Brindisi) with Maecenas on his mission to Greece to negotiate with Antony in 37 B.C. In his fifth
Satire of the first book, written in hexameter verse, Horace describes the journey from Rome with
Maecenas; at Sinuessa they meet with another group, of which Virgil is part. O qui complexus et
gaudia, “Oh what embraces and joy!” And later at Capua they stay for the night at an inn. Lusum it
Maecenas, writes Horace, “Maecenas goes off to exercise,” dormitum ego Vergiliusque, “and Virgil
and I to bed” (1.5.43, 48, trans. Knox).

Virgil’s Eclogues were an immediate success and soon gained all the trappings of general
approval—some of the dialogues of shepherds were performed in theaters, quotations and parodies
abounded. But what made them a landmark in the history of Latin poetry were the music and elegance
of the hexameter verse, the exquisite control of the rhythmic patterns.

The Latin hexameter, modeled on Homer’s, had been used by Latin poets ever since Quintus Ennius
(239-169 B.C.) had adapted it to celebrate in his Annales the history of Rome from the founding by
Aeneas down to his own day. Virgil knew and often used phrases of this poet; he also knew the great
hexameter poem of his older contemporary, Lucretius, whose De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of
Things) celebrated the Epicurean philosophy of which Virgil was a devotee: Virgil’s lines often
show the influence of Lucretius’ poem. But only Virgil’s own poetic genius can explain the lightness,
the dexterity, the rhythmic music of the Eclogues, and this is even truer of his next, and most perfect,
poem, the Georgics.

THE GEORGICS

This poem, of more than two thousand lines in four books, was first read to Octavian soon after the
suicides of Antony and Cleopatra in 30 B.C., which made him sole ruler of the Roman world, at
Atella near Naples by Maecenas and Virgil in 29 B.C. It is, like the Eclogues, modeled on a Greek
poem, Hesiod’s Works and Days, but whereas Hesiod writes of farming from firsthand experience,
Virgil has to draw on a prose work written on the subject, the De Re Rustica of Varro, which had
been published in 37-36 B.C. Of Virgil’s four books the first is on field crops, the second on trees,
the third on herds, and the fourth on bees. The only source of sweetness available to the ancient
Western world was honey—hence the importance of bee-keeping. Virgil’s poem, with its devotion to
the land, the crops, and the herds, fits admirably into the old Roman ideal: the Roman farmer is
equally adapted to work on the land and to do the work of a soldier in the legion in time of war. The
model was the legendary figure Cincinnatus, who in 458 B.C. was called from his farm and given
dictatorial power; he rescued the state by defeating the Aequi and, after holding supreme power for
sixteen days, resigned it and returned to his plow. But the Georgics is no more a real manual for the
soldier turned farmer than the Augustan ideal of the Roman soldier-farmer was realistic; as a manual
for farmers the Georgics has huge omissions and as a practical handbook would be as useless as
Augustus’s program of re-creating the Roman farmer-soldier was impractical. Most of Italy was
cultivated by slave labor on land owned by absentee landlords who lived in Rome. The Georgics is a
work of art—as Dryden declared, “the best Poem by the best Poet”—on which Virgil worked for
seven years; he compared his work on it to that of a mother bear licking her cubs into shape.

In the opening lines of the poem, addressed to Maecenas, he announces the subject of the four
books:

What makes the corncrops glad, under which star
To turn the soil, Maecenas, and wed your vines
To elms, the care of cattle, keeping of flocks,
All the experience thrifty bees demand—
Such are the themes of my song.

(1.1-5, trans. Wilkinson)

With an invocation of the country gods, Virgil proceeds to describe the farmer’s life of hard work as
in his model, Hesiod. Later he writes about the weather signs that the farmer must recognize as
prophecies of what is to come, sometimes evil, as he ends the book with memories of the recent civil
wars, of Roman blood shed on the fields of Greece, and with a finale that is a prayer and a dark
vision of the future:

Gods of our fathers, Heroes of our land . . .
Do not prevent at least this youthful prince
From saving a world in ruins . . .
For right and wrong change places; everywhere
So many wars, so many shapes of crime

Confront us; no due honor attends the plow.
The fields, bereft of tillers, are all unkempt . . .
. . . throughout the world
Impious War is raging.

(1.498-511)

Book 2 is concerned with trees and vines, principally with the olive and the wine grape. There is

much good advice here for the farmer, but the book is notable not only for the hymn of praise for Italy
already quoted, but also for its praise of the happy life of the farmer as compared to that of the city
dweller:

How lucky, if they know their happiness,
Are farmers, more than lucky, they for whom,
Far from the clash of arms, the earth herself,
Most fair in dealing, freely lavishes
An easy livelihood . . .
. . . Peace they have and a life of innocence
Rich in variety; they have for leisure
Their ample acres, caverns, living lakes,
. . . cattle low, and sleep is soft
Under a tree . . .

(2.458-70)

Book 3 is concerned with the breeding and raising of farm animals: horses and cattle in the first

part and sheep and goats in the later section. After an exordium in which Virgil promises to celebrate
the victories of Octavian, a promise fulfilled in the Aeneid, he proceeds to his subject. His discussion
of farm animals contains the famous lines that apply equally to the human animal:

Life’s earliest years for wretched mortal creatures
Are best, and fly most quickly: soon come on
Diseases, suffering and gloomy age,
Till Death’s unpitying harshness carries them off.

(3.66-68)

Virgil ends this book, as he did Book 1, on a sad note: an account of a plague that struck cattle in the
northern region of the Alps, in which he draws much from Lucretius’ portrayal of the plague that
struck humans in the Athens of Pericles, described in exact detail by Thucydides.

In his introduction to Book 4, about bee-keeping, Virgil assures Maecenas that he will describe

. . . a world in miniature,
Gallant commanders and the institutions

Of a whole nation, its character, pursuits,
Communities and warfare.

(4.3-5)

And this theme, of the hive as a community, in harmony or dissension, is a constant in the book.

A great deal of misinformation about bees is conveyed to the reader. Bees were not properly
observed in the hive until the invention of the glass observation hive, and until the seventeenth century
it was believed that the leader of the hive was the king, not the queen. But what has made Book 4
famous is the end—the long tale of Aristaeus and his bees and of Orpheus and Eurydice.

Virgil first describes the process of bougonia (the Greek word means something like “birth from a
steer”), for re-creating the hive of bees in case the original bees die. A two-year-old steer is brought
to a specially constructed hut that has windows facing in all four directions. The animal is then beaten
to death and the remains left in place through the spring. Suddenly, in the rotting flesh a whole cluster
of bees is born. This is not true, but it was widely believed in the ancient world (except by Aristotle)
and appears also in the riddle Samson asked the Philistines to answer: “out of the strong came forth
sweetness” (Judges 14:14).

Virgil’s account of the origin of this method is told through the story of the farmer Aristaeus, whose
hive of bees has died. He goes to his mother, the nymph Cyrene, and she tells him to find out what has
gone wrong from Proteus, the Old Man of the Sea, who “knows / All that has been, is now, and lies in
store” (4.392-93). Aristaeus must seize Proteus as he comes out of the water with his seals and hold
him tightly as he changes shape, “for suddenly / He’ll be a bristly boar or a savage tiger / or a scaly
serpent or a lioness” (4.407-8). But he must be held fast until he gives up and resumes his own shape,
and then he will answer questions. (This scene is adapted from Menelaus’ similar interrogation of
Proteus in the Odyssey 4.428-641.)2 Aristaeus follows directions faithfully, and finally Proteus, back
in his own shape, tells Aristaeus what is wrong. “Piteous Orpheus / It is that seeks to invoke this
penalty / Against you” (4.454-55). It is revenge for the death of his wife, the nymph Eurydice, who,
fleeing Aristaeus’ advances, ran along the banks of a river where she was killed by a serpent. After
mourning for her, Orpheus decided to seek her in the land of the dead.

And entering the gloomy grove of terror
Approached the shades and their tremendous king . . .
[Orpheus’] music shook them . . .

(4.468-71)

And Virgil goes on to describe the dark kingdom and its denizens in lines that foreshadow his more
detailed description of the Underworld later, in Book 6 of the Aeneid. Orpheus’ music wins him his
Eurydice.

She is allowed to follow him back to the land of the living, but on condition that he does not look
back at her until they reach the light of the upper world. But Orpheus,

. . . on the very brink of light, alas,
Forgetful, yielding in his will, looked back
At his own Eurydice. . . .

(4.490-91)

And as she reproached him bitterly, she

. . . suddenly
Out of his sight, like smoke into thin air,
Vanished away . . .
For seven whole months on end, they say, he wept . . .
Alone in the wild . . .
And sang his tale of woe . . .

(4.499-510)

And finally, wandering in Thrace in the north, he was torn to pieces by Bacchantes in their Dionysiac
frenzy, his limbs were scattered far and wide, and his head was thrown into the Hebrus River. And
there,

His head, now severed from his marble neck,
“Eurydice!” the voice and frozen tongue
Still called aloud, “Ah, poor Eurydice!”

(4.523-26)

So Proteus departed and Aristaeus, instructed by his mother Cyrene, made sacrifices to the shade of
Orpheus and to the nymphs, the sisters of Eurydice, and then left for his bougonia for the regeneration
of his bees. And the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, in Virgil’s musical verse, has inspired poetry and
song ever since.

In the final lines of the Georgics, published probably in 29 B.C., two years after the battle of
Actium, which made Octavian master of the Roman world, Virgil tells us that he finished the poem at
Naples (to which he gives its Greek name, Parthenope), while Octavian, soon to be given the title
Augustus, was making a triumphant progress through the East.

This song of the husbandry of crops and beasts
And fruit-trees I was singing while great Caesar
Was thundering beside the deep Euphrates
In war, victoriously for grateful peoples
Appointing laws and setting his course for Heaven.
I, Virgil, at that time lay in the lap
Of sweet Parthenope, enjoying there
The studies of inglorious ease, who once

Dallied in pastoral verse and with youth’s boldness
Sang of you, Tityrus, lazing under a beech-tree.

(4.559-66)

That last line is a quotation, slightly adapted, of the opening line of his first book, the Eclogues.

THE AENEID

Near the opening of the third book of the Georgics Virgil speaks of what will be his next work:

Yet soon I will gird myself to celebrate
The fiery fights of Caesar, make his name
Live in the future . . .

(3.46-47)

This promise would be kept by the writing of his last and most grandly ambitious poem, the Aeneid,
which he never finished to his full satisfaction. After reading Books 2, 4, and 6 to Augustus and
Octavia and completing his work on Book 12, he decided to visit Greece in 19 B.C. and spend three
years on correction and revision. But he met Augustus in Athens on Augustus’ return from the East and
was persuaded to return to Italy with him. However, passing from Athens to Corinth, at Megara Virgil
contracted a fever, which grew worse during the voyage to Brundisium, where he died on September
21. He was buried near Naples, and on his tomb were inscribed verses that he is said to have
composed himself:

Mantua me genuit, Calabri rapuere, tenet nunc
Parthenope. Cecini pascua, rura, duces.

Mantova gave me life, the Calabrians took it away, Naples
holds me now; I sang of pastures, farms, and commanders.

(trans. Knox)

There is a report that he had ordered his literary executors, Varius and Tucca, to destroy the
unfinished manuscript; if so, these orders were immediately canceled by Augustus. Imperfections
remain: some incomplete hexameters, which Virgil would certainly have tidied up, and several minor
contradictions, which he would certainly have dealt with. One passage (2.702-28), which is not in the
oldest manuscripts, was removed, according to the much later commentator Servius, by Varius and
Tucca. (In the most recent editions of Virgil’s text, for example that of Fairclough, revised in 1999-
2000 by George P. Goold, the passage is marked as spurious. Other recent commentators, however,
notably R. G. Austin and R. D. Williams, consider it genuine.) The passage pictures Helen as seeking
sanctuary at the shrine of Vesta, fearing the vengeance of the Trojans for the ruin she has brought on
them, and Aeneas’ angry decision to kill her. This passage contradicts a long and intricate story of
Helen triumphantly welcoming the …

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Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page

Dedication

Introduction

BOOK ONE – Safe Haven After Storm

BOOK TWO – The Final Hours of Troy

BOOK THREE – Landfalls, Ports of Call

BOOK FOUR – The Tragic Queen of Carthage

BOOK FIVE – Funeral Games for Anchises

BOOK SIX – The Kingdom of the Dead

BOOK SEVEN – Beachhead in Latium, Armies Gather

BOOK EIGHT – The Shield of Aeneas

BOOK NINE – Enemy at the Gates

BOOK TEN – Captains Fight and Die

BOOK ELEVEN – Camilla’s Finest Hour

BOOK TWELVE – The Sword Decides All

NOTES

THE ROYAL HOUSES OF GREECE AND TROY

SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER READING

VARIANTS FROM THE OXFORD CLASSICAL TEXT

NOTES ON THE TRANSLATION

PRONOUNCING GLOSSARY

Other Books by Robert Fagles

Homer: A Collection of Critical Essays
(Co-ed. with George Steiner, and contributor)

The Twickenham Edition of Pope’s Iliad and Odyssey
(Assoc. Ed. among others under Maynard Mack)

I Vincent: Poems from the Pictures of Van Gogh

TRANSLATIONS

Bacchylides: Complete Poems
(with Adam Parry)

Aeschylus: The Oresteia
(with W. B. Stanford)

Sophocles: The Three Theban Plays
(with Bernard Knox)

Homer: The Iliad
(with Bernard Knox)
Homer: The Odyssey
(with Bernard Knox)

Other Books by Bernard Knox

Oedipus at Thebes: Sophocles’ Tragic Hero and His Time
Sophocles, Oedipus the King (Trans.)
The Heroic Temper: Studies in Sophoclean Tragedy
Word and Action: Essays on the Ancient Theater
Essays Ancient and Modern
The Oldest Dead White European Males and Other Reflections on the Classics

The Norton Book of Classical Literature (Ed.)
Backing Into the Future: The Classical Tradition and Its Renewal

VIKING
Published by the Penguin Group

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First published in 2006 by Viking Penguin, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

Translation copyright © Robert Fagles, 2006

Introduction and notes copyright © Bernard Knox, 2006
All rights reserved

An extract from Book Two (under the title “The Death of Priam”) and two extracts from Book Six (“Dido in the Underworld” and

“Aeneas and His Father’s Ghost”) originally appeared in The Kenyon Review, Fall 2006.

Grateful acknowledgment is made for permission to reprint excerpts from the following copyrighted works:

“Secondary Epic” from Collected Poems by W. H. Auden. Copyright © 1960 by W. H. Auden. Used by permission of Random House,
Inc.

The Georgics by Virgil, translated with an introduction and notes by L. P. Wilkinson (Penguin Classics, 1982). Copyright © L. P.
Wilkinson, 1982. Used by permission of Penguin Books Ltd. Illustrations by David Cain. Copyright © David Cain, 2006.

eISBN: 9781101371619

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For Lynne

tendimus in Latium

INTRODUCTION

ROME

When Publius Vergilius Maro—Virgil in common usage—was born in 70 B.C., the Roman Republic
was in its last days. In 71 it had just finished suppressing the three-year-long revolt of the slaves in
Italy, who, organized by Spartacus, a gladiator, had defeated four Roman armies but were finally
crushed by Marcus Crassus. Crassus celebrated his victory by crucifying six thousand captured slaves
along the Appian Way, the road that ran south from Rome to the Bay of Naples and from there on to
Brundisium. In 67 B.C. Gnaeus Pompeius (Pompey) was given an extraordinary, wide command to
clear the Mediterranean, which the Romans claimed was “our sea”—mare nostrum—of the pirates
who made commerce and travel dangerous. (The young Julius Caesar was captured by pirates and
held for ransom around 70 B.C.; he paid it but came back at once with an armed force and crucified
them all.) In 65 B.C. Catiline conspired against the Republic but was suppressed in 63 through the
action of the consul, Cicero. From 58 to 51 B.C. Julius Caesar added what are now Switzerland,
France, and Belgium to the Roman Empire, creating in the course of these campaigns a superb army
loyal to him rather than to the Republic, while in 53 B.C. Crassus invaded Parthia, a part of modern-
day Iraq, but was killed at Carrhae, where many of his soldiers were taken prisoner and the legions’
standards displayed as trophies of the Parthian victory. From 49 to 45 B.C. there was civil war as
Caesar crossed the Rubicon River into Italy with his victorious army, which defeated Pompey’s
forces in Greece at Pharsalus in 48 B.C. Pompey escaped by sea and took refuge on the shore of
Egypt, the only country on the Mediterranean not yet part of the Roman Empire, but he was killed by
the Alexandrians and his head taken to Alexandria to be given to Caesar when he arrived. Caesar
went on to defeat another republican army in Africa at Thapsus, and in the next year vanquished the
last republican army at Munda in Spain. Back in Rome he appointed himself dictator, a position that
had always been held for a short term in an emergency, for ten years.

But on the Ides of March, 44 B.C., Caesar was assassinated in the Senate House by conspirators
led by Brutus and Cassius. However, Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony), Caesar’s right-hand man in
Gaul as in Rome, and young Octavian, great-nephew and adopted son of Caesar, soon drove the
republicans to Greece and defeated the republican army at Philippi. Brutus and Cassius subsequently
committed suicide. Antony took over the pacification of the eastern half of the Empire, making
Alexandria, where he became the lover of the Hellenistic queen Cleopatra, his base, while Octavian,
making Rome his headquarters, dealt with problems in Spain and the west.

Tension between Antony and Octavian grew steadily over time, in spite of attempts at
reconciliation, and in 31 B.C. Antony and Cleopatra’s fleet was defeated by Octavian and his
admiral, Agrippa, off the Greek promontory of Actium. Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide in
Alexandria rather than walk to execution in Rome in Octavian’s triumph, and Egypt became a Roman
province. Virgil died in 19 B.C. Octavian, who assumed the title of Augustus in 27 B.C., ruled what
was now the Roman Empire until his death in A.D. 14, when he was succeeded peacefully by
Tiberius.

In his comparatively short life Virgil became the supreme Roman poet; his work overshadowed
that of his successors, and his epic poem, the Aeneid, gave Homeric luster to the story of Rome’s
origins and its achievement—the creation of an empire that gave peace and the rule of law to all the

territory surrounding the Mediterranean, to what are now Switzerland, France, and Belgium, and later
to England. Yet when Virgil was born in the village of Andes, near Mantua (Mantova), he, like all the
other Italians living north of the Po River, was not a Roman citizen.

Full Roman citizenship had been gradually conceded over the centuries to individuals and
communities, but in the years 91 to 87 B.C. those communities still excluded fought a successful civil
war against Rome, which ended with the grant of full Roman citizenship to all Italians living south of
the Po River. The territory north of the river continued to be a provincia, ruled by a proconsul from
Rome, with an army. Full Roman citizenship was finally granted to the inhabitants of the area by
Julius Caesar in 49 B.C., when Virgil was already a young man.

Virgil was an Italian long before he became a Roman, and in the second book of the Georgics he
follows a passage celebrating the riches of the East with a hymn of praise for the even greater riches
of Italy:

But neither Media’s land most rich in forests,
The gorgeous Ganges or the gold-flecked Hermus
Could rival Italy . . . the land is full
Of teeming fruits and Bacchus’ Massic liquor.
Olives are everywhere and prosperous cattle . . .
And then the cities,
So many noble cities raised by our labors,
So many towns we’ve piled on precipices,
And rivers gliding under ancient walls . . .
Hail, mighty mother of fruits, Saturnian land
And mighty mother of men . . .
The same has bred a vigorous race of men,
Marsians, the Sabine stock, Ligurians
Inured to hardship, Volscians javelin-armed.

(2.136-69, trans. L. P. Wilkinson, et seq.)

And in the Aeneid, Virgil’s poem about the origins of Rome, though his hero, Aeneas, and the Trojan
invaders of Italy are to build the city from which Rome will eventually be founded, there is a constant
and vibrant undertone of sympathy for and identification with the Italians, which becomes a major
theme in the story of the Volscian warrior princess Camilla.

Biographical information about Virgil is scant and much of it unreliable, but we learn from
Suetonius’ “Life” of the poet, written probably in the early years of the second century A.D., that
Virgil “was tall . . . with a dark complexion and a rustic appearance” and that “he spoke very slowly
and almost like an uneducated man.” Yet when he read his own poems, his delivery of them “was
sweet and wonderfully effective” (pp. 467-73, trans. J. C. Rolfe, et seq.). And we learn from the
same author that when he read to Augustus and his sister Octavia the second, fourth, and sixth books
of the Aeneid, when he reached in the sixth book the lines about her son Marcellus, who had died
young, she fainted, and it was difficult to revive her. We know too that Virgil and his father somehow

escaped the fate of so many of the landowners in the area that Virgil refers to as Mantua—“but
Mantua / Stands far too close for comfort to poor Cremona” (Eclogues 9.28, trans. C. Day Lewis, et
seq.)—confiscation of the land to reward the veterans of the armies of Octavian and Mark Antony
after the defeat of Brutus and Cassius at Philippi in 42 B.C. We know this mainly by inference from
Virgil’s first poems, the Eclogues, published around 39 to 38 B.C.

THE ECLOGUES

Like most Roman poems, the Eclogues (a word that means something like “Selections”) have a Greek
model. In this case it is the poems of Theocritus, a resident of the Greek city of Syracuse in Sicily
who, writing in the Doric dialect of the western Greeks, invented a genre of poetry that used the
Homeric hexameter for very un-Homeric themes: the singing contests, love affairs, and rivalries of
shepherds and herdsmen who relieved the boredom of their lonely rural life by competing in song
accompanied by pipes and pursuing their love affairs and rivalries far from the city and the
farmlands, in the hills with their sheep, goats, and cattle. Their names, and the names of their lady
loves—Lycidas, Daphnis, Amaryllis—have become famous through the long tradition of pastoral
poetry that began with Theocritus, flourished in Virgil, and had a splendid rebirth in the Italian
Renaissance and in Elizabethan England; Spenser’s Shepheardes Calender was published in 1579,
and Milton’s Lycidas (written in 1637) is a masterpiece of the genre. It reached what might well be
considered its end in the parodic performance of Marie An toinette, queen of France, and her court
ladies playing the role, at the Petit Trianon palace, of simple milkmaids.

Not all of Theocritus’ poems feature shepherds; one of them, for example, is a delightful dramatic
sketch of two light-headed, gossipy housewives on their way to the festival of Adonis in Alexandria,
and another is a hymn of praise to Ptolemy II, the ruler of Alexandria and Egypt. Similarly, one of
Virgil’s ten Eclogues, the fourth, has nothing to do with shepherds; it prophesies the birth of a son
who will bring back the Golden Age on earth. Many Christians, from Lactantius on, later took this to
be a prophecy of the birth of Christ, but it seems clear that Virgil was referring to the expectation that
Octavian’s sister, married to Mark Antony and pregnant by him, would bear a son, and that this would
heal the growing breach between the two leaders. But the child turned out to be a daughter, and in any
case, Cleopatra’s hold on Antony was permanent.

But Virgil differs from his model in one significant particular: he makes two of the Eclogues that
are dialogues of shepherds, the first and ninth, reflect the sorrows and passions of the real world of
41 B.C.—the confiscation of land in the area north of the river Po, to reward the veterans of the
armies of Octavian and Antony. The first Eclogue features Tityrus, who, as a result of a visit to
Rome, has been granted, by a “young man”1 whom he will always worship as a god, a favorable
response to his plea: “‘Pasture your cattle, breed from your bulls, as you did of old’” (1.45). But the
speaker, Meliboeus, must go on his sad way,

“To Scythia, bone-dry Africa, the chalky spate of the Oxus,
Even to Britain—that place cut off at the very world’s end . . .
To think of some godless soldier owning my well-farmed fallow,
A foreigner reaping these crops!”

(1.64-71)

And in the ninth Eclogue, Moeris laments his eviction from his land, the day

“. . . that I should have lived to see an outsider

Take over my little farm—a thing I had never feared—
And tell me, ‘You’re dispossessed, you old tenants,
you’ve got to go.’ ”

(9.2-4)

It seems clear from all this that somehow Virgil, or rather Virgil’s father, escaped the fate of

Meliboeus and Moeris. Either his farm was exempt from confiscation or he was given another in
exchange. The “young man” can only have been Octavian, and somehow Asinius Pollio, who is
mentioned in Eclogue 4, and who was a patron of poets and the arts, sensing the young Virgil’s talent,
brought him to Octavian’s notice and secured his future education in the capital of the province,
Mediolanum (Milan), at Rome, and later at Naples and at nearby Herculaneum, where his name
appears on a burned papyrus as a student of Epicurean philosophy. At some point he was brought to
the attention of Maecenas, who was Octavian’s friend and another benefactor of poets. We have from
Virgil’s friend and fellow poet Horace an account of their meeting on the way to Brundisium
(Brindisi) with Maecenas on his mission to Greece to negotiate with Antony in 37 B.C. In his fifth
Satire of the first book, written in hexameter verse, Horace describes the journey from Rome with
Maecenas; at Sinuessa they meet with another group, of which Virgil is part. O qui complexus et
gaudia, “Oh what embraces and joy!” And later at Capua they stay for the night at an inn. Lusum it
Maecenas, writes Horace, “Maecenas goes off to exercise,” dormitum ego Vergiliusque, “and Virgil
and I to bed” (1.5.43, 48, trans. Knox).

Virgil’s Eclogues were an immediate success and soon gained all the trappings of general
approval—some of the dialogues of shepherds were performed in theaters, quotations and parodies
abounded. But what made them a landmark in the history of Latin poetry were the music and elegance
of the hexameter verse, the exquisite control of the rhythmic patterns.

The Latin hexameter, modeled on Homer’s, had been used by Latin poets ever since Quintus Ennius
(239-169 B.C.) had adapted it to celebrate in his Annales the history of Rome from the founding by
Aeneas down to his own day. Virgil knew and often used phrases of this poet; he also knew the great
hexameter poem of his older contemporary, Lucretius, whose De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of
Things) celebrated the Epicurean philosophy of which Virgil was a devotee: Virgil’s lines often
show the influence of Lucretius’ poem. But only Virgil’s own poetic genius can explain the lightness,
the dexterity, the rhythmic music of the Eclogues, and this is even truer of his next, and most perfect,
poem, the Georgics.

THE GEORGICS

This poem, of more than two thousand lines in four books, was first read to Octavian soon after the
suicides of Antony and Cleopatra in 30 B.C., which made him sole ruler of the Roman world, at
Atella near Naples by Maecenas and Virgil in 29 B.C. It is, like the Eclogues, modeled on a Greek
poem, Hesiod’s Works and Days, but whereas Hesiod writes of farming from firsthand experience,
Virgil has to draw on a prose work written on the subject, the De Re Rustica of Varro, which had
been published in 37-36 B.C. Of Virgil’s four books the first is on field crops, the second on trees,
the third on herds, and the fourth on bees. The only source of sweetness available to the ancient
Western world was honey—hence the importance of bee-keeping. Virgil’s poem, with its devotion to
the land, the crops, and the herds, fits admirably into the old Roman ideal: the Roman farmer is
equally adapted to work on the land and to do the work of a soldier in the legion in time of war. The
model was the legendary figure Cincinnatus, who in 458 B.C. was called from his farm and given
dictatorial power; he rescued the state by defeating the Aequi and, after holding supreme power for
sixteen days, resigned it and returned to his plow. But the Georgics is no more a real manual for the
soldier turned farmer than the Augustan ideal of the Roman soldier-farmer was realistic; as a manual
for farmers the Georgics has huge omissions and as a practical handbook would be as useless as
Augustus’s program of re-creating the Roman farmer-soldier was impractical. Most of Italy was
cultivated by slave labor on land owned by absentee landlords who lived in Rome. The Georgics is a
work of art—as Dryden declared, “the best Poem by the best Poet”—on which Virgil worked for
seven years; he compared his work on it to that of a mother bear licking her cubs into shape.

In the opening lines of the poem, addressed to Maecenas, he announces the subject of the four
books:

What makes the corncrops glad, under which star
To turn the soil, Maecenas, and wed your vines
To elms, the care of cattle, keeping of flocks,
All the experience thrifty bees demand—
Such are the themes of my song.

(1.1-5, trans. Wilkinson)

With an invocation of the country gods, Virgil proceeds to describe the farmer’s life of hard work as
in his model, Hesiod. Later he writes about the weather signs that the farmer must recognize as
prophecies of what is to come, sometimes evil, as he ends the book with memories of the recent civil
wars, of Roman blood shed on the fields of Greece, and with a finale that is a prayer and a dark
vision of the future:

Gods of our fathers, Heroes of our land . . .
Do not prevent at least this youthful prince
From saving a world in ruins . . .
For right and wrong change places; everywhere
So many wars, so many shapes of crime

Confront us; no due honor attends the plow.
The fields, bereft of tillers, are all unkempt . . .
. . . throughout the world
Impious War is raging.

(1.498-511)

Book 2 is concerned with trees and vines, principally with the olive and the wine grape. There is

much good advice here for the farmer, but the book is notable not only for the hymn of praise for Italy
already quoted, but also for its praise of the happy life of the farmer as compared to that of the city
dweller:

How lucky, if they know their happiness,
Are farmers, more than lucky, they for whom,
Far from the clash of arms, the earth herself,
Most fair in dealing, freely lavishes
An easy livelihood . . .
. . . Peace they have and a life of innocence
Rich in variety; they have for leisure
Their ample acres, caverns, living lakes,
. . . cattle low, and sleep is soft
Under a tree . . .

(2.458-70)

Book 3 is concerned with the breeding and raising of farm animals: horses and cattle in the first

part and sheep and goats in the later section. After an exordium in which Virgil promises to celebrate
the victories of Octavian, a promise fulfilled in the Aeneid, he proceeds to his subject. His discussion
of farm animals contains the famous lines that apply equally to the human animal:

Life’s earliest years for wretched mortal creatures
Are best, and fly most quickly: soon come on
Diseases, suffering and gloomy age,
Till Death’s unpitying harshness carries them off.

(3.66-68)

Virgil ends this book, as he did Book 1, on a sad note: an account of a plague that struck cattle in the
northern region of the Alps, in which he draws much from Lucretius’ portrayal of the plague that
struck humans in the Athens of Pericles, described in exact detail by Thucydides.

In his introduction to Book 4, about bee-keeping, Virgil assures Maecenas that he will describe

. . . a world in miniature,
Gallant commanders and the institutions

Of a whole nation, its character, pursuits,
Communities and warfare.

(4.3-5)

And this theme, of the hive as a community, in harmony or dissension, is a constant in the book.

A great deal of misinformation about bees is conveyed to the reader. Bees were not properly
observed in the hive until the invention of the glass observation hive, and until the seventeenth century
it was believed that the leader of the hive was the king, not the queen. But what has made Book 4
famous is the end—the long tale of Aristaeus and his bees and of Orpheus and Eurydice.

Virgil first describes the process of bougonia (the Greek word means something like “birth from a
steer”), for re-creating the hive of bees in case the original bees die. A two-year-old steer is brought
to a specially constructed hut that has windows facing in all four directions. The animal is then beaten
to death and the remains left in place through the spring. Suddenly, in the rotting flesh a whole cluster
of bees is born. This is not true, but it was widely believed in the ancient world (except by Aristotle)
and appears also in the riddle Samson asked the Philistines to answer: “out of the strong came forth
sweetness” (Judges 14:14).

Virgil’s account of the origin of this method is told through the story of the farmer Aristaeus, whose
hive of bees has died. He goes to his mother, the nymph Cyrene, and she tells him to find out what has
gone wrong from Proteus, the Old Man of the Sea, who “knows / All that has been, is now, and lies in
store” (4.392-93). Aristaeus must seize Proteus as he comes out of the water with his seals and hold
him tightly as he changes shape, “for suddenly / He’ll be a bristly boar or a savage tiger / or a scaly
serpent or a lioness” (4.407-8). But he must be held fast until he gives up and resumes his own shape,
and then he will answer questions. (This scene is adapted from Menelaus’ similar interrogation of
Proteus in the Odyssey 4.428-641.)2 Aristaeus follows directions faithfully, and finally Proteus, back
in his own shape, tells Aristaeus what is wrong. “Piteous Orpheus / It is that seeks to invoke this
penalty / Against you” (4.454-55). It is revenge for the death of his wife, the nymph Eurydice, who,
fleeing Aristaeus’ advances, ran along the banks of a river where she was killed by a serpent. After
mourning for her, Orpheus decided to seek her in the land of the dead.

And entering the gloomy grove of terror
Approached the shades and their tremendous king . . .
[Orpheus’] music shook them . . .

(4.468-71)

And Virgil goes on to describe the dark kingdom and its denizens in lines that foreshadow his more
detailed description of the Underworld later, in Book 6 of the Aeneid. Orpheus’ music wins him his
Eurydice.

She is allowed to follow him back to the land of the living, but on condition that he does not look
back at her until they reach the light of the upper world. But Orpheus,

. . . on the very brink of light, alas,
Forgetful, yielding in his will, looked back
At his own Eurydice. . . .

(4.490-91)

And as she reproached him bitterly, she

. . . suddenly
Out of his sight, like smoke into thin air,
Vanished away . . .
For seven whole months on end, they say, he wept . . .
Alone in the wild . . .
And sang his tale of woe . . .

(4.499-510)

And finally, wandering in Thrace in the north, he was torn to pieces by Bacchantes in their Dionysiac
frenzy, his limbs were scattered far and wide, and his head was thrown into the Hebrus River. And
there,

His head, now severed from his marble neck,
“Eurydice!” the voice and frozen tongue
Still called aloud, “Ah, poor Eurydice!”

(4.523-26)

So Proteus departed and Aristaeus, instructed by his mother Cyrene, made sacrifices to the shade of
Orpheus and to the nymphs, the sisters of Eurydice, and then left for his bougonia for the regeneration
of his bees. And the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, in Virgil’s musical verse, has inspired poetry and
song ever since.

In the final lines of the Georgics, published probably in 29 B.C., two years after the battle of
Actium, which made Octavian master of the Roman world, Virgil tells us that he finished the poem at
Naples (to which he gives its Greek name, Parthenope), while Octavian, soon to be given the title
Augustus, was making a triumphant progress through the East.

This song of the husbandry of crops and beasts
And fruit-trees I was singing while great Caesar
Was thundering beside the deep Euphrates
In war, victoriously for grateful peoples
Appointing laws and setting his course for Heaven.
I, Virgil, at that time lay in the lap
Of sweet Parthenope, enjoying there
The studies of inglorious ease, who once

Dallied in pastoral verse and with youth’s boldness
Sang of you, Tityrus, lazing under a beech-tree.

(4.559-66)

That last line is a quotation, slightly adapted, of the opening line of his first book, the Eclogues.

THE AENEID

Near the opening of the third book of the Georgics Virgil speaks of what will be his next work:

Yet soon I will gird myself to celebrate
The fiery fights of Caesar, make his name
Live in the future . . .

(3.46-47)

This promise would be kept by the writing of his last and most grandly ambitious poem, the Aeneid,
which he never finished to his full satisfaction. After reading Books 2, 4, and 6 to Augustus and
Octavia and completing his work on Book 12, he decided to visit Greece in 19 B.C. and spend three
years on correction and revision. But he met Augustus in Athens on Augustus’ return from the East and
was persuaded to return to Italy with him. However, passing from Athens to Corinth, at Megara Virgil
contracted a fever, which grew worse during the voyage to Brundisium, where he died on September
21. He was buried near Naples, and on his tomb were inscribed verses that he is said to have
composed himself:

Mantua me genuit, Calabri rapuere, tenet nunc
Parthenope. Cecini pascua, rura, duces.

Mantova gave me life, the Calabrians took it away, Naples
holds me now; I sang of pastures, farms, and commanders.

(trans. Knox)

There is a report that he had ordered his literary executors, Varius and Tucca, to destroy the
unfinished manuscript; if so, these orders were immediately canceled by Augustus. Imperfections
remain: some incomplete hexameters, which Virgil would certainly have tidied up, and several minor
contradictions, which he would certainly have dealt with. One passage (2.702-28), which is not in the
oldest manuscripts, was removed, according to the much later commentator Servius, by Varius and
Tucca. (In the most recent editions of Virgil’s text, for example that of Fairclough, revised in 1999-
2000 by George P. Goold, the passage is marked as spurious. Other recent commentators, however,
notably R. G. Austin and R. D. Williams, consider it genuine.) The passage pictures Helen as seeking
sanctuary at the shrine of Vesta, fearing the vengeance of the Trojans for the ruin she has brought on
them, and Aeneas’ angry decision to kill her. This passage contradicts a long and intricate story of
Helen triumphantly welcoming the …

open the file attached below look for the book Safe Haven after Storm in the files
Read Book I (Safe Haven after Storm). Reflect and respond in 3-4 pages, double-spaced, Times New Roman, 12 point, MLA style.


Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page

Dedication

Introduction

BOOK ONE – Safe Haven After Storm

BOOK TWO – The Final Hours of Troy

BOOK THREE – Landfalls, Ports of Call

BOOK FOUR – The Tragic Queen of Carthage

BOOK FIVE – Funeral Games for Anchises

BOOK SIX – The Kingdom of the Dead

BOOK SEVEN – Beachhead in Latium, Armies Gather

BOOK EIGHT – The Shield of Aeneas

BOOK NINE – Enemy at the Gates

BOOK TEN – Captains Fight and Die

BOOK ELEVEN – Camilla’s Finest Hour

BOOK TWELVE – The Sword Decides All

NOTES

THE ROYAL HOUSES OF GREECE AND TROY

SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER READING

VARIANTS FROM THE OXFORD CLASSICAL TEXT

NOTES ON THE TRANSLATION

PRONOUNCING GLOSSARY

Other Books by Robert Fagles

Homer: A Collection of Critical Essays
(Co-ed. with George Steiner, and contributor)


The Twickenham Edition of Pope’s Iliad and Odyssey
(Assoc. Ed. among others under Maynard Mack)


I Vincent: Poems from the Pictures of Van Gogh

TRANSLATIONS

Bacchylides: Complete Poems
(with Adam Parry)


Aeschylus: The Oresteia
(with W. B. Stanford)


Sophocles: The Three Theban Plays
(with Bernard Knox)


Homer: The Iliad
(with Bernard Knox)
Homer: The Odyssey
(with Bernard Knox)




Other Books by Bernard Knox

Oedipus at Thebes: Sophocles’ Tragic Hero and His Time
Sophocles, Oedipus the King (Trans.)
The Heroic Temper: Studies in Sophoclean Tragedy
Word and Action: Essays on the Ancient Theater
Essays Ancient and Modern
The Oldest Dead White European Males and Other Reflections on the Classics






The Norton Book of Classical Literature (Ed.)
Backing Into the Future: The Classical Tradition and Its Renewal


VIKING
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First published in 2006 by Viking Penguin, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

Translation copyright © Robert Fagles, 2006

Introduction and notes copyright © Bernard Knox, 2006
All rights reserved


An extract from Book Two (under the title “The Death of Priam”) and two extracts from Book Six (“Dido in the Underworld” and

“Aeneas and His Father’s Ghost”) originally appeared in The Kenyon Review, Fall 2006.

Grateful acknowledgment is made for permission to reprint excerpts from the following copyrighted works:

“Secondary Epic” from Collected Poems by W. H. Auden. Copyright © 1960 by W. H. Auden. Used by permission of Random House,
Inc.


The Georgics by Virgil, translated with an introduction and notes by L. P. Wilkinson (Penguin Classics, 1982). Copyright © L. P.
Wilkinson, 1982. Used by permission of Penguin Books Ltd. Illustrations by David Cain. Copyright © David Cain, 2006.


eISBN: 9781101371619

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For Lynne

tendimus in Latium

INTRODUCTION

ROME

When Publius Vergilius Maro—Virgil in common usage—was born in 70 B.C., the Roman Republic
was in its last days. In 71 it had just finished suppressing the three-year-long revolt of the slaves in
Italy, who, organized by Spartacus, a gladiator, had defeated four Roman armies but were finally
crushed by Marcus Crassus. Crassus celebrated his victory by crucifying six thousand captured slaves
along the Appian Way, the road that ran south from Rome to the Bay of Naples and from there on to
Brundisium. In 67 B.C. Gnaeus Pompeius (Pompey) was given an extraordinary, wide command to
clear the Mediterranean, which the Romans claimed was “our sea”—mare nostrum—of the pirates
who made commerce and travel dangerous. (The young Julius Caesar was captured by pirates and
held for ransom around 70 B.C.; he paid it but came back at once with an armed force and crucified
them all.) In 65 B.C. Catiline conspired against the Republic but was suppressed in 63 through the
action of the consul, Cicero. From 58 to 51 B.C. Julius Caesar added what are now Switzerland,
France, and Belgium to the Roman Empire, creating in the course of these campaigns a superb army
loyal to him rather than to the Republic, while in 53 B.C. Crassus invaded Parthia, a part of modern-
day Iraq, but was killed at Carrhae, where many of his soldiers were taken prisoner and the legions’
standards displayed as trophies of the Parthian victory. From 49 to 45 B.C. there was civil war as
Caesar crossed the Rubicon River into Italy with his victorious army, which defeated Pompey’s
forces in Greece at Pharsalus in 48 B.C. Pompey escaped by sea and took refuge on the shore of
Egypt, the only country on the Mediterranean not yet part of the Roman Empire, but he was killed by
the Alexandrians and his head taken to Alexandria to be given to Caesar when he arrived. Caesar
went on to defeat another republican army in Africa at Thapsus, and in the next year vanquished the
last republican army at Munda in Spain. Back in Rome he appointed himself dictator, a position that
had always been held for a short term in an emergency, for ten years.






















But on the Ides of March, 44 B.C., Caesar was assassinated in the Senate House by conspirators
led by Brutus and Cassius. However, Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony), Caesar’s right-hand man in
Gaul as in Rome, and young Octavian, great-nephew and adopted son of Caesar, soon drove the
republicans to Greece and defeated the republican army at Philippi. Brutus and Cassius subsequently
committed suicide. Antony took over the pacification of the eastern half of the Empire, making
Alexandria, where he became the lover of the Hellenistic queen Cleopatra, his base, while Octavian,
making Rome his headquarters, dealt with problems in Spain and the west.







Tension between Antony and Octavian grew steadily over time, in spite of attempts at
reconciliation, and in 31 B.C. Antony and Cleopatra’s fleet was defeated by Octavian and his
admiral, Agrippa, off the Greek promontory of Actium. Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide in
Alexandria rather than walk to execution in Rome in Octavian’s triumph, and Egypt became a Roman
province. Virgil died in 19 B.C. Octavian, who assumed the title of Augustus in 27 B.C., ruled what
was now the Roman Empire until his death in A.D. 14, when he was succeeded peacefully by
Tiberius.







In his comparatively short life Virgil became the supreme Roman poet; his work overshadowed
that of his successors, and his epic poem, the Aeneid, gave Homeric luster to the story of Rome’s
origins and its achievement—the creation of an empire that gave peace and the rule of law to all the



territory surrounding the Mediterranean, to what are now Switzerland, France, and Belgium, and later
to England. Yet when Virgil was born in the village of Andes, near Mantua (Mantova), he, like all the
other Italians living north of the Po River, was not a Roman citizen.



Full Roman citizenship had been gradually conceded over the centuries to individuals and
communities, but in the years 91 to 87 B.C. those communities still excluded fought a successful civil
war against Rome, which ended with the grant of full Roman citizenship to all Italians living south of
the Po River. The territory north of the river continued to be a provincia, ruled by a proconsul from
Rome, with an army. Full Roman citizenship was finally granted to the inhabitants of the area by
Julius Caesar in 49 B.C., when Virgil was already a young man.






Virgil was an Italian long before he became a Roman, and in the second book of the Georgics he
follows a passage celebrating the riches of the East with a hymn of praise for the even greater riches
of Italy:



But neither Media’s land most rich in forests,
The gorgeous Ganges or the gold-flecked Hermus
Could rival Italy . . . the land is full
Of teeming fruits and Bacchus’ Massic liquor.
Olives are everywhere and prosperous cattle . . .
And then the cities,
So many noble cities raised by our labors,
So many towns we’ve piled on precipices,
And rivers gliding under ancient walls . . .
Hail, mighty mother of fruits, Saturnian land
And mighty mother of men . . .
The same has bred a vigorous race of men,
Marsians, the Sabine stock, Ligurians
Inured to hardship, Volscians javelin-armed.














(2.136-69, trans. L. P. Wilkinson, et seq.)

And in the Aeneid, Virgil’s poem about the origins of Rome, though his hero, Aeneas, and the Trojan
invaders of Italy are to build the city from which Rome will eventually be founded, there is a constant
and vibrant undertone of sympathy for and identification with the Italians, which becomes a major
theme in the story of the Volscian warrior princess Camilla.




Biographical information about Virgil is scant and much of it unreliable, but we learn from
Suetonius’ “Life” of the poet, written probably in the early years of the second century A.D., that
Virgil “was tall . . . with a dark complexion and a rustic appearance” and that “he spoke very slowly
and almost like an uneducated man.” Yet when he read his own poems, his delivery of them “was
sweet and wonderfully effective” (pp. 467-73, trans. J. C. Rolfe, et seq.). And we learn from the
same author that when he read to Augustus and his sister Octavia the second, fourth, and sixth books
of the Aeneid, when he reached in the sixth book the lines about her son Marcellus, who had died
young, she fainted, and it was difficult to revive her. We know too that Virgil and his father somehow








escaped the fate of so many of the landowners in the area that Virgil refers to as Mantua—“but
Mantua / Stands far too close for comfort to poor Cremona” (Eclogues 9.28, trans. C. Day Lewis, et
seq.)—confiscation of the land to reward the veterans of the armies of Octavian and Mark Antony
after the defeat of Brutus and Cassius at Philippi in 42 B.C. We know this mainly by inference from
Virgil’s first poems, the Eclogues, published around 39 to 38 B.C.





THE ECLOGUES

Like most Roman poems, the Eclogues (a word that means something like “Selections”) have a Greek
model. In this case it is the poems of Theocritus, a resident of the Greek city of Syracuse in Sicily
who, writing in the Doric dialect of the western Greeks, invented a genre of poetry that used the
Homeric hexameter for very un-Homeric themes: the singing contests, love affairs, and rivalries of
shepherds and herdsmen who relieved the boredom of their lonely rural life by competing in song
accompanied by pipes and pursuing their love affairs and rivalries far from the city and the
farmlands, in the hills with their sheep, goats, and cattle. Their names, and the names of their lady
loves—Lycidas, Daphnis, Amaryllis—have become famous through the long tradition of pastoral
poetry that began with Theocritus, flourished in Virgil, and had a splendid rebirth in the Italian
Renaissance and in Elizabethan England; Spenser’s Shepheardes Calender was published in 1579,
and Milton’s Lycidas (written in 1637) is a masterpiece of the genre. It reached what might well be
considered its end in the parodic performance of Marie An toinette, queen of France, and her court
ladies playing the role, at the Petit Trianon palace, of simple milkmaids.













Not all of Theocritus’ poems feature shepherds; one of them, for example, is a delightful dramatic
sketch of two light-headed, gossipy housewives on their way to the festival of Adonis in Alexandria,
and another is a hymn of praise to Ptolemy II, the ruler of Alexandria and Egypt. Similarly, one of
Virgil’s ten Eclogues, the fourth, has nothing to do with shepherds; it prophesies the birth of a son
who will bring back the Golden Age on earth. Many Christians, from Lactantius on, later took this to
be a prophecy of the birth of Christ, but it seems clear that Virgil was referring to the expectation that
Octavian’s sister, married to Mark Antony and pregnant by him, would bear a son, and that this would
heal the growing breach between the two leaders. But the child turned out to be a daughter, and in any
case, Cleopatra’s hold on Antony was permanent.









But Virgil differs from his model in one significant particular: he makes two of the Eclogues that
are dialogues of shepherds, the first and ninth, reflect the sorrows and passions of the real world of
41 B.C.—the confiscation of land in the area north of the river Po, to reward the veterans of the
armies of Octavian and Antony. The first Eclogue features Tityrus, who, as a result of a visit to
Rome, has been granted, by a “young man”1 whom he will always worship as a god, a favorable
response to his plea: “‘Pasture your cattle, breed from your bulls, as you did of old’” (1.45). But the
speaker, Meliboeus, must go on his sad way,







“To Scythia, bone-dry Africa, the chalky spate of the Oxus,
Even to Britain—that place cut off at the very world’s end . . .
To think of some godless soldier owning my well-farmed fallow,
A foreigner reaping these crops!”




(1.64-71)

And in the ninth Eclogue, Moeris laments his eviction from his land, the day

“. . . that I should have lived to see an outsider

Take over my little farm—a thing I had never feared—
And tell me, ‘You’re dispossessed, you old tenants,
you’ve got to go.’ ”



(9.2-4)

It seems clear from all this that somehow Virgil, or rather Virgil’s father, escaped the fate of

Meliboeus and Moeris. Either his farm was exempt from confiscation or he was given another in
exchange. The “young man” can only have been Octavian, and somehow Asinius Pollio, who is
mentioned in Eclogue 4, and who was a patron of poets and the arts, sensing the young Virgil’s talent,
brought him to Octavian’s notice and secured his future education in the capital of the province,
Mediolanum (Milan), at Rome, and later at Naples and at nearby Herculaneum, where his name
appears on a burned papyrus as a student of Epicurean philosophy. At some point he was brought to
the attention of Maecenas, who was Octavian’s friend and another benefactor of poets. We have from
Virgil’s friend and fellow poet Horace an account of their meeting on the way to Brundisium
(Brindisi) with Maecenas on his mission to Greece to negotiate with Antony in 37 B.C. In his fifth
Satire of the first book, written in hexameter verse, Horace describes the journey from Rome with
Maecenas; at Sinuessa they meet with another group, of which Virgil is part. O qui complexus et
gaudia, “Oh what embraces and joy!” And later at Capua they stay for the night at an inn. Lusum it
Maecenas, writes Horace, “Maecenas goes off to exercise,” dormitum ego Vergiliusque, “and Virgil
and I to bed” (1.5.43, 48, trans. Knox).














Virgil’s Eclogues were an immediate success and soon gained all the trappings of general
approval—some of the dialogues of shepherds were performed in theaters, quotations and parodies
abounded. But what made them a landmark in the history of Latin poetry were the music and elegance
of the hexameter verse, the exquisite control of the rhythmic patterns.




The Latin hexameter, modeled on Homer’s, had been used by Latin poets ever since Quintus Ennius
(239-169 B.C.) had adapted it to celebrate in his Annales the history of Rome from the founding by
Aeneas down to his own day. Virgil knew and often used phrases of this poet; he also knew the great
hexameter poem of his older contemporary, Lucretius, whose De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of
Things) celebrated the Epicurean philosophy of which Virgil was a devotee: Virgil’s lines often
show the influence of Lucretius’ poem. But only Virgil’s own poetic genius can explain the lightness,
the dexterity, the rhythmic music of the Eclogues, and this is even truer of his next, and most perfect,
poem, the Georgics.








THE GEORGICS

This poem, of more than two thousand lines in four books, was first read to Octavian soon after the
suicides of Antony and Cleopatra in 30 B.C., which made him sole ruler of the Roman world, at
Atella near Naples by Maecenas and Virgil in 29 B.C. It is, like the Eclogues, modeled on a Greek
poem, Hesiod’s Works and Days, but whereas Hesiod writes of farming from firsthand experience,
Virgil has to draw on a prose work written on the subject, the De Re Rustica of Varro, which had
been published in 37-36 B.C. Of Virgil’s four books the first is on field crops, the second on trees,
the third on herds, and the fourth on bees. The only source of sweetness available to the ancient
Western world was honey—hence the importance of bee-keeping. Virgil’s poem, with its devotion to
the land, the crops, and the herds, fits admirably into the old Roman ideal: the Roman farmer is
equally adapted to work on the land and to do the work of a soldier in the legion in time of war. The
model was the legendary figure Cincinnatus, who in 458 B.C. was called from his farm and given
dictatorial power; he rescued the state by defeating the Aequi and, after holding supreme power for
sixteen days, resigned it and returned to his plow. But the Georgics is no more a real manual for the
soldier turned farmer than the Augustan ideal of the Roman soldier-farmer was realistic; as a manual
for farmers the Georgics has huge omissions and as a practical handbook would be as useless as
Augustus’s program of re-creating the Roman farmer-soldier was impractical. Most of Italy was
cultivated by slave labor on land owned by absentee landlords who lived in Rome. The Georgics is a
work of art—as Dryden declared, “the best Poem by the best Poet”—on which Virgil worked for
seven years; he compared his work on it to that of a mother bear licking her cubs into shape.



















In the opening lines of the poem, addressed to Maecenas, he announces the subject of the four
books:


What makes the corncrops glad, under which star
To turn the soil, Maecenas, and wed your vines
To elms, the care of cattle, keeping of flocks,
All the experience thrifty bees demand—
Such are the themes of my song.





(1.1-5, trans. Wilkinson)

With an invocation of the country gods, Virgil proceeds to describe the farmer’s life of hard work as
in his model, Hesiod. Later he writes about the weather signs that the farmer must recognize as
prophecies of what is to come, sometimes evil, as he ends the book with memories of the recent civil
wars, of Roman blood shed on the fields of Greece, and with a finale that is a prayer and a dark
vision of the future:





Gods of our fathers, Heroes of our land . . .
Do not prevent at least this youthful prince
From saving a world in ruins . . .
For right and wrong change places; everywhere
So many wars, so many shapes of crime





Confront us; no due honor attends the plow.
The fields, bereft of tillers, are all unkempt . . .
. . . throughout the world
Impious War is raging.




(1.498-511)

Book 2 is concerned with trees and vines, principally with the olive and the wine grape. There is

much good advice here for the farmer, but the book is notable not only for the hymn of praise for Italy
already quoted, but also for its praise of the happy life of the farmer as compared to that of the city
dweller:



How lucky, if they know their happiness,
Are farmers, more than lucky, they for whom,
Far from the clash of arms, the earth herself,
Most fair in dealing, freely lavishes
An easy livelihood . . .
. . . Peace they have and a life of innocence
Rich in variety; they have for leisure
Their ample acres, caverns, living lakes,
. . . cattle low, and sleep is soft
Under a tree . . .










(2.458-70)

Book 3 is concerned with the breeding and raising of farm animals: horses and cattle in the first

part and sheep and goats in the later section. After an exordium in which Virgil promises to celebrate
the victories of Octavian, a promise fulfilled in the Aeneid, he proceeds to his subject. His discussion
of farm animals contains the famous lines that apply equally to the human animal:



Life’s earliest years for wretched mortal creatures
Are best, and fly most quickly: soon come on
Diseases, suffering and gloomy age,
Till Death’s unpitying harshness carries them off.




(3.66-68)

Virgil ends this book, as he did Book 1, on a sad note: an account of a plague that struck cattle in the
northern region of the Alps, in which he draws much from Lucretius’ portrayal of the plague that
struck humans in the Athens of Pericles, described in exact detail by Thucydides.



In his introduction to Book 4, about bee-keeping, Virgil assures Maecenas that he will describe

. . . a world in miniature,
Gallant commanders and the institutions


Of a whole nation, its character, pursuits,
Communities and warfare.


(4.3-5)

And this theme, of the hive as a community, in harmony or dissension, is a constant in the book.

A great deal of misinformation about bees is conveyed to the reader. Bees were not properly
observed in the hive until the invention of the glass observation hive, and until the seventeenth century
it was believed that the leader of the hive was the king, not the queen. But what has made Book 4
famous is the end—the long tale of Aristaeus and his bees and of Orpheus and Eurydice.




Virgil first describes the process of bougonia (the Greek word means something like “birth from a
steer”), for re-creating the hive of bees in case the original bees die. A two-year-old steer is brought
to a specially constructed hut that has windows facing in all four directions. The animal is then beaten
to death and the remains left in place through the spring. Suddenly, in the rotting flesh a whole cluster
of bees is born. This is not true, but it was widely believed in the ancient world (except by Aristotle)
and appears also in the riddle Samson asked the Philistines to answer: “out of the strong came forth
sweetness” (Judges 14:14).







Virgil’s account of the origin of this method is told through the story of the farmer Aristaeus, whose
hive of bees has died. He goes to his mother, the nymph Cyrene, and she tells him to find out what has
gone wrong from Proteus, the Old Man of the Sea, who “knows / All that has been, is now, and lies in
store” (4.392-93). Aristaeus must seize Proteus as he comes out of the water with his seals and hold
him tightly as he changes shape, “for suddenly / He’ll be a bristly boar or a savage tiger / or a scaly
serpent or a lioness” (4.407-8). But he must be held fast until he gives up and resumes his own shape,
and then he will answer questions. (This scene is adapted from Menelaus’ similar interrogation of
Proteus in the Odyssey 4.428-641.)2 Aristaeus follows directions faithfully, and finally Proteus, back
in his own shape, tells Aristaeus what is wrong. “Piteous Orpheus / It is that seeks to invoke this
penalty / Against you” (4.454-55). It is revenge for the death of his wife, the nymph Eurydice, who,
fleeing Aristaeus’ advances, ran along the banks of a river where she was killed by a serpent. After
mourning for her, Orpheus decided to seek her in the land of the dead.












And entering the gloomy grove of terror
Approached the shades and their tremendous king . . .
[Orpheus’] music shook them . . .



(4.468-71)

And Virgil goes on to describe the dark kingdom and its denizens in lines that foreshadow his more
detailed description of the Underworld later, in Book 6 of the Aeneid. Orpheus’ music wins him his
Eurydice.



She is allowed to follow him back to the land of the living, but on condition that he does not look
back at her until they reach the light of the upper world. But Orpheus,


. . . on the very brink of light, alas,
Forgetful, yielding in his will, looked back
At his own Eurydice. . . .



(4.490-91)

And as she reproached him bitterly, she

. . . suddenly
Out of his sight, like smoke into thin air,
Vanished away . . .
For seven whole months on end, they say, he wept . . .
Alone in the wild . . .
And sang his tale of woe . . .






(4.499-510)

And finally, wandering in Thrace in the north, he was torn to pieces by Bacchantes in their Dionysiac
frenzy, his limbs were scattered far and wide, and his head was thrown into the Hebrus River. And
there,



His head, now severed from his marble neck,
“Eurydice!” the voice and frozen tongue
Still called aloud, “Ah, poor Eurydice!”



(4.523-26)

So Proteus departed and Aristaeus, instructed by his mother Cyrene, made sacrifices to the shade of
Orpheus and to the nymphs, the sisters of Eurydice, and then left for his bougonia for the regeneration
of his bees. And the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, in Virgil’s musical verse, has inspired poetry and
song ever since.




In the final lines of the Georgics, published probably in 29 B.C., two years after the battle of
Actium, which made Octavian master of the Roman world, Virgil tells us that he finished the poem at
Naples (to which he gives its Greek name, Parthenope), while Octavian, soon to be given the title
Augustus, was making a triumphant progress through the East.




This song of the husbandry of crops and beasts
And fruit-trees I was singing while great Caesar
Was thundering beside the deep Euphrates
In war, victoriously for grateful peoples
Appointing laws and setting his course for Heaven.
I, Virgil, at that time lay in the lap
Of sweet Parthenope, enjoying there
The studies of inglorious ease, who once








Dallied in pastoral verse and with youth’s boldness
Sang of you, Tityrus, lazing under a beech-tree.


(4.559-66)

That last line is a quotation, slightly adapted, of the opening line of his first book, the Eclogues.

THE AENEID

Near the opening of the third book of the Georgics Virgil speaks of what will be his next work:

Yet soon I will gird myself to celebrate
The fiery fights of Caesar, make his name
Live in the future . . .



(3.46-47)

This promise would be kept by the writing of his last and most grandly ambitious poem, the Aeneid,
which he never finished to his full satisfaction. After reading Books 2, 4, and 6 to Augustus and
Octavia and completing his work on Book 12, he decided to visit Greece in 19 B.C. and spend three
years on correction and revision. But he met Augustus in Athens on Augustus’ return from the East and
was persuaded to return to Italy with him. However, passing from Athens to Corinth, at Megara Virgil
contracted a fever, which grew worse during the voyage to Brundisium, where he died on September
21. He was buried near Naples, and on his tomb were inscribed verses that he is said to have
composed himself:








Mantua me genuit, Calabri rapuere, tenet nunc
Parthenope. Cecini pascua, rura, duces.


Mantova gave me life, the Calabrians took it away, Naples
holds me now; I sang of pastures, farms, and commanders.


(trans. Knox)

There is a report that he had ordered his literary executors, Varius and Tucca, to destroy the
unfinished manuscript; if so, these orders were immediately canceled by Augustus. Imperfections
remain: some incomplete hexameters, which Virgil would certainly have tidied up, and several minor
contradictions, which he would certainly have dealt with. One passage (2.702-28), which is not in the
oldest manuscripts, was removed, according to the much later commentator Servius, by Varius and
Tucca. (In the most recent editions of Virgil’s text, for example that of Fairclough, revised in 1999-
2000 by George P. Goold, the passage is marked as spurious. Other recent commentators, however,
notably R. G. Austin and R. D. Williams, consider it genuine.) The passage pictures Helen as seeking
sanctuary at the shrine of Vesta, fearing the vengeance of the Trojans for the ruin she has brought on
them, and Aeneas’ angry decision to kill her. This passage contradicts a long and intricate story of
Helen triumphantly welcoming the …











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