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Barron's Booknotes-The Aeneid by Virgil-Free Book Summary
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(VIII. 728-31)

NOTE:

Here is another example of how Virgil blends the past and present by having Aeneas see the future. Why do you think the Battle of Actium and Augustus' triumph are the most important scenes on the shield? Virgil is suggesting how much Aeneas and Augustus are alike. After all, what's happening in Latium is very much like a civil war-people who could have been living together in peace are fighting each other. If Aeneas can win the war and bring peace and order, it will be just like Augustus' victory at Actium.


In the Iliad, Homer described a shield that the gods made for Achilles. Virgil's scene deliberately imitates that description-with some important differences. Achilles' shield showed scenes from everyday life; Aeneas' shows the great events of Rome's military history. This illustrates one of the big differences between the two epics. The Iliad is mostly about great individuals and their accomplishments. The Aeneid, on the other hand, deals with the successes of a nation. It is a patriotic poem.

This is only one of the many ways in which the second half of the Aeneid (Books VI-XII) can be compared with the Iliad. The Iliad was about the Trojan War. Virgil imitated many of its scenes in describing the battle for Latium in the Aeneid. For example, you have already seen how Aeneas can be compared with Paris. As you read, see how many other parallels you can find with the Trojan War.


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Barron's Booknotes-The Aeneid by Virgil-Free Book Summary
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