Sunday, February 19, 2017

TFBT: Random Notes on Aeneid Chapters Three and Four

I had forgotten how much I enjoy the Aeneid.  With my focus on Greek mythology, the Aeneid offers fresh new traditions in an unknown world with a Hellenized perspective.  It is the joy and pleasure of discovery I first felt when my fourth grade teacher introduced us to mythology.  Also, it is very well written, to quote Robert Service, “T’s right.  T’s human true. “   Virgil’s description of the eruption of Aetna is impressive! And every chapter seems to start with a bang. (The inclusion of steel tipped javelins during the Bronze Age is a little jarring, but maybe only to me.  I have read translations by Williams and Fitzgerald so far. Fitz was much easier to understand.
First question; at line 3.3 why is Troy Neptune’s town? Last I saw him in the
Aeneas to Helenus "Then to the prophet-priest I made this prayer:". We had just discussed the separation of priests and prophets in Hebrew tradition with Keith Stone. I noted a similar separation in Greek between seer and priest(ess) . The latter often a member of the royal family.  Does this foreshadow Roman tradition?  FitzGerald’s translation seems to fit better 3.357. ” Trojan interpreter of the god's will.”  Seems like better description of Helenus 
“Than this no more the Sister Fates to Helenus unveil, and Juno, Saturn's daughter, grants no more."  Hera as conservative faction?  Like in the Iliad making clear the separation of men and gods. 
Helenus instructions to Aeneas sure feels like Circe's to Odysseus
Just a little something beautiful; \
"of those who are thy kin—O thou that art
of my Astyanax in all this world
the only image! His thy lovely eyes!
Thy hands, thy lips, are even what he bore,
and like thy own his youthful bloom would be.”  
4.441. And just as when the north winds from the Alps this way and that contend among themselves to tear away an oak tree hale with age the wind and the tree cry and the buffeted trunk showers high foliage to earth, but holds on bedrock for the roots go down as far into the Underworld as cresting boughs. 
Prophecy about Rome;
  • "that he of Teucer's seed a race should sire, and bring beneath its law the whole wide world."  Wow!  There's a prophecy!
  • 3.498. We shall make a single troy in spirit may this task await our heirs.  Aeneas to Helenus about Rome and Epirus
3.97. For offerings, veil your head in red robe.” It was purple in Williams 

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