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Virgil The Art Of Imitating Homer

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Oprah, Uma. Uma, Oprah. 1 Homer, Virgil. Virgil, Homer. The Aeneid, the greatest Latin

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heroic poem of the conflicts and rovings of the Trojan hero, Aeneas, and his initiation of the opinion line

for the Roman Empire was written by the great Latin poet Virgil. Or so it seems. When one is

reading the Aeneid and has besides read both Homeric heroic poems, one can about immediately see many

analogues between Homer and Virgil. Not merely are at that place analogues in the existent manner of authorship,

but the most outstanding analogues come in the facets of construction, events, and word picture.

The Aeneid is, in actuality, & # 8230 ; a structural and thematic reworking of both heroic poems of Homer. 2

The Aeneid is clearly modeled in the beginning after the Odyssey while in the terminal it is modeled

after the Iliad. The occurrences and actions of Aeneas are really similar to both those of Odysseus

and subsequently of Achilles. Many of the characters themselves are besides modeled after Homer s

characters. There are besides many small inside informations here and at that place which show that Virgil surely

modeled his heroic poem after Homer, non to plagiarise, but for the manner and the usage of a theoretical account for

human penetration and feeling. When reading the Aeneid, one can clearly see and hear the Homeric

reverberations present in the heroic poem.

The Aeneid is clearly divided into two parts, The Odyssean Aeneid 3 and, The

Iliadic Aeneid. 4 The first six books are based on the Odyssey while the last six books are

based on the Iliad. To clearly see that Virgil was so establishing his working on Homer, allow us

analyze the Homeric reverberations that are present in the first half, or the Odyssean Aeneid. The first

analogue that presents itself is the immediate state of affairs of Aeneas and his ships. Merely as Odysseus

and his crew were lost after the terminal of the Trojan War, so excessively are Aeneas and his crew. Just like

Odysseus was battered by a storm and about killed after go forthing Calypso s island5, so excessively are

Aeneas ships being battered by a storm set on by Juno. The general state of affairs is the clear

analogue, nevertheless. Not merely the storm, but the fact that Aeneas and his ships are rolling lost

for many old ages and at the clemency of a vindictive God, and the fact that they will finally set down on

a friendly shore merely like Odysseus landed on the Phaeacian shore6, is about an exact reproduction of

Odysseus state of affairs in the Odyssey. When Aeneas arrives on Punic dirt, he, merely like

Odysseus did when he arrived in Phaeacia7, tells the narrative of how he arrived and under what

circumstances8 both told in bestiring flashbacks. Another similarity to the Odyssey are the

competitions and games. While in the land of the Phaeacians, Odysseus participates in the competitions

there9, while Aeneas holds similar competitions to honour the decease of his male parent Anchises10. Just as

Aeneas leaves the land of the Carthaginians, Dido places a expletive on him similar to the 1

Polyphemus topographic points on Odysseus when she says, & # 8230 ; I hope and pray that on some grinding reef/

Midway at sea you ll imbibe your punishment/ And call and call on Dido s name! 11 This leads to

possibly the most obvious analogue between the Odyssey and the Aeneid, the visits to the

underworlds12. Just like in the Odyssey where Odysseus receives advice on how he should

proceed to acquire himself place, here excessively does Aeneas have advice on how he should acquire to Italy

and how he will hold to contend a bloody war with the dwellers there upon his reaching. Merely as

Odysseus meets the psyche of people he knew, so excessively does Aeneas as he meets Dido, Palinurus,

and his male parent Anchises. The fact that he does go forth Carthage raises a really elusive reverberation between

Homer and Virgil, the rejection of felicity or immediate luxury in exchange for the battle

for something much better. In the Odyssey, Odysseus rejects felicity and luxury with

Nausicaa, Circe, and Calypso to fight and possibly even die to return place to his ain married woman.

So excessively does Aeneas reject felicity and luxury with Dido, even though he is genuinely in love with

her, to fight and pay war on a foreign land to establish an imperium for his hereafter posterities.

Besides the Homeric reverberations to the Odyssey, the last half of the Aeneid is an reverberation of

Homer & # 8217 ; s Iliad. It is so after Book VI that Virgil turned, & # 8220 ; & # 8230 ; to the Iliad and modeled his last

six books on Homer & # 8217 ; s tragic verse form of war. & # 8221 ; 13 The first obvious analogue here is the presence of a

major war. In the Iliad the war is between the Greeks and the Trojans, while in the Aeneid, the

conflict is between the Trojans and the Latins led by Turnus. Both conflicts are evocative of each

other as being fought by big enemies and being particularly violent and ghastly. There is even

a besieging that occurs similar to the Greeks ramping the metropolis fortress of sacred Ilion when the Latins

attempt to ramp the Trojan bulwarks. One obvious similarity is the naming of a armistice and the choosing

of the two title-holders to make up one’s mind the war14. In the Iliad it is Paris and Menelaus who are to contend

and make up one’s mind the war while in the Aeneid it is Aeneas and Turnus. Both armistices finally end with

a deity doing person to interrupt the armistice and injure one of the title-holders as an pointer


Menelaus and a spear lesions Aeneas. Another similarity is the decease of the closest

friend of the strongest hero. In the Iliad it is Patroclus & # 8217 ; decease that eventually motivates Achilles to

enter the war while in the Aeneid it is Pallas & # 8217 ; decease that causes Aeneas, even though he is already

contending in the war, to increase his energy and enthusiasm for the battle. Aeneas, like Achilles,

heartaches to a great extent over the decease of his close friend. One really interesting analogue between the Iliad

and the Aeneid is the crafting of the shield for the hero15. Both shields represent assorted aspects

of the societies from which each warrior comes. Both are besides crafted by the God of the forge:

Vulcan, Hephaestus in the Greek. Another major reverberation from Homer in the Aeneid is the conflict

between Aeneas and Turnus. This conflict is about a reproduction of the heroic poem battle between

Achilles and Hector. Between Achilles and Hector, Achilles had to trail him around the metropolis

three times before Hector was eventually stopped by Athena to make conflict while in the Aeneid Turnus,

& # 8220 ; & # 8230 ; Swifter than air current he fled, & # 8221 ; 16 is reminiscent of how Hector fled Achilles and he besides, & # 8220 ; & # 8230 ; ran,

weaving circles at a loss/ This manner and that & # 8230 ; & # 8221 ; 17 merely like Hector. Aeneas excessively is merely similar Achilles

who could non catch up with Hector as Aeneas, & # 8220 ; & # 8230 ; pressed on heatedly, fiting pace for pace, /

Behind his shaken foe. & # 8221 ; 18 The manner Turnus dies is even evocative of how Achilles kills Hector

by allowing him speak before he really delivers the decease blow while at his clemency.

Homer is besides echoed in Virgil by the characters themselves. A close reading of the

characters and the manner they act reveals that they are in fact modeled on Homer & # 8217 ; s characters. The

foremost character that is modeled on Homer is Aeneas. Aeneas is a combination of both Odysseus

and Achilles. He is Odysseus in the manner that he is seeking to predominate against the wrath of a God

and canvas to a finish while being presented with battles along the manner such as storms, the

Charybdis, and Polyphemus, all like Odysseus had to face. Aeneas even has to travel into the

underworld like Odysseus did to have advice and hear prognostication about his immediate hereafter.

He is like Achilles in that he is the best warrior that the Trojans have and besides like Achilles he is

the boy of a goddess. He besides loses a close friend like Achilles does and is the 1 who slays the

other ground forces & # 8217 ; s title-holder after a pursuit and battle. The character of Turnus is based on Hector from

the Iliad. Just like Hector, he is supporting his land against encroachers and what he sees as a menace

to his full manner of life. Just like Hector who dies in the battle for his metropolis, so excessively does Turnus.

They both die really similar deceases at the custodies of the warrior heroes. Pallas is based on the

character of Patroclus. Just like Patroclus to Achilles, so excessively was Pallas a good friend to the

hero, in this instance Aeneas. Unfortunately, besides like Patroclus, he is killed in the heat of conflict by

the enemy s title-holder, Pallas in his hastiness to fall in war at a immature age, while Patroclus hastiness was

traveling excessively far up in the ranks of the Greeks to contend the Trojans. Even Aeneas boy Ascanius or

Iulus is based upon the Telemachus that Homer based his Telemachus on, the immature male child unable

as yet to travel to war, but idolising and idolizing his male parent as the ideal warrior. The Gods are

besides based on each other. While in the Odyssey it is Poseidon who causes all the problem for

Odysseus, in the Aeneid, it is Juno who causes much the same problem for Aeneas every bit good.

Clearly Virgil is copying Homer s wrath subject from the Iliad and the Odyssey. There is besides a

analogue between Dido and the adult females in Homer. Both adult females in Homer, Helen and Penelope,

are strong minded and loyal, so excessively is Dido. Besides, the warrior princess in Book XI could besides be

testimonial to the strong adult females of Homer. Even the Trojans themselves have reversed function with the

Greeks of the Iliad as they are now seen as the encroachers.

In the Aeneid, Virgil has many analogues to Homer. These reverberations range from characters

to plot to the construction itself. Virgil uses the manner and devices of Homer as a tool for non merely

stating a arousal heroic poem about the initiation of Rome, but besides as a tool for examining into the human

psyche and conveying the human status to the reader. Some of these reverberations include the

rovings of Aeneas, the monolithic conflict between the Trojans and the Latins, and some of the

characters such as Aeneas being both Achilles and Odysseus. The Aeneid, was written as a

Roman narrative about the initiation of Rome and its opinion line, and therefore one would non surmise that

there would be any analogues to a Grecian heroic poem of fiction, but so in the Aeneid, there are many

analogues or reverberations to Homer.


Bloom, Harold. Homer s Iliad. Pennsylvania: Chelsea House Publishers, 1996.

. Homer s Odyssey. Pennsylvania: Chelsea House Publishers, 1996.

. Virgil s Aeneid. Pennsylvania: Chelsea House Publishers, 1996.

Gransden, K.W. Virgil, The Aeneid. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

Virgil. The Aeneid. trans. Robert Fitzgerald. New York: Vintage Classicss, 1990.


Cite this Virgil The Art Of Imitating Homer

Virgil The Art Of Imitating Homer. (2017, Jul 22). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/virgil-the-art-of-imitating-homer-essay/

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