Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Virgil – PART 2

During Virgil’s stay in Naples, he wrote the Georgics, a work of surpassing beauty. Composed at the suggestion of Maecenas, its purpose was to aid and support Augustus in the promotion of a back-to the country movement. The four books deal respectively with agriculture, horticulture, rearing of farm animals, and beekeeping. In the fourth book, the poet tells us that if “he were not near the end of his task and the furling of his sails, he would sing of gardens.”

The last 11 years of Virgil’s life were devoted to the Aeneid, an epic in 12 books illustrating the fall of Troy, the wanderings of Aeneas and ideals of classical beauty. In a Trojan settlement in Latium, Virgil casts himself in the role of imperial propagandist. Venus is the mother of Aeneas, and Idlus, his son, is the progenitor of the Junlian line, which has now given to the world the great Augustus, its final and perfect flower. Meanwhile, Rome’s divine mission as ruler of the races of men is proclaimed with evangelical fervor and passion.

Many readers consider Book VI the most beautiful and impressive of the 12. Here we read of the descent of the hero into Hades, where he finds the shade of his father Anchises in the Elysian Fields and receives encouragement and counsel for the tempestuous days that lie ahead.

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