The Aeneid is a masterpiece of epic poetry and the Latin language poem is more than early imperial propaganda. It proclaims the divine mission of Aeneas to found Rome and the divine injunction of the Romans to unite the world under a noble emperor such as Augustus.
Princeton scholar Fagles follows up his celebrated Iliad and Odyssey with a new, fast-moving, readable rendition of the national epic of ancient Rome. Virgil's long-renowned narrative follows the Trojan warrior Aeneas as he carries his family from his besieged, fallen home, stops in Carthage for a doomed love affair, visits the underworld and founds in Italy, through difficult combat, the settlements that will become, first the Roman republic, and then the empire Virgil knew. Recent translators (such as Allen Mandelbaum) put Virgil's meters into English blank verse. Fagles chooses to forgo meter entirely, which lets him stay literal when he wishes, and grow eloquent when he wants: "Aeneas flies ahead, spurring his dark ranks on and storming/ over the open fields like a cloudburst wiping out the sun." A substantial preface from the eminent classicist Bernard Knox discusses Virgil's place in history, while Fagles himself appends a postscript and notes. Scholars still debate whether Virgil supported or critiqued the empire's expansion; Aeneas' story might prompt new reflection now, when Americans are already thinking about international conflict and the unexpected costs of war.
Worth a read.
Pretty good read. Long, but as long as you speak the words instead of just read them, it helps making understanding them easier.
A poor translation
The Aeneid itself is a very beautiful work of epic poetry that will certainly be entertaining for almost anyone who happens to read it. This particular translation, however, is far from appropriate. The meanings of lines become confused as the translator made every line rhyme, no matter how ridiculous the phrasing or obscure the vocabulary. The meaning of the entire book becomes easily lost, and even enthralling passages have the life sucked out of them. Reading this particular edition is a chore, and I'd strongly recommend finding a different translation of this fantastic book.
My Review of Virgil’s The Aeneid
In my opinion, I find that the plot of this epic was somewhat difficult to follow through, as it seemed to jump from one sequence to another without really giving each event any substance for the reader to comprehend, and I’ve often noticed that this is generally true among epics (as well as other written works)that were composed during antiquity.
Moreover, Virgil’s use of syntax as well as his choice of diction is extremely difficult to comprehend, even though I’m cognizant of the fact that he wrote this epic two millennia ago.
Nevertheless, as an Italian-American, it’s nice to get in touch with my cultural heritage, especially as it dates all the way back to antiquity.