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Virgil: Aeneid: Book 10

1. Let the Gods Decide

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About this Lecture


In this module, we focus on the beginning of Book 10, a council of the gods where—despite the sublime poetry—precisely nothing is decided. Why does Virgil do this? And what are the implications for the remainder of the Aeneid?


In this course, Professor Llewelyn Morgan (University of Oxford) explores Book 10 of Virgil's Aeneid. In the first module, we consider the council of gods that opens the books, a supremely impressive occasion, no doubt, but one in which precisely nothing is decided. After that, we turn to the presentation of Aeneas himself in Book 10—a highly ambiguous presentation that sees him engage in human sacrifice and be compared to the monster Aegaeon, but is he simply fulfilling his duty to Pallas? In the third module, we consider the presentation of some of the lesser figures of the poem—Pallas, Mezentius, Lausus and Turnus—before moving on in the fourth module to think about Italy and the status of Hercules. In the final module, we turn from exploring broader themes and ideas to doing a bit of close reading—in this case, lines 390-6, a description of two twins who are killed by Pallas.


Llewelyn Morgan is a Classicist, a Fellow of Brasenose College, Oxford. The focus of most of his research is Roman literature and culture, and he is the author of the well-received study of Roman poetic form, Musa Pedestris: Metre and Meaning in Roman Verse (Oxford, 2010).

But he also has a longstanding fascination for Afghanistan, contemporary and historical, which he traces to his discovery, at an impressionable age, of a Russian samovar inscribed “Candahar 1881”. He has made several visits to Afghanistan in recent years, and his most recent book, The Buddhas of Bamiyan (Profile Books and Harvard University Press, 2012), traces the history of these remarkable monuments from their Buddhist origins 1,400 years ago, through their celebrity in Islamic wonder literature and European travel writing, up until their destruction in 2001.

Morgan is a regular public speaker, on many aspects of Classics and Afghanistan, appears occasionally on BBC Radio 4, and writes slightly less occasionally for the Times Literary Supplement.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Morgan, L. (2018, August 15). Virgil: Aeneid: Book 10 - Let the Gods Decide [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Morgan, L. "Virgil: Aeneid: Book 10 – Let the Gods Decide." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,