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Virgil: Aeneid: Book 6

4. Virgil's Underworld

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about the construction and presentation of Virgil’s epic underworld. Does Virgil’s underworld demonstrate a consistent philosophical vision? Did the Romans really believe that this is what life after death looked like? How does his presentation differ from previous versions of the underworld—notably that in Book 11 of the Odyssey?


In this course, Professor Philip Hardie (University of Cambridge) explores the sixth book of Virgil’s Aeneid. Beginning with a discussion of the place of Book 6 in the poem as a whole, we then go through the whole of Book 6 in order, focusing on the description of the sculptures on the doors to the Temple of Apollo, the figure of the Sibyl, the layout of the underworld, the ghosts from Aeneas’ past, and the parade of Roman heroes with which the book ends.


Professor Philip Hardie is a Senior Research Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge, and Honorary Professor of Latin at the University of Cambridge. Between 2002 and 2006, he was the Corpus Christi Professor of Latin at the University of Oxford, while in 2010, he was Visiting Professor at the Department of Classics at Stanford University.

Hardie's research focuses on Latin poetry of the Republican and Imperial periods, with a particular focus in Virgil.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Hardie, P. (2018, August 15). Virgil: Aeneid: Book 6 - Virgil's Underworld [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Hardie, P. "Virgil: Aeneid: Book 6 – Virgil's Underworld." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,