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5. What is distinctive about Roman epic?
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about the origins of Roman epic and Virgil’s engagement with the epic tradition, focusing in particular on: (i) Ennius and his Annales, and the ways in which Ennius combines a sense of a indebtedness to Homer with a sense of doing something new and distinctly Roman; (ii) the ways in which Annales resembles Homer, but also its two major points of departure from Homer; (iii) the extent to which we should think of Ennius as a ‘national’ poet, writing for the glory of the Roman people as a whole; (iv) the complex resonances between three similar scenes in Homer, Ennius, and Virgil – men gathering wood to construct a funeral pyre – and what this can tell us about Virgil’s engagement with the epic tradition.
In this course, Dr Sharon Marshall explores Virgil’s Aeneid through five key questions. In the first module, we think about whether the Aeneid should be read as a pro- or anti-Augustan poem. After that, we explore the nature of the relationship between Dido and Aeneas. In the third module, we ask how we (and Aeneas himself?) should interpret the images on the Shield of Aeneas. In the fourth, we think about the figure of Aeneas himself and his attitude towards Rome’s imperial destiny. And finally, in the fifth, we think about the distinctiveness of Roman epic as a whole and the ways in which Virgil engages with the epic tradition as represented not just by Homer, but also by Ennius.
Dr Sharon Marshall is Senior Lecturer in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Exeter, specialising in Roman epic, love elegy and the Roman novel.
Cite this Lecture
Marshall, S. (2020, January 15). Virgil: Aeneid - What is distinctive about Roman epic? [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/virgil-aeneid-sharon-marshall/what-is-distinctive-about-roman-epic
Marshall, S. "Virgil: Aeneid – What is distinctive about Roman epic?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Jan 2020, https://www.massolit.io/courses/virgil-aeneid-sharon-marshall/what-is-distinctive-about-roman-epic