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Virgil: Aeneid

3. Aeneas and Heroism

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about the kind of hero that Aeneas is. Is he a red-blooded Homeric hero in the mould of Achilles or Odysseus, or is he a new kind of hero? In particular, we think about some of Aeneas’ more controversial actions in the poem – his human sacrifice at the beginning of Book 11, and his killing of Turnus at the end of Book 12.


In this course, we explore several aspects of Virgil’s Aeneid – looking in particular at the following issues: first, Dido and Aeneas, and who we should blame for what happens; second, Augustus, and his influence on the Aeneid; third, Aeneas, and what kind of hero he is; fourth, the importance of cities in the epic; fifth, what we should make of Aeneas’ trip to the Underworld; and sixth, the presentation of the native Italians in the second half of the poem.


Richard Jenkyns was an undergraduate at Balliol College, Oxford. He was a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, from 1972 to 1981, Lecturer in Classics, University of Bristol, 1978-81, and from 1981 to 2010 he was a Fellow and Tutor in Classics at Lady Margaret Hall.

He became Professor of the Classical Tradition in 1999 and the University’s Public Orator in 2004. He was awarded a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship 2007-10.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Jenkyns, R. (2018, August 15). Virgil: Aeneid - Aeneas and Heroism [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Jenkyns, R. "Virgil: Aeneid – Aeneas and Heroism." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,