Saturday, November 16, 2002
I just finished an audio course on The Aeneid and Professor VanDiver said that the ending of the Aeneid with Aeneas apparently giving in to revenge and killing a supplicating Turnus has caused a lot of controversy among scholars. Apparently some scholars think Vergil intended the scene to demonstrate that Aeneas had rejected "pietas" (please forgive my spelling if it is not correct - a small disadvantage when you listen to a lecture instead of read it). Other scholars think it was meant as a morality example for Augustus, Vergil's patron. I was thinking a little more simply. Vergil emulated much of the Illiad and Odyssey in The Aeneid. Would it be logical to consider the cultural admiration for Achilles as a reason to make sure Aeneas did not surpass Achilles in personal values? Achilles could not overcome his "furor" after the death of Patroklos. If Aeneas had demonstrated restraint after the death of Palace, would this not have elevated Aeneas above the legendary Achilles?