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Posted on March 8th, 2013, by

The Aeneid is a masterpiece by Virgil. In contrast to other works by this author, which describe the Greek empire, the Aeneid describes the becoming of the Roman Empire.
Arms and a man I sing, who first from the shores of Troy
exiled by fate came to Italy and to the Lavinian
shores-much was he buffeted on the earth and on the sea
by the power of the gods, on account of the unforgetting anger of cruel Juno,
much also he suffered in war, until he could found a city
and carry his gods into Latium-whence the Latin race,
and the Alban fathers and the walls of high Rome.

(Book 1, lines 1-7) Aeneas the protagonist of the epics is heroic character who overcomes many obstacles during his journeys. The author skillfully combines real historical information with mythological events.

Aeneas is one of the greatest epic heroes. Aeneas is the only ancestor of Augustus, who has survived in the Trojan war. He is a brave warrior and a strong leaders. Aeneas leads his people to the new land which would later become the Roman Empire. They have to over come many difficulties on their way but finally they reach goal.

In general, Aeneas presents the typical hero of Roman times. He possesses all characteristics, which were appreciated by the Romans. He is obedient to the will of gods; he is brave and courageous; he also possess good skills at arms. In addition, Aeneas is a strong leader who can lead people in right direction. In the First Book Virgil writes lines , “This is how hard it was to found the Roman people, which illustrate that it was really hard to find the people with characteristics which would correspond to true Romans.
Aeneas perfectly fits to this definition of true Roman leader and he illustrates the peculiarities of his epoch. On the deeper level Virgil wants to remind his readers about the true qualities of true Romans, who should become the protectors to all those who need this and should bring peace to the world. These qualities are incarnated in the protagonist of his Aeneid. The author addresses to the citizens of the country, which is weekend by civil wars about the highest destination of all Romans and uses his protagonist in order to pass this message.

The epic was written as a notice to remind the readers about the qualities which all true Romans should possess. In the beginning of the epic Aeneas is describes like brave, compassion, honest and obedient to gods and ancestors man. These qualities help him to start his difficult journey and to gain help and support of his friends. Aeneas loves his land and his family, but he looses everything he loves. He looses his beloved Dido, his native Troy and the support of his father. The comparison of Aeneas with an oak is a very bright metaphor which helps to realize the main forces, which form his character:

And just as when an oak [is] mighty with ancient strength,
[and] the Alpine north winds with their blasts, now from this side, now from that,
strive against each other to uproot it, and high
branches strew the ground from the shaken trunk,
[the tree] itself clings to the crags, and as high as it reaches with its top to the
breezes

high in the air, so deep it reaches with its root into the Underworld;
not otherwise the hero is assailed by voices from this place and that,
and in his great breast he feels grief,
[yet] the mind remains unmoved; the tears fall useless.
(Book 4, lines 437-449)
Aeneas goes down and comes in contact with the Underworld in order to gain power and to become strong enough to fulfill his mission. He looses many things he loves and understands the meaning of meaning of sacrifices.

Aeneas descends to the underworld to get a better understanding of his place in the Universe. In the first five books he is described like ambitious and mighty hero. At the same time, hard experiences and new knowledge transforms him. He gains wisdoms and starts understanding the deepest purpose of human existence. In the last six books the readers may notice transformation which happened to Aeneas. He becomes more calm and tranquil. His calmness does not mean cowardice. Indeed, Aeneas expands his vision and gains deeper understanding of the world . He realizes that fame gain in the warfare can not be the purpose of his existence.

“For each his [appointed] day stands; brief and unrenewable
for all is the time of life; but to extend one’s fame by deeds,
that [is] the work of valor.”
(Book 10, lines 467-469)

He understands that human life is the most precious thing and that fame is not worth peace and happiness of people who depend on him. Aeneas stays a bright hero who is reader to fight in order to defend his land and his people, but he also become a wife man who care about basic human values and possess deep knowledge about the world around him.

 
Works Cited

Virgil, The Aeneid, Vintage, 1990.

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