The Aeneid

aeneidThe Aeneid by Virgil, trans. by Robert Fitzgerald, 5/5

This book would not have sat by my bed, unread, for so long if I had known that it was a spin-off of the Iliad, which I adore.  Because I expected The Aeneid to be dry and boring (if even comprehensible), it was a fantastic surprise to suddenly encounter the familiar story of the fall of Troy, told from the perspective of Aeneas, who was inside the city at the time.  It only got better from there, with many epic wartime vignettes and memorable characters such as the tragic Dido and the courageous but despicable Turnus.

It’s been a while since I read Homer’s Iliad, but in comparison, Virgil’s style seems less remote and detached, with a more personal tone and conscious attempts to affect the reader emotionally.  However, this could just be a reflection of the translation, which did seem a little too modern for my taste (at one point, a character even yells “bring it on,” a phrase that I would be surprised to learn has roots in Latin).  This edition does have a useful glossary of people and place names but it would be greatly improved by added pronunciation guides and a foreword providing some historical context.

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