Introducing Virgil’s Aeneid
In this free course, you will learn about Virgil’s Aeneid, an epic poem about the origins of the Roman people. The Romans regarded the Aeneid as their great national epic, and it had enormous influence over later writers and thinkers. As well as being powerful literature, the Aeneid tells us a great deal about how the Romans saw themselves and their culture, and what it meant to be a Roman.
I’ll begin by introducing the genre of epic poetry in which the Aeneid was written, and by looking at what happens in the poem, and how it relates to the events of Virgil’s own day. (Virgil lived between 70 and 19 BCE, and wrote the Aeneid at the end of his life.) We’ll then go on to look in detail at some sections of the poem, looking in particular at how it presents Roman values. The discussion will introduce you to a small number of key Latin words used to express these values, though it doesn’t expect or require any knowledge of the Latin language.
This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course.