Introducing Virgil’s Aeneid
Introducing Virgil’s Aeneid

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We have come to the end of this free course on Virgil’s Aeneid, and I hope you have enjoyed your first taste of the poem. As you can see, the Aeneid is not a simple poem to study. Virgil expects his reader to work hard, and we are expected to know about Roman myth and history, and to make connections across the poem between recurring patterns of imagery and word choice. While this makes the Aeneid a challenging text to study, it certainly makes it rewarding, and it’s possible to find new things to appreciate in it every time you read it. The Aeneid is set in the world of myth, but it engages directly with ethical and political issues relevant to Virgil’s own day – and indeed our own – such as what it means to be a good leader, and how moral beliefs work in practice in the messy situations of real life. The fact that the Aeneid does not give straightforward answers but invites us to come to our own conclusions is part of what makes it such powerful literature, and has inspired readers for over two thousand years.

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