Look out for the following motifs/symbols: FLAME/FIRE, FURY, GOLD, WOUND, SNAKE. How do these motifs signal the dark side of empire?
Synopsis of Vergil’s Aeneid Books 6-9 from Williams (1996: xvii-xviii):
“Book 6. The Trojans reach Italy at Cumae, and Aeneas descends with the Sibyl to the underworld in order to consult the ghost of his father Anchises. The future heroes of Roman history pass in a pageant before him, and he returns to the upper world in resolution.
“Book 7. The Trojans reach the Tiber, and are hospitably welcomed by King Latinus, who recognises that Aeneas is the stranger referred to in an oracle as the destined husband of his daughter Lavinia. She is already betrothed to Turnus the Rutulian, and Juno again intervenes to ensure that Turnus will fight the Trojans. War breaks out, and the book ends with a catalogue of the Italian forces assisting Turnus.
“Book 8. Aeneas visits Evander, an Arcadian living at Pallanteum on the site of Rome, to seek help. Evander sends his son Pallas at the head of the contingent of Arcadians. Venus has a new shield made for her son Aeneas, and the book ends with a description of the pictures from Roman history depicted on the shield — a reminder before the full-scale outbreak of hostilities of why Aeneas has to fight this war against Turnus, and what depends on it.
“Book 9. In the absence of Aeneas Turnus the Rutulian achieves great deeds. The sally from the Trojan camp by Nisus and Euryalus ends in their death, and Turnus breaks into the Trojan camp, but in his pride and self-confidence fails to open the gates for his forces to join him, and escapes by jumping into the Tiber.”
Aeneid Book 6:
6.1: sic fatur lacrimans…”He spoke in tears…”
6.9-39: Temple of Apollo. The doors of Daedalus. The Sibyl. NO TIME FOR GAWKING.
6.136-155: 1) Get the Golden Bough. 2) Bury your friend (Misenus).
6.146-148: “Pluck it. It should fall gladly in your hand, | If fate has summoned you. If not, your whole strength | Will fail — you will not tear it off with hard steel.”
6.211: cunctantem — it hesitates!
6.337-83: Underworld. Palinurus. =’Sorry you’re dead. Have some fame.’ cf. 6.776: “The famous names of places nameless now.”
6.456-472: Underworld. Dido.
6.494-545: Underworld. Deiphobus.
6.679ff.: Underworld. Anchises.
6.756: “Come, hear your destiny, and the future glory”
6.788-794: “– your Romans:
Caesar, and all of Iulus’ offspring, destined
To make their way to heaven’s splendid heights.
Here is the man so often promised you,
Augustus Caesar, a god’s son, and bringer
Of a new age of gold to Saturn’s old realm
6.851: Romane, memento — “Roman, remember”
6.853: parcere subiectis et debellare superbos — “spare the conquered, strike down the haughty”
6.861-886: Marcellus. Son of Octavia, Augustus’ sister, who married Augustus’ daughter Julia, was marked as Augustus’ heir, but died at age 19 in 23 BCE. Later sources tell a story of Octavia bursting into tears when Vergil read this passage to her and Augustus.
6.889: “lust for glory in the future.”
6.893: Gates of Sleep — Horn (true), Ivory (false). Ivory. 😮 — ideology of empire is a false dream, with false values?
Aeneid Book 7:
7.1-4: Death of Caieta (now modern Gaeta). (deaths: Palinurus, Misenus, Caieta…)
“Caieta, you as well, Aeneas’ nurse,
Gave lasting fame, in dying, to our shores.
The great West keeps your resting place today
In glory — if there’s glory in the grave.” (Aen. 7.1-4; trans. Ruden p144)
7.44-45: “This is a higher story starting, | a greater work for me.”
7.45-106: Portents. Lavinia is destined to marry a foreigner.
7.52-57: Lavinia’s mother wants her to marry Turnus, Italian prince. 7.55: “Handsomest was Turnus.” 7.56-57: “Latinus’ consort [Amata] | was ardent” = Amata’s susceptibility to furor.
7.58-70: “holy signs, each with its terrors.” Laurel tree 🌳 (~ Laurentum) + the bees 🐝.
7.68-70: Augur’s interpretation. 7.70: “new lords in your tower.”
7.71-80: 🔥 Fire in Lavinia’s hair. 7.79-80: “Prophets foretold a glorious destiny | For her, but for the people a great war.”
7.81-101: Latinus consults the oracle of his father, Faunus. 7.96-99: “My child, don’t seek alliance with the Latins | For your daughter — though a wedding is at hand. | Foreigners will arrive, and intermarriage | Will raise our name to heaven.”
7. 116-118: The Trojans eat their tables. 7.116: “Iulus said, ‘Look at us, eating our tables!'” Fulfilling the oracle given to Aeneas by Calaeno the Harpy (3.250f. = Aeneas would not found his city until hunger made Trojans eat their tables)
7.155: Trojans approach King Latinus in peace.
7.245: Trojans give King Latinus gifts from Troy, including Priam’s scepter. The Latins become the Trojans, the Trojans become the Greeks.
7.286-322: Juno is still angry.
7.324-355: the Fury Allecto.
7.360-364: Amata compares Aeneas to Paris.
7.377-384: Amata’s fury. Spinning top simile.
7.413-474: Allecto and Turnus.
7.476-521: Ascanius shoots the tame Italian deer.
7.601-620: Juno opens the Temple of Janus. 7.606: “To claim our standards from the Parthians”
7.641-817: Invocation of muse. Catalogue of Italian warriors. Last comes Camilla (7.803-817) warrior woman.
Aeneid Book 8:
8.81-85: Aeneas sees the white sow with 30 piglets.
8.184-279: Evander of Pallanteum. Feast of Hercules. Story of Hercules and Cacus. Ara Maxima.
8.370-453: Venus asks Vulcan to make new armour for Aeneas.
8.454-607: Evander asks Aeneas to lead the war against Mezentius and Turnus.
8.608-731: Venus brings the armour to Aeneas. The shield is described.
8.615-616: “The Cytherean embraced her son, then set | the arms beneath an oak, in all their splendor.”
8.625-629: “the shield — work beyond telling of.
There the god of fire had etched Italian history
And Roman triumphs, from the prophecies
He knew: all of Ascanius’ line to come,
And every war the clan would fight, in sequence.”
8.630: she-wolf + twins
8.635: Sabine women
8.675-729: Battle of Actium.
8.730: miratur rerumque ignarus imagine gaudet | “Aeneas loved these scenes on Vulcan’s shield | His mother’s gift — but didn’t know the stories.”
Aeneid Book 9:
9.1-76: Juno sends Iris to tell Turnus to make war. Turnus sets fire to the Trojan fleet.
9.77-122: Trojan ships, made from pine trees sacred to Cybele, are turned into nymphs.
9.154: “They won’t mistake us for the Greeks.”
9.182: The love of Nisus and Euryalus: “Love bound those two; they dashed to war together.”
9.314-449: Nisus and Euryalus (from book 5) fight the Latins brutally, and are themselves killed.
9.450-502: The Latins carry the heads of Nisus and Euryalus impaled on spears. Euryalus’ mother learns about the death of her son.
9.431-437: “He spoke, but couldn’t stop a spear from ramming
Through Euryalus’ ribs and splitting his white chest.
Dying, he thrashed. His lovely limbs and shoulders
Poured streams of blood; his neck sank limply down,
Like a purple flower severed by the plow;
He fainted into death, like a poppy bending
Its weary neck when rain weighs down its head.”
— simile based on Homer Iliad 8.306f. and Catullus 11.21f.: “Let her no more, as once look for my passion, | which through her fault lies fallen like some flower
at the field’s edge, after the passing ploughshare’s | cut a path through it.”
9.444-449: “He was stabbed through and through and hurled himself
On his dead friend, to find his rest and peace.
Lucky pair! If my song has any power,
You’ll never be forgotten, while the children
Of Aeneas live below the steadfast rock
Of the Capitol, and a Roman father reigns.”
9.465-467: “And — piteous sight — they even raised the heads
Of Nisus and Euryalus on spear ends,
And marched behind them, shouting.”
9.503-89: Full-scale attack on Trojan camp. Invocation of muse (9.575: Calliope, muse of epic poetry) for telling the slaughters of Turnus.
9.590-671: Ascanius kills a boasting warrior with an arrow. Apollo appears to Ascanius, tells him he must stop fighting.
9.672-818: The Trojan camp is breached. Turnus is closed into the Trojan camp. Instead of opening the gate, Turnus focuses on his own personal glory. Turnus jumps into the Tiber, rejoining his army.