Is Virgil's 'Aenied' an Anti-War Poem?

2421 WordsMay 29, 200510 Pages
Is Virgil's Aeneid an Anti-War Poem? Virgil opens the ‘Aeneid' with the words ARMA virumque cano ( I sing of arms and of men). The central role that war plays in this Roman epic is made apparent from the very first word of the ‘Aeneid' by the emphatic placing of the word arma at the very beginning of the poem. A fair chunk of Virgil's ‘Aeneid' is set on the battle field but its violent and gory descriptions of death and its frequent battles alone cannot make this poem an anti-war poem. Virgil does not merely use the notion of war to further his plot but deals with many types and aspects of war throughout the entirety of his book; mythological wars; recent wars; their effects; their causes; and often one is able to find Virgil's own…show more content…
This Augustan reference comes at the end of a passage prophesising Rome's future starting with Aeneas' war against the Latins and leading up to this reference and so it is implied that Augustus is merely continuing what our protagonist first embarked upon centuries earlier. When reading this epic, we hope that Aeneas eventually finds peace in Latium and his war-related sufferings come to an end. Therefore to a Roman reader this comparison may have encouraged them to express this same desire for harmony in their own world. Augustus wanted Romans to believe that he symbolised peace and a better way of life and so by including a reference to ultimate peace among many prophecies that had already come to pass, Virgil makes Augustus' goal seem all the more possible. A clearer example of Virgil's use of myth to influence Roman readers' views on situations relevant to their time, is the use of "the second half of the ‘Aeneid' as a pre-enactment of the Social War" in Italy. The Social War would still have remained fresh in many Romans' minds and so even without any outside influence, many would have probably already been hoping for peace and calm. The echo of the Social War in the battles at Latium would have only refreshed many readers' already existent desire for a life without conflict. Aeneas is eventually successful in ending his war and bringing about a temporary peace. In book six, he is shown the spirits

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