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The Aeneid (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 27 Mar 2003


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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Rev Ed edition (27 Mar 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140449329
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140449327
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 2.1 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,859 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Virgil, born in 70 B.C., is best remembered for his masterpiece, The Aeneid. He earned great favor by portraying Augustus as a descendant of the half-god, half-man Aeneas. Although Virgil swore on his deathbed that The Aeneid was incomplete and unworthy, it has been considered one of the greatest works of Western literature for more than two thousand years.


Product Description

Review

"Hardie successfully incorporates the most valuable ancient and contemporary materials on Vergil to produce a more literary approach reflecting the insights and biases of critical work of recent decades. This edition will br appreciated by students and scholars alike." Classical World

About the Author

Virgil (70-19BC) studied rhetoric and philosophy in Rome where he became a court poet. As well as The Aeneid, his Eclogues earned him the reputation as the finest Latin poet.

Before his retirement, David West taught Classics at the University of Newcastle.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
I sing of arms and of the man, fated to be an exile, who long since left the land of Troy and came to Italy to the shores of Lavinium; and a great pounding he took by land and sea at the hands of the heavenly gods because of the fierce and unforgetting anger of Juno. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

73 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Mr. S. J. Hunt on 3 Mar 2004
Format: Paperback
I am new to the classical works of Greece and Rome, however I've recently challenged myself to become more well acquainted with the works that have shaped story telling.
The fairly recent (mid nineties) Penguin translations of The Iliad and The Odyssey were where I began, and both books artfully represented the behemoths that these particular stories are in the world of literature. It was then with some trepidation that I picked up this volume, clear that this Roman book would not come up to scratch. I am glad to say I was completely wrong. West's translation is rich and readable. I even managed to read this on a busy bus on the way to work!
The accessibility of this work is its strength and I would recommend this story, and in particular this artful translation, to anyone who has no real specialist knowledge, but enjoys a good story and revels in the ancient greatness such tales can evoke.
Recommended
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER on 30 July 2006
Format: Paperback
Vergil's epic used to be read as the traditional moral propaganda that justified the Roman empire and Augustus' rule, but it's a far more complex and problematic poem than that. Yes, as a previous reviewer, has stated, he takes Homer as his starting point, but Vergil's intention is not to 'top' Homer but to question and reflect on Rome's self-identity and the values that Roman culture has been built upon.

It is possible to read this is a simple, rousing epic of war and the heroic ethos, but the other 'voices' question the very values that the poem purports to support. Ultimately this is a poem of profound grief and loss and mourning for the past and for the price that has been paid in order to move forward into the future, and in this sense, it is a comment on the fall of the Republic and the emergence of the Principate under Augustus.

Having said that, it's also a good story, picking up from the end of the Iliad and telling the fall of Troy, Aeneas' escape with a group of Trojans and his search for Italy where he will found the city that will become Rome. The most famous incident is the tragic story of Dido (Book 4) which even in Vergil's own day was regarded as the best bit of the whole poem.

Together with the Iliad and the Odyssey, this is one of the foundation stones of European literature, and the Penguin translation is clear, easy and fluent. For a more poetic and rhythmic translation I would recommend the Allen Mandelbaum version which tends to be the one used by academics. Enjoy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By beckalina on 3 May 2012
Format: Paperback
I am not a student of classics, and the only ancient classic I'd read prior to this was Homer's Odyssey which, frankly, was the most boring thing I'd ever read. Needless to say I was not expecting to like this book and was only reading it at all because I thought it would be useful in studying English literature. To my surprise I actually really enjoyed it! It has a lively and engaging style and Virgil's characters are so real you feel you could touch them. I wonder now if it was Homer's or the translator's fault I didn't enjoy The Odyssey... who knows! But I would definitely recommend this copy of The Aeneid!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Graham Harter on 29 Dec 2012
Format: Paperback
The great Latin epic, written in the first century BC, follows the adventures of Aeneas, a prince of Troy, and his family and companions as they venture around the Mediterranean, from the destruction of their city to the founding of a settlement in Italy that would eventually become Rome. All the while the hero and his companions are at the mercy of the competing deities of Graeco-Roman myth, as they engage in a heavenly tug-of-war over their eventual fate.

And David West's translation is a really good one.

It's tempting to be a bit sniffy about prose translations of narrative verse - he even admits this in his introduction (p. xlv). But as he there explains, previous attempts to render the Aeneid into English meter have often been weedy and uninteresting. On the other hand, West's prose is beautifully sonorous and rhythmic, at times almost like reading verse; while at the same time being clear and understandable. Take for example this fragment from Book 4 (pp.70-71):

"With these words Anna lit a fire of wild love in her sister's breast. Where there had been doubt she gave hope and Dido's conscience was overcome. First they approached the shrines and went round the altars asking the blessing of the gods. They picked out yearling sheep, as ritual prescribed, and sacrificed them to Ceres the Lawgiver, to Phoebus Apollo, to Bacchus the Releaser and above all to Juno, the guardian of the marriage bond. Dido in all her beauty would hold a sacred dish in her right hand and would pour wine from it between the horns of a white cow or she would walk in state to richly smoking altars before the faces of the gods, renewing her offerings all day long, and when the bellies of the victims were opened she would stare into their breathing entrails to read the signs.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Christian VINE VOICE on 9 Feb 2011
Format: Paperback
When compared to the works of Homer this tale feels like a homage to it. With the similarities to the Grecian gods and the style of the tale, you feel as if Homer had scribed another tale.

And yet this translation sparkles and makes it one of the easiest reading classics that I have read. There are no footnotes or other reference points to break the text, with appendices to flesh out two 'books'.

It would be churlish to give this less than five stars. The text is glorious and the tale draws you along. Many years after Virgil wanted the book destroyed it still lives.
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