The Iliad and Aeneid

The relations between the Iliad and Aeneid:

Let me start this paper with an introduction to what an epic poem is, since Virgil’s Aeneid and Homer’s Iliad are both epic poem. An epic poem which is sometimes called epic, epos or epopee is a long narrative poem. It involves in time beyond living memory in which extraordinary doings of uncommon men and women deal with gods and other superhuman forces. They also give shape to moral, lessons, poets, and the audience must understand clearly for them to understand themselves as a people or nation. An epic from latin is epicus which itself comes from the Ancient Greek epikos from epos meaning “word, story, poem”.

The oldest epic reconized is the Epic of Gilgamesh (c. 2500-1300) recorded in ancient Sumer during the Neo-Sumerian Empire. The poem details the exploits of Gilgamesh, the king of Uruk. Although recognized as a historical figure, Gilgamesh, as represented in the epic, is a largely legendary or mythical figure. The longest epic written is the ancient Indian Mahabharata, which consists of 100,000 ślokas or over 200,000 verse lines (each shloka is a couplet), as well as long prose passages, so that at ~1.8 million words it is roughly four times the length of the Rāmāyaṇa, and roughly ten times the length of the Iliad and the Odyssey combined.

Famous examples of epic poetry include the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh, the ancient Indian Mahabharata and Rāmāyaṇa, the Tamil Silappatikaram, the Persian Shahnameh, the Ancient Greek Odyssey and Iliad, Virgil’s Aeneid, the Old English Beowulf, Dante’s Divine Comedy, the Finnish Kalevala, the German Nibelungenlied, the French Song of Roland, the Spanish Cantar de mio Cid, the Portuguese Os Lusíadas, John Milton’s Paradise Lost, and Adam Mickiewicz’s Pan Tadeusz.

Now, Iliad, sometimes referred to as the Song of Ilion or Song of Ilium is an ancient Greek poem in dactylic hexameter by Homer. It is a set in Trojan War, it tells the battles and events during the weeks of quarrel between King Agmemnon and the warrior of Achilles. Iliad is paired with a sequel, the Odyssey which is consists of 15,693 lines. This legend preserves, in a historical disguise, an original Indo-European myth about a conflict between the gods of sovereignty and war and the gods of fecundity, ending with the unification of the two divine races.

Let us talk about the Aeneid. Aeneid is a Latin epic poem written by Virgil. Virgil is an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period. He wrote Aeneid between 19 and 29 BC which tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan who travelled to Italy. It has 9,896 lines and the first six of the poem’s twelve books tells the story of Aeneas’ wandering from Troy to Italy.

Upon writing Aeneid, Virgil studies on the Homeric epics of the Iliad and the Odyssey to help him create a national epic poem for the Roman people. Virgil used several characteristics associated with epic poet, more specifically Homer’s epics, including the use of hexameter verse, book division, lists of genealogies and underlying themes to draw parallels between the Romans and their cultural predecessors, the Greeks.

In Virgil’s development of this theme, Aeneas and the Etruscans can be seen as representing the gods of sovereignty and war, and the Latins. Virgil’s Aeneid, tells the story of the founding of Rome. It follows the last of the Trojan’s who escaped the fate of Troy. It eventually falls following Homer’s The Iliad, and Virgil continues the story of their people. The Trojans, however is not the only similarity between the two books. Virgil employs many of the same image patterns that Homer uses in The Iliad. The symbolism of fire, shields, and gates are used in both epic poems.

. If comparing Aeneas to Achilles and Turnus to Hector, several parallels can be drawn. One example is when Aeneas is absent from the battlefield, Turnus lays waste to the Trojan army, just as Hector did to the Greek army in the absence of Achilles. Just as Hector kills Patroclus, Turnus slaughters Pallas, and to avenge the deaths of their friends, both Achilles and Aeneas slay their opponents. The former recounts battles during a multiyear assault on Troy as strange and often strained bedfellows Achilles and Agamemnon quarrel. The latter follows Trojan hero Aeneas, who flees a burning Troy shortly after the war ends and travels to Italy, thus cementing Rome’s place in the pantheon of Greek history.

Both as well have broken hearts within the protagonist while leaving is different. In Aeneid, Rome calls and must proceed to Italy to build a new home. The Aeneid’s last six book resembles the Iliad; Patroclus killed by Hector and the wrath of Achilles is ignited by the news of the death of his friend. Pallas killed by Turnus and the wrath of Anus I ignited when he also receives the news of her dead friend.

Achilles and Aeneas also share the same feelings, emotions towards the death of their fellow soldiers. Both authors display the same theme of revenge. From battles and when the news’ brought them the soldiers were not present. Achilles is driven by his pride and self-glory, He was self-loathing and his stubbornness for the loss of his war was the reason behind the men’s or soldiers absence from the battle field. Aeneas serves the will of the Gods.

Two of the greatest epics ever written, Homer’s The Iliad and Virgil’s The Aeneid, focused similarities from individually focused conceptions of heroic exploits, human life, lifestyle and the life of war. The Aeneid by Virgil used its righteous characters to reveal the Roman’s patronizing agenda. Homer’s The Iliad disclosed a great deal about life and the extent of social advancement during that time.

Their stories of the shields reveal that society was not only where metal was their possession but also where city and country cultures are interconnected in the economy, where art is treasured as an outlet for expression, military organization and a display of warrior customs. The artistry is clearly valued for itself and not merely in the way the forged shield might be as a practical tool. The man who wields this shield will be presenting the society depicted on it and needs to be reminded of this fact by the man who makes it. The images place on the shield say much about the society of the time. The first thing placed on the shield are images of the natural world which is important to ancient societies because people still lived close to nature, subject to all the varieties of natural force. The fact that these images can be placed on this shield shows that this is also a society that believes in predestination and the ability to forecast the future.

Men of Rome displayed the utmost allegiance to the cause of Rome, for their destiny was to defeat the Greeks and continue to thrive as an Empire. In Virgil’s The Aeneid Aeneas returns to Italy, marries Lavinia, and becomes wounded. His goddess mother Venus comes to his side to aid and comfort her son. In the speech she shares with Aeneas we see that duty to Rome is destiny, and those who shirk that duty can never hope to be heroic. As Venus contends, “Upon this shield did the Fire-god, with knowledge of things to come, being versed in the prophets, had wrought events from Italian history and Roman triumphs” (Virgil). This display shows her content with the Roman display and her effort to accommodate them for their victory.

References:

  • Essays, UK. (November 2018). The Iliad And The Aeneid History Essay. Retrieved from https://www.ukessays.com/essays/history/the-iliad-and-the-aeneid-history-essay.php?vref=1

  • Comparison Between the Aeneid and the Iliad. (2016, Nov 21). Retrieved August 23, 2019, from https://newyorkessays.com/essay-comparison-between-the-aeneid-and-the-iliad/

  • “Compare & contract the themes of Aeneid & the Iliad. Are the themes more alike or different? Identify major themes in each.” eNotes Editorial, 24 Aug. 2018, https://www.enotes.com/homework-help/compare-and-contract-themes-aeneid-and-iliad-173927. Accessed 26 Aug. 2019.

  • The Editors of Encyclopaedia (February 01, 2018) Britannica. Aeneid. Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc., Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/topic/Aeneid

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