Monday, February 19, 2007

Bryn Kass Vergil Journal Tuesday, February 19

Aeneas' response to Carthage... (forgive any spelling errors please)
Upon arriving in Dido's city, Aeneas immediately notices and is in awe of the amazing productivity and construction. Vergil illustrates magnificent buildings and huge shining gates. At the same time, society itself is being formed: "laws were being enacted". One may also notice that, not only is this city built for industrial and economic use, it will also be home to theatres and various forms of entertainment. Aeneas compares the working people of Carthage to bees and their hive. They are busy and focused, and "they" are only the most steadfast to their specific duties.
When he comes to the temple built for Juno, it is clear that the people of Carthage are very proud of and loyal to Juno. He observes the building in an awesome magnificence, noticing its bronze steps and doors. And for some reason, it is here that Aeneas is at peace for the first time. The great walls of the temple bring him comfort and security. Is Juno watching over him? He is able to appreciate the toil of the workers of Carthage.
One question stands in my mind throughout Vergil's narrative; where are the women? If Carthage IS a society, if it IS built for the people, for living and eating and entertaining, where is the second half of the population. Aeneas does not notice or speak of women until he sees Dido. Does this have some significance, or is it just coincidence? Maybe this emphasizes the strength of Carthage and the fact that (and I hate to say this) only the strongest were able to make progress on the city itself


Claire said...

Good points Bryn. But remember, the reason Aeneas felt so good when he was at the temple of Juno was that he saw the images of the Trojan war and of specific battles. He felt comforted by the fact that even the Carthaginians, who were all the way in Africa (modern day Tunisia, to be exact), knew of the Trojan plight. Also, about the women... yeah, it's a sexist world.

Michelle said...

Aeneas’ First Impressions of Carthage

“Iamque ascendebant collem, qui plurimus urbi imminet adversasque aspectat desuper arces. Miratur molem Aeneas, Magalia quondam, miratur portas strepitumque et strata viarum. Instant ardentes Tyrii: pars ducere muros molirique arcem et manibus subvolere saxa, pars optare locum tecto et concludere sulco; iura magistratuseqe legunt sanctumque senatum. Hic portus alii effodiunt; hic alta theatris fundamenta locant alii, immanesque columnas rupibus excidunt, scaenis decora alta futuris.”

“They hasten on wherever the path points and they climb the hill which very greatly hangs over the city and he [Aeneas] sees from above, opposite towers. Aeneas marvels at the sheer size, once huts, he marvels at the gates and the noise and the pavement of the roads. The Tyrians hurry: part lead up walls and part work on the arch and part roll stones with hands, others build houses and others close up ditches; the magistrates chose the laws and they chose the holy senate, here some dig up the port, here others establish the deep foundations of the theater, and they cut columns out of rock, the high decorations for the future stages.”

Upon climbing to the top of a large hill that hangs over the city, Aeneas looks down on Carthage. At this point Virgil puts Aeneas high above Carthage (on the hill), giving his readers the sense that he is far above the city, not only physically, but in the way Aeneas regards himself compared to Carthage as well. Before he actually sees the city of Carthage, he assumes that they are not very well off. However, his mind is suddenly changed once he gets a good look. He is in awe to see that, where once little huts stood, an up and coming city is being born. He is impressed with all the people doing their own tasks to bring the city together.
Virgil compares the hustle and bustle of Carthage to a colony of bees, hard at work, establishing a successful hive. This metaphor gives us a mental image of how Carthage must have appeared to Aeneas. He stands in awe, watching them work under the rule of the beautiful Queen Dido, and his opinions of Carthage immediately change.

“O fortunate, quorum iam moenia surgunt!”

“Oh fortunate ones, whose walls have already sprung up!”

With this exclamation, it appears that Aeneas is jealous of Carthage. His impressions of Carthage have completely turned around. He goes from feeling superior and high above Carthage, to being captivated by this city that has come such a long way.

Claire said...

Michelle- I think the reason Aeneas says “O fortunate, quorum iam moenia surgunt!” (thus expressing jealousy) is less that he is jealous of Carthage in particular, and more that he is longing to be setting up the walls of his own city. He is anxious to reach his fate. Great point about Aeneas being above Carthage both physically and mentally, I didn't even think about that.

bryn said...


I figured I'd just post it here

This book definitely uses the imagination. It is interesting how many historians and documentaries today try to prove the story of Troy and give exhausting evidence of its truths. In contrast, Vergil, who wrote the Aeneid for goodness sake, writes of all kinds of "impossible" events. The divinities are one thing, but how the Greeks could build a Trojan horse as magnificently huge as they did, in such little time, without anyone even suspecting a thing is quite extraordinary. This story is so creative.

I also thought the effects of the snakes on the Trojans were very interesting. Many of the people of Troy were apprehensive about the horse.Laocoon was the only one to really speak out against leading it inside the Trojan walls, and he was killed, unpleasantly I might add, by snakes in front of all. So, all of a sudden, everyone is in favor of the arrival of the horse. In fact, boys and girls are even excited and joyous as the horse enters the city. Why is this? Why does such a confusing machine lead to celebration? The only sign from the gods is the arrival of the snakes. The gods never give the Trojans a positive "pat on the back". Why, then, do they praise the horse? Possibly, they do it out of the fear of Minerva. That leads to another question...where were the rest of the gods in this? Wasn't Venus watching as her son's city and people were about to be attacked while they were most vulnerable?