Saturday, March 10, 2007

Vergil Journal 7: Prophecy


bryn said...

The key prophesy given in Book III is told to Aeneas in Delos, after he and his crew leave Polydorus at Antander (I think that is what it is called). In Delos, Apollo tells Aeneas and the other Trojans, “Look for your mother of old. Aeneas’ house in her will rule the world’s shores down the years, through generations of his children’s children.” Apollo makes it clear that Aeneas is to build a city that will become successful and live on. Unfortunately, Anchises, Aeneas’ father, misinterprets Apollo’s instructions and advises the crew to go to “Great Jove’s island, Crete”. EEEEEEEEEEErrrr…wrong! 
Low and behold, when they arrived in Crete to build a city, plague infected the Trojans and they all were tortured with sicknesses in “the year of death”. The gods come to Aeneas again. They tell him that he “must prepare for a great race”, another implication that, as a ruler, he will birth a prosperous city and people. The prophesy does not change, it just becomes clearer. The gods inform Aeneas that his destination is actually Hesperia, or Italy.
When the Trojans are blown off course, this time literally, they end up on the Strophades where they offend the Harpies. The action of the Trojan crew makes it seem very thoughtless as even I know the Harpies to be bitter, sensitive creatures. Yet another prophesy is given to Aeneas and his future race, but this one is much more disappointing in contrast. Celaeno tells Aeneas, “You may never wall you destined city till deathly famine, for the bloodshed here, has made you grind your tables with your teeth!”
In the sake of bad timing, I will summarize the last parts. In short, Aeneas and his crew flee the islands. There are many names given in the Book, so I’m not sure what the land is called where they land. There they surprisingly meet Helenus and Andromache, who are now ruling over the Greeks after being taken there as prisoners. They warn Aeneas of the dangers of the sea and to avoid Charybdis and Scylla in the waters (from the Odyssey). It is more of an admonition than prophesy, but the book does call Helenus a seer and Aeneas is disappointed that Helenus did not tell him of his father’s upcoming death. The crew arrives at the island of the Cyclops where it picks up a Greek sailor from Ulysses’ fleet (a nice tie-in).
Basically, these prophesies lead Aeneas on different paths to the same destination. They all agree (or don’t disagree) that a great race will be born under Aeneas, but the process of that race is continuously changed by the many prophesies given to the Trojan crew; first it was the prophesy itself, then location, then time, then course. Vergil is explicitly telling us that the book is far from over.

Tyler said...

Thank you once again Bryn you saved my life I love you. Anyways here is my much inferior journal posted on this to make you look good. You probably read book three a lot closer than I did so I just hope mine is somewhat right.

I guess the first prophecy told to Aeneas was from Polydorus when he told Aeneas to flee the area, obviously hinting that something bad would happen if he stayed in the kingdom, and so this bad prophecy would be avoided.

After that, they went to Delos where as Bryn said he was destined to build a city and look for your mother of old to do it. They then assumed that the prophecy was talking about Crete, so they made a sacrifice and sailed there, but of course it was not supposed to be Crete and a sudden plague came and killed people and food and everything else, so obviously the gods intended the city to be built somewhere else.

The next prophecy was when the gods told Aeneas they meant Hesperia, not Crete, for him to build a city. After being told this Aeneas is finally going the right direction, but they were driven far off course by a storm and ended up on Strophades, where they were attacked by Harpies because they were poor starving sailors in desperate need of food and they finally found resources to a feast so they had one. Of course Vergil makes the bird humans all women, portraying women as evil and vicious and sneaky, which isn't sexist at all. It also makes the story more exciting, there is something mystic in any guy's imagination about an all female tribe, especially a vicious one. Then Celaeno prophesized that they would end up eating their own tables as food because of a famine as punishment for their behavior, but this is a very ignorant statement of her because the gods blew the Trojans to the island in the first place, and she was the one attacking them, I'm sure a bunch of guys had other adult things than war on their mind when they met a bunch of bird women, especially guys who sailed around on ships where there was definitely not enough women to go around and so many guys were forced to go for long periods of time without engaging in these adult activities, so I'd think some exotic half women species would be desirable to them and some wild fantasies would pop up. So by attacking the Harpies were being especially brutal to the Trojans, who merely tried to defend themselves, I have no idea why their leader would want revenge when she was the instigator. Well I understand why she may not like them very much, but it was still her fault.

Later Aeneas meets Helenus as Bryn says, although no good juicy prophecies are really told, only warnings and crap. Bryn did a better conclusion than I can do just read hers again and pretend I copied and pasted it or something.

Michelle said...

Virgil Journal
March 11th
Book III Prophesy

“When the first stalk came torn out of the earth, the root network burst, dark blood dripped down to soak the foul soil.”

“A groan came from the mound, a sobbing muffled in the depth of earth, and words were carried upward: ‘Must you rend me, derelict that I am, Aeneas? Spare me, now I am in the grave; spare your clean hands defilement. I am no foreigner; old Troy gave birth to me; this blood drips from no tree. Ah, put the savage land behind you! Leave the shore of greed! For I am Polydorus. An iron hedge of spears covered my body, pinned down here, and pointed shafts took root.’”

Polydorus- youngest son of Priam, treacherously slain by Thracians

This omen from Polydorus is intended to make Aeneas leave. Aeneas tells his people of this omen and they all agree that they should leave the land at once. Was such an omen intended to keep Aeneas on his way to the country that he his destined to settle in? Would he have settled there were it not for Polydorus? It seemed that Polydorus was angry with Aeneas, but upon further interpretation it seems more probable that he was trying to help Aeneas along on his journey.

In sleep, Aeneas’ household gods speak to him:

“All Apollo would have told you, Delos regained, he will deliver here. See how he sends us here of his own will into your room. We are the gods who came along with you, and joined your cause, when Troy went down in flames… Your settlement must be changed. This coast is not the one Apollo of Delos urged you toward, nor did he bid you stay on Crete.”

Aeneas learns from his father that Cassandra made him the same prophesy. With this encouragement from the household gods, Aeneas and company set sail again.

In a new land, they are met with yet another prophesy. Celaeno, the leader of the Haripes (monstrous creatures: birds with faces of women) says to Aeneas “Italy winds will blow, you’ll find your Italy, you’ll be allowed to enter port; but you may never wall your destined city till deathly famine, for the bloodshed here, has made you grid your tables with your teeth!”

Aeneas flees from this land, but it seems that he is only running away from his fate which is destined to catch up with him sooner or later. Aeneas and his men are not seen as very strong and powerful warriors in this book, they seem to run scared in the opposite direction whenever something strange or out of the ordinary happens.

Helenus, a prophet, a son of Priam, and husband of Andromache tells Aeneas of things to look out for on his journey:

“When in anxiety by a stream apart beneath shore oaks you find a giant sow, snow-white, reclining there, suckling a littler of thirty snow-white young: that place will be your haven after toil, site of your town. And have no fear of table-biting times; the fates will find a way for you; Apollo will be at hand when called.”

This prophesy contradicts Celaeno’s prophesy which said that they would grid their tables with their teeth. I don’t know what that means, but if I were Aeneas I would be very confused as to which prophesy to believe. How can two prophesies contradict one another?

At the end of this book, Aeneas’ father dies. He says that Helenus or Celaeno should have warned him of this fate along with everything else they told him, but they didn’t. I think that if Aeneas had been more concerned about his father’s wellbeing than running away from prophesies, he might have been more prepared to handle the situation.

Tyler said...

Michelle post yours earlier. Be a real dork like Bryn and have it up by noon! And also for everyone else that comes up with a good one, should have already posted it.

parinda said...

After Troy was destroyed, the Trojans built ships and set sail for a new homeland. They first land in Thrace, where Priam sent his youngest son Polydorus, to keep him safe. At the time, Thrace was Troy's ally, but they betrayed the Trojans and joined the Greeks; Polydorus was killed. The Trojans were beginning to establish their city when from the depths of the earth, Polydorus warns them to flee Thrace. I think Polydorus' warning was simply to guide Aeneas in the right direction of his destiny. Polydorus' bitterness in his warning was probably from the fact that he was killed by people the Trojans had trusted.

The next advice given to Aeneas was from Apollo. He speaks to Aeneas through his priest and tells them to seek their mother of old, which Anchises, Aeneas' dad, interpreted as Crete. Anchises was wrong. When the Trojans arrived in Crete to establish their new city, a plague infected the Trojans for a year. This was a sign that Crete wasn't the place Aeneas was destined to.

The gods come to Aeneas again and tell him that his father was wrong and what they meant was Hesperia (Italy). So then the Trojans set sail for Italy but they are blown off course onto an island where harpies, bird women, live. The bird women attacked the Trojans and they defended themselves. The harpies leader, Celaeno, prophesied that Aeneas will reach Italy but his people will starve as a punishment for hurting her people.

The Trojans flee to Actium, which is on the western coast of Greece. There they meet up with Helenus and Adromache, Hector's wife. Helenus warns Aeneas of the obstacles ahead and gives him advice for his voyage of establishing a new city. Adromache then tells Aeneas of how Pyrrus (Priam's murderer) dies and then they exchange gifts and the Trojans leave again. They sail north to Cerauna, take Helenus' advice and prays to Pallas and Juno. They then sailed across the Gulf of Taranto and, after escaping Scylla and Charybdis, landed on the coast of Sicily where they spend the night next to a volcano, Mt. Aetna.

The Trojans then were approached by a Greek, Achaemenides, who was part of Odysseus' group that was recently attacked by cyclops. He begs to join their group or to be killed. The cyclops appear and the Trojans flee and take Achaemenides with them. They set sail again and reach Drepanum where Aeneas' father, Anchises, dies. They bury him and set sail into the storm that blows them off too Carthage. So book three was pretty much a journey where at each point where Aeneas stopped at, he was given warnings, advice, or obstacles to test him.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

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