The Aeneid is arguably the literary foundation of Western civilization. Aeneas flees a burning Troy, wanders the Mediterranean with his fellow survivors, and, perhaps most notably, navigates the treacherous sea of his own spiritual, intellectual, and emotional odyssey until he finally reaches what will become the site of Rome, the eternal city. Hated by the goddess Juno, torn between love for Dido and duty to his destiny, Vergil’s heroic leader is a unique literary figure but also, somewhat paradoxically, one of us. The poem is often symbolic, for it deftly maneuvers between history, legend, and myth; it also features some of the most memorable lines in all of literature that are almost as exquisite in translation as in the original Latin. Thus we can thrill to the adventure, embrace the sublimity, and revel in the language of this magnificent epic.
Reading: The Aeneid: Virgil. Translated by Robert Fagles. Viking Penguin, 2006. ISBN0-670-03803-2
Daniel J. Taylor ’63 is the Jones Professor Emeritus of Classics at his alma mater. Author or editor of five books and scores of articles and reviews, acknowledged as the leading Varro scholar of his time, Lawrence’s Outstanding Teacher in ’98, Wisconsin’s Distinguished FL educator in ’90, a two-time NEH Research Fellow and a Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Italy, “Dr. Dan” relishes the Bjӧrklunden experience and is excited about his 31st seminar.