It’s hard to go wrong with good material, and the Latin poet Virgil didn’t miss his chance. Writing some seven centuries after Homer composed The Iliad and The Odyssey, Virgil picked up on a character from the former and a partial story-line from the latter to craft what would become one of the greatest works in Latin literature: The Aeneid. The first half of this epic poem essentially deals with the wanderings (including, famously, to the underworld) of Aeneas and his men following the Trojan War; the second, with the Trojans’ successful war against the Latins, which in turn allowed for the establishment of Rome and all its associated politics, heritage, and virtues. Emphasis throughout the course will be on class discussions, with instructors acting as guides to keep the conversation on track.
Select either of two translations for the course: Robert Fagles (ISBN: 978-0143105138) or Sarah Ruden (ISBN: 978-0300151411). For the first class, read Books One and Two.