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- Story of Aeneas - 1/23 -
STORY OF AENEAS
M. CLARKE Author of "Story Of Troy," "Story Of Caesar"
I. VERGIL, THE PRINCE OP POETS
II. THE GODS AND GODDESSES
I. THE WOODEN HORSE
II. AENEAS LEAVES TROY--THE HARPIES--PROPHESY OF HELENUS-THE GIANT POLYPHEMUS
III. A GREAT STORM--ARRIVAL IN CARTHAGE
IV. DIDO'S LOVE--THE FUNERAL GAMES--SHIPS BURNED BY THE WOMEN
V. THE SIBYL OF CUMAE--THE GOLDEN BOUGH--IN THE REGIONS OF THE DEAD
VI. AENEAS ARRIVES IN LATIUM--WELCOMED BY KING LATINUS
VII. ALLIANCE WITH EVANDER--VULCAN MAKES ARMS FOR AENEAS--THE FAMOUS SHIELD
VIII. TURNUS ATTACKS THE TROJAN CAMP--NISUS AND EURYALUS
IX. THE COUNCIL OF THE GODS--RETURN OF AENEAS--BATTLE ON THE SHORE--DEATH OF PALLAS
X. FUNERAL OF PALLAS--AENEAS AND TURNUS FIGHT--TURNUS IS SLAIN
[Illustration: Map, captioned: "MAP SHOWING THE WANDERINGS OF AENEAS", extending from 10 degrees to 30 degrees east longitude, and centered on 40 degrees north latitude.]
I. VERGIL, THE PRINCE OF LATIN POETS.
The story of AE-ne'as, as related by the Roman poet Ver'gil in his celebrated poem called the AE-ne'id, which we are to tell about in this book, is one of the most interesting of the myths or legends that have come down to us from ancient authors.
Vergil lived in the time of the Roman Emperor Au-gus'tus (63 B. C.--14 A. D.), grand-nephew and successor of Ju'li-us Cae'sar. Augustus and his chief counsellor or minister Mae-ce'nas, gave great encouragement to learning and learned men, and under their liberal patronage arose a number of eminent writers to whose works has been given the name of classics, as being of the highest rank or _class_. The period is known as the Augustan Age, a phrase also used in reference to periods in the history of other countries, in which literature reached its highest perfection. Thus the reign of Queen Anne (1702-1714) is called the Augustan age of English literature, because of the number of literary men who flourished in England in that period, and the excellence of their works.
Vergil was the greatest of the poets of ancient Rome, and with the exception of Ho'mer, the greatest of the poets of antiquity. From a very early period, almost from the age in which he lived, he was called the Prince of Latin Poets. His full name was Pub'li-us Ver-gil'i-us Ma'ro. He was born about seventy years before Christ, in the village of An'des (now Pi-e'to-le), near the town of Man'tu-a in the north of Italy. His father was the owner of a small estate, which he farmed himself. Though of moderate means, he gave his son a good education. Young Vergil spent his boyhood at school at Cre-mo'na and Milan. He completed his studies at Naples, where he read the Greek and Latin authors, and acquired a knowledge of mathematics, natural philosophy, and medical science. He afterwards returned to Mantua, and resided there for a few years, enjoying the quiet of country life at the family homestead.
About this time the Emperor Augustus was engaged in a war against a powerful party of his own countrymen, led by a famous Roman named Bru'tus. In the year 42 B.C. he defeated Brutus in a great battle, which put an end to the war. He afterwards rewarded many of his troops by dividing among them lands in the neighborhood of Mantua, and in other parts of Italy, dispossessing the owners for having sided with his enemies. Though Vergil had taken no part in the struggle, his farm was allotted to one of the imperial soldiers. But this was the beginning of his greatness. Through the friendship of the governor of Mantua, he was introduced to Maecenas, and afterwards to Augustus, who gave orders that his property should be restored to him.
Thus Vergil became known to the first men of Rome. He expressed his gratitude to the emperor in one of a series of poems called Pastorals or Bu-col'ics, words which mean shepherds' songs, or songs descriptive of life in the country. These poems, though among Vergil's earliest productions, were highly applauded in Rome. They were so much esteemed that portions of them were recited in the theatre in the author's presence, and the audience were so delighted that they all rose to their feet, an honor which it was customary to pay only to Augustus himself. Vergil also wrote a poem called the Geor'gics, the subject of which is agriculture, the breeding of cattle, and the culture of bees. This is said to be the most perfect in finish of all Latin compositions. The AEneid is, however, regarded as the greatest of Vergil's works. The writing of it occupied the last eleven years of the poet's life.
Vergil died at Brun-di'si-um, in south Italy, in the fifty-first year of his age. He was buried near Naples, by the side of the public road, a few miles outside that city, where what is said to be his tomb is still to be seen. Of his character as a man we are enabled to form an agreeable idea from all that is known about him. He was modest, gentle and of a remarkable sweetness of disposition. Although living in the highest society while in Rome, he never forgot his old friends. He was a dutiful and affectionate son, and liberally shared his good fortune with his aged parents.
As a poet, Vergil was not only the greatest that Rome produced, but the most popular. His poems, particularly the AEneid, were the favorite reading of his countrymen. They became a text-book in the Roman schools. The "little Romans," we are told, studied the AEneid from their master's dictation, and wrote compositions upon its heroes. And not alone in Italy but throughout the world wherever learning extended, the AEneid became popular, and has retained its popularity down to our own time, being still a text-book in every school where Latin is taught.
There are many excellent translations of the AEneid into English. In this book we make numerous quotations from the translation by the English poet Dryden, and from the later work by the eminent Latin scholar Conington.
SPELLING OF THE POET'S NAME.
The spelling of the poet's name adopted in this book is now believed to be preferable to the form V_i_rgil which has for a long time been in common use. Many of the best Latin scholars are of opinion that the proper spelling is V_e_rgil from the Latin V_e_rgilius, as the poet himself wrote it. "As to the fact," says Professor Frieze, "that the poet called himself Vergilius, scholars are now universally agreed. It is the form found in all the earliest manuscripts and inscriptions. In England and America the corrected Latin form is used by all the best authorities."
II. THE GODS AND GODDESSES.
It is said that Vergil wrote the AEneid at the request of the Emperor Augustus, whose family--the Ju'li-i--claimed the honor of being descended from AEneas, through his son I-u'lus or Ju'lus. All the Romans, indeed, were fond of claiming descent from the heroes whom tradition told of as having landed in Italy with AEneas after escaping from the ruins of Troy. The city of Troy, or Il'i-um, so celebrated in ancient song and story, was situated on the coast of Asia Minor, not far from the entrance to what is now the Sea of Mar'mo-ra. It was besieged for ten years by a vast army of the Greeks (natives of Greece or Hel'las) under one of their kings called Ag-a-mem'non. Homer, the greatest of the ancient poets, tells about this siege in his famous poem, the Il'i-ad. We shall see later on how the siege was brought to an end by the capture and destruction of the city, as well as how AEneas escaped, and what afterwards happened to him and his companions.
Meanwhile we must learn something about the gods and goddesses who play so important a part in the story. At almost every stage of the adventures of AEneas, as of the adventures of all ancient heroes, we find a god or a goddess controlling or directing affairs, or in some way mixed up with the course of events.
According to the religion of the ancient Greeks and Romans there were a great many gods. They believed that all parts of the universe--the heavens and the earth, the sun and the moon, the seas and rivers, and storms--were ruled by different gods. Those beings it was supposed, were in some respects like men and women. They needed food and drink and sleep; they married and had children; and like poor mortals they often had quarrels among themselves. Their food was am-bro'si-a, which gave them immortality and perpetual youth, and their drink was a delicious wine called nectar.
The gods often visited men and even accepted their hospitality. Sometimes they married human beings, and the sons of such marriages were the demigods or heroes of antiquity. AEneas was one of those heroes, his mother being the goddess Ve'nus, of whom we shall hear
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