Aeneas' emotions in Vergil's Aeneid and their literary and philosophical foundations : an analysis of select scenes

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Polleichtner, Wolfgang

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This dissertation consists of nine chapters in which I explore the literary and philosophical background of the emotional profile of Aeneas as it is presented in select scenes of Vergil’s Aeneid. After an introduction I discuss in detail the sea storm of Aeneid 1, Aeneas’ subsequent encounter with his mother, Aeneas’ arrival in Carthage, and Aeneas’ emotions while he contemplates the pictures at the temple of Juno in Carthage. The next two chapters are devoted to the Helen episode and the final scene of the Aeneid. A conclusion rounds out this dissertation. Regarding Vergil’s literary sources, more emphasis is given to the role Apollonius’ works played in shaping Vergil’s work than has been done before. Apollonius’ work is one of the two focal lenses through which Homeric traditions are handed down to Vergil. The tradition of reading Homer’s works and similar stories morally is the other lens. Here, as has been observed before, Vergil pays attention to opinions of all major philosophical schools. In a dialogue particularly with Aristotle, Vergil even develops his own poetics as far as Vergil’s advice on how to read epic poetry is concerned. Looked at from the ancients’ perspective of emotions, Aeneas reacts as can be reasonably expected from somebody in a similar situation. Changes in the way Vergil treats the material stemming from his literary predecessors reflect the philosophical thinking of his time in considerable detail. Vergil emerges as a Hellenistic poeta doctus both in regard to literary works as well as in regard to philosophical education who puts his knowledge into practice.