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Title Rome's Bucolic Landscapes: Place, Prophecy, and Power in Aeneid VIII.
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Publication Date
Date Accessioned
Degree PhD
Discipline/Department Classical Studies
Degree Level doctoral
University/Publisher University of Michigan
Abstract Vergil’s Aeneid is a key text for the study of the Augustan regime’s justification of its unprecedented power. In the crucial settings of the bestowal of Aeneas’ Shield and the early site of Rome, book VIII gives evidence of a deep concern with the historical and religious foundations of that power. This dissertation traces the numerous and clearly signposted bucolic allusions in the text to reconstruct their role as interpretive guides pointing the way to a pro-Augustan political message. These bucolic allusions occur in four pivotal episodes of Aeneid VIII, all entailing descriptions of places: the Hercules and Cacus episode, the conferral of the Shield of Aeneas, the myth of the Golden Age and Saturn’s reign, and Evander’s tour of the site of Rome. The current study uses these allusions to reinterpret these episodes and to provide an overarching theory of Vergil’s use in book VIII of allusion to Theocritus and his own Eclogues, as well as such related texts as the Georgics, with special attention to the rustic deities Faunus, Silvanus, and Pan. This reinterpretation reveals a text that grounds its support for Roman power on claims of vatic insight into the historical process, and which appeals to the contemporary Roman reader to look at Rome after the civil wars and see the gleaming city as proof of its historical promise. At the same time, it critiques a rival rationalist tradition as unsatisfying and unavailable to the majority of people. What emerges is a complex dialogue between faith and reason that stretches back to encompass all of Vergil’s oeuvre. The concern with Rome’s roots and prophetic insight suggests the importance of using traditional terms to justify Augustan ideology. Vergil’s use of the bucolic as a bridge between the epic past and contemporary Rome also suggests new avenues of generic interpretation. Finally, the text’s construction of the Roman reader poses the question of intended audience, raising the possibility that the Aeneid was designed to draw support from a newly empowered, educated class: the Roman equites.
Subjects/Keywords Vergil; Aeneid VIII; Bucolic; Bakhtin; Genre; Vates; Classical Studies; Humanities
Contributors Reed, Joseph D. (committee member); Acosta-Hughes, Benjamin (committee member); Amrine, Frederick R. (committee member); Scodel, Ruth S. (committee member)
Language en
Rights Unrestricted
Country of Publication us
Record ID handle:2027.42/62329
Repository umich
Date Indexed 2020-09-09
Grantor University of Michigan, Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies
Issued Date 2009-01-01 00:00:00
Note [thesisdegreename] Ph.D.; [thesisdegreediscipline] Classical Studies; [thesisdegreegrantor] University of Michigan, Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies; [bitstreamurl] http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/62329/1/rapostol_1.pdf;

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…wheels it over everything, Just like when trembling light is struck from a bronze basin Filled with water, by sunlight or moon’s radiant image, And flits over everything around it… Vergil, Aeneid VIII.21-24. This passage associates gleaming and water…

Aeneid VIII and let his cows drink from the river, vallemque boves amnemque tenebant, “the cows filled the place and crowded the river” (VIII.204), much as the herdsmen of Eclogue VII do at the Mincius. As an added note, the herdsmen of the…

…Eclogue are Arcades (VII.4, 26), Arcadians, as are the men to whom Tiber sends Aeneas: Arcades his oris…delegere locum et posuere in montibus urbem, “Arcadians chose a place on these shores and built a city in the hills” (Aeneid VIII.51, 53…

…Protect Aeneas and ward off these final dangers… I will always hold you in honor and celebrate you with gifts, O horn-bearing River, ruler of western waters. Only, be by my side, and draw your protection nearer.” Aeneid VIII.71-3, 76-8. The extremus labor…

…of Eclogue VII finds its parallel in the tandem arcete periclis of Aeneid VIII. Yet there is a more specific descriptive correspondence in these passages than the situation, namely the description of the river sinking down: dixit, deinde lacu fluvius…

…se condidit alto / ima petens, “The river spoke, then it hid itself in the deep lake, seeking the bottom” (Aeneid VIII.66-7), which recalls the Arethusa sinking down beneath the Sicilian currents while maintaining its own integrity as a body…

…divinely fated emperor, Augustus) in the Aeneid, on what does he base that support, and how do those underlying ideas compare with the ideas in his earlier poetry, which he takes the opportunity to revisit in Aeneid VIII? These are the sorts of…

…How masses of stone have been thrown far asunder, and lonely A hill home remains, and the cliffs have cast an avalanche vast Down upon it. Here was a cavern, encased in deserted recess… Aeneid VIII.190-3 Evander’s retelling of the fight between…

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