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Painting by Jean-Joseph Taillasson: Virgil rea...

Painting by Jean-Joseph Taillasson: Virgil reading the Aeneid to Augustus and Octavia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Aeneid is an epic poem written in Latin by the Roman poet Virgil. Thought to be largely historical in its heyday, it tells of the mythic journey and adventures of the Trojan hero Aeneas, who in ancient legend founded Rome.

Aeneas had already been known through Homer, who depicted him as a righteous, trustworthy soul, loyal to Rome.

Virgil in his Aeneid furthers Homer’s emphasis on Aeneas’ piety by representing him, in keeping with fashionable Roman ideals, as a symbol of filial, societal and spiritual devotion—i.e. devotion to parents, to the glory of Rome and its many deities.

The poem had a great influence on Dante, and was core university reading in the Middle Ages. Today, it still fascinates students of myth and classical studies. And for depth psychology, Aeneas makes a journey to the underworld, which speaks to the importance of the so-called collective unconscious.
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