READINGS (Monday, November 6): the Aeneid, bk 6 pp. 133-62 (pp. 131-60 in newer printings)
READINGS (Tuesday night class, November 7): the Aeneid, bk 4, pp.  81-104; bk 6, pp. 133-62; bk 8, pp.191-214; bk 9, lines 232-667, pp. 221-31; bk 10, lines 399-1248, pp. 253-73; bk. 12, lines 674-1271, pp. 321-36 (pp. 79-102, 131-60, 188-211, 218-28, 249-69, 316-31 in newer printings)
READINGS (Wednesday, November 8): bk 8, pp. 191-214; bk 9, lines 232-667, pp. 221-31; bk 10, lines 399-1248, pp. 253-73; bk. 12, lines 674-1271, pp. 321-36 (pp. 188-211, 218-28, 249-69, 316-31 in newer printings)
Summary: Book six plays a pivotal role in the structure of the Aeneid and the development of Aeneas’ character.  Aeneas descends to the Underworld as the son of the Trojan, Anchises, to see the shade of his father.  After his encounters with other shades from his past - Palinurus, Deiphobos and Dido, he sees a vision of his future descendants and emerges as father of the Romans.  This vision of Rome’s glorious future is further developed in book eight by the description of the shield which, like Achilleus’ marvellous shield, is made for Aeneas by the god, Vulcan.  On it, there are figures and scenes from Roman history surrounding a huge, central image of Octavian’s victory over Marc Antony and Cleopatra at Actium.  In the underworld, however, the somber tone, the tragic stories of Brutus and Marcellus, the warnings of civil war, and Aeneas' puzzling departure through the ivory gate of false dreams may make us question whether Virgil is celebrating Rome’s achievements with these prophetic visions of Roman history.  
     We will conclude our discussion of the Aeneid by reading three short episodes that illustrate Virgil’s handling of the battle narrative: the night expedition of Nisus and Euryalus, the death of Pallas and Aeneas’ wrath in book ten, and Aeneas’ killing of Turnus at the end of the poem. We will compare his narrative to Homer’s, and consider how - and why - he makes use of and transforms important episodes in the Iliad, such as the spying expedition of Odysseus and Diomedes (bk. 10), the deaths of Sarpedon and Patroklos (bk. 16) and the combat between Achilleus and Hektor (bk. 22). This will permit a final assessment of Virgil’s debt to Homer, his view of Aeneas’ character, and his verdict on Rome’s achievements, and I would invite you to reflect on overall differences between the cultures of imperial Rome and classical Greece.
     Use the summary to provide a context for the selections from books eight , nine, ten and twelve . In book eight, Venus asks her husband, Vulcan, to make a shield for Aeneas. Aeneas has been seeking allies for his fight against Turnus and the Latins, and Virgil describes the aged king, Evander, bidding farewell to his young son, Pallas, when he sends him off to fight by Aeneas’ side. Finally, there is a detailed description of the historical scenes on the shield of Aeneas. In book nine, the Trojans are besieged - in Aeneas' absence - and Nisus and Euryalus propose to sneak through the Latin battle lines and get a message to Aeneas; their expedition ends tragically. In book ten (pp. 253-73), Aeneas returns to the Trojan camp, and Pallas scores successes on the battlefield before he is killed by Turnus.  Furious, Aeneas goes on a rampage. Turnus is rescued by the gods, but Aeneas kills the young warrior, Lausus, and his father, the tyrant, Mezentius. In the final scene (pp. 321-36), Aeneas is enraged by the breaking of the truce that was arranged to settle the conflict. In response, he marches on the city, and, eventually, confronts Turnus and kills him.


Book six
-What is the significance of the description of Daedalus' carvings (6.19-53) and the reference to the story of Daedalus and ICARUS ?
-What is the significance of the death of Misenus?
-What is accomplished by Aeneas' meetings with Palinurus, Dido and Deiphobus?
-COMPARING WORKS>>> We are told how Misenus (6.310-15), Palinurus (6.502-05), Deiphobus (6.667-72), Brutus (6.1090-92), Aeneas' nurse (7.1-5) and others receive memorials, fame or renown after their death.  Compare Virgil's view of fame with Homer's.
-Can you relate Anchises' description (6.956-93) of a cycle of reincarnation to themes of the Aeneid?
-What does Aeneas' vision of Rome's future (6.999-1182) tell us about Virgil's view of Roman history?  Why do you think it ends on such a somber note?
-How do the stories of Daedalus and Icarus and of Marcellus "frame" book six of the Aeneid?
Books seven to twelve: the wars in Italy
-COMPARING WORKS>>> Virgil's account of the battles seems more confusing than Homer's.  The scene shifts from place to place over a wider area than Homer's account of the battles at Troy.  The networks of alliances are more complex, and the two armies repeatedly exchange roles as attackers and defenders.  Do Virgil's allusions to the Iliad clarify or further confuse his story?  Why?
-COMPARING WORKS>>> Compare the night expedition of Nisus and Euryalus with that of Odysseus and Diomedes in the Iliad.  Why does their expedition end tragically?
-COMPARING WORKS>>> Compare the death of Pallas and Aeneas' reaction with the death of Patroklos and Achilleus' response.  Do these episodes recall others in the Iliad?
-Lausus' death defending his father, Mezentius, offers a dramatic example of filial duty.  How and why has Virgil focused on the relationship between fathers and sons throughout the Aeneid?
-COMPARING WORKS>>> In book 12, the duel between Aeneas and Turnus and their final combat are modelled on several episodes in the Iliad.  Identify those episodes and explain how they affect your reading of the scene.
-How do you interpret the ending of the Aeneid?
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: The last books of the Aeneid contain graphic descriptions of brutal slaughter on the battlefield.  Earlier, Aeneas, describing his futile efforts to fight for Troy, had recalled how he rushed into battle thinking "how fine a thing it is to die in arms" (2.432).  One of the great poets of World War I, Wilfred Owen, used part of a phrase from the Roman poet, Horace, as the title of a bitterly ironic poem (Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori/it is fine and sweet to die for one's country) and called it that "old lie".  Look up one of the war poems of Wilfred Owen and compare his descriptions and views of war to those expressed in the Aeneid.