Virgil, Aeneid

19 BC

His looks, his words, they pierce her heart and cling— no peace, no rest for her body, love will give her none. - Virgil

The story is a propaganda piece for the emperor Augustus. It's a retelling of The Odyssey and The Iliad via a Roman, and at the end, he triumphantly reaches Italy, and his descendants Romulus and Remus found Rome.

Remembering this book several years on has endeared me to it. I remember reading it mid-summer in Tucson. At night, it would cool down to 100 degrees outside, and I could sit on my porch because that was as far as I could go during the pandemic.

Aeneas's crew washes up on the shores of Carthage, and the queen Dido falls deeply in love with him. Her passion is desperate and sickening to read. When he departs Carthage, she commits suicide. Later he consults an oracle who sails him through the Underworld. The story is rich, but the tone is pessimistic and stoic. It may be blasphemous to say, but reading it side-by-side with The Iliad and The Odyssey left me with the feeling it was lacking. But, maybe it would have been richer if I had read it in the original Latin.