Virgil’s “Aeneid”

Instructor:  Juliet Baker and Rebecca Jessup

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 pm
  • Class Limit 25
  • Required Text

Virgil’s “Aeneid” remains one of the greatest works of Latin literature. Centuries after Homer, Virgil wrote an epic poem of Rome, one intended to equal or surpass the “Iliad” and the “Odyssey.” While Virgil’s inspiration descended from ancient Greek poets, especially Homer, his loyalty to Rome and to Augustus were as significant. Virgil sought to bring the grandeur, legend, and mythology of Homer to the contemporary and sophisticated world of Augustus’ Empire. We meet the Trojan hero, Aeneas, in Carthage, having, like Odysseus, sailed from the wreckage of Troy. In the first six books, Aeneas narrates the story of Troy’s destruction, his own escape and tortuous journey to Carthage. The second half of the “Aeneid” focuses on Aeneas’ imperious arrival in Latium and on the battles enabling him to conquer that area. While there are many fine translations of the “Aeneid,” for this class we have chosen Fagles’ highly praised translation (Penguin 2006, accessible locally and on Amazon). We will read and discuss whole books along with sections of other books. Maps and illustrations will supplement our study. Rebecca Jessup, a Latin scholar, will guide our readings from her knowledge of Latin language and from her love of ancient history. For those of you who have read Homer’s “Iliad” and “Odyssey,” many questions arising from each will be answered. Class limit 25

Required Text: “The Aeneid” by Fagel, 2006. Penguin. ISBN: 978014-310629-6. A three-ring binder is also recommended.

Juliet Baker has studied and taught English language and literature for forty years. She holds a B.A. and M.A. in English and pursued a PhD at Berkeley. She has taught several well-received courses at Senior College. Driven by a penchant for close reading and for literature as a reflection of all human experience, she loves being associated with Senior College. Rebecca Jessup graduated with a BA in Classics [Latin & Greek) from the University of Colorado Boulder in January, 1993. She is a longtime member of Phi Beta Kappa and has taught Latin since 1993, at CU Boulder, then at various high schools in Colorado, and for a semester in Evansville, Indiana. She now teaches middle school at Edna Drinkwater. At Senior College she has taught Latin, and recently co-taught “Gilgamesh” with Juliet Baker. She taught ancient history at the (late lamented) River School here in Belfast, and has taught at various adult education outlets, both here and in Colorado. Aside from a BA and an incomplete MA at Boulder, she is self-taught.