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Roman Civilization

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The Aeneid is poetic work written by Virgil in the Latin language during the last times of the 1st century. He was born on 15th October B.C.E. within a minute village which boarders Mantua in North Italy. The Aeneid is a true example of Roman Civilization. Throughout the epic, Virgil shows many examples of arête, morality, spirituality, and strong family values that are essentially Roman values. These themes are represented by the multitude of gods leading Aeneas through his journey from Troy to what will become Rome. Along his journey, we see the strength of his family when he refuses to leave Troy without his father, morality when he makes the decision to leave Queen Dido, and arête during the battle against Latinus. Aeneas’ greatest accomplishment is the establishment of a new city, which will become one of the most stable governments in the Western world. The proof is that many aspects of the Roman Empire have been mimicked for thousands of years. Western civilization is essentially Roman; we see these traits in western government, family values, and architecture today.

The whole setting of the Aeneid is about the looking of a new home by Aeneas. The settings of the plots take place in Troy, Italy, Sicily, Carthage, and other islands (Virgil, 2006). It talks about a man whose name was Aeneas. Aeneas was looking forward in establishing a strong kingdom, which later came to be. He was under the influence of the Roman gods. He was among the Trojans who escaped death and enslavement during the Trojan War. Among the Trojan society, there were gods who guided people on how to live. Aeneas strived hard towards achieving a well established and a strong empire, which later came to be. Aeneas was ordered by the gods to flee from Troy. He gathered other people known as Aeneads who accompanied him in migration. The Aeneads later travelled to Italy. These people later became the great ancestors of the Romans (Spielvogel, 2008).

Portrayal of change

The interpretation of Virgil’s life and poetry changes from one individual to another and culture to culture based on what they want to convey about the empire, government and the state, religion literature, or civilization. Theodore Ziolkowski notes that the history of Virgil’s reception turned into a mirror where readers found what they wanted. The Aeneid is itself the epic of the Roman Empire, the intended celebration of the new government created by Augustus Caesar. Similarly, it is regarded as having a universal meaning and significance that transcend its role in ancient Rome. The tradition of the Aeneid in its entire existence has thus been linked to the response of Augustus and the Roman Empire, to issues of politics and the state. The epic often has been applied in the legalization of history, politics, religion, and literature of several Western countries and people. The mysteries of Virgil’s life, death, and motives in writing the Aeneid and also the polysemous  nature of the literature has often left space for diverse interpretation of the poem. The poem though is an example of Roman Civilization based on the manner in which it judges others (Spielvogel, 2008).

Renewed Roman rule

The accepted textbook interpretation of the Aeneid maintains that it is a propagandistic celebration of the renewed power of Rome under the leadership of Augustus Caesar. However, through out history, it is intrinsically linked to the reception of Augustus and the Roman Empire. The deconstruction of Augustan canonization is a good example of Roman civilization. The Augustan Virgil can be considered, as that would have optimistically supported the achievements of Augustus towards Roman civilization. Although this viewpoint s complicated by the European way of thinking, the interpretation is a positive cultural construction of the Roman Empire.

The Aeneid and religion

Within the Trojan society, there were gods who guided the people on how to live. Juno was a god among the Trojans. While in Italy, Juno developed enmity towards Aeneas. “The gods thought otherwise”. When not in good terms with the god, one would undergo various troubles. Juno becomes so malicious towards Aeneas and decides to torture him. “If I am unable to make the gods above relent, I shall move Hell”. Aeneas was saved by Venus because of the fact that he was related to him. Junos’ hatred towards the Trojans emanated from the fact that she was not chosen as the fairest among all gods (Fagles, 2006). Aeneas shifted from Troy and ended up founding the Rome city with the help of his mother Aphrodite. “I sing of arms and the man who first from the shores of Troy came destined an exile to Italy and the Lavinian beaches, much buffeted he on land and on the deep by force of the gods because of fierce Juno’s never-forgetting anger”.

In the Aeneid, Virgil points out some of the social beliefs among the Roman community. Among Roman families, the authority within the fathers was believed to be from the latter’s genius. The father’s wisdom and his guiding spirit are also factors that contribute towards the fathers’ authority. Sons were expected to inherit the family leadership from their fathers but not women or girls since they were to be the future fathers. The leadership was to be exercised wisely and effectively. After their demise, the memories of the fathers and grandfathers were observed during funerals and religious occasions. They would also appear to the living in dreams. Aeneas had a vision about his father during his lifetime under the control of the family genius. After receiving the vision, Aeneas offers a minor offering to the gods. This brings out that Aeneas was a very responsible father not only to his family but also to the whole Trojan society. Through the influence of the gods, Aeneas is on his way towards the establishing a famous kingdom across the whole world (Virgil, 2006).

In my sleep
the image of the prophet Cassandra
appeared and offered blazing brands. 'Look here
for Troy; here is your home!' she cried. The time
to act is now; such signs do not allow
delay. Here are four altars raised to Neptune;
the god himself gives us the will, the torches.

The Roman virtues, practices, and beliefs have been acknowledged by a historian named Livy. Romans considered their way of life to be exceedingly upright and sacred. They regarded it as moral, transparent, and so sacred that it was worthy being copied by other communities. This was not the case among the western people who did not consider their way of life so moral.

When Aeneas arrives at Carthage, he comes across queen Dido. Aeneas falls in love with queen Dido (Fagles, 2006). With some of the persuasions coming from Aeneas’ mother, Queen Venus falls in love with him. This renders Aeneas in a state of confusion whether to stay in Carthage for Dido’s’ love or whether to obey Jupiter’s order and move on towards finding a new kingdom. “Are you now laying the foundations of high Carthage, as servant to a woman?” He chooses moving to Italy and leaves Dido behind, a fact that leads to Dido committing suicide (Anderson, 2005).

In the western world, the greatest empire was the one that was established by the Romans. They developed a reign that lasted for a long time. This led to most of the principles from the Roman Empire being incorporated in most institutions of modern days. Most of the western kingdoms are created through copying of facts from the Roman Empire. An example is the way the United States founders considered the model of the Roman during the structuring of the Washington city. Roman greatness lay beneath its government and law. Most political facts in modern world are so deeply rooted in the laws that dominated the Roman society during the past 1,000 years. A government that wants to expand must put in mind the Roman empires political and social thoughts. The Greek government practiced democracy with the main objective of attaining a stable kind of government (Fagles, 2006).

The Aeneid and cultural activities

The Roman citizens took pride in the traditional and practical morality. They also had military, organizational, and engineering skills of high degrees. In cultural activities, the Roman citizens observed religious, philosophical and arts that seem to be crapped off from the Greeks. Most of the Roman deities were only incorporated of the borrowed practices but not completely replaced. However the outward appearance of the Roman civilization can be deceiving when compared to their real practices (Virgil, 2006). There are some of the beliefs and cultures that were retained by the Romans as well. Most of the people who strongly withheld the practices are those who were closely related to the gods. The Romans believed that the head of the family is the father the father is known to have control over the gods (Perry, 2008).     The main founders of the Western culture are the Greeks and the Romans. The Greeks established philosophy, classical and Democracy Theater. From the Greeks, the Romans copied practices and made them more efficient. This helped the Romans to emerge with the best empire that has ever been witnessed in history. They can because they think they can. Its kingdom included the history of the neighboring countries like the western states of the Europe and the Mediterranean lands (Spielvogel, 2008).  

The Roman rule

The Roman kind of rule was beneficial. This is the time the empire was at its peak of its power and prosperity. Improvement in infrastructure was witnessed. Improved drainage system, cleared forest, irrigated deserts and developed uncultivated lands was developed. Clean and safe water for the people prolonged their life times and effective drainage system improved their health standards. The conditions for the less privileged people in the society improved. Condition of those under slavery also improved (Perry, 2008). This was contributed by the fact that Rome took no part in wars. The position of the roman women improved also. Women in roman society were not secluded in their homes. They could come and go as they wished unlike their Greek counterparts. The roman republic assimilated the Greek achievements and spread it to others who were less informed with the Hellenism. The Roman Empire is known to have been ruled by five good empires from A.D 96 to A.D 180. Almost all citizens benefited from the rule of the empires. Four of the emperors who ruled had no biological sons and so had to choose who was to succeed them. Religion in Roman was highly observed. It was very highly tied up in ideas of obligations. Offering of sacrifices to the gods made them pleased and developed liking towards someone. However, they would also develop hatred towards someone and ignore them. They would end up messing with someone’s life if their favor was not upon (Perry, 2008).

The entire Roman Empire was founded by Augustus. Augustus was an empire who reigned from 27BC- AD 14 and who insisted that all citizens should uphold patriotism of high degrees. He was the adopted son of Julius Caesar. His father was murdered during the 44BC. He expressed great prowess in leadership. The Italians were later defeated by Marcus Crassus who rejoiced his victory by crucifying six thousand captured slaves. He crucified them along the Appian Way. This is the road that ran from southern part of Rome towards the Naples bay. Crassus attacked Parthia, which is part of the current Iraq and was killed at Carthage. Patriotism is highly depicted in the entire plot of the Aeneid. In addition, most of his soldiers were taken to imprisonment (Virgil, 2006).

Themes in Aeneid and Roman civilization

The Aeneid talks about four major themes in its plot. Fate is among the four themes. Aeneas was destined towards achieving a Roman empire and he worked tirelessly to achieve. The gods of the Roman society are depicted as being favoring and messing as well. Offering sacrifices to them pleased them a lot. Alas, pitiable boy — if only you might break your cruel fate! — You are to be Marcellus. Give me lilies in armfuls. Religious rituals and omen as well as prayers are other major themes discussed within the Aeneid. Observing certain rituals like the sacrifices offering are religious rituals. This shows that the Romans were very much religious and responsible. The ancestors of the roman society were very much revered (Anderson, 2005).

Conclusion

In history, the Roman Empire holds the title of the most stable empire to have been established. This led to other kingdoms assimilating facts from the Roman Empire and developing them to theirs. The Roman Empire was established by Augustus who also instituted new religious cults and also strengthened the Roman Empire. Augustus did not consider himself as a god but he permitted the construction of temples in regard to Julius Caesar who had adopted him. Even in today’s world, most of the countries have political structures that are incorporated of ethics derived from the Roman style of leadership. Most of the countries have highly benefited from this kind of leadership (Perry, 2008).

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