Aeneid II, Virgil lines 298-308 'Aeneas on the Roof' Notes

Aeneid II, Virgil lines 98-308 'Aeneas on the Roof' detailed revision notes and explanations.

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Aeneid 2 [298-308] `Aeneas on the roof'
298: misceri means to be mixed up, and is often used by Virgil to describe confusion. Note
the word order with diverso and luctu separated at the beginning and end of the line ­
emphasising the confusion on all sides. luctus (grief) tends to be used by Virgil in a battle
context. Note the alliteration of `m' in miscentur moenia - emphasising the grief?
299: et magis atque magis emphasises the grief and confusion. Suspense mounts with the
action delayed by the description of the seclusion of Anchises' house in 299-300
301: begins powerfully with the verb as the first word, and its subject following (reversal of
the usual Latin word order), and this effect is repeated with ingruit horror at the end of the
line. Note that horror has to do with bristling (as at something fearful). The approach of the
enemy is portrayed by the sound growing clearer, and the fear of the weapons.
302: begins with the verb for emphasis `I was awakened' and then in 303 there is lots of
assonance of `a', alliteration of `s' and also two elisions: ascensu super(o) atqu(e) arrectis
auribus asto . This reflects the excitement and tension of the situation. Note the stress on the
height also: Aeneas climbs (supero) to the fastigium (gable) of the top (summi) of the roof
(tecti) in ascent (ascensu). Note too the excitement also emphasised by the sustained historic
304: as we anticipate what Aeneas will hear, having pricked up his ears (interesting too that
Virgil focuses on his ears ­ we might have expected the focus to be on what he could see)
Virgil launches into a simile, introduced by veluti (just as). The main point of comparison does
not come until the end. Virgil begins with `as when fire descends on the crops' and there is a
secondary point of comparison here in that fire is descending on Troy. Then Virgil introduces
a second similarity ­ like a flood of a river in spate. Again Troy will be destroyed like this and
flattened ­note the repetition of sternit in 306, and then trahit (drags) in 307 emphasising
the devastation of the flood and the wholesale destruction. The verb stupet is brought to the
start of its clause for emphasis ­ he is stunned ­ we have to wait right to the end of 308 to
find out who. The so far unidentified stunned man is then inscius ­ unaware, bewildered, and
almost helpless ­ as he hears the sound (accipiens sonitum) ­ just like Aeneas is hearing the
sound. And this man is sitting on top of a rock, just as Aeneas is on top of the house. Finally he
is identified ­ pastor ­ he is a shepherd. All that for which he cared is destroyed, just like
Aeneas. Some have also seen a further parallel with Aeneas as a carer for his people.


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