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The Aeneid

The Aeneid

Written by Virgil

Narrated by Christopher Ravenscroft


The Aeneid

Written by Virgil

Narrated by Christopher Ravenscroft

ratings:
3.5/5 (56 ratings)
Length:
9 hours
Released:
Jan 13, 2005
ISBN:
9781615730858
Format:
Audiobook

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Description

Robert Fitzgerald's magnificent translation of Virgil's epic poem was a major literary event at its release in 1983; today it is an acknowledged masterpiece.

Profoundly poetic yet gloriously accessible, this audio recording is the best way to experience a work that has remained a centerpiece of Western civilization for 2,000 years. Fitzgerald’s rendering speaks directly to the modern listener, inviting us to share the excitement, adventure, and human tears as Aeneas, the warrior hero, escapes from the burning city of Troy, embarks on a long and perilous journey, and eventually, triumphantly establishes a new nation: Rome.

Released:
Jan 13, 2005
ISBN:
9781615730858
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as ebookEbook

About the author

Virgil (Publius Vergilius Maro) was an ancient Roman poet who wrote during the reign of Augustus, the first Roman emperor. In addition to his epic poem Aeneid, Virgil’s Ecolgues (Bucolics) and Georgics are recognized as major works of Latin literature, and have been studied, adapted, imitated, and copied by later poets and scholars. Virgil’s poetry has also had a lasting influence on Western literature, inspiring countless works including Dante’s Divine Comedy, in which Virgil guides Dante through Hell and Purgatory.


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What people think about The Aeneid

3.7
56 ratings / 63 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    Love this translation, especially the beginning.
  • (4/5)
    The Aeneid, translated by Robert FaglesAfter reading Black Ships by Jo Graham (which was based on The Aeneid), I was inspired to find a copy and read it myself. Robert Fagles is an award-winning translator and is especially recognized for his work on Homer's The Illiad and The Oddessy. He more recently turned his attention to The Aeneid by Virgil. While I've never read The Aeneid before, and can't compare Fagles translation to others, I did find it to be very approachable, enjoyable, and immensley readable. In fact, he won the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award from The Academy of American Poets because of it.Also included in this edition is a wonderful introduction by Bernard Knox explaining the background, history, and context of The Aeneid. Additional useful elements include a genealogy, notes on the translation, and a fairly comprehensive pronunciation glossary. Apparently, Virgil died before he could finish the epic poem and requested that it be destroyed. Fortunately, for us anyway, his wish was not fulfilled.The Aeneid consists of twelve books following Aeneas, a Trojan commander, and what remains of the free people of Troy after it's final destruction. Destined by the gods to settle in Italy and become the ancestors of the Romans, their path is not an easy one. (The establishment of this ancestry was one of the primary reasons Virgil set about writing this work.) The Trojans must face storms, wars, monsters, and even the gods themselves in their struggle to survive and to found a new homeland. Even unfinished, the poem is quite an achievement. It is filled with fantastic imagery and is packed with action while addressing the humanity of the people involved.While in high school, I was intensely interested in classical studies. Reading this terrific translation of The Aeneid was a wonderful way to revisit that one-time obsession. Though it did end rather suddenly, right at one of the climaxes actually, it was very much worth reading and I very much enjoyed it.Experiments in Reading
  • (3/5)
    The Trojan Odyssey. Interesting for how it has carried down even until today.
  • (4/5)
    Having read Broch's The Death of Virgil earlier this year, I felt I should read The Aeneid, especially as I never studied Latin III, where we would have read it in the original. I'm glad I read it now for the first time, as I don't think I would have appreciated its richness, creativity, and psychological insight years ago. The story is quickly told: Aeneas flees Troy after the Trojan War and he and his companions seek a new land to settle, in Italy. Juno opposes them, so they are forced on a long voyage until reaching their destination. They must fight to gain the land where they will found their new city. Yes, you could call it a propaganda piece; but oh, how marvellous! In Book VI, Aeneas journeys to the Elysian Fields where his dead father's shade tells him of the glories of the Rome to come. The translation was very readable and evocative of the time and place. I liked the use of the present tense to describe the action [the 'historical present']; to me, it gave it immediacy. I appreciated the lengthy introduction by Bernard Knox and the Postscript by the translator, Robert Fagles. More than just the text, I highly recommend all supplementary material. My favorite parts were Book VI and Book X [the main battle against Latium]. I could almost call Aeneas the distant ancestor of one of the Roman soldier-heroes in today's Roman military novels. Certainly, the fighting was as bloody. The Aeneid is a must-read!
  • (3/5)
    I listened to the audiobook read by Simon Callow. He was an excellent narrator. The story itself is a classic, and one that is somewhat familiar to people: the Trojan Horse, the betrayal of Dido, the journey to the Underworld, the voyage to found Rome. It’s part of our Western folklore. Hearing poetry aloud makes a big difference in understanding. The Fagles translation, while somewhat stilted, is understandable when written, but even better aloud. Like Homer, Virgil’s poetry definitely benefits from being read in audiobook form (at least if you have a good narrator).
  • (3/5)
    Klassieke vertaling van Anton van Wilderode.Episch-lyrisch hoogtepunt, maar soms zwakke structuur (vooral boek 7 en 8). Inhoudelijk zeer sterk schatplicht aan Homeros (boek 1-6: Odyssea, 7-12: Ilias).Dramatische sterkte is de concentratie op personen en actie. Centrale thema's: trouw, vriendschap, eergevoel. Grote rol van fatum en interventie van de goden (medehoofdrolspelers).Structurele zwakheden:- Dido is ontrouw, Vergilius niet- in boek 10 besluiten de goden neutraal te blijven, maar ze blijven ingrijpen, zonder commentaar van de auteur;Merkwaardige tweedeling: boek 1-6 zachtaardig en gevoelig van inslag, boek 7-12 actie op de voorgrond en eerder wreedaardige inslag.
  • (3/5)
    Borders edition to the Iliad and the Odyssey's counter, the Aeneid. Tehe Trojans wonder looking for a home after Troy's defeat moving on until they reach Italy. And battle after battle leads to a final victory with heroes and gods in tow. This was definitely a bathroom read, one page at a time. So 2500 years ago the hero was the center of attention. You can see how this story line is still wih us today. Glad I took the tike to read it.
  • (4/5)
    While I loved all the supplementary information, Fagles translation wasn't as good as I had hoped based upon my experience with his Odyssey. My old paperback edition, translated by Allan Mandelbaum, was better but my friend's copy of Fitzgerald's was best of all.
  • (3/5)
    I finally finished!I read the first half with a coursera course and really enjoyed it--the lectures really gave me a background into who the characters are, and how those chapters worked with The Iliad/Odyssey and Italian history/myth.And then the course reading ended, and I have spent months reading the second half. The course helped me understand the story itself, but I would love to know who the important characters are in the second half, and how they relate to history, myth, the Trojan War, etc.
  • (3/5)
    Another classic! Interesting to hear the Trojan side of this and also the slightly different Roman Gods. Aeneas is a great hero and the story suitably epic!
  • (4/5)
    The Aeneid is a true adventure - a look towards the future and the promises made. History in the making for the Roman Empire. There are twelve books in the epic, much-loved poem. In a nutshell, the first six cover Aeneas and his wanderings after surviving the Trojan war. The second half of the poem are the details of the Trojan War. Much like how Gregory Maguire chose to tell the story of the wicked witch of the west, Virgil tells the other side of the Trojan War story. Instead of following Odysseus, we focus on Aeneas, the defeated Trojan.On a personal level, an observation: Aeneas reminded me of Dorothy Dunnett's character, Francis, from the Lymond series. He is that deeply flawed hero that everyone roots for.
  • (4/5)
    This is poetry, and is therefore harder for me to read. The introduction is very helpful; if doing it again, I would read the corresponding part prior to each book/chapter. The story is sort of a combination of the Iliad (war) and the Odyssey (travels).
  • (4/5)
    While I've read both the Iliad and the Odyssey several times each, I've never gotten around to the Aeneid by Virgil, until now. The Aeneid is a sequel to the Iliad from a Trojan's point of view, specifically, Aeneus' wanderings after escaping the sacking of Troy. He is promised, by the gods, that he will found a new Troy in Latium (the future Rome), thus this epic, written during the time of Augustus Caesar, is a foundation story for the Roman Empire. It copies the structure and devices of its predecessors with the gods constantly interfering with Aeneas' mission because of their own petty quarrels, as well as wanderings from place to place, tragic loves, bloody battles between heroic men and even a trip to the underworld. In this book you'll find the description of Troy's destruction, the details about the Greek's devious ruse with the Wooden Horse, as well as the story of Dido the queen of Carthage who falls, to her own demise, in love with Aeneas. If the Aeneid is inferior to both the Iliad and the Odyssey, it is, nevertheless, enjoyable reading. I especially liked the depiction of Camilla, a female warrior that would give the Amazons a run for their money.
  • (2/5)
    I prefer Homer.
  • (3/5)
    Klassieke vertaling van Anton van Wilderode.Episch-lyrisch hoogtepunt, maar soms zwakke structuur (vooral boek 7 en 8). Inhoudelijk zeer sterk schatplicht aan Homeros (boek 1-6: Odyssea, 7-12: Ilias).Dramatische sterkte is de concentratie op personen en actie. Centrale thema's: trouw, vriendschap, eergevoel. Grote rol van fatum en interventie van de goden (medehoofdrolspelers).Structurele zwakheden:- Dido is ontrouw, Vergilius niet- in boek 10 besluiten de goden neutraal te blijven, maar ze blijven ingrijpen, zonder commentaar van de auteur;Merkwaardige tweedeling: boek 1-6 zachtaardig en gevoelig van inslag, boek 7-12 actie op de voorgrond en eerder wreedaardige inslag.
  • (3/5)
    I do think it is a commendable effort by Fagles to translate another lengthy epic but I do think my on-going ennui while reading through this epic poetry even with the help of Simon Callow's narration was the result of Virgil's prose and storytelling itself. The Aeneid is a continuation after the fall of Troy and it set around the adventures of Aeneas and his role in the founding of Rome. However, this doesn't mean Virgil is ripping off Homer although obviously he did base his work around Iliad but Mediterranean culture often derive from the same geographical source, much like how there's some similarity between food cultures around South East Asia.

    Unlike Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, Virgil's Aeneid is highly political and almost devoid of storytelling until usual good parts. Most of the time the poems constantly surrounded itself with 'prophetic' grandeur of the future Roman empire and its people and there's a lot of brown nosing in this book that it became unbearable. That made more sense why Virgil wanted his manuscript destroyed. Its not just a story of Aeneus, its also a 19 BC product placement story about how the then-Roman families and rulers being placed inside the mythology with stories of their grandeur.

    The role of various women in Aeneid is by far the most troublesome element I had with this book. I could blame it on my modern bias but there are prevalent amount of misogyny in this book that made the process of reading as discomforting. This whole story seem to assert itself that a woman couldn't hold a position of power and always in danger of irrationality and on the verge of hysteria and suicidal at the whims of men. First we see them with Juno and Venus then Dido and Queen Amata. I do admire Dido at first but due to a deus ex machina, her characterization was tarnished and she became an even more caricatured version of Homer's Penelope and Calypso.

    There are some good parts with war and fight scenes and occasional description of gore but overall the narrative seem to jump around characters. But unlike Greek's thematic Xenia where hospitality is one of the most important values, Aeneid focus more on Pietas which was piety toward the gods, the prophecy and responsibility which was prevalent throughout the book. It show Aeneus in varied position where he was pushed to his destiny and held back from his goal by people or divine stalker entity. It is laughably distracting that in a way it is a classic way to teach its listener about being pious but all I want was some coherent storytelling instead of a propaganda and a story within a story. Aeneid have its historical significance but it certainly doesn't give me much entertainment without being distracted by all the allegories.
  • (5/5)
    I remember Joy de Menil telling me that the first six chapters of the Aeneid were great but the last six were unreadable and merited skipping. It took me another twenty years to get around to reading it and I largely agree with Joy -- although I found some parts to like in the second half.

    The first six books are Odyssey-like and recount Aeneas' travels from the fall of Troy, through a variety of islands, to Carthage. It begins in media res (not sure of the Latin of this) with the gods fighting about the treatment of Aeneas. Within the first pages the narrator rushes to inform us that the book will culminate in the triumph of Rome, a theme it returns to somewhat didactically throughout.

    Following the opening book, is a second book with an extraordinary and largely self-contained flashback to the fall of Troy, including Aeneas' bitter recriminations about the decision to bring the wooden horse into the city walls and some moving scenes with the ghost of his wife who got separated from him in the shuffle. The tragedy of Dido and Aeneas is another largely self-contained book in the first half.

    The journey's forward momentum begins with Aeneas' trip to the underworld to see his dead father (not quite as dramatic as one might have hoped). This is followed by the second half of the epic, which is an Iliad-like accounting of the Trojans' war with the Latins, a conflict that is even more pointless than the Trojan War because the leaders of both sides both see the same peaceful solution but repeatedly get driven apart by Juno and her minions.

    Unlike the Iliad and the Odyssey, most of the stories and characters in the second half of the Aeneid were completely unfamiliar to me. I don't think I had ever heard of Latinus, Turnus, Amata, Lavinia or Evander -- all characters that loom large in the epic war that Virgil describes. That is in stark contrast to Agamemnon, Clytemnestra, Paris, Helen, Priam, Hector, Odysseus, Patrcolus, the Ajaxes, Achilles, and the many other familiar characters that populate The Iliad. I think it is largely because of this that the second half is so much less engaging and dramatic (or it could be that all of these figures are less familiar because the second half is less engaging and dramatic).

    Regardless, certainly not something anyone should miss reading, even if you wait another twenty years from now.
  • (3/5)
    I so disliked this translation that I stopped reading it at Line 620 of Book II and finished it in another. I think I reacted so strongly against it because I had just read The Iliad in Richmond Latimore's magnificent version. While that style was ringing in my head and heart, I just could not buy into this so different version.
  • (4/5)
    Ah yes - The Aeneid by Virgil - Its the Romans answer to the Greeks Odyssey, written much much later. While the book is a classic, I found it difficult to read, even translated. There are a lot of concepts that don't quite work with modern day. I also found a bit... preachy - always obey the Gods, Free Will vs Prophecy, etc.Also, this book is problem written at the start of literature, as pleasure (Rather than literature as history or literature as religious text). So at times, it can be quite dense - also, as they say today "It could use a good editor" - there seems to be some pointlessness traveling that could have been cut out with no loss of plot. Either way, I read it, glad I did so, but I won't be rereading it.
  • (3/5)
    On its own this is perhaps a great work, but it pales in comparison to Homer's surviving pair of epics. Not only did Virgil mimic Homer's style of prose, but many of the events in his epic are heavily based on similar events in The Iliad and The Odyssey, so that many scenes feel like inferior rehashes of Homer's earlier work. You can almost picture Virgil reading Homer and sketching out how he's going to make his book even better. "Oh, Achilles had an ornate shield that is described at length? Well, Aeneas will have a shield too, and it'll be a way cooler one depicting Roman history!" Virgil was a fine writer, but the result of his labor feels far more like a calculated "great work" written on commission than the natural, beautiful works of Homer that came before. It's not as though Virgil has that much to work with, though: compared to the great characters among both the Trojans and the Greeks in The Iliad and The Odyssey, the cast of The Aeneid seems rather weak and sparse. Perhaps the most interesting character that feels original, as opposed to an imitation of one of Homer's subjects, is Dido, but she appears in only the first four books. Compared to The Iliad and The Odyssey, that ended on a strong note, The Aeneid is a front-loaded epic.

    Some people will love The Aeneid, and they'll be in good company- no less a writer than Dante thought of Virgil and his Aeneid as the greatest work of the ancient world (though given his description of Odysseus's life in Inferno, it's questionable how much familiarity with Homer Dante truly had). In my opinion, though, The Aeneid can't hold a candle to its predecessors.
  • (5/5)
    In my opinion, the greatest of the Classical epics. The Aeneid does not merely praise the glory of Rome and Augustus by exhalting Aeneas; it conveys a melancholy for everything that Aeneas, the Trojans, and even their enemies underwent in order to bring about fate. Rome's enemy Carthage, and even Hannibal who lead the invading army, is here depicted as the eventual avengers of a woman abandoned by her lover not for any fault of her own, but merely because the gods required him to be elsewhere. The Italians are shown as glorious warriors, whose necessary deaths in battle may not be worth it. Finally there is the end, not with the joy of triumph, but with the death moan of the Italian leader. The translation by David West perfectly captures the tone of the original.
  • (4/5)
    He got there in the end, did Aeneas. Battered in Troy, he overcame all that was before him on the way to Rome. Dido turned out to be very aggrieved. The last six books overdid the blood and gore. Poor Turnus was slain. The word emulously recurred and the earth groaned and moaned a lot. Super journey, however; we all make these journeys but with less excitement and spillage of limbs and blood. Not sure what Virgil would have thought of just a 4 star rating.
  • (2/5)
    Read in college in the late 60s. Much prefer the Mandlebaum translation. The Day-Lewis translation too often goes in for phrasing that was probably in vogue with the English public schools of the 20's: Lachrymae rerum (I, 445-475) awkwardly translated as "Tears in the nature of things." From Book 1, 340-341: ""a long and labyrinthine tale of wrong is hers, *but I will touch upon its salient points in order."" Book 2:: Pyrrhus is "crazed with blood-lust" and Anchisis "flatly refused to prolong his life." "Ye gods prevent these threats! Ye gods avert this calamity." Stale phrases from Book 4: "his trusty wand," ""Got wind of what was going to happen." "It has come to this!" "I must have been mad!" "Jump to it, men!." "they cut and ran for it." The Aeneid is a great epic poem; other translations do justice to it; the Day Lewis translation does not.
  • (3/5)
    Read this rather hurriedly and when lots of other things were going on in my life.
  • (5/5)
    This is a classic of course. This translation in particular is quite well done. It has excellent notes and references. I love this work particularly because of the context in which it was written which gives depth to many of the events and/or the way in which they are portrayed.
  • (5/5)
    Boy, I really liked this.
  • (2/5)
    Not sure why, but I just wasn't enjoying listening to this one. Odd for something that's supposed to be read aloud! Maybe the narrator?
  • (3/5)
    Although it is a classic and beautiful epic poem, I think the translation takes a lot away from what the original could be. After awhile hearing the repetitive use of words such as train, main, fate, state, began to get old. Also, knowing that it is pretty much a rip off of the Iliad and Odyssey with just a swap of Greeks for Trojans in what is just an attempt to say "Hey, those Trojans weren't so bad after all" made it almost unbearable. The swap also made it hard to follow since all the gods were identified with Roman names instead of Greek which was confusing at times.It is a good classic to read but I think I'll stick to the Greeks.
  • (5/5)
    Even though "pious" Aeneas isn't as clever or as entertaining as wiley Odysseus, he's still pretty cool.
  • (4/5)
    Though I like The Odyssey and the Iliad better than the Aeneid, I feel that the Aeneid is one of those classics that everyone should read at some point in their life-time. Virgil borrowed so much from these two other classics, for the purpose of glorifying Rome, its history, and Augustus. What I really like about the Aeneid is that it gives you 'the rest of the story.' You find out how the Trojan War ends with the Greeks tricking the Trojans into pulling the Trojan horse into the city. Aeneas, throughout the story is seen as a father figure to his people and a man who cares more for his people than about just the glories of war that you see in the Iliad. We witness a lot of emotional events such as Dido's death. We learn more about the underworld, and the role of the gods who seem to play a smaller role than in the Iliad, but we also witness the strong role of fate in the story. KU professor, Stanley Lombardo's translation is a nice edition to read. It's a little easier to follow than some editions I have read. One aspect of his translation that I really like is that he italicizes the epic similes. This seems to give them a little more separation from the story, but allows you to understand them a little easier.