Greece Over Rome: My Thoughts on Being Underwhelmed by the Aeneid

The Aeneid

Virgil (Trans Fagles)

In most things of the mind, Greece beats Rome. The Greeks philosophy is better, as are its dramas, and it epic poetry. While the Aeneid is perhaps the best piece of epic poetry Rome has to offer, Virgil was no Homer and this is no Iliad.  That Homer’s superiority to Virgil isn’t always universally accepted befuddles me. Yes, there are moments of brilliance here. For example the telling of the founding of Rome is much more narratively complex than I remember. And yes, it reads a bit “cleaner” than Homer – less repetition, etc. But did any of it move me like Priam begging for Hector’s body, or captivate me like Odysseus toying with the suitors?


It’s an important work, of course, and if Rome is an interest, I’m sure you’ve read it. But as literature, at least this time around, it left me a bit bored. I felt a bit let down. I’ll probably tackle it again at some point. I wonder if it will be a different book then.

Virgil, always wishing he was Homer.

Recommended for the enthusiast.

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