Perambulating the Bounds

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Aeneid

For Christmas my brother and sister-in-law got me the new Robert Fagles translation of the Aeneid. I couldn't wait to dive into it. A few points. 1. It's sad to say I've never read the Aeneid. Not only have I never studied Latin, I never cracked the many translations existing. It will good to correct this situation (the translation part, not studying Latin). 2. It's better than I even thought. Sure, it's imperialist propaganda, a potboiler for Empire, but the story reads great -- it dumps you into the Perfect Storm, then gets Aeneas and the guys settled and goes back to pick up the Trojan War right at the climax, with the horse is outside the gates. It looks like there's interesting things going on with the point of view of observation throughout, things like Aeneas and Achates observing a bit of action hidden in a mist, and the different powers of men and gods. 3. The Fagles translation has gotten rave reviews everywhere, and sure enough, the lines read great. I don't know if I can pick a snippet to give a sense of it, but let me try this:

Now Juno made this plea to the Lord of Winds:
"Aeolus, the Father of Gods and King of Men gave you
the power to calm the waves or rouse them with your gales.
A race I loathe is crossing the Tuscan sea, transporting
Troy to Italy, bearing their conquered household gods--
thrash your winds to fury, sink their warships, overwhelm them
or break them apart, scatter their crews, drown them all!

To my ear, Fagles keeps a steady enough foot going to give the lines lots of forward momentum which I find is sucking me right in.

1 Comments:

  • Salve!

    I am a current AP Latin student studying Virgil's Aeneid (in hope of passing the AP test this year). My friends and I have just created a blog to discuss various aspects of this renowned work, and review what we go through in class each day. Please feel free to check it out - we would really appreciate any knowledge you have to offer on this subject, or comments/suggestions that could improve our blog. Your enthusiasm for this great work shows, and I hope that you study Latin in pursuit of a greater understanding.

    Our Blog: Latina ad Vitam
    http://latinaadvitam.blogspot.com/

    Sincerely,
    Mia

    By Blogger Mia, at 9:01 AM  

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