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Transcript
I.
The Decline of Athens
A. The Peleponnesian War (431-404 BC). Sparta beats Athens, beginning
the downfall of Athens.
B. Kingdom of Macedon (300s BC) Alexander the Great emerges as the most
powerful
C. Hellenistic Age: continuation of Greek culture by Alexander and later by
the Romans who conquer the Macedonians in 197 BC.
II.
The Founding of Rome
A. Begins as an agricultural settlement (753 BC)
B. Set up Republican Government
C. Values include:
1. Pietas: religious observance
2. Gravitas: seriousness of conduct and purpose
3. Fidas: patriotism and loyalty
III.
Expansion and Breakdown of the Republic
A. By 270 BC expanded through Spain
B. Fight three lengthy wars with the city of Carthage (North Africa), most
famous includes the story of Hannibal.
C. Expansion leads to professional soldiers:
1. Loyal more to personal commander rather than the state
2. Leaders could amass wealth and power-good example, Julius Caesar
(102-44 BC)
D. Julius Caesar wins Rome power struggle in 48 BC
1. Veni, vidi, vici
2. Becomes dictator for life
3. Ides of March: killed by Brutus and Cassius in the senate.
E. Mark Antony and Octavion (Caesar’s great-nephew and heir) beat them
and then turn against each other
F. Octavian beats Antony and Cleopatra (31 BC)
IV.
Augustus and Decline
A. Octavian changes name to Augustus and takes sole control of the Roman
empire (this is where Virgil lives in history)
B. Followed by some inept and some good rulers who push Roman power
into the 2nd century AD.
C. Expansion woes: Rome divided into eastern and western regions.
D. Vulnerable to the Germans, Visigoths, and Huns, Rome falls in the 3rd
century AD.
Aeneid Notes: Virgil
Rome needs a national epic on par with the Greeks.
Characters:
 Aeneas: ancestor of Roman rulers, son of Venus and Anchises
 Anchises: ally of Priam (King of Troy)
 Ascanius: son of Aeneas and Creusa
 Creusa: Priam’s daughter, wife of Aeneas, tells him to go to Italy
 Dido: Queen of Carthage, lover of Aeneas
 The Sibyl: priestess of Apollo, leads Aeneas through the Underworld
Hero: external conflict/internal conflict. Clash between opposing characters, forces,
emotions.
Structure of Aeneid
 First six books come from The Odyssey—Aeneas’ wanderings from Troy to Italy.
Last six books come from The Iliad telling of the Trojans’ ultimately victorious
war in Italy.
 Story of Aeneas not so different from that of Odysseus, who also meets with
adventure after the Trojan war.
 Aeneas goes into exile after the fall of Troy
 Ghost of dead wife tells him to go ti Italy to begin empire
 Travels by sea for six years, blown off course, lands on Carthage
 Queen Dido falls in love with him, they plan to marry
 Gods push Aeneas towards Italy; Dido kills herself.
 Aeneas speaks with Sibyl, who takes him to the underworld.
 There, he meets his father and gets a fuller prophecy of the founding of Rome.
Foundations for the Aeneid
 The Iliad, Book XX, saw Aeneas and Achilles come to terms with each other on
the battlefield outside the gates of Troy. The most important part of this encounter
though is what is said by Poseidon: “...Come now, we ourselves may take him
out of danger, and make sure that Zeus shall not be angered by his death at
Achilles’ hands. His fate is to escape to ensure that the great line of Dardanus may
not unseeded perish from the world. . .Therefore Aeneas and his sons, and theirs,
will be lords over Trojans born hereafter.”
 The hero Aeneas was already known to Greco-Roman legend and myth, having
been a character in the Iliad; Virgil took the disconnected tales of Aeneas'
wanderings, his vague association with the foundation of Rome and a personage
of no fixed characteristics other than a scrupulous piety, and fashioned this into a
compelling founding myth or nationalist epic that at once tied Rome to the
legends of Troy, glorified traditional Roman virtues and legitimized the JulioClaudian dynasty as descendants of the founders, heroes and gods of Rome and
Troy.