Mythological Aspects of the Aeneid

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“Compare and contrast the mythological aspects of the Aeneid with those found in the Greek Iliad and Odyssey. Do you think Aeneas is more of a hero than either Achilles or Odysseus? Explain your answer.”

In order to properly compare and contrast the mythological aspects of Aeneid with Iliad and Odyssey, the authors must first be examined as their writing style and personal history influences their stories. Homer, the author of Iliad and Odyssey, was both a poet and an entertainer, and is revered as one of the greatest Greek authors who lived. He was spontaneous and easily captivated his audiences with his stories of Greek gods and heroes, although he was a man of humble decent with no political aim to his poetry. His works were originally presented orally and later dictated. (Powell, 2009).

Aeneid was written by Vergil, a well educated son of a farmer “steeped in written Greek poetry and philosophy and in personal contact with the most powerful men in the world.” (Powell, 2009). Vergil lived between 70 – 19 BC, many years after Homer, and was obviously inspired by Homer’s Odyssey and Iliad to write Aeneid. Unlike Greek culture and religion surrounding Homer’s mythology, the Romans accepted their myths with the same propriety as their history, serving political as well as moral purposes. (Powell, 2009).

At first glance, one might see the significant influence that Homer’s works had on Vergil’s Aeneid, and even fail to see much difference between them. Both authors have taken stories of the gods’ influences on men and the earth, incorporated values such as “honor and destiny” (Powell, 2009), and the timeframe for which they were written are also similar, even though the two authors lived many years apart. However, the difference seems most significant how the authors’ characters are portrayed and the underlying meaning of the stories themselves. As mentioned above, Vergil’s work had more to do with a political and moral agenda than that of...
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