The Aeneid and The Odyssey in comparison
What do are the differences between the Aeneid and the Odyssey? Come and find out here on my blog!
What do have in common the two works like the Aeneid and the Odyssey?The Aeneid was written by Virgil during a very particular era in Roman history.
At that time Rome was proceeding from the Republic to the Principate, passing from the government of Julius Caesar to the first Roman emperor: Octavian Augustus.
The poem is divided into 12 books, also like other classical epics, is written in dactylic hexameters:
- I Book: After seven years of traveling on the sea, Aeneas and her companions are forced, due to a terrible storm caused by the goddess Juno, to land on the coasts of Africa. Here they are welcomed kindly by Queen Dido, to whom, after having offered a sumptuous banquet, she begs Aeneas to tell her story.
- II Book: Aeneas tells Dido about the fall of the city of Troy thanks to the deception of her horse; his escape from the city with his father Anchises, his son Ascanio and his wife Creusa, who however disappears and dies in the flames. So with few survivors he begins his journey in search of the new homeland, destined to him by Fate.
- III Book: Aeneas continues the story of him: his travels in Thrace, Delos, Crete, the Strofadi islands, where he fights against the Harpies, monsters with the face of a woman and the body of a bird; in Epirus, where he meets Andromache, the wife of Hector; on the coasts of Italy, in Drepano, where the old father Anchises dies; finally on the coasts of Africa, thus ending his story in Dido.
- IV Book: After the story of him, Aeneas remains a guest of Dido, who falls in love with him. However, Jupiter reminds the hero of the mission assigned to him by Fate and orders him to leave. Aeneas obeys and abandons Dido. The queen, as the Trojan sails move away, kills herself, after swearing eternal enmity between Carthage and the descendants of the Trojans.
- Book V: Having left Carthage, the Trojans come back to Sicily, where they play funeral games in honor of Anchises. Juno burns their ships, but a rain sent by Jupiter extinguishes the fire. Aeneas leaves again leaving part of the Trojans on the island, now tired of the long journey.
- VI Book: Having landed in Cumae, Aeneas consults the Sibyl, who guides him into the Underworld. There he meets: Deifobo fallen in Troy, Dido dead because of him, the unfortunate Palinuro, and above all his father Anchises. His father shows him future Roman heroes, including Caesar and Augustus. Then Aeneas takes to the sea again.
- Book VII: Aeneas lands at the mouth of the Tiber and recognizes the promised land by predetermined signs. Aeneas receives hospitality from the Latin king, who gives him his daughter Lavinia in marriage. But Juno instigates against Aeneas the mother of Lavinia, Amata, and Turno, king of the Rutuli, to whom the young woman had been promised, where war breaks out.
- VIII Book: In serious difficulty, Aeneas by divine advice goes to ask for help from the king of Pallanteo, Evander, who places at his disposal some knights, led by his son Pallante. Another support comes from the Etruscan people. From her mother Venus she then receives an armor forged by Vulcan, which on the shield tells the future events of Rome.
- IX Book: The war between Aeneas, Turnus and their respective allies begins. The Trojans are in difficulty due to the absence of Aeneas and decide to look for him. The two young volunteers Eurialo and Niso are in charge of the mission. However, they linger in slaughtering sleeping enemies and are eventually killed. Turno manages to penetrate the Trojan camp, but forced to flee, he saves himself by throwing himself into the Tiber.
- X Book: Aeneas returns and raises the fortunes of the battle, Turnus kills the young Pallante ally of Aeneas and his protege, in exchange Aeneas kills Mezentius, the very strong ally of Turnus.
- XI Book: A truce is established to bury the fallen. Then follows a great equestrian battle, during which the warrior virgin Camilla, queen of the Volsci, dies.
- XII Book: Turn regardless of the fate that feels contrary to itself, challenges Aeneas and in the final duel is killed. The Aeneid closes with the image of Turno’s soul fleeing indignant among the shadows.
The Odyssey narrates the long journey made by Odysseus to return home, to Ithaca, after the conquest of the city of Troy.
The work also presents the events following the death of Hector, with which the Iliad ended, such as the conquest of the city of Troy, which took place through the trick of the horse devised by our protagonist.
Like the Iliad, the poem consists of 24 books in hexameters, collected in three major thematic groups:
- Books I-IV: Ten years have passed since the end of the Trojan War, for which Odysseus left Ithaca when his son was still a child. Now Telemachus is about twenty years old and lives with his mother Penelope, waiting for her husband to return. In the meantime, a council of the gods meets to decide the fate of Odysseus who has been held for eight years by the nymph Calypso on the island of Ogygia. As soon as Poseidon leaves to participate in a banquet, the gods decide to allow Odysseus to return to Ithaca. Hermes will then go to Calypso to convince her to let go of our protagonist, while the goddess Athena, assuming the guise of King Mentes, goes to Telemachus, to induce him to leave in search of her father. Thus begins the story of the journey of Telemachus who goes, unbeknownst to his mother, first to one of the most venerable Greek heroes from Troy, Nestor, and then, accompanied by Pisistrato, son of Nestor, to Menelaus, to Sparta. The latter reveals to him that in Egypt he learned from the god of the sea Proteus that Odysseus is a prisoner of the nymph in Ogygia.
- Books V-XII: Calypso, after receiving the order from Hermes to let Odysseus go, helps the hero in building a raft to help him leave. After a few days of smooth sailing, Odysseus is the victim of a violent storm unleashed by Poseidon. After he manages to land on the beach of the island of Scheria, where he, exhausted, falls asleep. Nausicaa, the following morning, she goes to the river where she plays ball with the maids, until she wakes up Odysseus, who asks her about the place where she is. Frightened, the servants run away: only Nausicaa listens to the hero and offers him his help, urging him to ask for hospitality from his parents. The following day a banquet is organized in his honor, and Demodocus, a cantor, tells the episodes concerning the fall of Troy and the deception of the horse: Odysseus, hearing the story of the war, weeps and Alcinoo invites him to reveal his identity. Odysseus reveals his name and begins to narrate the return from the end of the war. Here begins the long flashback through which the events of the Greek hero are retraced. After the war, Odysseus lands in the land of the Ciconi and sacks the city of Ismara, where forced to flee Odysseus lands on the island of the Lotophages, then the land of the Cyclops. Here the Greek hero and his companions are captured by Polyphemus, and Odysseus is saved by resorting to his cunning, Odysseus makes the Cyclops drunk and then blinds him with a hot pole. Odysseus and his companions, hidden under some sheep, then escape the monster. The hero then lands in the land of the Lestrigoni, cannibal giants who kill Odysseus’ crew, who flees with the only surviving ship to the island of Eea. Here the seductive sorceress Circe, in love with the protagonist, transforms the rest of the troop into pigs, to which after a stay of almost a year with the sorceress, the latter sends them to the land of the Cimmerians, from which Odysseus can descend into Hades. Here he meets many Greek heroes, including Agamemnon, Achilles and Heracles and above all the soothsayer Tiresias, who foretells him the fight against the suitors.
- XIII-XXIV: Arriving at the beach of Ithaca, Odysseus is transformed into an old beggar. Later Athena goes to Sparta to see Telemachus, to urge him to return home, while Odysseus asks for hospitality from Eumeo, a humble swineherd who remained faithful to him after so many years, thus learning of the tyranny imposed by the suitors on his wife Penelope. Joined by his son, to whom he reveals his identity, Odysseus organizes the plan to implement revenge. Odysseus, always with the appearance of a miserable beggar, goes to the royal palace, where he has the opportunity to observe the vulgarity of the suitors. Recognized only by the faithful dog Argus, who dies immediately after seeing him again, Odysseus has an interview with his wife, who does not know she is in front of her husband. Odysseus, keeping her unknown, announces her future return. In the midst of the constant bullying of the suitors, even against Odysseus himself, Penelope announces a competition with Odysseus’ bow to choose a new king. The woman will marry whoever will be able to draw the bow and shoot an arrow through the ring of twelve axes. While the suitors fail miserably, Odysseus easily passes the test and, with the help of Telemachus, exterminates his opponents. Penelope puts her husband one last test: to describe in all the details their wedding bed. Odysseus then goes to his father Laertes, to whom he accurately describes an orchard given to him by his parent. With the help of Athena a last internal revolt appeased, Odysseus, once again king of Ithaca, draws up pacts of peace and peaceful coexistence.
What do have in common the two works? Find out below my video: The contrast and the comparison between the Aeneid and the Odyssey.
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2 thoughts on “The Aeneid and The Odyssey in comparison”
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