Both St. Augustine's Confessions and Virgil's epic The Aeneid marked a new direction in literature for the West. Each one was inspired by the works of previous authors, but was willing to forge a new literature for their times. In the Aeneid, Virgil established Rome as indebted to the Greek World, but at the same time worthy of its own glory and literature. He fashioned an epic to create and celebrate new heroes for a new empire. Rome was not simply a shadow of Greece, but part of a new era in history. St. Augustine's Confessions was written at the other end of the Empire's long lifespan, and heralded a new consciousness. It marked the beginning of literature exemplifying a new morality and new standards both personal and artistic.
[...] telling the poem from a distinctly Roman perspective is the names of the gods and goddesses that he uses. Although the pantheons of Rome and Greece overlap, they are given different names. In the beginning of the Aeneid, Virgil calls Kronos and the most powerful female deity instead of Even though they have the same mythology and power behind them, Virgil is trying to give Juno a distinct relationship with the Romans, albeit a bitter one. Virgil works with themes of destiny in order to fashion an epic that is not only a story, but an attempt to justify the rise of Rome and to present the Roman people as worthy heirs of the Greek heritage. [...]
[...] Although Aeneas and his companions are pushed from Latium (the province that Rome is in) by Juno, ultimately they are able to return found the Roman line.” The author also brings in the Punic Wars to help broaden the geographic scope of the story and make it more about Rome's founding and rise than the simple tale of a wayward Trojan blow back and forth across the sea the Romans were claiming as their own Mare Nostrum. Virgil foreshadows the confrontation and triumph over Carthage as inevitable. [...]
[...] Augustine of Hippo was writing in the fifth century, AD, Rome's pagans had already lost most of their influence in politics and although they were present to claim the sack of Rome was the fault of Christians turning away from the gods, St. Augustine was writing in a world of early Christian ascendency. He writes without any sense of threat, his people are not persecuted, nor are the persecuting at this point. In this uneasy true with pagans, Augustine can write religious literature that borrows from the heritage he has grown up with: Latin poetry, Greek philosophy, and Hebrew scriptures. [...]
[...] Such a work is only possible if there is a view that the strivings and killings of a given hero are glorious in and of themselves. But such work matters nothing for trying to get into heaven. St. Augustine leaves the door open for the presentation of a new kind of story, the internal struggle of the soul of its fate, swing between the flames of passion and the pleasures of flesh, and the way of the quiet, saintly life. [...]
[...] Augustine notes that the Lord “resists the proud.” The author acknowledges that he is of a species that “carries and that only desires to praise the lord and his creation, of which man is a small part. This desire is not even freely chosen to certain extent, it is a want that is inspired by God at a given point. Even though the gods are powerful in the Aeneid, they stir up trouble because of humans, they take center stage in Virgil's work. [...]
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