ABSTRACT

The essays that have been collected in this volume contribute to one overarching idea: that a classic like Virgil’s Aeneid means what generations of readers over the centuries have decided it means and that this reception has both a purely textual component and an inextricable link to the media in which the ancient work has been encountered. The dominant interpretation of the Aeneid, from antiquity to the present, puts Aeneas forward as the embodiment of pietas, that peculiarly Roman virtue through which people fulfill their duties to gods, country, family, and self, in that order. There are exceptions, but in general the earlier essays focus on reception as a disembodied intertextual process, while the later ones explore what happens when attention is paid to the medium in which texts are encountered as well as to what is said in the texts.