The Aeneas Model

In: English and Literature

Submitted By hrt4kds2
Words 1871
Pages 8
Stephanie Crawford
Dr. Philip Phillips
European Literature
August 10, 2010
The Aeneas Model Pietas, Latin for pious, is a fundamental trait found in Roman history and literature. Virgil’s inclusion of pietas in The Aeneid enables readers to appreciate an essential quality of any admirable Roman. Aeneas, the primary character, struggles with the implications of this central virtue; however, as he walks the paths the gods set for him, he personifies the essence of piety and thus portrays the quintessential Roman. An essential attribute in Roman history and literature, pietas is defined as “personification of a respectful and faithful attachment to gods, country, and relatives, especially parents” (Britannica). Latin for pious, pietas, is better defined as dutiful, “…pietas [in English something like ‘sense of duty, but a considerably more emotional quality for Romans]…” (Virgil 64). Throughout Roman history, this sense of duty can be found, to the extent that its influence is evident today, “The Aeneid would not be the ideal expression of res Romana that it is, if the fulfillment of duty were not fundamental to its hero. The peculiar content of the modern concept of duty is a consequence of Roman morality…” (Interpretations 13). Roman historian Cicero, writing in his Oratio Pro Canoeo Plancio (XII), identifies dutifulness as the basis for which all other merits form: “Pietas fundamentum est omnium virtutum,” which is translated, “The dutifulness of children is the foundation of all virtues.” In the spiritual sense, pietas possesses further significance, “…for the Roman, pietas was as central and important as ‘the word of the Lord’ to a hero of the Old Testament,” (Speeches 40). Virgil’s examples within his work prompt the reader to remember that pietas “is for the Roman, Rome….” (Aen. 14), similar to Homer’s writing’s, Odyssey and Illiad,…...

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