Well, I finally finished the Dryden's translation of the Aenied. Rather than bore you with a book review, I thought I'd just share the thoughts that came to mind as I finished the final chapter.
As Virgil penned his masterpiece, Rome had just emerged from civil war, chaos and social turmoil. Luxury and vice proliferated and wealthy aristocrats preferred pleasure to children. The new Caesar realized that something must be done. Order and virtue must be restored as well as a fresh confidence in Rome and Rome's gods if the new Empire was to survive.
In this setting Virgil attempted to create a glorious history for Rome and provide an example of a model citizen. Throughout the tale he emphasizes repeatedly the virtues of Aeneas, pointing to his devotion to his gods, courage, self-sacrifice and glory.
Then, as now, the heroes set before a people do influence culture. Today toleration, success and happiness are emphasized with quite foreseeable effects. But what a poignant reminder of the importance of ideals- the vitality of looking continually unto Christ "the Author and Finisher of our Faith" so we can be transformed more and more into His image!
But the thought that kept constantly running through my mind while reading was "I am so glad that we don't serve gods like his!" Endless accounts of fighting and intrigues, infidelity and revenge between the gods made me realize afresh the glory of the true God. God who never changes. God who is the same "yesterday, today and for ever." God who was also the Perfect Man.
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