Great Books I   Fall 2019

The Aeneid

"one fate beckons us and then another"

Aeneas' Journey


Sibyl, Charon ...



  November 7

Books I-II 

  1. What is Aeneas' emotional state as the poem opens?

  2. Why is Aeneas lost?

  3. How does Virgil use fire and wind to tell the story? What do fire and wind symbolize?

  4. What other symbols are present?

  5. How does Virgil's depiction of the gods differ from that of Homer?

  6. What kind of friendship does Aeneas have with Dido?

  7. What is the meaning of the II.728-29?


November 11

Books III-IV

  1. Why does Aeneas find it so difficult to establish his colony?

  2. Why does Aeneas reject Dido?
  3. In what ways is Dido a tragic figure? What does her death symbolize?
  4. Describe the extent of Aeneas' free will.
  5. How does Virgil use omens to tell his story?

November 14

Books V-VI

  1. How is fire still being used as a leitmotif of the work?
  2. Find three different passages from the poem that epitomize its meaning.
  3. What is the significance of Palinurus' death?
  4. Why must Aeneas descend into hell?
  5. Is Aeneas heroic?
  6. Compare the suffering of Aeneas with that of Achilles.
  7. What do the two gates of Sleep represent?
  8. What is Aeneas' motto?




November 18


We will focus on two recurring themes:

  1. Masculine vs. Feminine Forces

  2. Know Thyself vs. Duty to the gods

November 21

Books IX-XII  

  1. Turnus represents ___ in Aeneas' hero journey.

  2. The most important lesson Virgil teaches us through this work is ___.

  3. How is fire still a leitmotif for the poem?

  4. Be prepared to tell us who is on each side of the war.