“This is a tale of arms and of a man. Fated to be
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“This is a tale of arms and of a man. Fated to be an exile, he was the first to sail from the land of Troy and reach Italy at its Lavinian shore.”(27) Yes, Virgil’s Aeneid is about the Trojan hero Aeneas and his travelings to eventually start the Roman empire. The Aeneid was a very subjective poem; the praise of Augustus Caesar and the Roman empire clearly echoes Virgil’s own beliefs. Many people have labeled the Aeneid as propaganda for the Roman empire, propaganda in Latin means things which ought to be propagated and Virgil surely believed that the values shown throughout his story needed to be spread about a bit. Rome had just finished a bloody civil war a few decades before this writing and needed a strong moral compass which is what Virgil hoped to provide.
The glory of war was a main part in Roman society; it was what made the Roman Empire extend from the northern border of Africa to the cold dark coast of the Atlantic Ocean. To do this they needed the mightiest army on earth, filled with young men eager to make the empire proud of them. Virgil knew this and decided to install that sense of pride in Aeneas, “I fixed on a door-frontal a shield of hallowed bronze which had once been carried by the mighty Abas, and under it wrote a memorial, Armor captured from victorious Greeks and dedicated by Aeneas.” (84) This shows all the young Roman men that with war come the spoils of war. To recruit all these young men all they have to do is read that passage and show them what happens when they fight. A bronze shield would be a very expensive luxury at the time and for somebody to just leave it as a dedication shows that if Aeneas left such an expensive luxury he must have many others to spare. The thought of riches must have contributed to the number of young men in the military, and by having so many men in the military other nations would be intimidated by the power of it. Also with all the young men in the military it would be peer pressure for others to join. Just by showing what the spoils of war can bring you can increase your military exponentially over the years. Today countries, especially the South American counties use the spoils of being in the military to get men to join. Recently some of the countries down there were run by the military, to get young recruits they offered them the spoils of being in a position of power. The military would take money for protection and steal from those who opposed them. It wasn’t an honest way to get recruits but it worked.
Virgil wanted to make the citizens of Rome remember all their glorious past accomplishments and remember how great their ruler is. To do this he told of all the great past accomplishments on a shield made by Vulcan and given to Aeneas, “On one side was Augustus Caesar leading Italians into battle, having with him the senate and populace, the little Gods of Home and the Great Gods of the race.” (221) When the people see this, they remember their great leader Caesar and all the good he had done for their people. They realize that he has the gods on his side and to resist him would be resisting the gods. This just emphasizes the rule of Caesar and his absolute authority. This is a common tactic used to emphasize the power of the ruler and tell of the good times. When a person comes to power everybody loves him, if they didn’t he wouldn’t be in power. But after a while that power goes to your head and you may start to get careless. When this happens, to get the support of the people back you have to remind them how much good you did for the country, and remind them of the power you hold.
Caesar wanted everybody to follow the rules of the gods and thus have an orderly society. With words Virgil installed the notion of devotion of gods to Aeneas and his
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