Vergil's Aeneid VIII and the Shield of Aeneas: recurrent topics and cyclic structures
Horatio Caesar Roger Vella
Book VIII of the Aeneid can be said to be the turning point in Aeneas' fulfilment of his mission indicated to him in Troy. In it Vergil formed two separate artistic structural patterns making up the length of the whole book while, at the same time, elaborating on the significance of the most symbolic object mentioned in the whole of the Aeneid, the Shield of Aeneas. This ecphrasis is characterized by literary embellishments, which compare well with those found in Homer's and Hesiod's poems. Both sections of this book are interrelated, since Hercules, in the site of the future Rome, foreshadows Aeneas, who then receives and lifts the shield representing, at its boss, Augustus' victory over Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium. The book ends as it starts, the preparations being underway for the war against Mezentius.
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