The Aeneid Primitiveness Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Book.Line). We used Robert Fitzgerald's translation.
Conversing of such matters, going toward
Austere Evander's house, they saw his cattle
Lowing everywhere in what is now
Rome's Forum and her fashionable quarter,
Even more striking is the contrast Virgil here draws between Evander's settlement and the Rome of his day – which occupied the same site. Based on evidence elsewhere in Virgil's poem (or in his other poems, The Eclogues and The Georgics, if you have read them), do you think that Virgil thinks this change was for the better?
On this he called for dishes and winecups
Already taken off to be brought back,
As he himself gave the guests grassy seats
And led Aeneas to the place of honor—
A maple chair cushioned with lionskin. (8.235-239)
Here we see more evidence of the Arcadians' primitive, rustic way of life.
As they came up to the door,
"In victory Hercules
Bent for this lintel, and these royal rooms
Were grand enough for him. Friend, have the courage
To care little for wealth, and shape yourself,
You too, to merit godhead. Do not come
Disdainfully into our needy home." (8.478-485)
Now Evander instructs Aeneas not to look down on his humble life; heck, if Hercules thought it was OK, then anyone should. To gain a sense of the value Virgil's poem places on the simple life, compare Evander's instructions on how "to merit godhead" (i.e., become a god) with Anchises's discussion of how souls are contaminated by worldly desires when he teaches Aeneas about reincarnation in Book 6.