Virgil, Aeneid 11: A Commentary

Virgil, Aeneid 11: A Commentary

Virgil, Aeneid 11: A Commentary

Virgil, Aeneid 11: A Commentary


This is the first comprehensive commentary on Aeneid 11. The commentary treats fully matters of linguistic and textual interpretation, metre and prosody, grammar, lexicon and idiom, of Roman behaviour, social and ritual, as well as Virgil's sources and the literary tradition. New critical approaches and developments in Virgilian studies have been taken into account with economy and fairness. The Latin text is presented with a facing English translation. The commentary is followed by an appendix on Penthesilea and the Epic Cycle and a second appendix which discusses the weaknesses of Aeneid 11. The book concludes with English and Latin indices. In approach and learning, this commentary continues Nicholas Horsfall's impressive work as a commentator and will advance our understanding of the Aeneid and the poet Virgil.


[È il libro meno studiato e meno amato del poema] F. Della Corte, EV 2, 258.

[A commentary should not be duller than the text on which it is based] R.G.M. Nisbet, cited by Adrian Hollis, Ovid, Ars am.1 (Oxford 1977), vi.

It should be supposed that I disagree quite violently with at least one of these statements; the first was sent me, sped upon quiet gales of mirth, by Woldemar Görler quite soon after he began reading my commentary in draft and the second came recently to my attention through the kindness of Christina Kraus and the curious learning of John Henderson, in The classical commentary … ed. R.K. Gibson, C.S. Kraus (Leiden 2002), 205, n. 3. After my commentary on Aeneid 7, it seemed no bad idea to write another such (or even two); the slow gestation of Aen.7 (Mnem.Suppl.198, Leiden 1999) meant I had acquired some familiarity with the problems and with the relevant scholarly literature. Bk. 8 might have seemed an obvious choice, but I felt (and feel) out of sympathy with a good deal of the relevant literature and had in fact written a good deal (much of it unpublished) on the peculiar problems of 11. Della Corte was perhaps right to draw attention to how very little has been written on 11; that means that the commentator does not have much (comparatively) to read or cite and is usually a good deal on his/her own. On consideration, I preferred not to consult the unpublished BPhil. thesis by Rachel Woodrow (1978), on the Camilla episode, available in the Bodleian.

Unlike R.G. Austin and R.D. Williams, I have decided not to repeat discussions, slightly altered, from volume to volume; readers wanting to know where I stand on (e.g.) the genituus inhaerentiae will have to go back to the earlier volume. Cross-references I have tried to make as clear as might be and while I must apologise for any inconvenience resulting from this decision, I do hope that the resulting reduction in bulk and expense will not pass unappreciated.

To several reviewers of my Aeneid 7 I am most grateful. The general annoyance caused by the unusual system of bibliographical cross-references has been registered. The fact that three reviewers actually cited 'precise instances' which did not (really and truly did not!) correspond to the text of the book in the end brought home to me that things could perhaps be clarified. This time I began at v. 1 and finished at v. 915; the earlier book had advanced like Theseus without his bit of string. My selective enthusiasm for certain new critical approaches has been received with toleration, even amusement. In the Book of Camilla, I have read all the feminist criticism I could reach (my thanks to Christine Perkell and Sallie Spence) and have . . .

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