THE Aeneid is eminently, and perhaps more than any other single work of the Graeco-Latin world, a classic in the full sense that can be attached to that word. This statement is not meant either to put Virgil in some way into competition with other Latin authors, or to put the Latin classics in some way into competition with the classics of Greece. In such matters there is no question of competition.
This is well understood as regards any rivalry between Greek and Latin; it is indeed implied throughout when we speak, as we all traditionally and quite rightly do, of Greek and Latin authors conjointly under the common name of the Classics. Greece and Rome represent two forces, two different streams of tendency and bodies of achievement which are nevertheless indissoluble, which flow together, intermingle and reinforce each other to fill the sources from which succeeding ages have drawn. But of the two, Rome is the closer to us, the more directly in the line of ascent. Modern life owes its highest ideals, directly or indirectly, to the inspiration of Greece; it owes its whole structure and existence to the creation of Rome. And so also with the two languages; for while Greek is a language of unequalled beauty, flexibility, and strangeness, Latin is, to us and to all the inheritors of the Latin civilisation, a second mother tongue.
Of that Latin literature through which the life and