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Commentary for Aeneid VII - XII?

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Commentary for Aeneid VII - XII?

Postby Gregarius » Fri May 09, 2014 1:35 am

I've been working through Pharr's commentary on the first six books of the Aeneid, and getting to the point where I'm looking for more to read. I'd like to finish out the second half of Aeneid, but Pharr doesn't cover those books, so I'm looking for recommendations on commentaries.

Desires: working online or from printouts isn't very satisfying, so I'd prefer a physical book. The price should be reasonable, and I'm very willing to purchase a used, out-of-print book. By reasonable price, I'm not willing to purchase one bound volume per book of the Aeneid at $30 each. However, this is a pretty labor-intensive endeavor, and it would be nice if the binding didn't fall apart after the first reading.

While I've made good progress with Pharr, I'm concerned that there is a bit too much hand-holding, and I'd like to see if I can work through the remaining books without the crutch of macrons, or every vocabulary word on the same page. If possible, I would prefer a commentary with the notes on the same or facing page as the text, because flipping back and forth is tedious.

So, I'm curious what others have used and what you've liked and disliked, and why. How much do different commentaries by the same publisher vary? And how do you select one?
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Re: Commentary for Aeneid VII - XII?

Postby Qimmik » Fri May 09, 2014 2:34 am

Derek Williams' commentary is about what you need. Maybe a few dollars more than you would like to spend, but worth it.

http://www.amazon.com/Virgil-Aeneid-VII-XII-Bks-7-12/dp/1853995002

Alternatives: a used copy of T. E. Page's late Victorian commentary--which is still excellent. It's aimed at serious teenagers. You can find it on Amazon or ABE Books. I have a tattered copy of his commentary on 1-6, which I used in fourth-year Latin in 1962-3. It's not up to date, but Page was a sensitive and enthusiastic reader of Vergil. For example:

http://www.amazon.com/Aeneid-Virgil-Books-VII-XII/dp/B0026OWA60/ref=sr_1_18?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1399601860&sr=1-18&keywords=page+aeneid

The Cambridge Green and Yellow series includes individual commentaries by different scholars on each of the last 6 books (the earlier books are covered by somewhat older Oxford commentaries). They are the most up-to-date--the last, on Book 12 by R.J. Tarrant was published just a year ago. They would add up to more than you're willing to spend, but they are very rich in information. Still, if you're serious about the Aeneid, you might think about these.

http://www.amazon.com/Virgil-Aeneid-Cambridge-Greek-Classics/dp/052130881X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1399602355&sr=1-1&keywords=tarrant+aeneid

None of these provide notes on the same page as the text. But none marks the macrons, either--only very elementary texts do that. You might want to buy Mynor's Oxford Classical Text edition along with the commentary.

And really, the first six books call for a more grown-up commentary than one that marks macrons.
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Re: Commentary for Aeneid VII - XII?

Postby Gregarius » Fri May 09, 2014 3:15 pm

Qimmik first wrote:T. E. Page's late Victorian commentary--which is still excellent. It's aimed at serious teenagers. You can find it on Amazon or ABE Books.


Thank you for these recommendations. I fear that the Latin skills of Victorian teenagers may be substantially superior to mine.

Qimmik then wrote:The Cambridge Green and Yellow series includes individual commentaries by different scholars on each of the last 6 books (the earlier books are covered by somewhat older Oxford commentaries).


Purchasing all of these may be a long term project. Sadly, they don't seem to be the kind of book one finds at a significant discount on the used book sites.

Qimmik last wrote:And really, the first six books call for a more grown-up commentary than one that marks macrons.


I guess I don't know what a "grown up" commentary is, but Pharr's notes have been very helpful in places, gratuitous in others, and occasionally left me to struggle on my own.
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Re: Commentary for Aeneid VII - XII?

Postby Qimmik » Fri May 09, 2014 7:17 pm

"I fear that the Latin skills of Victorian teenagers may be substantially superior to mine."

If you've made your way through the first six books, you shouldn't have a problem. Vergil's vocabulary isn't huge and the syntax is relatively straightforward. The difficulty lies in the use of common words in unusual ways and the dislocated word order (hyperbaton, interlocking adjectives and nouns, etc.) But once you have a certain amount of reading under your belt, you shouldn't have too many problems. Equip yourself with a good translation or use an on-line translation to resolve difficulties when you encounter them and to make sure your understanding of the text is correct if there's any doubt.

"I don't know what a 'grown up' commentary is" -- one that doesn't mark macrons. Also, one that calls your attention to salient features of Vergil's poetic style, that discusses the historical and ideological background of the poem, Homeric (and other) intertextuality, etc., in addition to grammatical points. Williams is probably your best bet, and it's available used for very reasonable prices.

Probably Williams' commentary would be best for you. It's available used at reasonable price.
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Re: Commentary for Aeneid VII - XII?

Postby huilen » Fri May 09, 2014 10:15 pm

Qimmik, you provide very useful information, I will consider them on a future (I have never take very seriously Latin, I have just read fragments of a couple of authors, and the little that I've learned was in a very disordered and unsystematic way. However, I would like, eventually, to get on the Aeneid).

I don't know if this is of any help, but I found very useful In usum delphini volumes, I like them because they are entirely in Latin: the original text is provided with a commentary and a paraphrase with easier vocabulary and word order, both in latin on the margins. You can find them free on archive.org. However, I don't know how they are with the Aeneid, I used them with other texts, but maybe they are not the best option for a serious lecture of the Aeneid, I just point them out as a beginner.
Here is a review of In usum delphini collection: http://www.johnpiazza.net/adusumdelphini
And here is the Aeneid volume: https://archive.org/details/pvirgiliimaroni00virg
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Re: Commentary for Aeneid VII - XII?

Postby Victor » Sun May 11, 2014 1:10 pm

huilen wrote:Qimmik, you provide very useful information, I will consider them on a future (I have never take very seriously Latin, I have just read fragments of a couple of authors, and the little that I've learned was in a very disordered and unsystematic way. However, I would like, eventually, to get on the Aeneid).

I don't know if this is of any help, but I found very useful In usum delphini volumes, I like them because they are entirely in Latin: the original text is provided with a commentary and a paraphrase with easier vocabulary and word order, both in latin on the margins.

The Delphin editions still have their usefulness, but considering what you say about the limited progress you've made in Latin I'm sceptical whether any text with a commentary entirely in Latin would meet your needs; a Latin commentary can sometimes be more difficult to understand than the text it elucidates.
Williams or Page would be far better starting points. They can be had cheaply secondhand if you look hard enough.
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Re: Commentary for Aeneid VII - XII?

Postby Gregarius » Sun May 11, 2014 8:22 pm

Thank you all for the advice. While this effort has been neither easy to quick, I must confess that it has been incredibly personally satisfying.
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