Boat race aeneid 5

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lucas20
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Boat race aeneid 5

Post by lucas20 »

Hey guys, good morning all, can you give me some good interpretive essay about the boat race in Aeneid 5 ? I read in fratantuono this boat race symbolizes the ethnographic movement of Troy to Rome and i look for some essay that develop more this idea.

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seneca2008
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Re: Boat race aeneid 5

Post by seneca2008 »

No one has replied so I will offer a thought.

The whole of the Aeneid might be described as, inter alia, " the ethnographic movement of Troy to Rome" (thus Fratantuono). Fratantuono's commentary on book 5 is an obvious starting point and maybe that's what you have already read. He refers to S. Spence, “The Boat-race as Turning Point in Aeneid 5,” NECJ 29 (2002), pp. 69–81. Unfortunately I can't seem to find it on JSTOR and the NECJ website only has fairly recent volumes on line. So it looks like you will have to look for it in a University library. But I would have thought this was something worth reading.

I dont know why you asked the question but there is a lot to be gained from Fratantuono without looking more widely. For example this looks useful:
Spoiler
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The Quest for Identity
The ship race, together with the other contests, stands out as perhaps this book’s most conspicuous feature in the minds of its various readers.43 Yet for nearly half a century scholars have variously argued that behind that conspicuousness lurk possibilities of further interpretation. In one of his early articles, Karl Galinsky objected to the notion that the contests offer a distraction from the principal narrative surrounding Aeneas, noting that “it was in Sicily that the Romans became fully aware of the implications of their claim to Trojan descent; it is in Sicily that Aeneas begins to understand the implications of his mission.”44 Galinsky also recognizes that the fifth Aeneid was not simply an entertaining distraction, but a book deeply integrated with the rest of the poem, as in it Virgil often recasts prior motifs “to illustrate ... the change from the past to the future.”45 Alongside the movement from past to future, in Sicily there seems to be a shift in emphasis on the issue of Trojan identity. This can be seen especially well in Virgil’s aetiological etymologies (see notes ad loc.) associated with the ship race. Ultimately, we move from the ship race of the opening movements of 5 to the naval battle of Actium whose glories crown the shield of Aeneas near the close of 8, thus framing the opening and closing books of the epic’s middle third with nautical imagery that points to the Augustan conquest of disorder and the question of the retracing, as it were, of the steps of Aeneas and his companions in the achievement of the Augustan victory. The Virgilian ship race exhibits features of civil war and the seeming vagaries of chance and fortune; the nautical context of the regatta is revisited in the dolphin imagery that is used to describe the labyrinthine equestrian display of the lusus Troiae, which serves to link the largely lighthearted and harmless enough events of the games with the dread reality of the cavalry engagement in 11 of which the Troy game is prelude.46
There are other metaphors in Book 5, as well, illustrating the struggle of the Aeneadae to find a new national identity. The island of Sicily itself, as we have observed, is often cited as a kind of half-way point between Trojan and Roman,

43 Not without reason did Monaco term his volume il libro dei ludi, despite the fact that fully half the book is not
concerned with athletics.
44 Karl Galinsky, “Aeneid V and the Aeneid,” AJP 89 (1968), p. 184.
45 Galinsky 1968, p. 153.
46 The intricate maneuvers of the Troy game also embody the problem of the difficulty of
extraction and the turning in on oneself, in this case the problem of escaping the Trojan past, and the ultimate revelation of the fact that escape from Troy spells the suppression of Troy; arrival in Italy means the final end of the old city and its mores.

for Sicily is geographically nearby, but not quite, Italy. Along the same lines, Acestes, the son of Crinisus by the Trojan Egesta, is half-Trojan, but obviously not Trojan in the sense that Aeneas and his men are. Acestes embodies in a single person the new settlement in Sicily, where a city is to be founded. Alongside Acestes (746–761), Aeneas oversees the planning of that town which, the reader had learned a few lines previously (718), will derive its appellation from a variation upon Acestes’ and his mother’s name.
Thus Sicily will provide a home for a people that is led by a near relative of the Trojans, and a stopping point even to some of the Aeneadae, a place that offers them an opportunity to withdraw from the primary mission with a modicum of dignitas. Thus, Sicily provides Aeneas with more than a place of rest and entertainment en route to Italy. It is another “almost place,” more closely and suitably connected with Troy than Carthage in some regards (though the historical realities of the First Punic War loom large),47 an improvement over and correction of Buthrotum’s fading dream, and a location superior to Crete, which the Penates had shown was not to be the place for the new Trojan settlement. It has surpassed, too, the first stopping point of the Trojans (3.13–18), Aeneadae, which despite the derivation of the name from Aeneas’ own and its resultant confluence with the itinerant Trojans, was clearly not the right place either, as the unfortunate Polydorus incident confirmed (3.62– 72).


47 Trojan Aeneas is forced to labor under certain burdens inherited from Roman history, which in Virgil is ever considered as a problem of the future in the past tense, or the past in the future; see here especially E. Schmidt, “Vergil: die Tragödie der karthagischen Königen Dido als Anfrage an den Sinn der römischen Geschichte,” in Schmidt, E, ed., Musen in Rom: Deutung der Welt und Geschichte in großen Texten der römischen Literatur, Tübingen, 2001, pp. 19–132.
Persuade tibi hoc sic esse, ut scribo: quaedam tempora eripiuntur nobis, quaedam subducuntur, quaedam effluunt. Turpissima tamen est iactura, quae per neglegentiam fit. Et si volueris attendere, maxima pars vitae elabitur male agentibus, magna nihil agentibus, tota vita aliud agentibus.

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Re: Boat race aeneid 5

Post by mwh »

That’s all very well, but I’d ask why the boat race in particular. And it’s a competition—unlike Aeneas’s mission as a whole—and as such it interrupts and indeed runs counter to the overall forward motion of the voyage from Troy to Italy—as if Dido wasn’t already enough. This is classic retardation strategy on Vergil’s part, on the model of prior poetic quests, Apollonius’ Argonautica not least among them. At this rate, how will they ever reach their destination? And over and above the narrative complications in themselves let’s remember (as Latinists do not always do) that this whole account is based on the funeral games for Patroclus in the Iliad, with which it ostentatiously calls for comparison.

The boat race is like the caucus race in Alice in Wonderland. Everyone wins a prize.

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Re: Boat race aeneid 5

Post by seanjonesbw »

seneca2008 wrote: Sun May 16, 2021 4:17 pm He refers to S. Spence, “The Boat-race as Turning Point in Aeneid 5,” NECJ 29 (2002), pp. 69–81.
Available at the Classical Association of New England website here (direct link to pdf): http://caneweb.org/archive/NECJ.29.2.May.2002.pdf

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seneca2008
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Re: Boat race aeneid 5

Post by seneca2008 »

Sean, thanks for posting the link. No idea why I couldn't find it.

MWH your points are important, thanks.

I think the idea is that book 5 might be taken to represent the whole of the Aeneid in miniature and that the boat race symbolises Aeneas' journey. The "meta" that Aeneas selects for the race symbolises Sicily which is a turning point in his journey. Whilst this journey is not a race it can be seen as a competition at one level between (crudely) Juno and Jupiter, at another between a well determined Trojan identity and emergent Roman replacement/assimilation. (The Trojans who take part in the race are ancestors of well known Roman families and even if some of the choices here might look odd to us the link between the two identities is otherwise clear here.)

Of course there are other ways of looking at the book as one would expect in a rich text. I am fortunate to have mostly encountered Latinists who are keenly aware of the relationship between Homer and Vergil. So using that lens there are also fruitful ways of reading the text. In particular we have to be alive to Vergil's metapoetics. As well as symbolising a change between Trojan/Roman identity this Book illustrates the continuity. Homer is not replaced but reused and modified to new circumstances. Vergil inserts himself in the canon as a natural successor. Aeneas' journey might be seen as a cultural shift from (again crudely) Homeric to Vergilian poetics

I agree that one can also look at the race as a narrative strategy and that as far as I can tell is how it has been traditionally read. Can it not have some symbolism too?

I dont have time to read and write more but you both deserved a reply. Thanks again.
Persuade tibi hoc sic esse, ut scribo: quaedam tempora eripiuntur nobis, quaedam subducuntur, quaedam effluunt. Turpissima tamen est iactura, quae per neglegentiam fit. Et si volueris attendere, maxima pars vitae elabitur male agentibus, magna nihil agentibus, tota vita aliud agentibus.

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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Boat race aeneid 5

Post by Barry Hofstetter »

seneca2008 wrote: Tue May 18, 2021 9:41 am
I think the idea is that book 5 might be taken to represent the whole of the Aeneid in miniature and that the boat race symbolises Aeneas' journey. The "meta" that Aeneas selects for the race symbolises Sicily which is a turning point in his journey. Whilst this journey is not a race it can be seen as a competition at one level between (crudely) Juno and Jupiter, at another between a well determined Trojan identity and emergent Roman replacement/assimilation. (The Trojans who take part in the race are ancestors of well known Roman families and even if some of the choices here might look odd to us the link between the two identities is otherwise clear here.)

Of course there are other ways of looking at the book as one would expect in a rich text. I am fortunate to have mostly encountered Latinists who are keenly aware of the relationship between Homer and Vergil. So using that lens there are also fruitful ways of reading the text. In particular we have to be alive to Vergil's metapoetics. As well as symbolising a change between Trojan/Roman identity this Book illustrates the continuity. Homer is not replaced but reused and modified to new circumstances. Vergil inserts himself in the canon as a natural successor. Aeneas' journey might be seen as a cultural shift from (again crudely) Homeric to Vergilian poetics

I agree that one can also look at the race as a narrative strategy and that as far as I can tell is how it has been traditionally read. Can it not have some symbolism too?
Twice you use the adverb "crudely." What's crude about it?
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Re: Boat race aeneid 5

Post by mwh »

seneca, thanks. I accept more or less all of that. Traditionally, of course, the meta is the halfway mark at which you turn and head back to the starting point. Aeneas is not to end up back at Troy! There’s also a marked tension between the geographically static ludi and the forward movement towards Italy and eventually Rome. Since meta is sometimes used to designate the end-point, the goal, I can accept the extension of the metaphor, though I think critics apply it too lazily.
A meta-meta we could say.

It’s been a while since people spoke of poets inserting themselves into canons. Not that I have anything against it.

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seneca2008
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Re: Boat race aeneid 5

Post by seneca2008 »

Barry Hofstetter wrote:Twice you use the adverb "crudely." What's crude about it?
Crude as in not refined. As I was writing I was aware of the objections that might be made between the oppositions I mentioned. Also, more broadly, we talk about the Hellenisation of the Romans as if this was a one way process but of course it was more complicated than that.
mwh wrote:It’s been a while since people spoke of poets inserting themselves into canons. Not that I have anything against it.
Generally speaking I am more in favour of exploding canons.

Meta-meta :D
Persuade tibi hoc sic esse, ut scribo: quaedam tempora eripiuntur nobis, quaedam subducuntur, quaedam effluunt. Turpissima tamen est iactura, quae per neglegentiam fit. Et si volueris attendere, maxima pars vitae elabitur male agentibus, magna nihil agentibus, tota vita aliud agentibus.

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Re: Boat race aeneid 5

Post by EdusBritannicus »

Vergil was closely following the Iliad and Odyssey of Homer; books 1-6 Odyssey, books 7-12 Iliad.
Have you ever wondered why book 12 ends with Aeneas goes berserk on a battlefield?
Well, just read about Achilles in Homer.

Nescioquid maius nascitur Iliade, wrote Propertius, who had no doubt heard quite a few readings of the Aeneid as it came into being.

There's subtle comedy in the boat race. It's not a belly-laugh (I don't think Vergil ever gives us a belly-laugh), but it's there; rather dry and academic. Just as Juno's first words in book I refer to Homer in a way that only very erudite people would pick up on.

Ed

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Re: Boat race aeneid 5

Post by NicolasLakshmanan »

[Excuse me for my english, which I've not practised for years...]

Thanks for this subject. What has been said above is quite interesting ; but I am never satisfied with interpretations that point to the interest for historical Romans. I just wonder why this "book" can be amazing for us. What does it tell me about my humanity ? Can it help me feel good ? In other words, why such a poem isn't boring ?
As a matter of fact, I feel it is a incredibly beautiful poem, and I think that its beauty has something to deal with loving life. All competitions are non-competitions, and I feel like watching Wacky Races when I read this book. And in a way, all the book is about delaying, about hurrying for life — in other words about stopping time.

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