Roman Mythology

Aeneus and Virgil’s Aeneid

What is the background of the Aeneid?

An epic poem which tells the story of the founding of Rome based on the legend of the hero Aeneas, the Aeneid was commissioned by Augustus himself. The emperor wanted a truly Roman epic that would be comparable to the works of Homer but that would express Roman rather than ancient Greek values and traditions. Augustus had a particular interest in the story of Aeneas as a means of justifying his own reign. It was generally believed that Julius Caesar was a direct descendant of Aeneas. Aeneas’s son Ascanius was also called Iulus (Julus). Because he was the nephew and adopted son of Julius Caesar, Augustus saw himself also as a descendent of Aeneas and, therefore, as the rightful leader of Rome. The Aeneid would be the story of his family’s founding of Rome.


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