Critical issues in the interpretation of Aeneid book 1

Period of duration of course
Course info
Number of course hours
Number of hours of lecturers of reference
Number of hours of supplementary teaching

Type of exam



The module is intended for PhD students of the corso ordinario, for whom the first half is specifically planned, but can be also be usefully taken by students of the corso ordinario. Advanced knowledge of Latin is expected.


The module will focus on the detailed analysis of several sections of book 1 (as well as of other books), which can usefully serve as case-studies for the overall interpretation of the poem. Particular attention will be devoted to: the relationship between philolophical theories and epic narrative; the relationshio between text and image; the construction of epic characters; the relevance of eros in the book.

Educational aims

Upon successful completion of the module, students should have gained a considerable degree of understanding of the Virgil’s epic stylistic and narrative patterns, of how they have been analyzed and interpreted over time, and of the distinctive features of book 1.

Bibliographical references

Reference edition

G. B. Conte, Bibliotheca Teubneriana, Berlin - Boston 2019 (2nd ed.) 


Introductions to Virgil

Camps, W. A. 1969. An introduction to Virgil’s Aeneid, Oxford (trad. it. Milano 2008)

Hardie, P. R. 1998. Virgil, Oxford

Holzberg, N. 2008. Virgilio, Bologna (ed. orig. tedesca München 2006)

Keith, A. 2020. Virgil, London


Key monographs on the Aeneid

Barchiesi, A. 1984. La traccia del modello. Effetti omerici nella narrazione virgiliana,Pisa

Conte, G.B. 1980. Il genere e i suoi confini. Cinque studi sulla poesia di Virgilio, Torino

-          2002. Virgilio. L’epica del sentimento, Torino

Farrell, J. 2021. Juno’s Aeneid: a battle for heroic identity, Princeton - Oxford

Feeney, D.C. 1991. The gods in epic: poets and critics of the Classical tradition, Oxford

Fowler, D. P. 2000. Roman constructions: readings in postmodern Latin, Oxford (spec. capp. 2, 5, 8, 10, 11, 12)

Hardie, P.R. 1986. Virgil’s Aeneid: cosmos and imperium, Oxford

-        1993. The epic successors of Virgil: a study in the dynamics of a tradition, Cambridge

-        2014. The last Trojan hero: a cultural history of Virgil’s Aeneid, London – New York

Heinze, R. 1993. La tecnica epica di Virgilio, Bologna (Leipzig 19143 [19031]). Cfr: Conte 2002: 125-37;

Johnson, W.R. 1976. Darkness visible: a study of Vergil’s Aeneid, Berkeley

Knauer, G. N. 1979. Die Aeneis und Homer. Studien zur poetischen Technik mit Listen der Homerzitate in der Aeneis, Göttingen2 (19641)

La Penna, A. 2005. L’impossibile giustificazione della storia. Un’interpretazione di Virgilio, Roma-Bari

Lyne, R.O.A.M. 1987. Further voices in Virgil’s Aeneid, Oxford

-        1989.     Words and the poet: characteristic techniques of style in Vergil’s Aeneid, Oxford

Nelis, D. 2001. Vergil’s Aeneid and the Argonautica of Apollonius Rhodius, Leeds

O’Hara, J. 2017. True Names. Vergil and the Alexandrian Tradition of Etymological Wordplay, Ann Arbor2  (19961)

Otis, B. 1963. Virgil: a study in civilized poetry, Oxford (rist. Norman, OK and London 1995, con ‘Foreword’ di W. W. Briggs, Jr.)

Pöschl, V. 1950. Die Dichtkunst Virgils. Bild und Symbol in der Äneis, Innsbruck1 [Berlin 19773]. Trad. inglese The art of Vergil: image and symbol in the Aeneid, Ann Arbor 1962

Putnam, M.C.J. 1965. The poetry of the Aeneid. Four studies in imaginative unity and design, Cambridge, MA

Putnam, M.C.J. 1988. The poetry of the Aeneid, Cambridge Mass. (19651)

-          1995. Vergil’s Aeneid: interpretation and influence, Chapel Hill, NC

Quint, D. 1993. Epic and empire: politics and generic form from Virgil to Milton, Princeton

Thomas, R.F. 2001. Virgil and the Augustan reception, Cambridge