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I've heard that Augustus originally wanted an "Augusteis" from Vergil. I know that in the end Augustus really liked the Aeneis, but is there any known reason why exactly Vergil decided to write an "Aeneis"?

  • Sincere question: is this on-topic? – luchonacho Jun 12 '18 at 8:20
  • @luchonacho I dont know, I was really interested into that question, and didn't knew a better place to ask it... You could argue that the question deals with the historical context of a very important text, but I apologize, if I missed the aimed purpose of this Stackexchange – Quacksilber Jun 13 '18 at 21:26
  • @luchonacho I think so. Just about anything related to the Aeneid is on topic. If you are unsure, you can always ask on meta for more opinions and arguments. – Joonas Ilmavirta Jun 14 '18 at 1:37
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My impression is this: Augustus was a real and contemporary person, so it would be difficult to credibly fabricate a story of his works, adventures, and greatness. This restraint was removed by writing of his remote ancestors (Anchises, Aeneas, and Ascanius/Iulus from whom the Iulius family allegedly descends). Then there is a freedom to fabricate and bend some facts due to the historical distance but Augustus could share some of the glory by being a "direct heir" of these great and mythical men.

However, I have no proof of this. I may have read something along these lines long ago, but I am not aware of any existing evidence, so there may be nothing we can do besides speculating. (I would be happy to be proven wrong, though!)

  • Thanks for your answer, the point that Vergil wrote about Aeneas, so that he had more freedom in what he was writing sounds pretty reasonable. If I think of it I would even maybe take it one step further, by saying that by writing about Aeneas, he had the possibility to indirectly criticising Augustus, by criticising Aeneas. Directly criticising Augustus may have gotten pretty dangerous for him :) – Quacksilber Jun 13 '18 at 21:29

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