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Why No Mercy? : A Study of Aeneas' Missing Virtue

Damtoft Poulsen, Aske LU (2013) In Symbolae Osloenses 87(1). p.95-133
Abstract
When Octavian in 27 BC was given the title of Augustus, a shield was set up in the senate inscribed with four virtues; virtus, clementia, iustitia, and pietas. Aeneas, the great ancestor of Octavian, is frequently praised for pietas, virtus, and iustitia in the Aeneid. Regarding clementia, however, Vergil is conspicuously silent. Indeed, in the battle scenes of books 10 and 12, Aeneas refuses to spare enemies who ask for mercy. The author examines the arguments presented in order to vindicate Aeneas' acts, and argues that the sources cited in defence of Aeneas cannot be called upon to give a clear verdict. Instead of employing contemporary sources in a bid to exculpate Aeneas, the author uses them to explain why Vergil decided to make his... (More)
When Octavian in 27 BC was given the title of Augustus, a shield was set up in the senate inscribed with four virtues; virtus, clementia, iustitia, and pietas. Aeneas, the great ancestor of Octavian, is frequently praised for pietas, virtus, and iustitia in the Aeneid. Regarding clementia, however, Vergil is conspicuously silent. Indeed, in the battle scenes of books 10 and 12, Aeneas refuses to spare enemies who ask for mercy. The author examines the arguments presented in order to vindicate Aeneas' acts, and argues that the sources cited in defence of Aeneas cannot be called upon to give a clear verdict. Instead of employing contemporary sources in a bid to exculpate Aeneas, the author uses them to explain why Vergil decided to make his hero merciless. He submits that Vergil has deliberately, and in accordance with his view of contemporary political events, created a merciless hero for his epic. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Vergil/Virgil, Aeneid, Aeneas, Mercy (clementia), Augustus, Late Roman Republic, Roman civil wars.
in
Symbolae Osloenses
volume
87
issue
1
pages
95 - 133
publisher
Taylor & Francis
external identifiers
  • wos:000326013900006
  • scopus:84887083231
ISSN
0039-7679
DOI
10.1080/00397679.2013.827490
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
42ee6121-f0a1-4de1-affb-73fcc26aedeb (old id 4519553)
date added to LUP
2016-04-01 11:07:20
date last changed
2019-10-23 01:51:28
@article{42ee6121-f0a1-4de1-affb-73fcc26aedeb,
  abstract     = {When Octavian in 27 BC was given the title of Augustus, a shield was set up in the senate inscribed with four virtues; virtus, clementia, iustitia, and pietas. Aeneas, the great ancestor of Octavian, is frequently praised for pietas, virtus, and iustitia in the Aeneid. Regarding clementia, however, Vergil is conspicuously silent. Indeed, in the battle scenes of books 10 and 12, Aeneas refuses to spare enemies who ask for mercy. The author examines the arguments presented in order to vindicate Aeneas' acts, and argues that the sources cited in defence of Aeneas cannot be called upon to give a clear verdict. Instead of employing contemporary sources in a bid to exculpate Aeneas, the author uses them to explain why Vergil decided to make his hero merciless. He submits that Vergil has deliberately, and in accordance with his view of contemporary political events, created a merciless hero for his epic.},
  author       = {Damtoft Poulsen, Aske},
  issn         = {0039-7679},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {95--133},
  publisher    = {Taylor & Francis},
  series       = {Symbolae Osloenses},
  title        = {Why No Mercy? : A Study of Aeneas' Missing Virtue},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00397679.2013.827490},
  doi          = {10.1080/00397679.2013.827490},
  volume       = {87},
  year         = {2013},
}