Published on April 21, 2018
The Last Trojan Hero: A Cultural History of Virgil’s Aeneid Philip Hardie 2016 264 pp. $24.99 (Paperback): The Last Trojan Hero: A Cultural History of Virgil’s Aeneid Philip Hardie 2016 264 pp. $24.99 (Paperback) Goals and Organization: Goals and Organization Hardie discusses Vergil and the Aeneid as part of an epic continuum, extending both before and after him Introduction gives general background on Aeneid’s popularity through various times/places, as well as summarizing the large academic schools of thought Chapters are divided thematically, not chronologically (“The Underworld” “Parody”) Show earlier authors and works which influenced Vergil’s work in each topic Show authors, genres, and works after Vergil influenced by him Pros and Cons: Pros and Cons T hematic organization is useful given the sheer volume of examples Hardie wants to talk about Allows Hardie to show genre progression for each topic individually (ex: how women are depicted in Homeric epic, then Aeneid , then later epic) Style is dense in the introduction, but very readable for the rest of the book Would be difficult if you were interested in a particular time period or author (comparison of Vergil to Dante and Milton are spread all throughout the book rather than collected together) Chapters:: Chapters: 1 – Underworlds 2 – Versions of Dido 3 – Many Faces of Aeneas 4 – Empire and Nations 5 – Aeneid and Christianity 6 – Aeneid and the New World 7 – Parody and Burlesque 8 – Art and Landscape The strongest chapters are earlier in the book (1 & 2 especially) Chapters can stand alone if you’re only interested in one topic A large amount of interesting examples especially in the modern age – there were many I didn’t know or hadn’t thought about before Does lack a satisfying conclusion Conclusions: Conclusions As a teacher of the Aeneid to AP Latin students, I found this book helpful on several key topics Gave me a much clearer idea of how Vergil fits into a literary timeline, instead of thinking of him as either a starting point or and endpoint 3 chapters could easily stand alone as excellent articles: Underworld, Dido (epic women), and Faces of Aeneas (the hero archetype) No big conclusion or “ah-ha” moment – Hardie is more an aggregator of many examples and thoughts. A good encyclopedic resource, and a good bibliography if you wanted to look more deeply into a particular topic.