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Roman Epics XV: Virgil’s Aeneid Book 6, or Virgil Throws Some Shade(s)

Aeneas visits the Underworld and learns some things… Or does he?

The Vatican keeps pretty tight reigns over photography within the Sistine Chapel, so I haven’t been able to find any copyright-free images to share. This site, however, has some excellent close-ups of the prophets and sibyls that Michelangelo includes as part of that massive work of art. I’d forgotten how he depicts the Cumaean Sibyl who plays a large role in Book 6 of The Aeneid

Discussion Prompts:
  1. Okay, this won’t work quite as well within the format of a discussion thread, but what do you think the Sibyl looks like? Bonus points if you answer this before clicking on the link above.
  2. Is The Aeneid propaganda? Why or why not?
  3. What do you think of the brief glimpse of Dido in this book?
  4. What should we think of Roman history as described by Virgil in this book?
  5. Why does Aeneas leave through the gate of ivory?
  6. How should we assess the stories we tell ourselves about our own countries histories?

Published by Triumvir Clio

I have a BA in History and Classical Civilization from Loyola University Chicago and an MPH from Western Michigan University. I've been a geometry teacher, a religion teacher, a writing tutor. I'm a writer, a knitter, a dancer, a singer, an actor. And, yes, for fun I like to reread everything that was assigned while getting my classics degree.

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