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The Aeneid

Translation, Introduction, and Notes by Barry B. Powell

Publication Date - 03 August 2015

ISBN: 9780190204952

432 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

A powerful new translation of the great epic by Barry B. Powell, with a Foreword by Denis Feeney


Barry Powell, acclaimed translator of the Iliad (OUP, 2013) and the Odyssey (OUP, 2014) now delivers a graceful, lucid, free-verse translation of the Aeneid in a pleasant modern idiom. On-page notes explain obscure literary and historical references, while the rich visual program lightens the text and educates students in the history of Western art by presenting a single topic as represented over 2,000 years.

The Aeneid's first sentence charts the poem's historical plot, taking us in one sweep of seven lines from Homer's Troy to Augustus' Rome. These two layers of time are felt all the way through the poem, from the distant past of Aeneas' heroic and quasi-mythological time, over 1100 years before Vergil, down to the "now" of Augustus' Rome, when Vergil was writing the poem between 30 and 19 BC, a period of ongoing political experimentation.

The story of Aeneas--moving from one continent to another, undergoing and enforcing great transformations in the process--transplants contemporary Augustan preoccupations with transition, continuity, and change into the remote time of the poem's action. In the course of the poem we move from the East to the West, from Troy to Italy, as Aeneas moves from being a Trojan towards being something else, a kind of Roman in embryo. The poem's migratory movement, together with its wholescale assimilation of Homer, acts out another great transition, the transition of Greek culture to Italy: just as the people of ancient Italy become the inheritors of Troy, so the people of Vergil's Italy become the inheritors of Greece. The very location of the poem in time is transitional, at the pivot between myth and history: the poem's characters are moving out of the era of Homer into the era of what Vergil would have considered non-fabulous history. In all these ways the Aeneid is a great poem of history, both as lived experience and as something constructed by people responding to the needs of society.

Featuring a stellar, up-to-date introduction, on-page notes, embedded illustrations, five maps, a timeline of Roman history, and a genealogical chart, Powell's Aeneid offers a full immersion into the mythological and political workings of the poem. It is a book both good to think with, and good to teach with.

About the Author(s)

Barry B. Powell is the Halls-Bascom Professor of Classics Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he taught for thirty-four years. His translations of the Iliad (2013) and the Odyssey )2014) were also published by Oxford University Press.


"Powell's translation roves with the lows and highs of Vergil's Latin, matching the poem's emotive and stylistic variations turn for turn. With rich visual illustrations and explanatory notes on nearly every page, Powell's Aeneid offers a full immersion into the mythological and political workings of the poem: in short, a book both good to think with, and good to teach with."--Kirk Freudenburg, Yale University

"Powell's translation does more than just allow the Latin-less reader to appreciate the artistry of Vergil; it gives a glimpse into why we are still reading Vergil and why this 'handbook of empire'--with all of the attendant ambiguities and complexities of that phrase--is still relevant today."--Leah Kronenberg, Rutgers University

Table of Contents

    List of Maps and Figures
    About the Translator
    Timeline of Roman History Through Augustus
    Genealogical Chart
    Book 1: The Shores of Africa
    Book 2: The Fall of Troy
    Book 3: Journey from Troy
    Book 4: The Death of Dido
    Book 5: Funeral Games
    Book 6: Descent into the Underworld
    Book 7: The Seeds of War
    Book 8: The Shield of Aeneas
    Book 9: Turnus Besieges the Trojan Camp
    Book 10: The Deaths of Pallas, Lausus, and Mezentius
    Book 11: The Mourning for Pallas and the Glory of Camilla
    Book 12: The Death of Turnus