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A Comparison of Roman – Aeneid and Greece – Odyssey Poems

The best epic poems from Greece and Rome are The Odyssey by Homer and The Aeneid by Virgil. Several works produced in the ancient world helped the contemporary and ancient worlds get off to a good start. Some of the most exceptional literary works that provide light on ancient life are The Odyssey and The Aeneid. Virgil and Homer wrote these outstanding poems, and scholars have utilized them for ages. There are significant parallels and distinctions between Homer’s Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid. Poems from these writers have persisted for many years. The writers of these epic poems are aware of how the beliefs of that specific civilization and the ancient culture were impacted.

According to legend, Homer wrote the Odyssey and the Iliad while blind. Since Homer has no bibliography, it is a reality that little is known about him. Homer is said to have been born in the 12th century B.C. and passed away in the 8th. Even though virtually little is known about the actual Homer, his poetry significantly impacted Western society. While some academics maintain that Homer was a single individual, others contend that the poets collectively recognized by that name composed these writings (Currie). The claim that storytelling was an oral tradition and that Homer collected and remembered these tales via recitation is used to refute the group concept. Whatever the case, Homer was an important figure in ancient history, and the Odyssey is an epic poem that researchers in the future will cite.

The Odyssey is divided into twenty-four books and was written by Homer in the fifth century B.C. It tells the story of the Trojan Battle’s aftermath and the war hero Odysseus’ return home. The word “Odyssey” alludes to a protracted and adventurous voyage that serves to illustrate the actual Odyssey. What, exactly, did Odysseus accomplish that caused Homer to record his journey in writing? Ithica stayed behind with several powerful men and twelve ships as Odysseus headed out to battle in Troy. Odysseus began the arduous voyage home after defeating Troy, which proved to be an arduous journey. Both the gods and the goddesses often used divine intervention. Odysseus had enraged several gods ever since he devised a strategy to utilize the Trojan horse, which resulted in Troy’s triumph (Wilson). The powerful storms, the tough decisions that Odysseus has to make while travelling, and the encounter with enticing sirens serve as the narration for the epic poem Odyssey. On his journey back home, Odysseus had to make several stops, and at each one, he encountered a unique set of issues (Perkell). But the goddess Athena was always there to provide him with much-needed defence until he got to his house. Athena disguised Odysseus as a beggar upon his return home and assisted in reuniting him with his lover Telemachus. Odysseys joined the competition to string a bow while it was still hidden by shooting it through a tiny hoop. Odysseus was the one who was able to draw the bow and kill all other suitors. He disclosed his identity after winning, got married, and went on to have a happy life together. Odyssey is an epic poem that is ageless and inextricably entwined with history; this much is certain. It keeps telling stories from antiquity.

Publius Maro Vergilius, most often referred to as Virgil in English, was born in a northern Italian town close to Mantua around 70 B.C. Known for his epic poetry, The Aeneid, he had popularity during the reign of Augustus Cesar. Greek and Roman poets were studied by Virgil when he was a student at schools in Cremona, Milan, and Rome. When Augustus Cesar became the emperor in 31 B.C., the civil conflicts he grew up in concluded. He experienced a level of horror from these civil conflicts that most people don’t, and in that fear, poetry flourished. In 49 B.C., Virgil had to leave his home due to the civil war, and he journeyed to Naples to start his literary career (Perkell). His contributions gained him notoriety, and he rose to prominence in the Roman Empire. His writings continue to influence poets and authors throughout the globe today, and they will continue to do so in the years to come. Virgil wanted the unfinished Aeneid to be burned when he passed away in 19 B.C. We learn about ancient Rome’s history due to Cesar Augustus’ intervention.

There are several striking parallels between the Aneid and the Odyssey. The first step is to divide this epic poetry into distinct volumes. The challenges that military heroes face as they travel and conquer obstacles brought on by the gods and goddesses are also described in these writings. When Odysseus gouged Polyphemus, the father of Poseidon, in the eye with a pointed plank in the Odyssey, Poseidon took offence (Maclennan). Throughout his trip, Athena supports Odysseus and helps him endure its horrors. The goddess Juno, who despises the Trojans for Venus being chosen over Minerva in a beauty contest, is also shown to resent Aeneas in the Aeneid. Like Athena did for Odysseus, Aeneas’ mother, Venus, supports him on his trip. Another connection between the two works is that both Odysseus and Aeneas are members of royalty, with Odysseus ruling Ithaca and Aeneas ruling Troy (Perkell). The striking similarity between the two epic poems’ structures demonstrates the ability of two poets from disparate locations to convey what they know to the world.

The Odyssey and the Aeneid have many parallels, yet they also vary significantly in a number of ways. These epic poems vary from other poetry in many ways, including the conclusion. There is a pleasant conclusion in the Odyssey. Odysseus arrives at his house and reclaims it from the would-be suitors who had attempted to seize his wife and estate. In the Aeneid, Aeneas endured torturous battles and lost his loved ones. Another significant distinction between the two works is that whereas Aeneas was predestined to carry the voyage, Odysseus freely decided to do it. We learn that the gods have various names after reading each epic poem. You can see that the gods are the same, but when Virgil wrote the Aeneid, he wanted to give it his unique style, and altering the gods’ names was a simple way to do so. Finally, the tones of the tales vary from one another. The optimism that permeates each of the books of The Odyssey makes it a lighter, brighter poetry (Currie). The Aeneid has a considerably darker tone regarding the miseries of battle. As one can see, there are numerous distinctions between Homer’s Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid, and each contributes to illuminating the various civilizations in which each work was produced.

Works Cited

Currie, Bruno. “The Iliad, the Odyssey, and narratological intertextuality.” Symbolae Osloenses 93.1 (2019): 157-188.

Maclennan, Keith. Virgil: Aeneid VI. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2016.

Perkell, Christine. “A COMMENTARY ON VERGIL, AENEID 3. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017. Pp. xii+ 327, maps. isbn 9780198727811 (bound); 9780198727828 (paper).£ 80.00 (bound);£ 22.95.” The Journal of Roman Studies 109 (2019): 405-407.

Wilson, Emilly. Homer. The Odyssey, 2018.


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