Rome Readings (In addition to the textbook chapter)

* Read books 1 and 6 at the partially-translated, annotated version of Vergil's Aeneid OR at the MIT site linked below. This story was the "official" epic poem of the Roman Empire, written in honor of the Emperor Augustus and his reign. The story chronicles the wanderings of Aeneas, 'founder' of Rome and survivor of the Trojan War. This epic did not originate in the oral tradition of the earlier Greek epics; rather, it was created as a written story. See also the fine background/synopsis at Wiki.

- Full text available at:

* Also read books 1 (Daphne and Phoebus Apollo, aka "The Transformation of Daphne into a Laurel"), 4 (Pyramus and Thisbe sections), and 15 (Aesclepius Saves Rome from Plague through Ovid's Envoi) of Ovid's Metamorphoses, the text of which is provided below. You may also read this fine introduction to and synopsis of the books of Metamorphoses. This is another Roman "epic" written in a more satirical vein. Do you recognize some of the historical and mythological themes from the Greek epic songs? Greek mythology? Roman mythology relies heavily on the Greek which preceded it; Romans considered themselves - much like the Macedonian conquerors before them - the heirs of Greek culture and ingenuity.

- Book I (Phoebus - AKA Apollo - Sees Daphne through Phoebus Honors Daphne)

- Book IV (Pyramus and Thisbe, Death of Pyramus, Death of Thisbe)

- Book XV (Aesclepius Saves Rome from Plague through Ovid's Envoi)

- Full text in translation:

Study Questions for Aeneid, Metamorphoses, and On the Apparel of Women (Tertullian) - (discussed in class)

1. What are some parallels to/borrowings from the Odyssey that you can see in the Aeneid? How are these epic poems similar? How are they different, in content and purpose? Do Odysseus and Aeneas have anything in common? Are there any similarities in their adventures?

2. Ovid, author of Metamorphoses, was not as well-received by the Roman establishment as Vergil, author of the Aeneid. Can you see why, given his treatment of various gods and Greco-Roman heroes in this poem? How is his treatment different than the 'epics' which came before?

3. How do you think Ovid feels about love? About emperor deification? About Augustus? Why?

4. In On the Apparel of Women, what is Tertullian's advice regarding dress and appearances to the women of Roman Christian communities? What is his reasoning? In light of both the Christian values he discusses and the political realities for Christians living in the pagan Roman Empire, do you think he had a point? Explain how and why Tertullian's reasoning does and/or doesn't make sense to you.