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We are doing The Aeneid for Class Civ A level. Appropriate technical vocabulary is...

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alisdavidson | High School Teacher | eNoter

Posted December 5, 2012 at 5:50 AM via web

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We are doing The Aeneid for Class Civ A level. Appropriate technical vocabulary is needed (furor, pietas, pius...). Can you give me a list of useful Latin terms?

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noahvox2 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted July 17, 2013 at 2:58 AM (Answer #1)

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Here are some of the more important terms from the Latin text of Virgil's Aeneid.

furor is a Latin word that denotes rage and madness. In Virgil's world, furor is an emotion that philosophers like the Stoics would have frowned upon. The Stoics preached control over such violent emotions, and so, when one of Virgil's characters starts to venture into the realm of furor, that is not a good sign (e.g., when the Trojans decide to bring the wooden horse into their city at Aeneid 2.244).

Along those same lines, we should note the word ira, which denotes anger and rage. As with furor, ira is an emotion that Virgil wants Aeneas to stay away from. In the closing lines of the poem, Aeneas gives in to ira and kills Turnus. Was his ira justified?

Speaking of justification of ira, perhaps anger can be justified when it is directed at someone who is superbus, exhibiting superbia, or extreme arrogance. When a Virgilian character exhibits superbia, this may be an indication that death will not be far away. Virgil sometimes calls Turnus superbus (e.g., 12.326).

Perhaps the opposite of superbus ("arrogance") are words like pius and pietas. Although our modern words pious and piety are derived from these Latin words, and these words sometimes have a negative connotation in American society, for the Romans pietas denotes duty or responsibility to one's gods, country, and family. Virgil gives Aeneas the epithet pius quite frequently in the Aeneid. So, whereas some Americans scoff at people for being too pious, Virgil rarely lets his audience forget that Aeneas is pius; Virgil wants his hero to carry out his duty and fulfill his responsibilities.

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