What are the Roman Mandates in The Aeneid?This is in regards to Book 6.

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the simplest definition, Roman Mandates were instruments of Roman Law. They were either civil codes arranged between individuals or they were decrees sent from an Emperor to the governors or other leaders. The first class of mandate requires explanation whereas the second, a decree from a ruling government, is a more familiar construct for most.

A mandate of the first class was a legal contract between two people who agreed that one of the persons would perform an act or service for the other and that there would be no fee or charge paid for the performance of said act or service. In all other forms of civil contract, an agreement for provision of goods, acts or services depended upon a consideration, which is an agreed upon payment or fee for the goods, act or service. Mandates. by their definition, never had a consideration attached--it was a gratuitous (free of charge) contract.

readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think what you are asking is what is Vergil's text saying to Aeneas. In other words, what does he need to do. That is a very good question that pretty much gets at the heart of the work. After Aeneas recounts the painful story of the Trojan war and the difficulties of sea travel, he gets to what he is called to do. He is called by the gods to leave Troy to build another city, a new Troy or we can say to establish Rome, a place for his people and his household gods. This is why the gods remind him that he needs to leave Carthage. As great as Carthage is and as much as Aeneas loves Dido, the mandate is to find another city, Rome. He is called to be faithful to this task.

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