Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Random Reading Reflections: Aeneid

To write one must read. To read one must write (an inversion that doesn't work).  I am not faithful in writing, but much more faithful in reading. I seem to be reverting back to healthy practices from school, similar to starting to appreciate jogging after hating being forced to run every phys ed class. But, I never hated writing about books. A reflection on recent reading (more to come):

The Aeneid, Virgil, translated to prose by W.F. Jackson Knight

...[Juno] forced a man famed for his true-heartedness to tread that long path of adventure, and to face so many trials. It is hard to believe gods in heaven capable of such rancour.

A vivid interplay of the Roman gods and the characters of Roman legends and history – pre Romulus and Remus, starting from the end of the sack of Troy. The constant references to stories, legends, and mythical characters keeps the reader attached to wikipedia (or footnotes in a better addition) and to “ah hah!” moments, remembering mythology learned in school. Yet these references would have been common place, and expected homage, known to the everyday Roman. Fantastic experience reading in prose what would have been recited or read in flowing Latin as the popular history of the day for those in Augustus's realm.

The spiritual world remains so close, intertwined in the human actions and creating a dual narrative. Though it contrasts with notions of freewill and immortality – in this history what were the Latin antagonists responsible for if mother Juno incited their rage in war? She loved them, yet hated the Trojans more, and thus sent them to their inevitable death for the sake of a prophecy (or fate) which she knew would come true anyway. And thus only after a high price can the Trojans finally have their peace and destiny. What an epic this makes – the human drama of these Roman gods on one level and their mortal pawns (with weakened individuality) wrestling with reality, emotions and belief.

Random reflection:  The Aenid was written while Christ was living. How attractive the Gospel of Love and Grace seems in an environment with selfish superhuman gods to appease. Yet, we have these in other forms today. How often we try to thwart the inevitable or to avoid reality by harming those around us or by using others, especially those we love.

....And how to write showing the spiritual and human world so parallel?...tempting to put this into a screenplay format...

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