The Aeneid

The Character of a Ruler College

In the government of any civilization, virtue is not only a preferable characteristic of the ruler or rulers, but a necessary one. Of the virtues, perhaps the two most intrinsically necessary for political decisions are justice and clemency. These virtues are significant to a government simply because they are the foundation for civil law, and if they are not exercised properly, a breakdown of civil law and civilization itself could result, but if they are exercised correctly, the civilization will prosper. An example of both the breakdown and flourishing of civilizations are exhibited in Virgil’s Aeneid, represented by Troy and Rome, respectively. In order to prevent the fall of the newly forming civilization that Aeneas is attempting to create, Aeneas must attain understanding of exactly how to use both of these virtues in a manner that is most effective for the government of his people, so that his civilization will not fall like Troy. Through his experiences and observations in Carthage, Sicily, Hades, and the battlefield, Aeneas learns about impartial justice as well as tender clemency, both of which are vital to making political decisions, and acquires the wisdom to determine which of these to use in making choices under...

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