The Aeneid

An Epic Synthesis: Fact and Fiction in Virgil's Aeneid College

Virgil’s Aeneid is one of the seminal works of the antiquity which offers us a lens into the life and art of ancient Romans in the era of 1 BC – the year the epic was written. A reading of the epic shows that Virgil’s attitude towards fact and fiction is one of complexity. He does not see the two as binary and opposite, but looks at them as tied up in a dialectical relationship. I will show that this is noticeably manifest. The way in which the two are meshed together presents most clearly in Virgil’s treatment of dreams and reality, earthly existence and the afterlife as well as history and fable, which each hold the same binary connotation of fact and fiction. Through a discussion of the dreams and their role in the epic, I will explore how the influence each has on the other supports this assertion. This will be shown by further considering the way Virgil depicts the dead and their interaction with the living, which is deeply entwined with dreams and reality. I will then turn to a discussion of the historical basis of the epic and the way it is in conversation with fable, in the form of myth. The entirety of this will serve to exhibit the way Virgil has kneaded together fact and fiction.

Virgil obfuscates the boundary...

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