The Aeneid

The Goals of the Divine

In both Virgil's The Aeneid and books Genesis and Exodus of the Old Testament, dreams, visions, signs, wonders and divinations serve as powerful testaments to the universal knowledge and might of the pagan Roman gods and the Jewish god. Revealing their wisdom and desires through these holy wonders, the gods of both Rome and the Israelites facilitate the progress of the heroes and chosen people in these epical and biblical stories. However, the intent of the Roman and Jewish gods in using symbolic signs and holy miracles differs greatly. While the gods in The Aeneid, in providing Aeneas with physical and spiritual signs, seek to further his founding of Rome and the fulfillment of fate, in Genesis and Exodus, God uses his powers to instill in earthly people proof of his existence, in addition to testing and rewarding their personal faith and love.

In The Aeneid, Aeneas is from the start reminded through supernatural occurrences of his obligation to search for a new home. As he flees ruined Troy with his family, the apparition of his wife Creusa appears, asking him not to mourn a death that is "part of the divine plan" (74). In their short encounter, she foretells these things:

You have to plough through a great waste...

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