“Wars and a man I sing—an exile driven on by Fate,
he was the first to flee the coast of Troy,
destined to reach Lavinia shores and Italian soil,
yet many blows he took on land and sea from the gods above—
thanks to cruel Juno’s relentless rage—and many losses
he bore in battle too, before he could found a city,
bring his gods to Latium, source of the Latin race,
the Alban lords and the high walls of Rome.”
—Aeneid 1.8, Fagles translation
With the caveat that I cannot assess its relationship to the original, I love this first stanza of Aeneid. It prepares me, in just eight lines, for the intersections with and divergences from Homeric epic. We have wars, a hero constrained by Fate, foiled by an antagonistic immortal. But instead of returning to an ancestral home, we have flight from it (or do we?) and the founding of a new home, for a new generation. Are we meant to be hopeful for this new world or wary of it? Perhaps a bit of both? I look forward to experience this new-to-me translation of Aeneid and explore its treatment of a hero.
If you have read it, tell me your thoughts, please.