It is a masterpiece in every sense of the word. Possibly my new favorite book of all time. If you can read it and pass it on please do so.
This is a great story and great poetry, and by and large well read, but after a while I find some of the pronunciation annoying. Like Aeneas I can only stand so many storm torsed seas. Well, that's my orfering for what it's worth.
Love my Kindle and my audiobooks.
His performance was admirable.
While providing some interesting fill-ins to some historical events (the sacking of Troy, the relationship between Dido and Aeneas, the founding of Rome), the overall story is pretty boring. Aeneas pretty much does what the gods tell him to do, without much personal flare. His apparent heroism doesn't add up to much.
After listening to Homer's The Illiad and The Odyssey, this book is no where near in stature and greatness.
Several reviews characterize The Aeneid as a slog and I agree. Compared to The Iliad and Odyssey it definitely is a more difficult story to get through. Partly for its self-aggrandizement of the Roman people and foundation, partly for its huge chunks of backstory and wild justification, but mostly for the insufferable gods and goddesses. Oh my head that was painful. Everyone it seems has a stake in Aeneas’s fate, but of course they are almost all at odds with each other and none seem to know what the others were doing. Every once in a while Zeus/Jove/Jupiter gets involved and lackadaisically makes a decision, but for the most part Venus and Juno get to butt heads and see who can mess with the participants the most in order to fulfill her ends. I guess it's a testament to how in control of their own lives the people in Virgil's world felt.
To some degree it’s a foregone conclusion since Virgil is writing this epic to give validation and divine permission to Augustus (his patron) and the Claudian and Julian families for crushing the life out of the Roman Republic. That means that Aeneas has to be perfect. Noble. Brave. Clear-sighted. Righteous. Pious. Determined. Bor-ring! There wasn’t enough humanity about Aeneas for me to connect with him. He was the correct embodiment of all that Roman Patrician families strive for in their men and he came off robot-like and stilted. Give me the much-maligned Odysseus any day.
I don't think I can take Charlton Griffin anymore, which is unfortunate since he seems to be the narrator of choice for so many ancient books. His pronunciation (even of English words) is pretty poor, and sometimes he sounds like he's going to fall asleep.
Obviously, the Aeneid is awesome.
However, this reader is unbearably pompous and self-indulgent to the point of absurdity. He speaks in a ridiculously plummy upper class accent (although occasional odd slips make me suspect him of being an American faking it). He booms and drawls in slow motion. It's unbearable.
Now, you could argue that Roman epic poetry requires a certain sense of Shakespearean grandeur and that the reader is attempting to give it that. Fair enough. But he reads the introduction in the same style!! "Virgil... was... BORN ... in a village near ... MANTUA..." he intones in his molasses-like way.
Make. It. Stop.
I had to give up after book 2. I wish someone would do a sensible recording that treats Virgil with some respect instead of using him as an opportunity to show off.
I'm not sure I'd change anything. For the time it was written, the perspective is probably great. I just got bored with the constant donations of animal intestines and other sacrifices to the gods, the constant pouring of wine... like gallons and gallons of wine to every little thing, the melodramatic prayers... Very mythology driven. If you're into mythology, this will probably be great. If you're not, then you may want to skip over this one.
Has anyone bothered to count exactly how many animals were sacrificed and how many gallons of wine were poured out to their homies?
The Aeneid is less well known to non-classicists and there is a reason for it. It is a blatant steal from the Greeks, like most things Roman. Still, there is a lot to recommend a listen in this English translation. It lays out the story of how the Trojans became the modern Romans. It is informative as to how the Romans viewed themselves in the world. The characters are stiff, cardboard cut-outs and Aeneis comes off as a pompous jerk. The gods are just as whimsical, as they are in the Illiad, leaving men to be whipsawed first one way and then the other as the body count mounts and blood flows in rivers.
Not a casual listen, however.