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753 BC: Traditional date for the founding of Rome (just before Greek colonies). 27 BC-AD 235: Early Empire (Principate) [Virgil 70-19 BC]. 134-27 BC: Late Republic; breakdown of republican government.This Octavian was the adopted son of Julius Caesar (murdered 44 BC), and he proved to be quite adept at power politics. Given the description of Dido's madness and death (112-121), how do you think Virgil views this episode?
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Not unlike Americans, they thought of their way of life as just, moral, upright, honest, and suitable for others to adopt.
The Roman Empire was founded by Augustus (reigned 27 BC-AD 14), the title of a fellow named Octavian. Do you think Dido is at "fault" (101) for having an affair with Aeneas? Why do you suppose Virgil has Aeneas go out through the ivory gate (191-2) and not the gate of horn?
Aeneas is responsible for an entire empire of descendants, so he must stick to his mission and not get sidetracked by North African queens like Dido.
(Besides, he needs an Italian wife to marry the genius of Troy to native Italian stock.) Despite their later reputation for decadence and every sort of sybaritic indulgence, the Romans in general liked to think of themselves as extremely moral people.
There were also public Lares and Penates, who did for the city what the others did for the family.
(64) Notice how Virgil stresses these gods in Book II of the Aeneid: Priam is killed in front of his son and household gods (51-52); and, just as Panthus, priest of Apollo, tries to save the city of Troy's gods (44-45), so does Aeneas carry his father and "hearthgods, our Penatës" (58) out of the burning city.
In what we call "culture", the Romans often seem derivative: their art, philosophy, literature, and in many respects religion all look as if they were borrowed from the Greeks. Each household had its own, rather vague, protective deities of the hearth, called Lares and Penates.
Edith Hamilton writes: Every Roman family had a Lar, who was the spirit of an ancestor, and several Penates, gods of the hearth and guardians of the storehouse.
264-134 BC: Middle Republic; wars of conquest; senatorial government.