The Sense of Games and Undeserved Suffering Some Comments on Book V of Vergil’s Aeneid


  • Stanisław Śnieżewski Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland



Virgil, Aeneid, Aeneas, Palinurus, undeserved suffering, games on Sicily, Anchisees, Acestes, fortuna, fatum, ecphrasis


Many scholars believe that literary and artistic level of Book V of Vergils' Aeneid is much lower than in the neighbouring books four and six. Nonetheless a detailed analysis of the contents and composition allows, in my opinion, to treat Book V as interesting and valuable. Vergil concentrated primarily on the sense of suffering which often befalls innocent people. The most vivid is the example of Palinurus whose undeserved and sacrificial death permits Aeneas to continue with his mission. The death of Palinurus and Dido is, I think, a symbolic farewell of Aeneas with the Trojan past and the wandering on the sea. The participants in the games are all secondary characters. By introducing them Vergil, I believe, wished to stress the importance of every man of Aeneas' crew in the fulfilling of the task set by destiny. The importance of fatum and fortuna increases exponentially in the instances where human strength and abilities fail.


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How to Cite

Śnieżewski, S. “The Sense of Games and Undeserved Suffering Some Comments on Book V of Vergil’s Aeneid”. Classica Cracoviensia, vol. 15, May 2012, pp. 203-19, doi:10.12797/CC.15.2012.15.10.