Yesterday I was lecturing on these lines, which we all know by heart:
excudent alii spirantia mollius aera
(credo equidem), uiuos ducent de marmore uultus,
orabunt causas melius, caelique meatus
describent radio et surgentia sidera dicunt:
tu regere imperio populos, Romane, memento
(hae tibi erunt artes), pacique imponere morem
parcere subiectis et debellare superbos.            (Aen. 6.851-53)

Normally I concentrate on the last three verses. But while my mouth was unpacking pax and subiectus, my mind was thinking about the first part, which seems to confirm something a lot of my students think anyway, that the liberal arts are for sissy Greeklings. Some questions, which, one day later I still can't answer:
- Is Virgil really on their side?
- Is the force of these lines limited by their speaker, Anchises/Julius Caesar
- Are the verses regretful?
- Does it mean anything that Anchises omits poetry and philosophy?
Dr. David Wilson-Okamura
English Department          Virgil reception, discussion, documents, &c
East Carolina University    Sparsa et neglecta coegi. -- Claude Fauchet

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