My trip to Rome and the absolute bonkersness of some of the things I saw there inspired me to give Virgil’s The Aeneid a shot–specifically Robert Fagles’s translation. And, man, let me tell you: it is awesome. Virgil was definitely influenced heavily by the events of the Iliad and the Odyssey, but he flips it around quite a bit, making something new and different. And thrilling and exciting and gripping. And Fagles’s translation is pretty hot (although this is the only translation I’ve read so far). The Aeneid has all the same sort of stuff the Iliad and the Odyssey have: meddling gods, violent battles, lists of men and arms, forsaken lovers, dudes killing other dudes, did I mention the bitch-ass meddling gods, a storm, ceremonial sacrifices, and oh yeah lots of really gorey death scenes? Seriously, shove the great greek and roman classics into the hands of every person who claims video games cause violence, because those people have absolutely no sense of history. Nor taste (because if they had taste they’d have already read these works).
I finished it over the weekend and then gave this Stanford iTunesU course a listen. That was another win on my part. By itself, the text is incredible and entertaining. But the historical context just adds so many extra layers onto the work. There’s also the old two-season HBO show Rome. I saw that back in grad school. Totally worth the look.