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“The Ajax in Aeneas: Tragedy and Epic in the Boxing Ring in Aeneid 5”

By Alice Hu

Allusion to Ajax has long been identified as a vector for the introduction of “further voices,” particularly voices questioning Aeneas’ leadership, into the Aeneid (Lyne, Panoussi). Most notably, in Aeneid 12, Vergil deploys an allusion to Ajax’s tragic tradition that shows Aeneas “as playing the role of the tragic Ajax” in a way that is “significant, and disturbing,” and that undermines the strain of the epic that portrays Aeneas as a selfless, dispassionate leader (Lyne).

“Euripides’ Hippolytus in Aeneid IV”

By William Bruckel

Euripides’ Hippolytus has received only occasional or passing attention as tragic source material for Aeneid IV (Hardie (1997), Harrison (1973, 1989)). I argue that Euripides’ play forms a significant intertext for Aeneid IV and provides a framework for Dido’s principal ethical dilemma (15ff). Dido, Anna, and Aeneas map allusively onto the figures of the Hippolytus, and Euripides’ illustration of Prodicus’ Virtue and Vice gives Vergil an ethical foundation on which to set the action of his epyllion.

“Virgil’s Tragic Shepherds”

By Julia Scarborough

This paper will argue that Virgil’s use of pastoral elements in the Aeneid draws on tragedy to create a destabilizing incongruity between readers’ expectations and epic outcomes. In the Eclogues, peaceful shepherds devote themselves to song; in the Aeneid, in contrast, shepherds enter the epic action at crucial junctures with catastrophic results, culminating in war between Aeneas’ Trojans and the Italians with whom they are fated to join in a new nation.