Roma Before Pax Romana Essay

1783 words - 8 pages

Values a society share with its citizens are not only different from one society to another, but also characterize the society because values mold morality. For example, America shares value of freedom, individuality, and competition among her people, and those values make America and American morals different from morals of other countries, such as Soviet Union. Just like any other societies throughout history, Rome had a set of values that were particular to Romans; of course, some of the values had changed, and others remained in course of Roman history. During the time of Augustus, when bloody civil war finally ended, Augustus decided to focus on three values: patriotism, piety, and ...view middle of the document...

She exhausts necessary resources that are meant to look over the people of Libya. And by spending and caring for foreigner, she also builds conflict relationships with neighboring countries, leaving her and her own country into vulnerable condition (Vergil, IV: 320-326). In sum, Dido is a character that Romans would have not approved as true Roman.
Even though Aeneas looks like he is the character who lives up to value of patriotism between two, Aeneas shows various faults: essentially he forgets “what moral thing to do” is. Right after Mercury visits him (Vergil IV: 222-279), Aeneas prepares for his departure to Italy. He looks for right time to notify Dido, but he fails miserably when Dido comes to look for him desperately after rumor reached her (Vergil, IV: 300-304). He is accused of being a traitor, after Dido have dedicated and sacrificed her resources and name. In return of her plea, he replies coldly: “A little on the facts, though: don’t imagine / I meant to sneak away, and as for ‘husband,’ / I never made a pact of marriage with you. / If fate would let me live the life I chose, / If I had power over my decisions, I would have stayed at Troy / . . . / I would restore Troy for the conquered. / . . . / My love, my home are there (Vergil, IV: 333-361).” These words of his are truly patriotic, therefore Aeneas should be glorified; in other hand, he is directly lies in face of Dido, crashes her happiness, and disapproves the works and dedication of her. All lines imply that his actions and love for Dido were merely political to achieve great success of building a new country. Through these lines, Vergil shows Aeneas is blinded by the Roman value of patriotism that he forgets gratitude toward others. Through unthankful Aeneas, Vergil answers the question of whether patriotism is all that important: it is not all that important when basic human morals are forgotten. Therefore, Vergil discloses lack of fundamental morality of patriotism-driven Aeneas to criticize Roman value during time of Augustus, explaining that such value can eventually hurt basic morality of people.
Next, Vergil looks into piety using reactions of Aeneas and Dido, and brings forth the question: why do Romans need to value gods, when their morals are in grey area? And why should people be manipulated by such powerful people? Throughout the book, gods intervene. Venus and Juno both frequently and directly intervene with lives of Aeneas and people around him. In particular, Venus and Juno both agree upon making Dido fall in love with Aeneas. Such act is not to set Aeneas up with a suitable woman; it is to benefit their own self-interest, showing that goddesses may be not all moral but sometimes selfish and self-centered. In other hand, Jupiter and Mercury intervene to wake Aeneas up, so he can continue his journey; in this instance, gods are moral that they are guiding Aeneas to right path. However, they urge Aeneas to abandon Dido and leave immediately, which show...

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