A Critic's Meta-Review: 5/5
Ah, The Aeneid. Who could forget The Aeneid? Widely considered to be his finest work, The Aeneid is an epic poem written by the Latin poet Virgil. Virgil commenced writing The Aeneid in 29 B.C.; he concluded writing it in 19 B.C. Take a minute to soak that in...seriously.
Now, I could tell you a whole lot of things about this here poem. I could tell you that it is close to ten-thousand lines long, composed entirely in dactylic hexameter. I could tell you that it combines the war elements of Homer’s Iliad with the wandering elements of Homer’s Odyssey into one grand tale, told in two halves, perhaps all in an attempt to show up that old Greek future famous fictional family figurehead inspiration. I could even tell you that it is regarded by some to be pro-Augustan propaganda while others hold it to be, at least partially, a scathing screed against Octavian.
However, I do not wish to spend much time delving into any of those topics. What I would much rather discuss is something that I actually mentioned in that first introductory paragraph: this thing took ten fricking years to write. Ten years — gone. Dust in the wind. No more. Think about that - this dude spent an entire decade of his life writing about a bunch of historical figures killing each other. I mean, I guess that’s pretty impressive if you’re into that sort of stuff. I don’t know — I just feel like maybe he could have been doing something more productive with his time. Ten years. And he had to have been super lasered in on this thing each and every day for those ten years because it is quite a heavy read. Which means it must have been an even heavier write. Wow, man. Ten. Years.
He could have, in those ten years, written over a thousand short stories about Maltese mice or Scandinavian seraphim in silk salwar kameez (though neither of those parts of the world was part of the public consciousness at that time, so perhaps he would have picked a different subject matter — nonetheless, my point still stands). Yet he chose, instead, to focus on the goings-on of ancient warriors.
Well, guess what? You should be glad that he did! Were it not for Virgil painstakingly tracing the lineage of his people, none of us would likely know anything of the Roman Republic. And here you are, shaming him—what, pray tell, did you do over the last ten years? I’ll tell you what - bupkis! Utter bupkis!
And then one day you find
Ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run
You missed the starting gun”