The Unfeeling Tutelage of the State and Divine Authority in Virgil's Aeneid
Kara, Can Tibet
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Venus oversees the physical movement that begins from Troy and ends in Italy; she thus secures the establishment of a new state in Italy, imperium sine fine. Venus is the ancestress of the line that stretches from Aeneas to Augustus, thus granting the princeps a divine and inherited responsibility to rule the Roman nation. With that said, Virgil by no means draws a perfect image of authority with Venus. The poet imagines her as irrational, fearsome, unfeeling, and destructive. She is scandalous with adultery. She is heedless of human suffering as she attends her imperial purpose. Such descriptions undermine Venus’ authority and reveal the need for other participants (such as Juno and Jupiter) in the imperial regime. Those who read Venus as a source of Augustan sovereignty must also acknowledge the ways in which the Aeneid measures the shortcomings of the goddess and limits her authority.