Eternity Visible: The Tragic Cycle of History in Vergil's 'Aeneid'
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This thesis provides a comprehensive interpretation of Vergil’s 'Aeneid' as an expression of cyclical time. In capturing the historical intensity of the transformative Augustan moment, Vergil compresses the archaic past of Homer together with an eternally unfolding Roman future. Through this reading, the interpretative difficulties of the 'Aeneid' come into dialogue with the evolutionary cosmology of antiquity and the historical consciousness of modernity. The “two voices” Adam Parry found in the 'Aeneid', the voice of public triumph and the voice of private despair, are unified by their reconciliation in an irreducible Roman experience of tragic history. As literature, the epic repeats itself in its ring composition; as a cosmology, it expresses the ongoing generational conflict of the gods; as history, it describes the reoccurring process by which the whole world became Roman. In the cycle’s dense repetitions and vivid transformations, the mystery of tragic joy is made visible.