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Title: Philosophical readings in Virgil's Aeneid
Author: Nash, Calypso
ISNI:       0000 0004 6500 6753
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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This study examines how and why Virgil makes reference to philosophy and engages with contemporary philosophical debate in the Aeneid. Each of the six chapters has a different philosophical focus, and offers literary analyses of the poem that are supported and enriched by situating it within its philosophical context. Cicero and Lucretius are our principal sources for Roman philosophy during the 1st c. BC, and Stoics, Epicureans and Academics were the most influential philosophical schools. The topics I explore include: the relationship between words, especially names, and their referents; the characterization of fate in the Aeneid as Stoic, and the meaning of F/fortuna; Virgil's engagement with Lucretius' explanation of visual perception, which I argue embodies a refutation of the materialism integral to Epicurean philosophy; and, given that Cicero and Lucretius provide the first extant references to 'free will' (libera ... voluntas Lucr. 2.256-7; voluntate libera Cic. Fat. 20) in Western literature, the articulation of this concept in the Aeneid. I conclude that Virgil's use of philosophy is both politically and poetically motivated: he shows that poetry and literature are valuable philosophical and political tools by demonstrating that our experience of reality is fundamentally mediated through language and texts.
Supervisor: Nielsen, Karen Margrethe ; Trimble, Gail Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Aeneid ; Virgil ; Philosophy