By Richard Heinze
Heinzes learn, initially released in German in 1903, is still a vintage of Virgil scholarship. This translation makes the ebook to be had in English for the 1st time.
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Extra resources for Virgil's Epic Technique
Finally, it is true that Neoptolemus is cruel and heartless, and also that he commits a most dreadful outrage against the gods, not only by killing a man at the altar, but because he himself drags the old man in the most brutal manner to the altar in the first place, as if to butcher him for a sacrifice (here Virgil goes further than any of our other accounts); however, he is not simply a bloodthirsty butcher who kills everything that stands in his way. He is inflamed by his aged opponent's scornful words and by his attack, and the brutal deed can thus be seen as the result of an upsurge of an angry desire for vengeance.
Still alone, he returns to his own house, with divine help; and, not in any orderly military retreat with closed ranks, but in anxious flight, accompanied only by his closest relatives, he finally escapes from the city. The warlike, heroic virtues of Aeneas, his swift and energetic resolve, his circumspect, tenacious courage, are certainly displayed much more splendidly in Hellanicus. But the stronger and more organized the resistance in that version, the more the reader gains the impression that it was armed force that decided the issue: a strong walled citadel is occupied by a considerable body of troops under Aeneas' command, but they cannot hold it against enemy attack; finally, most of the Trojans retreat unmolested by the enemy; only a minority fall during the attack.
As we can see, there is no reason at all to suppose that Tryphiodorus knew Virgil's description and made use of it. In every essential he keeps closer to Homer than to the Roman poet, except that Zeus does not appear in his account, whereas in Homer he sends peals of thunder from on high, and Virgil shows him doing something altogether different. Everything that Virgil adds in order to make the scene more vivid and to present in visible symbols the enmity of the gods towards Troy is absent from Tryphiodorus.