Pitt Logo LinkContact Us

From Ignobile Vulgus to Rerum Dominos:The Emergence of the Roman Crowd in Vergil's Aeneid.

O'Bryan, Erin Elizabeth (2011) From Ignobile Vulgus to Rerum Dominos:The Emergence of the Roman Crowd in Vergil's Aeneid. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh.

[img] PDF - Primary Text
Restricted to University of Pittsburgh users only until 29 September 2016.

Download (2378Kb) | Request a copy

    Abstract

    Aeneid 1 presents the Romans as the "lords of the world," and the heirs of a destined imperium sine fine (1.279-282). In a stunning deviation from the normal epic conventions, Anchises in his prophecy calls them out by name, "tu…Romane" (6.851), addressing everyone from Aeneas' illustrious descendant Augustus down to the humblest member of the poem's audience. In the Aeneid, "the people" cannot afford to serve - as they do in Homeric poetry - more or less solely as accessories to the sense of fame and honor (the kleos) of individual heroes. In an epic in which the man in the crowd of both past and present has a stake, the Trojan people, as the precursors of the Roman people, must serve as a character in their own right. To this end, an analysis of the attributes of the various crowds of the Aeneid reveals that they more closely resemble the dangerous and unruly crowds of Rome's history than any of the fanciful crowds of the epic universe. This affinity is clear from the outset: the first simile of the poem compares the calming of the upstart winds by Neptune to the calming of an ignobile vulgus by a respected statesman (Aeneid 1.148-153). In his picture of the Trojans, the soon to be incorporated Italians, and other crowds, both human and divine, Vergil has painted a comprehensive picture of the quest "to found the Roman race" (Romanam condere gentem, 1.33) by telling the story of the ancestors of that race, the sometimes ignobile vulgus who are destined to become the rerum dominos. In the realm of epic poetry, the crowds of Vergil are exceptional. With a better picture of this entity that plays so decisive a role in the history of the nation, the Aeneid can be viewed not merely as an Augustan epic, but a fully Roman one.


    Share

    Citation/Export:
    Social Networking:

    Details

    Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
    ETD Committee:
    ETD Committee TypeCommittee MemberEmail
    Committee ChairSmethurst, Maemsmet@pitt.edu
    Committee MemberMiller, Andrewamm2@pitt.edu
    Committee MemberLooney, Dennislooney@pitt.edu
    Committee MemberPossanza, Markpossanza@pitt.edu
    Title: From Ignobile Vulgus to Rerum Dominos:The Emergence of the Roman Crowd in Vergil's Aeneid.
    Status: Unpublished
    Abstract: Aeneid 1 presents the Romans as the "lords of the world," and the heirs of a destined imperium sine fine (1.279-282). In a stunning deviation from the normal epic conventions, Anchises in his prophecy calls them out by name, "tu…Romane" (6.851), addressing everyone from Aeneas' illustrious descendant Augustus down to the humblest member of the poem's audience. In the Aeneid, "the people" cannot afford to serve - as they do in Homeric poetry - more or less solely as accessories to the sense of fame and honor (the kleos) of individual heroes. In an epic in which the man in the crowd of both past and present has a stake, the Trojan people, as the precursors of the Roman people, must serve as a character in their own right. To this end, an analysis of the attributes of the various crowds of the Aeneid reveals that they more closely resemble the dangerous and unruly crowds of Rome's history than any of the fanciful crowds of the epic universe. This affinity is clear from the outset: the first simile of the poem compares the calming of the upstart winds by Neptune to the calming of an ignobile vulgus by a respected statesman (Aeneid 1.148-153). In his picture of the Trojans, the soon to be incorporated Italians, and other crowds, both human and divine, Vergil has painted a comprehensive picture of the quest "to found the Roman race" (Romanam condere gentem, 1.33) by telling the story of the ancestors of that race, the sometimes ignobile vulgus who are destined to become the rerum dominos. In the realm of epic poetry, the crowds of Vergil are exceptional. With a better picture of this entity that plays so decisive a role in the history of the nation, the Aeneid can be viewed not merely as an Augustan epic, but a fully Roman one.
    Date: 29 September 2011
    Date Type: Completion
    Defense Date: 27 May 2011
    Approval Date: 29 September 2011
    Submission Date: 26 June 2011
    Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
    Patent pending: No
    Institution: University of Pittsburgh
    Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
    Refereed: Yes
    Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
    URN: etd-06262011-213346
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Crowd in Vergil's Aeneid; Roman crowd; Roman crowd behavior; Roman mob; Trojan crowd; Trojan crowd behavior
    Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Classics
    Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 14:48
    Last Modified: 11 Jan 2012 11:44
    Other ID: http://etd.library.pitt.edu/ETD/available/etd-06262011-213346/, etd-06262011-213346

    Actions (login required)

    View Item

    Document Downloads