Early Western Civilization in Literature

An analysis of the protagonists of “The Aeneid” by Virgil and “The Life of St. Daniel the Stylite”.

This paper examines how “The Aeneid” by Virgil and “The Life of St. Daniel the Stylite” are both works concerning heroes of their respective times. It looks at how Aeneas, emerging from the time of Rome, is portrayed as the ideal of the Roman epic hero, whereas St. Daniel shows his tenacity as a Christian ascetic. It also explores how both these heroes exemplify the ideals incorporated in each paradigm and, as such, fill an essential need in their respective cultures.
“The purpose of Aeneas’ journey then is to found a new city, which is Rome. When meeting Dido, the queen of Carthage, he remains with her for a period. They become lovers, and Aeneas is temporarily distracted from his purpose by the pleasures of the flesh. However, upon a reminder of the gods, he does not hesitate to resume his quest. When his purpose is fulfilled, Aeneas has permanently lost what he has sacrificed, because Dido committed suicide. Thus, while some spiritual guidance is embedded in his journey, Aeneas’ story concerns the physical realm. He gives up the physical to pursue a greater, but still physical, goal.”