Patriotism in Classical Mythology
Classical mythology depicts uncountable tales belonging to the ancient Greeks and Romans culture. Myths are believed to have been attained and transmitted throughout generations by word of mouth, otherwise known as oral tradition. A classical myth is a combination of different beliefs while at the same time assimilating practices of institutes of thoughts, especially in the theology and mythology of religion of different forms from Greeks and Latin sources such as poems. This article focuses on Virgil, a poet and one of the greatest Roman patriots who wrote two poems, Aeneid and Odyssey which talks about two mythical heroes, Aeneas and Odysseus and their contribution to the society.
The Roman Empire unlike any other ancient empires, it is believed to be one of the greatest empires in the ancient period. This was because of the patriotism of its citizens to the nation. Virgil who was a patriot and also a great poet of the time in the Roman Empire used poems to emphasis his patriotism for his nations. He sung about two mythical heroes, Aeneas and Odysseus in the Roman Empire and their contribution to the society. In his poem, Aeneid, Virgil compares the Roman culture to that of the Greeks, who were their predecessors. The Greeks also known as Hellenes are ethnic community resident mostly in Greece and Cyprus. This community was greatly influenced by their social behavior, arts, literature, music, sports, philosophy and science among others both in contemporary and in history. Virgil highlights the similarities between Aeneas and Odysseus in their effort of showing their patriotism to their nation. Aeneas, the son of the goddess Aphrodite and Anchises was the hero of Troy and Rome who defended his city from the invasion of the Greeks during the war of Trojan (Frederick and Elaine 18). Odysseus on the other hand was the son of Laertes and Anticlea who were the leaders of Kephallenians people. Odysseus also played a big role in the Trojan War where he took the main lead in the war where he fought for his nation.
Though the two were different, they still both had a lot in common. For instance, Virgil in his poem, Aeneid, in line 1 to 6 he sung of warfare and a man at war. (Virgil, Aeneid. Book 1, 1-2), “I sing of arms and of man: his fate had made him fugitive” The fugitive man who came to Italy from the sea cast of Troy in the early days. Virgil also sung of this man of war coming by destiny to the Lavinia western shore. From the first line of the poem, Odyssey, Virgil descends into the custom of epical trail of Homer, the story of a Greek hero, Ulysses, wondering from Troy to his home. Considering the terms ‘warfare and a man’, Virgil brings himself as a replacement of the ideas of the two Homeric tales.
Aeneas took most of the first part of the epic searching for a new residence and at the same time fighting to establish it in the second half. This act clearly indicates how Aeneas was strongly patriotic to his nation. From line 1 to 4, Virgil provides a summary of Aeneas’ starter mission in the epic, moving to Italy from Troy. In the poem Odyssey, Virgil shows how Odysseus had a similar experience where he left Troy back to Ithaca, a journey which took him ten years wondering before finally reaching his destination (Gawin, Gordon and Maffeo). However, him along with his crew died on the way before arriving at Ithaca. It is said that Aeneas strayed at some point along the way, the act which kept the entire of his crew at risk. Aeneas was however a great patriot in the sense that he helped defending the city of troy against the Greeks during the Trojan war. He also guided his life by obeying the divine command to which sacrificed his natural inclinations.
Patriotism is one the key virtue needed by any person belonging to particular geographical location. Virgil, one of the greatest Roman patriot and a poet in the ancient time used poems to pledge his patriotism in the Roman Empire. In his two poems, Aeneid and Odyssey, Virgil sung about two mythical heroes, Aeneas and Odysseus who fought for their nation against the Greek invasion with dignity. Their patriotism made them to be remembered many generations afterwards.
Patriotism in Classical Mythology