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Pictures Froman Execution

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Chapter Summary

This chapter compares Virgil and Tolstoy as historians. Virgil's epitaph on Priam in Aeneid. 2, viewed as many have viewed it since Antiquity, as an epitaph on Pompey, may serve as a step towards a richer understanding of the way Virgil writes and thinks about history. If we can show that Aen. 2, in general, is a habitat friendly to historical references, it is easier to understand in depth the references to Pompey's death. We do perhaps need a short history of decapitation in the ancient world, from Homer to Justinian; fortunately, the Roman material has already been collected and studied with some attention. The topic, the author discovered eventually, is seriously distasteful, and the issue of why Priam is represented as having been beheaded is, fortunately, understood quite quickly and easily. The chapter offers six suggestions, briefly.

Keywords: Aeneid; Pompey; Priam; Virgil



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