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A New Order of the Ages: Eschatological Vision in Virgil and Beyond*

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Abstract Proceeding from the Latin mottoes for the Great Seal of the United States, this paper explores the use and repercussions of eschatological themes in Virgil’s poetry. A hitherto unnoticed datum in the history of the Great Seal’s final design exemplifies how comparatively recent readings of the myth of Aeneas and the Cumaean Sibyl could inform our understanding of how the same myth was conceived in the Augustan Age. The discussion revolves around topics such as ekphrasis, the conflation of memoir and myth, and the eschatological significance of spatial and temporal transmission. The final part of the paper introduces some new thoughts concerning the ludi tarentini and the centennial life span.

Affiliations: 1: Department of the History of Religions, Stockholm University Universitetsvägen 10B, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden


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