Manuscript fragment

   Propertius said: "nescio quid majus nescitur Iliade". (I do not know why more people do not know the Iliad). Was this opinion verified by the poem? If we compare the Iliad with the Æneid today, or at least the last six books of the Æneid (the first six rather recall the Odyssey) we find that the Æneid, far from surpassing the Iliad, does not come near it, in spite of the incomparable skill of the poet, in matching the vitality, the passion, the interest, the freshness, the splendour of the Homeric epic. But if we look at it from Propertius's point of view, we hold up this work as superior to all others, that in assimilating all the resources of Greek art, it still maintains its deep Roman originality. If Æneas is the highest personification, the most venerable for each and every Roman, in its gravity and its Latin piety the Æneid is the magnificent prophecy of Rome and its glorious destinies.

From N.A.F. 27350, 269r° - 269v°


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