Moral Decay In Virgil's Aeneid

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The Roman Empire was built on the pietas of its people, which was highlighted by Virgil in “Aeneid” through the character of Aeneas. Virgil provided several examples of this powerful virtue throughout “Aeneid”, but as our texts progress through the semester the authors began to realize that the Romans had become envious of one another. The Roman Empire started on strong foundation of virtues, with pietas being the strongest layer. Through centuries of erosion this foundation began to crumble and moral decay brought this might empire to its knees. Some will argue that foreign invaders simply defeated the Roman Empire, while that is true; the real reason is the moral decay or the loss of pietas that allowed these armies to invade. Topic The Roman…show more content…
The most sensible place to start is at the beginning of the empire with Virgil and his examples of these virtues through Aeneas as the city of Troy was being attack by the Greeks. (point) The Greeks have made it through the walls of Troy and began their attack when Aeneas realizes that he and his men can now rush to the defense of their country. (evidence) Virgil allows Aeneas to make this statement as he build Aeneas’s virtue of pietas, “Warriors, bravest of frustrated spirits, if your ardent desire is fixed on following me to the end, you can see our cause’s fate. All the gods by whom this empire was supported have departed, leaving behind their temples and their altars: you aid a burning city: let us die and rush into battle.” (Virgil 2. 348-353) (explanation 1) Aeneas’s statement is full pietas, he feels that must rush to the defense of country, no matter how grave the danger. (ex 2) Pietas or sense of duty that Aeneas displayed was one of the main virtues that built the Roman Empire and allowed the empire prosper for centuries. (ex3) Schleiner’s also highlighted the importance of Aeneas’s pietas in his paper over interpretation of “Aeneid”. (transition) Some may argue that Aeneas is searching for glory and this has nothing to do with his duty, while that could be true in some case, in this case it is his duty to his…show more content…
(point) Caesar was arrogantly invoking civil war not for his duty, but for the glory and the lavish lifestyle of a Roman leader. (evidence) After Caesar crosses the Rubicon, Lucan provides this statement, “When Caesar crossed and trod beneath his feet the soil of Italy’s forbidden fields, “Here,” spake he, “peace,” here broken laws be left; farewell to treaties (Lucan 531).” (explanation 1) Lucan is explaining that Caesar has no boundaries, no laws or treaties that will stop him from taking what Caesar believes to be his. (ex 2) Lucan added quotations to here and peace to reinforce his belief that Caesar is arrogantly waging war on the Senate, not because it is his duty to protect the empire, but for the glory of the title and the life style of the leader. (ex 3) The Warner and Scott supports this claim as they compared Augustine and Machiavelli, with one Augustine points being that Roman’s were only concerned with the glory they received and nothing else. (transition) Some may argue that Caesar was justified and his duty when he started this civil war, while that may be true in the beginning, Caesar continued his fight until he achieved the glory of his role and changed the virtues that the government was found
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