Robert Fitzgerald's magnificent translation of Virgil's epic poem was a major literary event at its release in 1983; today it is an acknowledged masterpiece. Profoundly poetic yet gloriously accessible, this is the best way to experience a work that has remained a centerpiece of Western civilization for 2,000 years. Fitzgerald's rendering speaks directly to the modern listener, inviting us to share the excitement, adventure, and human tears as Aeneas, the warrior hero, escapes from the burning city of Troy, embarks on a long and perilous journey, and eventually, triumphantly establishes a new nation: Rome.
Arma virumque cano: "I sing of warfare and a man at war." Long the bane of second-year Latin students thrust into a rhetoric of sweeping, seemingly endless sentences full of difficult verb forms and obscure words, Virgil's Aeneid finds a helpful translator in Robert Fitzgerald, who turns the lines into beautiful, accessible American English. Full of betrayal, heartache, seduction, elation, and violence, the Aeneid is the great founding epic of the Roman empire. Its pages sing of the Roman vision of self, the Roman ideal of what it meant to be a citizen of the world's greatest power. The epic's force carries across the centuries, and remains essential reading.