ap latin study guides

8.3 Section Two: Book VIII and Book XII 📔

⏱️  7 min read

written by

Jack Marso

jack marso

Cait Levin

cait levin

(editor)

September 12, 2020


Section Two: Book VIII and Book XII 📔

These two books aren't required 😎to be read and translated in Latin. Fortunately for AP Latin students finishing up the last unit, this only has to be read and analyzed.

These resources for both Book VIII and XII help readers distinguish between Latin and English. Let’s break apart these sections in order to retain Roman cultural 🏠 and political 🏛️ ideals that Vergil wrote about. In turn, it will allow for applicable deconstruction and examination of his final two books.

This resource shown below features the Latin translation, reading assistance tools, and commentary in order to help readers easily comprehend and break apart the text.

👉Read: AP Latin - Vergil Classics

First . . . More Contextualization 😡

Nobody likes to do any other work besides what’s required for an exam. However, I want to emphasize how IMPORTANT it is to fully comprehend Book VIII and Book XIII 🤗

I recommend taking a look at the summary and reviewing each pairing of lines for a more in-depth review.

Book VIII: The Future Sight of Rome 🏛️

This is a LARGE book in the Aeneid collection. There aren’t specific lines that you are required to translate according to the syllabus, but the book is required reading in English.

As you read these lines within this book, identify references to Roman culture 🏠, history 🌎, and mythology 🐉 along with other perspectives of Roman culture in order to review Reading and Comprehension and Textual Analysis skills.

👉Read: AP Latin - Book 8 Summary

Breakdown of Book VIII 🔎

  • Book VI begins early in Book VIII as Latinum decides on war 💥 against the Trojan people. The “wars [Aeneas] must soon fight'' becomes clear to the readers. The main leaders of the Latinum people: Messapus, Ufens, and Mezentius, prepare their armies while Diomedes requests assistance in defense of the Trojans.

  • Aeneas understands the circumstances of what’s going on and believes that he must find an ally, too. During sleep 😴, the river god, Tibernus, explains his next course of action, but first must spot the white sow and her thirty piglets 🐖, which he later used to sacrifice for safety during his travel for an ally. Tibernus states Aeneas’s ally is King Evander 👑 from Pallantium, the future site of Rome.

  • Two Trojan ships 🚢 set out and locate him when Evander’s son, Pallas, greets them 🤗 Evander receives Aeneas’s message about the current situation in Italy, ultimately promising to assist. In the aftermath of his acceptance, Evander invites Aeneas, who sat in the seat of honor, and the Trojans to a feast 😋 in honor of Hercules’s death in defeating Cacus.

  • In summary, a monster named Cacus, the son of Vulcan, stole four bulls 🐄 and cattle of Geryon from Hercules and led them back by their tails to his cave. Hercules heard one cow bellow as he was leaving, grabbed his weapons 🗡️, and took off for Cacus’s cave. Hercules tore off his roof, but in defense, Cacus emitted black smoke to fill up the cave. Hercules grabbed him by the throat and choked him to death. Therefore, that sacred sight is honored because of his heroic actions.

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Hercules killing Cacus in his cave after stealing from Geryon. Image Courtesy of Art Institute Chicago

  • The feast winds down to the members praying 🙏 to the gods and commemorating Hercules for all of his actions accomplished during his life. Aeneas is returned and Evander begins to speak about his great city.

  • He begins by touching upon the inhabitants of the location: The Nymphs and The Fauns, the Golden Age 🥇 of Latinum during Saturn’s rule, along with Tiberinus and Evander’s presence in the city after dying and becoming exiled from their land, respectively. Evander continues by showing a gate in honor of his mother, Carmentis, and the cave where Romulus will be liberated, Lupercal. After climbing up the Capitoline Hill, where the temple 🕍 of Jupiter will later be built, Vergil humorously adds the last descriptive sight of the tour: Evander’s scanty home.

  • As sleep enters for mankind, conversation shifts toward the gods: Aeneas’s mother, Venus, and her husband, Vulcan. Venus asks the god of metalworking for weapons in supply for Aeneas during his time in Italy 🇮🇹 and remembers when she didn’t ask of his assistance when Aeneas was in Troy. Although Vulcan wasn’t allowed to make weapons when Troy was still standing, but played by Venus’s 🥰 loving touch, Vulcan agrees to produce as many weapons as he can for Aeneas.

  • Vulcan begins to work 🏗️ early at Vulcania, an island just off of Sicily. Vulcan’s work ethic is described as that of “a tireless woman” tending to her “unfinished work.” Vulcan is met by the Cyclopes that also work there supplying lightning bolts, a chariot and a breastplate imprinted with Medusa’s head for the gods, but is ordered to drop that demand of work in favor of the Trojans. A seven-layered shield is created 🛡️

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Vulcan and the Cyclopes creates the shield utilized by Aeneas and visualized later by Vergil later in the Book. Image Courtesy of Munich Digitization Center.

  • In the morning, Evander addresses 🗣️ Aeneas about allying with the Trojans. Evander also opens up the opportunity that the Etruscans can assist the Trojans in the war as well. He speaks about how the Etruscans were once ruled ruthlessly 👎 by Mezentius, one of the three main leaders of Latinum. The Etruscans revolted against his tyrannical reign, and he fled to the powerful King of Rutuli, Turnus.

  • The Etruscans were informed by a prophet 🧠 that they were to be ruled by a foreign leader, as Tarchon, a founder of the Etruscan League, questioned if the prophet referred to either Evander or Pallas. Evander rules himself out by signs of age and Pallas is only of half-born descent, leaving Aeneas the only true match left.

  • As Aeneas still questions the validity, Evander grants Pallas and Pallantium troops to Aeneas. The concern of being the leader is answered: Venus sends a lightning bolt ⚡, symbolizing the signs and beginnings of war. One ship 🚢 is sent back to Ascanius, and sacred rites are performed to honor the gods and provide protection 🥽 to Aeneas’s allies within the war. Evander is nervous and questions the thoughts of war and the future, and hugs Pallas as the one fleet of the Trojan army heads off for Etruria.

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Aeneas, King Evander, and Pallas are depicted. Evander sends off his son and soldiers to help Aeneas assist in the war effort as Aeneas answers the prophecy. Image Courtesy of Sutori

  • Aeneas and his companions arrive at Caere, where Venus appears with weapons for Aeneas. The weapons include a helmet, breastplate, sword, greaves, and spears. The shield details a wide variety of Roman cultural aspects. Some features on the shield encompass Romulus and Remus, the brothers 👦👦 that ultimately would found Rome, Titus Tatius, and the Sabine women, who were inter-connected due to the Rape of the Sabine Women 🚺 and their intervention to end a war that would weaken both sides.

  • The shield also has a depiction of the punishment of Mettius, who betrayed 😒 the Romans in battle and was torn by chariots riding in two opposite directions. It depicts an Etruscan king named Lars Porsenna, surrounding Rome only to stopped by Horatius Cocles, who famously defended the bridge Pons Sublicius from an invading Etruscan army and Cloelia, who fled Roman hostage when given during a peace ☮️ treaty in the Roman-Etruscan Wars.

  • Manlius’s depiction follows a different story when amid the Gallic invasion of Rome, he held out a small garrison in Rome when everyone else had already abandoned it, ultimately overwhelming the Gallic assailants during their attempt to scale the Capitoline hill.

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A detailed and insightful representation of Aeneid's shield. Image Courtesy of Flickr

  • Furthermore, the shield contained the Salii, or the twelve “leaping priests” of Mars, the Luperci, or “brothers of the wolf” priests, and the punishment 👊 of Cataline, who attempted to overthrow the Roman republic and the aristocratic Senate during the Second Catilinarian conspiracy.

  • In the middle of the shield lies the Battle of Actium, which was the last war ⚠️ of the Roman Republic fought between Octavian, later to be known as Augustus, and the combination of Egyptian Queen, Cleopatra, and member of the Second Triumvirate, Mark Antony.

  • In the same scene, Agrippa, a lieutenant and close-friend to Octavian during this Battle, face off in one fleet against Mark Antony’s fleet, with Cleopatra’s entering as well. Romans gods are battling Egyptian gods as the waters become tainted in blood. Cleopatra surrenders, as death nears closer, and Octavian has now been pronounced Augustus Caesar 🎆 as he takes control of a newly established Roman Empire after this prominent victory.

  • This scene is graphically more visual than the other images, since Vergil experienced this battle during his lifetime, as the battle took place in 32 BCE and Vergil started writing the Aeneid in 29 BCE. Lastly, although Aeneas is clueless 🤨 about these images, he’s amazed nevertheless and lifts that shield, ready, and prepared for war.

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