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13.11.2019

Lecture by Alden Smith Professor of Classics in the Department of Classics and Associate Dean of the Honors College entitled ‘Argument from Silence: Aeneas' Contradiction Diction in the Context of Aeneid 4’

Wednesday 20 November 2019, at 12.00 noon Room 740, 7th floor, School of Philosophy, University Campus, Zografou, Athens

DEPARTMENT OF CLASSICS

RESEARCH COLLOQUIUM SERIES 2019-2020

INVITATION

                                                          

When: Wednesday 20 November 2019, at 12.00 noon

Where: Room 740, 7th floor, School of Philosophy, University Campus, Zografou, Athens

The Department of Classics, Faculty of Philology, invites you to a lecture by

Alden Smith

 Professor of Classics in the Department of Classics and

Associate Dean of the Honors College

Baylor University, USA

 entitled

 Argument from Silence:

Aeneas' Contradiction Diction in the Context of Aeneid 4.

 

Professor Andreas Michalopoulos

Head of the Department of Classics

For further information please contact the colloquium series organizers:

Sophia Papaioannou                                                                        Athena Bazou                                        spapaioan@phil.uoa.gr                                                                  bazouath[at]phil.uoa[dot]gr                                               

Argument from Silence:

Aeneas' Contradiction Diction in the Context of Aeneid 4

ALDEN SMITH

BAYLOR UNIVERSITY, PROFESSOR OF CLASSICS

 

This paper offers an overview of the fourth book of the Aeneid, with general remarks on the content and plot development.  One key feature is considered in some detail: Aeneas' departure, particularly the contrast between what he says in reaction to Mercury and to Dido. On the one hand, the distinction is obvious. Yet, on the other hand, Aeneas' words or lack of words tell us something more, showing us that, though he is most certainly an imperfect lover, rightly accused of insincerity by Dido, at the same time he seems to struggle to be sincere. Compliance with Mercury's commands simply points up his failure as a lover and therefore, to some extent, as a human being, but it also divulges a commendable sense of dedication-again, that much is obvious-to the mission before him. But something else again emerges, through the unique way that Virgil has crafted Aeneas' response to Dido's accusation.  We find in his struggle to speak, in his attempt not simply to be the dispassionate "man on a mission" a deep sense of pathos and humanity, something clear (or perhaps unclear) in certain details without which Aeneas could rightly be placed in the "heartless" category.  Yet his diction shows contradiction, and that contradiction shows that he is a compelling character, not simply "mansplaining" but rather someone caught in a tough situation. His words, his stammering, and perhaps even his lack of words, reveal as much, for they are, in a way, an argument from silence.