in Literature

How We Roll in Aeneid 1 (Updated)

Some brief notes on a pattern in Aeneid 1.1-50:

In 1.9, Vergil instructs the Muse to call to his mind the causes for which Aeneas had to undergo/roll along through so many misfortunes (tot volvere casus).

The reason, of course, is that Juno favors Carthage and wants it to be a royal power to the nations (hoc regnum…gentibus esse, 17). But she already knows that this will not happen–she has heard that Rome will rise and one day destroy Carthage, for so the Fates have ordained it/unrolled it/spun it (sic volvere Parcas22; same position in line).

Juno is thus angry that her desires will be thwarted and wants to destroy Aeneas on the sea just as Athena/Minerva had done to the lesser Ajax. So, nursing her grudge and her anger (talia flammato secum dea corde volutans, 50) she makes her way to see Aeolus.

Perhaps, then, it comes as no surprise when the same vocabulary is used to describe the storm that Juno prevails upon Aeolus to rouse: et vastos volvunt ad litora fluctus (sc. venti as subject) (86).