Imtheachta Aeniasa: Virgil’s “Aeneid” in Medieval Ireland

Imtheachta Aeniasa: Virgil’s “Aeneid” in Medieval Ireland

Poppe, Erich (Philipps-Universität, Marburg)

Classics Ireland, Volume 11 (2004)


Some time during the Middle Ages, perhaps in the twelfth century or slightly earlier, an Irish scholar set out to translate Virgil’s Aeneid into his native tongue ― according to Stanford (1970: 37) this is the earliest vernacular translation in existence. The Irish redactor was probably motivated by the Aeneid’s importance as a text book of the medieval schools and by a desire to integrate the Roman origin legend ― a popular genre in medieval Irish textual culture ― into a growing body of texts in Irish about significant events in classical antiquity, such asTogail Troí, the Irish version of De Excidio Troiae Historia attributed to Dares, or the compilation about the life and deeds of Alexander. The Latin Aeneid was well-known in Ireland from the early Middle Ages onwards, probably in a combination of text and commentary

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