Understanding Roman Civilization through Greek Literature
A look at how ancient Roman civilization can be analyzed through the literary works “The Aeneid”, “The Iliad” and the “Odyssey.”
Rome, throughout history, can be described by its unique openness to the ideas of different civilizations and cultures. The Aeneid, by Virgil, exemplifies clearly the incorporation of other civilizations’ literature and heritage into mainstream Roman society. The Aeneid is very strongly linked to the epic works of Homer: the Iliad and the Odyssey. The Romans conquered the Greek people in 146 AD, but instead of destroying their culture they digested Greek words and writings to make them their own. Since Virgil went so far as to imitate the Homer’s Odyssey and Iliad in the Aeneid, it can be seen as direct evidence of Rome’s assimilation of the Greek people, and their culture.