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Aeneid, prose translation

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By: (70 BC - 19 BC)

The Aeneid is the most famous Latin epic poem, written by Virgil in the 1st century BC. The story revolves around the legendary hero Aeneas, a Trojan prince who left behind the ruins of his city and led his fellow citizens to Italy, where he became the ancestor of the Romans. The first six of the poem’s twelve books tell the story of Aeneas’ wanderings from Troy to Italy, while the poem’s second half treats the Trojans’ victorious war upon the Latins. This is the recording of J.W.MacKail's prose translation.

First Page:

Transcriber's note:

Numbers in brackets [ ] refer to line numbers in Virgil's Aeneid. These numbers appeared at the top of each page of text and have been retained for reference.

Obvious typographical errors have been corrected. A complete list follows the text.


Translated into English


J. W. MACKAIL, M.A. Fellow Of Balliol College, Oxford

London MacMillan and Co. 1885

Printed by R. & R. CLARK, Edinburgh.


There is something grotesque in the idea of a prose translation of a poet, though the practice is become so common that it has ceased to provoke a smile or demand an apology. The language of poetry is language in fusion; that of prose is language fixed and crystallised; and an attempt to copy the one material in the other must always count on failure to convey what is, after all, one of the most essential things in poetry, its poetical quality. And this is so with Virgil more, perhaps, than with any other poet; for more, perhaps, than any other poet Virgil depends on his poetical quality from first to last... Continue reading book >>

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