"The Aenid" Via A.O. Lovejoy

"The Aenid" Via A.O. Lovejoy
A.O. Lovejoy begins his introduction to The Great Chain of Being by attempting to explain what is meant by the study of the history of ideas. In doing this, he is referring to "something at once more specific and less general than the history of philosophy." The key difference lies in the units of which each is made. The history of philosophy contains concepts and movements that must be broken down into smaller fragments, or unit ideas. According to Lovejoy, the history of ideas is comparable to analytical chemistry; the primary focus of the historian is to separate the individual units from the greater picture or, in terms of analytical chemistry, to isolate them into their component elements. The historian?s next endeavor is to trace a single unit idea through all the provinces of history. The idea of "Good," for example, for any "Platonist," is personified by the "supramundane being" whose "reality accounts for the existence of this world." The self-sufficient being who is "eternally at the goal," whose "perfection is beyond all possibility of enhancement," would not be envious or in need of any contact with its creation. A Deity who, "conceived as permanent and perfect," yet becomes involved in any way with the world which is "changing and imperfect" and is "diminished in respect of the qualities for which he is venerated." This goodness or Deity must be a "non-human value" void of all connections with the "life that aspires to Him." The gods found in Virgil?s The Aeneid are on the complete opposite spector of this idea of goodness. They are not completely self-sufficient and do not live their life "unaffected by contemplation" from the "world that adores [them]," in fact, The Aeneid is littered with occurrences of divine intervention.
Throughout the entire Aeneid, the Trojans are basically puppets in the hands of the gods. The gods are so involved in the daily happenings of the Trojans that the entire plotline evolves around their actions. Foremost, we see Juno?s intervention in the lives of the mortals and the actions of the other gods to counteract hers. Juno is so deeply affected by the Judgement of Paris, that she seeks revenge on the Trojans throughout the entire epic. She intervenes in the safe trip of the Trojans to Italy by summoning up fierce winds that destroy one ship and strand the others separated in Africa. It is Neptune who interferes and finally stops the storm from getting worse. Venus is also a primary deity in the epic whose actions contrast those of Juno. Because Aeneas is her son, she constantly assists him in his endeavors and is there with him every step of the way. When he reaches Carthage, she presents herself to him and informs him that Dido rules the island and then assists even further by sending Cupid to ensure that Dido falls in love with him. Throughout the epic, Aeneas seems to be so incapable on his own that the gods must constantly send reminders to direct him. Eventually he has to be told by his own household gods specifically where to go. It is due to the gods? desire to be a part of the world below them that Aeneas is able to persevere; without the idea of divine intervention, Virgil would not have a basis for The Aeneid.

"The Aenid" Via A.O. Lovejoy 9.9 of 10 on the basis of 1456 Review.