War Music: Soundscape and Song in Vergil, Aeneid 9

TitleWar Music: Soundscape and Song in Vergil, Aeneid 9
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsCurtis, L
Ancient AuthorsPublius Vergilius Maro (PHI 0690)

This article explores the soundscape of battle in the second half of the Aeneid (9.447–777). Building on recent scholarly interest in music in Latin poetry and Roman culture, as well as new developments in the fields of Sound Studies and Ethnomusicology, it considers the affective and poetic significance of music and sound within Vergil’s spaces of war. In Aen. 9, a series of scenes (the lament of Euryalus’ mother, the taunts of Numanus Remulus, and the death of the lyre player Cretheus) create a pattern of musical imagery that provide a counter-movement to the poem’s valorization of epic song (carmen) and which locates soundfulness in the sphere of violence and trauma. The dissonant acoustic texture that Vergil creates in this part of the poem draws attention to a central problem of his epic’s closing books: the paradoxes and complications inherent in composing artful, ordered poetry about violence, destruction, and war. [https://www.jstor.org/stable/26542608]

URL https://www.jstor.org/stable/26542608

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