Augustine's "Aeneid"

Rival Plot-lines in Virgil's and Augustine's works

One particular theory argues that Augustine intends for his work to be a reworking of the story of Aeneas in effect , a retelling with new themes and motives:





Carnality in Carthage Carnality in Carthage
Recalls his defeat and escape at Troy Recalls his study and love of Virgil's Aeneid
Leaves Dido to fulfill his destiny Leaves Monica to pursue his personal goals
Discovers his fatum in Italy Discovers his fatum in Rome and Milan
Allies with Etruscans and Latins Allies with Manicheans and Neo-Platonists
Visits his father Anchises in the Underworld Discovers his spiritual father Ambrose
Anchises teaches Aeneas his destiny Ambrose teaches Augustine the truths of Christian preaching
Aeneas pledged to marry Lavania Augustine puts away his concubine
The madness of civil war between Aeneas and the Latins The conversion of Augustine - an internal civil war
Aeneas kills Turnus Monica dies, leaving Augustine
The epic breaks off with a sense of "uneasy watchfulness" Augustine is left in book 9 to mourn but also rejoice in Christian victory


Another Argument for the structure of Augustine's Confessions suggests the following pattern: Augustine ascends from his base life, ever higher and closer to God:

Primal Origins (Bk 12-13)

Universal Time (Bk 11)

Universal Memory, Primal Memory (Bk 10)

Christian Awareness of Death and Loss (Bk 9)

Christian Awareness of Logos/ Mystical Vision (Bk 9)

Conversion, Baptism, Christian Redirection (Bk 8)

"Aenediac" Wanderings, Cities, False Ideologies

"Aenediac" Privileging of the Sensual, Carnal, Venial

"Aenediac" Search for Personal Freedom

Infancy's Primal Cries


Adapted from Form, Robert J. Augustine and the Making of a Christian Literature.

Lewiston: Edwin Mellen P, 1995

"All manner of thing shall be well/ When the tongues of flame are in-folded/ Into the crowned knot of fire/ And the fire and the rose are one." -- T.S. Eliot, Little Gidding