The Aeneid Primitiveness Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
Conversing of such matters, going toward Austere Evander's house, they saw his cattle Lowing everywhere in what is now Rome's Forum and her fashionable quarter, Carinae. (8.474-478)
Even more striking is the contrast Virgil here draws between Evander's settlement and the Rome of his day – which occupied the same site. Based on evidence elsewhere in Virgil's poem (or in his other poems, The Eclogues and The Georgics, if you have read them), do you think that Virgil thinks this change was for the better?
On this he called for dishes and winecups Already taken off to be brought back, As he himself gave the guests grassy seats And led Aeneas to the place of honor— A maple chair cushioned with lionskin. (8.235-239)
Here we see more evidence of the Arcadians' primitive, rustic way of life.
As they came up to the door, Evander said: "In victory Hercules Bent for this lintel, and these royal rooms Were grand enough for him. Friend, have the courage To care little for wealth, and shape yourself, You too, to merit godhead. Do not come Disdainfully into our needy home." (8.478-485)
Now Evander instructs Aeneas not to look down on his humble life; heck, if Hercules thought it was OK, then anyone should. To gain a sense of the value Virgil's poem places on the simple life, compare Evander's instructions on how "to merit godhead" (i.e., become a god) with Anchises's discussion of how souls are contaminated by worldly desires when he teaches Aeneas about reincarnation in Book 6.