The Aeneid and the Times of Augustus, the First Emperor


Course Description

This is a hybrid course. When you register, please select whether you would prefer to participate in the course in person at our Atwater offices or online on Zoom.

First of the great Roman verse works, The Aeneid celebrates the glory of Rome and its first emperor through an epic description of the founding of the city, following the model of the outstanding Greek epics. Was this poem an original masterpiece, composed by a literary genius during the crescendo of a grand civilization, or only an imitation of lines already laid down? Was Virgil contributing to a great literary cycle, or simply burnishing the reputation of a powerful tyrant? How was this text a chronicle of its time, and how was it a fresh interpretation of past deeds? What was the role of the poet, and of poetry more broadly, at the dawn of the Roman Empire?

We will review and discuss The Aeneid at length and consider its inspiration, its historical precedents, and the era of its composition. We will look at the works that may have inspired it and at works that were written and published at approximately the same time and place, including texts by Homer, Suotenius, Plutarch, Livy, Horace, Ovid, and others. We will also read modern commentators. At the end of the course, we will look at Dante’s depiction of Virgil in The Divine Comedy.

Books to Purchase (will be available at Argo Bookshop during the weeks prior to the course beginning):

    • The Aeneid by Virgil, translated by Robert Fagles, Penguin Classics.

This course is full; to add yourself to the waitlist, email or call (514) 935-9585. Should vacancies develop, those on the waiting list will be contacted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Course Details

First Session: Tuesday 21 September 2021

Course Length: 12 weeks, Tuesdays, 6:15 to 8:15 p.m.

Discussion Team: Paul Billette, Marilyn Kaplow, Zoe Shaw

Degree Credit: 3.0 credits

Course Fees: 

$150.00 (standard tuition)

$100.00 (promotion for new students)

Administrative Fee:



$185.00 (standard tuition)

$135.00 (promotion for new students)


Course fees are refundable in full before the second session. After the second session, a fee of $50 for the withdrawal will be applied. Refunds will not be issued after the third session. Please note that non-attendance does not constitute a withdrawal.

Students pursuing studies for credit are encouraged to consult with their advisers as they register for courses.

Course leaders, and students wishing to use credit vouchers, should call (514) 935-9585 to pay by phone or to schedule an appointment to pay in person.

Questions? Stuck? Give us a call at (514) 935-9585
or email us at