Tuesday, 22 November 2016


European literature begins with Homer and Homer wrote about Troy. According to CS Lewis:

Homer wrote Primary Epic, about events during the Heroic Age;

Virgil wrote Secondary Epic, about a historical turning point, the founding of Rome;

Milton wrote an ultimate epic about cosmic history from before the Creation until after the Judgment.

But I have also read that the Trojan War was the end of the Heroic Age. Aeneas escaped from Troy and fled to Italy where his descendant, Romulus, founded Rome. The Roman Empire was a  model for Poul Anderson's Terran Empire whereas SM Stirling's characters are re-fighting the Trojan War with rifles and mortars - so here we have an illustrious literary lineage:

Stirling -

- and there were a few other guys in between!

Addendum: CS Lewis is not only a commentator on this tradition but also a contributor to it. His "After Ten Years," in the posthumous collection, The Dark Tower and other stories, is a fragment of an unfinished novel about the aftermath of the Trojan War. It has a brilliant opening passage which I should not spoiler. Who is Yellowhead? Where are he and his companions?


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I would have included Dante's DIVINE COMEDY in this list because of how often he mentions, alludes to Virgil's AENEID. To say nothing of how Virgil himself was Dante's guide thru Hell and Purgatory.


Paul Shackley said...

Good one.