September 27 | Vergil’s Aeneid


“My song is of war and a man: a refugee by fate,
the first from Troy to Italy’s Lavinian shores,
battered much on land and sea by blows from gods
obliging brutal Juno’s unforgetting rage. . . ”

Vergil’s grand poem of adventure, heroism, love and the burdens of duty, in the acclaimed new translation by Shadi Bartsch.

When: Six weekly sessions on Mondays at 7:00 p.m. Eastern, starting September 27, 2021 and ending November 8, 2021; the seminar will not meet on October 11.

Duration: 2 1/4 hours per session, with a short break mid-session

Cost: C$350 plus 13% HST (approx. US$284 plus 13% HST)

Group Size: 12-participant limit

How: We meet on Zoom; you will receive joining instructions approx. 3 weeks before the seminar start date. For your privacy, all our Zoom seminars are password-protected and are never recorded. See full conditions at the bottom of this page.

All seminar payments are nonrefundable. If you are interested in applying your Toronto Pursuits 2020 deposit to this seminar, please contact us.

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Mark Cwik is the education manager for Classical Pursuits. He is a longtime Toronto Pursuits and trip leader and has been an organizer of adult great books discussion groups for 25 years. He specializes in literature from the ancient, mythic and religious world. Mark lives in London, England, where he also leads seminars with the London Literary Salon.


This seminar will use the new translation of the Aeneid by Shadi Bartsch. Please be sure to obtain this translation:

The Aeneid: A New Translation, by Vergil, translated by Shadi Bartsch
(Profile Books, 2020)
ISBN-13: 978-1788162678

We encourage you to support local bookstores or other independent sellers, especially as alternatives to Amazon.

In the US and the UK, try, World of Books, or Ebooks (electronic books only)

In the US and Canada, try Powell’s Books, IndieBound, and Thiftbooks (used books only in Canada)

In Canada, try McNally Robinson or Indigo

Taking Homer’s great epics the Iliad and Odyssey as his models, Vergil created a poem and a hero and that are uniquely his own—and that are distinctly Roman. Where Achilles and Odysseus are fundamentally private heroes whose struggles and conflicts are personal, internal, and centred on their own desires and goals, Vergil’s Aeneas journeys through the more complicated world of familial and civic responsibility. A widowed father, a devoted son, and the appointed leader of refugees from the Trojan War, Aeneas struggles with, and against, his duty to lead survivors from the fallen city of Troy to find a new home in a distant land.

The Aeneid is a poem of adventure, violence, heroism, duty, and love, recounting along the way the famous tale of the Trojan horse and the fall of Troy, Aeneas’ love affair with the doomed Queen Dido of Carthage, his journey into the underworld, and ultimate arrival of Aeneas and the survivors of Troy in Italian lands.

Vergil’s poem engages in the conscious creation of a foundation myth for what became the vast empire of Rome. He crafts a nuanced exploration of the price paid for empire in lives lost, relationships broken, blood spilled, and peoples displaced and destroyed. As Shadi Bartsch puts it in her introduction, “Rather than being simple propaganda, the Aeneid is in many ways a story about stories and how they work. It is an epic that tells the story of foundation but puts on display the fault lines at the base of its own edifice, revealing the mechanisms at work in wholesome origin-stories and justifications of imperial aggression.”

This seminar will be read-as-we-go, covering roughly 50 pages of the Aeneid per week.

“My song is of war and a man: a refugee by fate,
the first from Troy to Italy’s Lavinian shores,
battered much on land and sea by blows from gods
obliging brutal Juno’s unforgetting rage;
he suffered much in war as well, all to plant
his town and gods in Latium. From here would rise
the Latin race, the Alban lords, and Rome’s high walls.”

Aeneid, tr. Shadi Bartsch


All online seminar payments are nonrefundable.

Classical Pursuits does not record seminars. By participating in any seminar, registrants agree not to make their own seminar recordings and to abide by the Classical Pursuits code of conduct.


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Standard registration, Toronto Pursuits 2020 credit