The capacity of proper names to condense concepts, descriptions, or short narratives can tell us a lot about the Aeneid. But names only 'suggest' or 'evoke' meaning, which can be elicited and/or understood properly only by viewing it in a reading of the epic as a whole. Virgil's epic reveals recurrent semantic patterns, which show that names are substituta ble semantic units. One way to elicit their meaning is by exploring the semantic environment in which they occur as well as related semantic environments elsewhere in the narrative, and by examining the way names combine with semantic units of transparent meaning. This study offers a complete semantic analysis of the Aeneid by book, based on the discussion of semantic components and semantic sequences, and using the Laocoon-Horse sequence as a model. The analysis reveals a sustained, pervasive, and deep-going exploitation of the meaning of names. It yields new interpretations for every episode in the epic and provides the semantic features of most major characters.
It sheds new light on the significance of Polydorus, the death of Anchises at Drepanum, the Nisus and Euryalus relationship, and Camilla's features in relation to the spearthrow of Metabus. It shows the authenticity of the Helen episode, as well as the significance of the catalogue of the of sinners in Tartarus, and of the deaths of Pallas and Turnus.
`When it comes to studying Virgil, this is a book which matters ... its greatest originality is to incorporate the etymological study of characters' names in the universal semantic architecture of the Aenied ... the author demonstrates, in a remarkably perceptive way and with a truly accurate and scientific focus, a pattern of reoccuring events ... What is truly remarkable in Mr Paschalis' book is his ability to create a depth of meaning from the very words
themselves ... Here is a book which is an erudite text, yet is also a work which truly understands and is in harmony with Vigilian spirit. It is one of those books which does justice to criticisms by
showing that they too make the texts...come to life.'
Joel Thomas, Latomus July-Sept 1999
`The book has new and interesting contributions to make... The book has an important point to make about Virgil's interest in and manipulation of proper names. It offers convincing examples of etymological play which have not been mentioned by previous studies.'
R.Maltby. Journal of Roman Studies LXXXIX 1999.
`the first detailed study of the Aeneid based on close examination of its essential semantic clusters.'
The Classical Journal, vol. 94, no. 2
`extraordinary stimulating book ... This is a seminal, innovative work and will be as influential for the study of Virgil's semantics as the theoretical work of Conte is for his generic originality.'
The Classical Journal