Embraces in Aeneid 8

Adrian Gramps*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Venus and Vulcan, Venus and Aeneas, Pallas and Aeneas, Aeneas and Evander, Evander and Pallas: all of these pairs are seen embracing one another in Aeneid 8. Alongside these emotive scenes of embrace, the book is peppered with embrace-related vocabulary, imagery, and metaphor, often in surprising contexts. This article weaves together these embraces in Aeneid 8 in relation to the thematics of the book as a whole. It is proposed that, when read together, the embraces in Aeneid 8 tell a story about the possibilities of knowledge in relation to the senses. Vision is the supreme sense-modality of truth in epic, as embodied in the shield of Aeneas; and yet, in book 8, embrace emerges as a way of knowing that runs counter to optical discourses of knowledge. This leads to an exploratory reconsideration of hermeneutic principles in light of Aeneas’ much-puzzled-over response to the shield.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
VolumeAdvance Articles
Early online date15 Jul 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Jul 2022


  • Vergil
  • Aeneid
  • Touch
  • Ecphrasis
  • Epistemology


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