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The myth of Aeneas and the origin of Latins

El poeta griego Virgilio, autor de La Eneida.
     As a people, the ancient Romans were proud of their mythological heritage. They traced their origins to the great Trojan hero, Aeneas, son of the goddess Venus and the mortal Anchises. According to the myth, Aeneas lived over 1184 B.C. and fought in the Trojan War.
The Trojan War began when Paris, the son of King Priam of Troy, abducted Helen, Queen of Sparta, from her home and brought her back to Troy. Helen´s outraged husband Menelaus appealed for help to his brother Agamemnon, King of Mycenae, who was then High King of Greeks. Agamemnon assemple a huge army with contingents drawn from all regions of Greece. Each part of this force was, in turn, led by a king or prince of a region. These were the mighty Homeric heroes, so called because their stories were told by, among others, the Greek poet Homer in his epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey.
The Greek army contained the most famous heroes of this age, including Ulysses (called Odysseus by the Greeks), the must cunning of the Greeks, and Achilles, the mightiest warrior. With this army Agamemnon set sail for Asia Minor and laid siege to the city of Troy.
The Trojans had their own heroes for defense, primarily the sons of King Priam; gratest warrior among these was Hector, who commanded the Trojan army. Second to Hector in reputation was Aeneas, a Dardanian from the area north of the city. He had brought his own contingent of Dardanian troops to help in the defense and had moved into troy with his men and his family early the war. Powerful though the attacking Greek army was, it was unable to lay an effective siege around such a large city, and the Trojans were able to draw supplies and reinforcements from the surrounding countryside. The resulting stalemate lasted ten years, according to legend.
In the tenth year of the war, after the deaths of many warriors on both sides, including Hector and Achilles, the Greeks finally managed to take the city, owing to a wily deception devised by Ulysses; they constructed a huge wooden horse, inside of which they hid Greek soldiers, and gave the horse to the Trojans on the pretext that it was a gift to goddess Minerva.
Once the horse was inside the city, the Greek soldiers emerged from its belly and proceeded to lay waste Troy and its inhabitants. Trojans, caught utterly by surprise, tried to defend their city. That night the gods themselves spoke to Aeneas. They told him that troy was detined to fall and that he should not waste his life defending the city. Instead, they revealed that Aeneas´s mission was to leave Troy and found a new city where a nation could be established, springing from Trojan stock.
Aeneas gathered his family and his men and left the city in the confusion of the Greek assault.
He wandered the lands of the Mediterranean for many years, and finally arrived at Italy where he was destined to found his city. that city was not actually Rome, it was Lavinium, named after Lavinia, the daughter of King Latinus, ruler of Latium, who became the wife of Aeneas. After the marriage of Aeneas and Lavinia, the name of Latins was bestowed upon their combined peoples, the Italians of the kingdom of Latium and the exiled Trojans resttling in the new land.
The story of Aeneas's wandering from Troy, his many adventures in the waters and lands of the Mediterranean, his struggles and his loves, through to his arrival in Italy and the founding of his city in Latium, was told by the Roman poet Publius Vergilius Maro in his epic poem, the Aeneid.

Taken from the book: Ecce Romani I. A Latin Reading Program. North American fourth edition. Chapter 5. Myth I. "Aeneas". Page 28-31. Pearson Prentice Hall.
   
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Look! The Romans!

In learning Latin from Ecce Romani, you will acquire a rich Latin
vocabulary as you read stories about members of a Roman family
in a variety of situation

Ecce Romani, which means “Look! The Romans!”, is the title of a beautiful
series of Latin books based on Ecce Romani: A Latin Reading Course,
originally prepared by The Scottish Classics Group and published in the
United Kingdom by Oliver and Boyd, a division of Longman Group.

The books in the series present the Romans to you as you learn the Latin
language that they spoke. At first you will meet the members of a Roman
family. As you continue reading, you will meet mythological and historical
characters that meant much to the Romans and remain part of our
cultural heritage today.

You will be introduced to a vast and colorful world of ancient
Mediterranean and European civilizations, that included peoples who
spoke many different languages, and you will meet people of many
different cultures and social levels, ranging from slaves to emperors.
You will read passages from many ancient Roman writers and thus
come into direct communication with the ancient Romans themselves.

The Latin Language
As you read stories about the Roman family in this book, you will be
learning Latin, a language that gave birth to a number of languages that
are still used today, including Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, and
Romanian. These modern languages are known as Romance languages,
because they come from the language used by the ancient Romans.

In addition, even though the English language developed out of Germanic
dialects, as much as sixty percent of English vocabulary comes directly
or indirectly from Latin. Many French words of Latin origin were
introduced into English by Normans, a French people who conquered
the English in 1066.

Many other words of Latin origin came into English during the revival of
classical learning in the Renaissance and Enlightenment (1550 and
following), and Latin words have come to continue to come into English
usage in scientific, medical, and legal terminology. The connections you
will make between Latin words and English words will enhance your
understanding of English vocabulary, especially of its larger,
polysyllabic words.

By connecting English, French, Spanish, Italian, Romanian and German
words with their Latin roots, you will increase your ability to learn other
Romance languages, and to use English words correctly and effectively.

In learning Latin from Ecce Romani, you will acquire a rich Latin
vocabulary as you read stories about members of a Roman family in a
variety of situations. These excellent series make easier for you enjoy a
wealth of detail and local color in the stories without requiring you to
master an excessive number of Latin words.


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