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‘Virgil’s Bees’ - discussion led by Rachael Hopley (Downham Market Academy)

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Virgil Society - ‘Virgil’s Bees’ - Discussion meeting led by Rachael Hopley (Downham Market Academy)

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Bees feature prominently at a number of points in the Virgilian corpus, most extensively in Book 4 of the Georgics, but also in significant similes and symbolic contexts in the Aeneid and as an element in the rustic landscape of the Eclogues. In this meeting we shall consider the Greek and Roman literary background and the poetic and ideological implications of Virgil’s presentation of bees in his poetry. Are Virgil’s bees a model for Roman society, a mirror of human civilisation with both flaws and merits, a meditation on the destruction of civil war and the transience of human life, a vehicle for reflection on the nature of poetry, a vivid portrait of an indispensable feature of the natural world – or all of these things?

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