Monday, 24 December 2012

Aeneas And Morpheus

I hope to learn enough Latin to read Virgil's Aeneid in the original. At present, I have read part of the Penguin Classics translation by WF Jackson Knight (Harmondsworth, 1982). The Introduction says that Virgil knew Augustus and foresaw that he would establish peace and order, which we see in Neil Gaiman's Sandman story, "August." It is possible that the poets Virgil and Horace influenced Augustus to rule more mildly in later life - in "August," he says that he has forgotten how many men he has had killed.

The Introduction also tells us that Jupiter and Destiny cooperated to help the Trojans.The early text refers directly to one of Gaiman's Endless and indirectly to a second. Juno hoped:

"...that Destiny might consent to her desire." (p. 27)

the word "...desire...," when written with a capital initial, is the name of another of the Endless as Gaiman told us in issue no 1 of The Sandman. The magician who has imprisoned Morpheus says:

"He had to be one of the which one? Not Death. We knew that. Destiny, then? Desire? Dream was the only one that fitted the bill." (Neil Gaiman, Preludes And Nocturnes, New York, 1995, p. 27)

Sandman readers are bound to be interested to see Destiny in the Aeneid. In fact, Destiny is the one of the Endless who was shown to be in the DC Universe before Gaiman started writing The Sandman. He appeared in The History Of The DC Universe just after The Crisis On Infinite Earths and that appearance must have reflected some earlier participation in the then recently collapsed multiverse. DC Comics history assumes that the Greek myths were literally true.

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