The Bottom Line
- Self-contained. No outside references needed.
- Clear, flowing translation.
- Frequent, entertaining line drawings.
- Bullet points long catalogues.
- No line numbers.
- With anachronistic license, addresses the audience instead of the Muse.
- Prose translation of Vergil's dactylic hexameter epic.
- Modern rendition, but not colloquial.
- Five appendixes: names, genealogies, timeline, outline of the books, discussion points.
- Amusing illustrations.
- Summary passages in the margins.
Guide Review - Review of G. B. Cobbold's Vergil's Aeneid
Then the priest of Neptune, Laocoon, hurried down the citadel with his attendantsCobbold's short sentences suit modern tastes better than the convoluted Latin sentences Vergil crafted. Cobbold eliminates details that are extraneous for a non-Classicist -- like names of minor characters. Since Vergil assumed familiarity not only with relatively major figures in mythology and legend like the Olympian gods and Laocoon, but all the minor figures in the Trojan War, Vergil's list of names is overwhelming. Not only does Cobbold use a less intimidating cast of characters, but he also provides an annotated list of them in one of his five appendixes.
l. 39-40 magna comitante caterua
Laocoon ardens summa decurrit ab arce
If you are a fan of verse translations of epic, you will be disappointed, but Cobbald chose prose because, he says, English is unsuited to dactylic hexameter. Besides, he was trying to turn the epic into a novel. Whether or not he succeeds, you'll have to decide.
A point about which I have my doubts is whether it is really unsuitable for a crib, as Cobbold thinks. I find it very useful.