The Council of the Gods (Verg. Aen. 10.1-117), Between ars rhetorica and (im)politeness
Ancient commentators have always paid considerable attention to the rhetorical aspects of the speeches composed by Virgil in the Aeneid. They are fictitious dialogues but modelled, at least partially, on the public debates of the late Republic and Virgil’s own times. The Council of the Gods (Aen. 10.1-117) is perhaps the passage in which the use of rhetoric is most evident. The trialogue between Jupiter, Venus and Juno can also be examined in the context of the doctrine of (im)politeness. Each protagonist uses specific strategies to interact with the others. Late antiquity exegesis also analyses in some notes the attitude of the speakers, highlighting polite or impolite behaviours. The aim of the article is twofold: on the one hand, it follows the development of the trialogue according to modern doctrines of (im)politeness to have an ‘ethic’ analysis of the debate. On the other hand, it will examine the commentators’ notes, both those explaining the rhetorical strategies and those highlighting the attitude of the speakers, in order to assess ‘emic’ perceptions of (im)politeness.