There are many pictorial differences in the classic text, The Iliad, especially between the shields of Achilles and Aeneas. There are two major themes that contrast the two. Achilles’ shield is about all of nature and balance, while Aeneas’ shield is about the future of Rome, and its apex point in society.
The images on the shield of Aeneas are inscribed in chronological order. We see the history of Rome. Augusts Cesar is at the apex of the civilization leading the war against the Egyptians. This shield is only about Rome and Nationalism. As stated in the text, the shield is basically a representation of the future glories of Rome and Rome alone.
On the shield were inscribed the future wars, the mother wolf, and the twins who built Rome, Romulus, and Remus. Aeneas’ future sons are defending the city of Rome and throw themselves forward onto the enemy’s spears. In the upper quartile, we see the capital where Romulus’ house was newly thatched. They have alpine spears in defense along with ladies riding in cushioned carriages through Rome. In the middle of the shield, there is the sea flowing surging, all of gold.
We see Leucata maneuvering ships. We see a high society with a leader and his people standing behind him and they stand together. A war scene between Italy and Egypt is depicted in the open seas.
All in all, we see all of Aeneas’s Descendants fighting for what Rome will become.
On the other hand, we have Achilles’ shield; which was constructed by a God to represent all of nature. The scenes on the shield are both complex and divine.
The shield is designed with all the elements, Earth, Sky, Sun, and Moon. There are also two cities with people on them celebrating and fighting at the same time. One city was celebrating and the other city was at war with itself. Two armies are camped out around the city, ready to move in for the kill. The people within the city are ready to defend their beautiful city and are led by Gods Ares and Pallas Athena.
(Does the Book of Job blast us, or the Gods?)
There is also a scene of rich farmlands and a happy king watching his land being farmed. Another scene inscribed on the shield is two terrifying lions attacking an ox herd.
The last scene is designed with a dancing ground filled with young adults in the prime of their beauty, dancing and enjoying themselves. The outermost rim of the shield had the great strength of the river ocean.
Such scenes would confirm that this shield is about balance in nature.
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