The prophetic legacy
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Throughout the Aeneid, Vergil’s hero is exposed to both short-term prophecies, which foreshadow events in the future of the poem, and long-term prophecies, which call attention to the future of Rome. Between the first and second halves of the poem, there is a subtle shift in both the types of prophecies delivered and in the hero’s reactions to the prophecies that he receives. This contrast seems to suggest that Aeneas is disturbed by prophecies when they concern his own future and confused by prophecies when they concern Ascanius, for whom the future of Rome is intended. Through the skillful incorporation of his audience into the poem’s long-term prophecies, Vergil makes this contrast that much more effective, carefully conveying his own hopes and fears about the future under Augustus.