Identity of genre admits diversity of imaginative quality. Virgil himself has sometimes suffered from the neglect of this principle and critics have wasted time in showing that he is a weak Homer—forgetting that Homer is a far weaker Virgil, and that neither poet could possibly console us for the loss of the other.
-C.S. Lewis, The Allegory of Love
The gentle Vergil, whom instructors call the Mantuan swan, perhaps because he was not born in that city, he considered one of the most terrible pedants ever produced by antiquity. Des Esseintes was exasperated by his immaculate and bedizened shepherds, his Orpheus whom he compares to a weeping nightingale, his Aristaeus who simpers about bees, his Aeneas, that weak-willed, irresolute person who walks with wooden gestures through the length of the poem. Des Esseintes would gladly have accepted the tedious nonsense which those marionettes exchange with each other off-stage; or even the poet's impudent borrowings from Homer, Theocritus, Ennius and Lucretius; the plain theft, revealed to us by Macrobius, of the second song of the Aeneid, copied almost word for word from one of Pisander's poems; in fine, all the unutterable emptiness of this heap of verses.
-Joris-Karl Huysmans, À rebours. Trans. by John Howard
Given the opening line of The Æneid, Arma virumque cano, we should not be surprised at the artificial cutting of the epic in twain, where the first half, Books I - VI, are based primarily off of Homer's Odyssey, and the second half, Books VII - XII, off of Homer's Iliad; therefore, the primary themes of the first half concern a "man" and his "wanderings", while the second half concern the "arms of war". Despite these overarching generalities, Vergil often diverges from the model of his larger arcs in interesting ways, in that some of the scenes and structures of some books are modeled off of works and authors different from The Odyssey and The Iliad; nor should this realization be surprising, as The Poet is known as a clever thief of other poet's lines. In conclusion, by an examination the similarities and differences between the second book of Homer's Iliad and the corresponding book of Vergil's Æneid, we may gain insight into the ways in which Vergil uses, adapts, and differs from his models, and such insight may prove helpful as additional ways to read, interpret, and understand the scope, tone, and structure of The Æneid.