Aeneas' Flight from Troy, 1598, Federico Barocci

Cobham Brewer:

  • I. The escape from Troy; Aeneas and his son, driven by a tempest on the shores of Carthage, are hospitably entertained by queen Dido.
  • II. Aeneas tells Dido the tale of the wooden horse, the burning of Troy, and his flight with his father, wife, and son. The wife was lost and died.
  • III. The narrative continued. The perils he met with on the way, and the death of his father.
  • IV. Dido falls in love with Aeneas; but he steals away from Carthage, and Dido, on a funeral pyre, puts an end to her life.
  • V. Aeneas reaches Sicily, and celebrates there the games in honor of Anchises. This book corresponds to the Iliad, xxiii.
  • VI. Aeneas visits the infernal regions. This book corresponds to Odyssey, xi.
  • VII. Latinus king of Italy entertains Aeneas, and promises to him Lavinia (his daughter) in marriage, but prince Turnus had been already betrothed to her by the mother, and raises an army to resist Aeneas.
  • VIII. Preparations on both sides for a general war.
  • IX. Turnus, during the absence of Aeneas, fires the ships and assaults the camp. The episode of Nisus and Eury'alus.
  • X. The war between Turnus and Aeneas. Episode of Mezentius and Lausus.
  • XI. The battle continued.
  • XII. Turnus challenges Aeneas to single combat, and is killed.


  • 1. The story of Sinon and taking of Troy is borrowed from Pisander, as Macrobius informs us.
  • 2. The loves of Dido and Aeneas are copied from those of Medea and Jason, in Apollonius.
  • 3. The story of the wooden horse and the burning of Troy are from Arcti'nus of Miletus.

A more detailed description by Helene A. Guerber:

Book I. After stating he is about to sing the deeds of the heroic ancestor of the Romans, Virgil describes how, seven years after
escaping from burning Troy, Aeneas' fleet was overtaken by a terrible storm off the coast of Africa. This tempest, raised by the turbulent children of Aeolus at Juno's request, threatened before long to destroy the Trojan fleet. But, disturbed by the commotion overhead and by Aeneas' frantic prayers for help, Neptune suddenly arose from the bottom of the sea, angrily ordered the winds back to their cave, and summoned sea-nymphs and tritons to the Trojans' aid. Soon, therefore, seven of the vessels came to anchor in a sheltered bay, where Aeneas landed with his friend Achates. While reconnoitring, they managed to kill seven stags with which to satisfy the hunger of the men, whom Aeneas further cheered by the assurance that they were the destined ancestors of a mighty people.

Meantime Venus, beholding the plight of her son Aeneas, had hastened off to Olympus to remind Jupiter of his promise to protect the remnant of the Trojan race. Bestowing a kiss, the King of the Gods assured her that after sundry vicissitudes Aeneas would reach Italy, where in due time his son would found Alba Longa. Jupiter added a brief sketch of what would befall this hero's race, until, some three hundred years after his death, one of his descendants, the Vestal Ilia, would bear twin sons to Mars, god of War. One of these, Romulus, would found the city of Rome, where the Trojan race would continue its heroic career and where Caesar would appear to fill the world with his fame.

"From Troy's fair stock shall Caesar rise,
The limits of whose victories
Are ocean, of his fame the skies."[5]

Having thus quieted Venus' apprehensions in regard to her son, Jupiter directed Mercury to hasten off to Carthage so as to warn Dido she is to receive hospitably the Trojan guests.

After a sleepless night Aeneas again set out with Achates to explore, and encountered in the forest his goddess mother in the guise of a Tyrian huntress. In respectful terms--for he suspected she was some divinity in disguise--Aeneas begged for information and learned he has landed in the realm of Dido. Warned in a vision that her brother had secretly slain her husband and was plotting against her life, this Tyrian queen had fled from Tyre with friends and wealth, and, on reaching this part of Africa, had, thanks to the clever device of a bull's hide, obtained land enough to found the city of Byrsa or Carthage. In return Aeneas gave the strange huntress his name, relating how the storm had scattered all his vessels save the seven anchored close by. To allay his anxiety in regard to his friends, Venus assured him that twelve swans flying overhead were omens of the safety of his ships, and it was only when she turned to leave him that Aeneas recognized his mother, who, notwithstanding his desire to embrace her, promptly disappeared.

The two Trojans now walked on in the direction she indicated until
dazzled by the beauty of the new city of Carthage, which was rising
rapidly, thanks to the activity of Dido's subjects. In its centre
stood a wonderful temple, whose brazen gates were decorated with
scenes from the War of Troy. Hidden from all eyes by a divine mist,
Aeneas and Achates tearfully gazed upon these reminders of the glories
past and mingled with the throng until Queen Dido appeared.

She was no sooner seated upon her throne than she summoned into her
presence some prisoners just secured, in whom Aeneas recognized with
joy the various captains of his missing ships. Then he overheard them
bewail the storm which robbed them of their leader, and was pleased
because Dido promised them entertainment and ordered a search made for
their chief.

The right moment having come, the cloud enveloping Aeneas and Achates
parted, and Dido thus suddenly became aware of the presence of other
strangers in their midst. Endowed by Venus with special attractions so
as to secure the favor of the Libyan queen, Aeneas stepped gracefully
forward, made himself known, and, after paying due respect to the
queen, joyfully greeted his comrades. Happy to harbor so famous a
warrior, Dido invited Aeneas to a banquet in her palace, an invitation
he gladly accepted, charging Achates to hasten back to the ships to
announce their companions' safety and to summon Iulus or Ascanius to
join his father. To make quite sure Aeneas should captivate Dido's
heart, Venus now substituted Cupid for Iulus, whom she meantime
conveyed to one of her favorite resorts. It was therefore in the guise
of the Trojan prince that Cupid, during the banquet, caressingly
nestled in Dido's arms and stealthily effaced from her heart all
traces of her former husband's face, filling it instead with a
resistless passion for Aeneas, which soon impelled her to invite him
to relate his escape from Troy.

Book II. With the eyes of all present upon him, Aeneas related how
the Greeks finally devised a colossal wooden horse, wherein their
bravest chiefs remained concealed while the remainder of their forces
pretended to sail home, although they anchored behind a neighboring
island to await the signal to return and sack Troy. Overjoyed by the
departure of the foe, the Trojans hastened down to the shore, where,
on discovering the huge wooden horse, they joyfully proposed to drag
it into their city as a trophy. In vain their priest, Laocoon,
implored them to desist, hurling his spear at the horse to prove it
was hollow and hence might conceal some foe. This daring and apparent
sacrilege horrified the Trojans, who, having secured a Greek fugitive
in a swamp near by, besought him to disclose what purpose the horse
was to serve. Pretending to have suffered great injustice at the
Greeks' hands, the slave (Sinon) replied that if they removed the
wooden horse into their walls the Trojans would greatly endanger the
safety of their foes, who had left it on the shore to propitiate
Neptune. Enticed by this prospect, the Trojans proved more eager than
ever to drag the horse into their city, even though it necessitated
pulling down part of their walls. Meantime part of the crowd gathered
about Laocoon who was to offer public thanks on the sea-shore, but,
even while he was standing at the altar, attended by his sons, two
huge serpents arose out of the sea and, coiling fiercely around priest
and both acolytes, throttled them in spite of their efforts.

He strains his strength their knots to tear,
While gore and slime his fillets smear,
And to the unregardful skies
Sends up his agonizing cries.

On seeing this, the horror-struck Trojans immediately concluded
Laocoon was being punished for having attacked the wooden horse, which
they joyfully dragged into Troy, although the prophet-princess,
Cassandra, besought them to desist, foretelling all manner of woe.

Night now fell upon the city, where, for the first time in ten years,
all slept peacefully without fear of surprise. At midnight Sinon
released the captive Greeks from the wooden steed, and, joined by
their companions, who had noiselessly returned, they swarmed all over
the undefended city. Aeneas graphically described for Dido's benefit
his peaceful sleep, when the phantom of the slaughtered Hector bade
him arise and flee with his family, because the Greeks had already
taken possession of Troy! At this moment loud clamors awakened him,
confirming what he had just heard in dream. Aeneas immediately rushed
to the palace to defend his king, he and his men stripping the armor
from fallen Greeks to enable them to get there unmolested. Still, they
arrived only in time to see Achilles' son rush into the throne-room
and cruelly murder the aged Priam after killing his youngest son. They
also beheld the shrieking women ruthlessly dragged off into captivity,
Cassandra wildly predicting the woes which would befall the Greek
chiefs on their way home.

Ah see! the Priameian fair,
Cassandra, by her streaming hair
Is dragged from Pallas' shrine,
Her wild eyes raised to Heaven in vain--
Her eyes, alas! for cord and chain
Her tender hands confine.

The fall of aged Priam and the plight of the women reminding Aeneas of
the danger of his own father, wife, and son, he turned to rush home.
On his way thither he met his mother, who for a moment removed the
mortal veil from his eyes, to let him see Neptune, Minerva, and Juno
zealously helping to ruin Troy. Because Venus passionately urged her
son to escape while there was yet time, Aeneas, on reaching home,
besought his father Anchises to depart, but it was only when the old
man saw a bright flame hover over the head of his grandson, Iulus,
that he realized heaven intended to favor his race and consented to
leave. Seeing him too weak to walk, his son bade him hold the
household goods, and carried him off on his back, leading his boy by
the hand and calling to his wife and servants to follow. Thus
burdened, Aeneas reached a ruined fane by the shore, only to discover
his beloved wife was missing. Anxiously retracing his footsteps, he
encountered her shade, which bade him cease seeking for her among the
living and hasten to Hesperia, where a new wife and home awaited him.

"Then, while I dewed with tears my cheek
And strove a thousand things to speak,
She melted into night:
Thrice I essayed her neck to clasp:
Thrice the vain semblance mocked my grasp,
As wind or slumber light."

Thus enlightened in regard to his consort's fate and wishes, Aeneas
hastened back to his waiting companions, and with them prepared to
leave the Trojan shores.

Book III. Before long Aeneas' fleet landed on the Thracian coast,
where, while preparing a sacrifice, our hero was horrified to see
blood flow from the trees he cut down. This phenomenon was, however,
explained by an underground voice, relating how a Trojan was robbed
and slain by the inhabitants of this land, and how trees had sprung
from the javelins stuck in his breast.

Unwilling to linger in such a neighborhood, Aeneas sailed to Delos,
where an oracle informed him he would be able to settle only in the
land whence his ancestors had come. Although Anchises interpreted this
to mean they were to go to Crete, the household gods informed Aeneas,
during the journey thither, that Hesperia was their destined goal.
After braving a three-days tempest, Aeneas landed on the island of the
Harpies, horrible monsters who defiled the travellers' food each time
a meal was spread. They not only annoyed Aeneas in this way, but
predicted, when attacked, that he should find a home only when driven
by hunger to eat boards.

"But ere your town with walls ye fence,
Fierce famine, retribution dread
For this your murderous violence,
Shall make you eat your boards for bread."

Sailing off again, the Trojans next reached Epirus, which they found
governed by Helenus, a Trojan, for Achilles' son had already been
slain. Although Hector's widow was now queen of the realm where she
had been brought a captive, she still mourned for her noble husband,
and gladly welcomed the fugitives for his sake. It was during the
parting sacrifice that Helenus predicted that, after long wanderings,
his guests would settle in Italy, in a spot where they would find a
white sow suckling thirty young. He also cautioned Aeneas about the
hidden dangers of Charybdis and Scylla, and bade him visit the Cumaean
Sibyl, so as to induce her, if possible, to lend him her aid.

Restored and refreshed by this brief sojourn among kinsmen, Aeneas and
his followers resumed their journey, steering by the stars and
avoiding all landing in eastern or southern Italy which was settled by
Greeks. After passing Charybdis and Scylla unharmed, and after gazing
in awe at the plume of smoke crowning Mt. Aetna, the Trojans rescued
one of the Greeks who had escaped with Ulysses from the Cyclops' cave
but who had not contrived to sail away.

To rest his weary men, Aeneas finally landed at Drepanum, in Sicily,
where his old father died and was buried with all due pomp. It was
shortly after leaving this place, that Aeneas' fleet had been
overtaken by the terrible tempest which had driven his vessels to
Dido's shore.

So King Aeneas told his tale
While all beside were still,
Rehearsed the fortunes of his sail
And fate's mysterious will:
Then to its close his legend brought
And gladly took the rest he sought.

Book IV. While Aeneas rested peacefully, Dido's newborn passion kept
her awake, causing her at dawn to rouse her sister Anna, so as to
impart to her the agitated state of her feelings. Not only did Anna
encourage her sister to marry again, but united with her in a prayer
to which Venus graciously listened, although Juno reminded her that
Trojans and Carthaginians were destined to be foes. Still, as Goddess
of Marriage, Juno finally consented that Aeneas and Dido be brought
together in the course of that day's hunt.

We now have a description of the sunrise, of the preparations for the
chase, of the queen's dazzling appearance, and of the daring
huntsmanship of the false Iulus. But the brilliant hunting expedition
is somewhat marred in the middle of the day by a sudden thunderstorm,
during which Aeneas and Dido accidentally seek refuge in the same
cave, where we are given to understand their union takes place. So
momentous a step, proclaimed by the hundred-mouthed Goddess of Fame,
rouses the ire of the native chiefs, one of whom fervently hopes
Carthage may rue having spared these Trojan refugees. This prayer is
duly registered by Jupiter, who further bids Mercury remind Aeneas his
new realm is to be founded in Italy and not on the African coast!

Thus divinely ordered to leave, Aeneas dares not disobey, but,
dreading Dido's reproaches and tears, he prepares to depart secretly.
His plans are, however, detected by Dido, who vehemently demands, how
he dares forsake her now? By Jupiter's orders, Aeneas remains unmoved
by her reproaches, and sternly reminds her that he always declared he
was bound for Italy. So, leaving Dido to brood over her wrongs, Aeneas
hastens down to the shore to hasten his preparations for departure.
Seeing this, Dido implores her sister to detain her lover, and, as
this proves vain, orders a pyre erected, on which she places all the
objects Aeneas has used.

That night the gods arouse Aeneas from slumber to bid him sail without
taking leave of the Tyrian queen. In obedience to this command, our
hero cuts with his sword the rope which moors his vessel to the
Carthaginian shore, and sails away, closely followed by the rest of
his fleet. From the watch-tower at early dawn, Dido discovers his
vanishing sails, and is so overcome by grief that, after rending "her
golden length of hair" and calling down vengeance upon Aeneas, she
stabs herself and breathes her last in the midst of the burning pyre.
The Carthaginians, little expecting so tragical a denouement, witness
the agony of their beloved queen in speechless horror, while Anna
wails aloud. Gazing down from heaven upon this sad scene, Juno
directs Iris to hasten down and cut off a lock of Dido's hair, for it
is only when this mystic ceremony has been performed that the soul can
leave the body. Iris therefore speedily obeys, saying:

"This lock to Dis I bear away
And free you from your load of clay:"
So shears the lock: the vital heats
Disperse, and breath in air retreats.

Book V. Sailing on, Aeneas, already dismayed by the smoke rising
from the Carthaginian shore, is further troubled by rapidly gathering
clouds. His weather-wise pilot, Palinurus, suggests that, since "the
west is darkening into wrath," they run into the Drepanum harbor,
which they enter just one year after Anchises' death. There they show
due respect to the dead by a sacrifice, of which a serpent takes his
tithe, and proceed to celebrate funeral games. We now have a detailed
account of the winning of prizes for the naval, foot, horse and
chariot races, and the boxing and archery matches.

While all the men are thus congenially occupied, the Trojan women,
instigated by Juno in disguise, set fire to the ships, so they need no
longer wander over seas they have learned to loathe. One of the
warriors, seeing the smoke, raises the alarm, and a moment later his
companions dash down to the shore to save their ships. Seeing his
fleet in flames, Aeneas wrings his hands, and prays with such fervor
that a cloudburst drenches his burning vessels. Four, however, are
beyond repair; so Aeneas, seeing he no longer has ship-room for all
his force, allows the Trojans most anxious to rest to settle in
Drepanum, taking with him only those who are willing to share his

Before he leaves, his father's ghost appears to him, bidding him,
before settling in Latium, descend into Hades by way of Lake Avernus,
and visit him in the Elysian Fields to hear what is to befall his

When Aeneas leaves Drepanum on the next day, his mother pleads so
successfully in his behalf that Neptune promises to exact only one
life as toll.

"One life alone shall glut the wave;
One head shall fall the rest to save."

Book VI. Steering to Cumae, where the Sibyl dwells, Aeneas seeks her
cave, whose entrance is barred by bronzen gates, on which is
represented the story of Daedalus,--the first bird man,--who, escaping
from the Labyrinth at Crete, gratefully laid his wings on this altar.
We are further informed that the Sibyl generally wrote her oracles on
separate oak leaves, which were set in due order in her cave, but
which the wind, as soon as the doors opened, scattered or jumbled
together, so that most of her predictions proved unintelligible to
those who visited her shrine. After a solemn invocation, Aeneas
besought her not to baffle him by writing on oak leaves, and was
favored by her apparition and the announcement that, after escaping
sundry perils by land and sea and reddening the Tiber with blood, he
would, thanks to Greek aid, triumph over his foes and settle in Latium
with a new bride. Undaunted by the prospect of these trials, Aeneas
besought the Sibyl to guide him down to Hades, to enable him to visit
his father, a journey she flatly refused to undertake, unless he
procured the golden bough which served as a key to that region, and
unless he showed due respect to the corpse of his friend. Although
both conditions sounded mysterious when uttered, Aeneas discovered, on
rejoining his crew, that one of his Trojans had been slain. After
celebrating his funeral, our hero wandered off into a neighboring
forest, where some doves--his mother's birds--guided him to the place
where grew the golden bough he coveted.

Armed with this talisman and escorted by the Sibyl, Aeneas, by way of
Lake Avernus, entered the gloomy cave which formed the entrance to
Hades. Following the flying footsteps of his mystic guide, he there
plunged into the realm of night, soon reaching the precinct of
departed souls, where he saw innumerable shades. Although he
immediately crossed the river in Charon's leaky punt, many spirits
were obliged to wait a hundred years, simply because they could not
pay for their passage. Among these unfortunates Aeneas recognized his
recently drowned pilot, who related how he had come to his death and
by what means he was going to secure funeral honors.

In spite of the three-headed dog and sundry other grewsome sights,
Aeneas and his guide reached the place where Minos holds judgment over
arriving souls, and viewed the region where those who died for love
were herded together. Among these ghosts was Dido, but, although
Aeneas pityingly addressed her, she sullenly refused to answer a word.
Farther on Aeneas came to the place of dead heroes, and there beheld
brave Hector and clever Teucer, together with many other warriors who
took part in the Trojan War.

After allowing him to converse a brief while with these friends, the
Sibyl vouchsafed Aeneas a passing glimpse of Tartarus and of its great
criminals, then she hurried him on to the Elysian Fields, the home of
"the illustrious dead, who fighting for their country bled," to
inquire for Anchises. The visitors were immediately directed to a
quiet valley, where they found the aged Trojan, pleasantly occupied
contemplating the unborn souls destined to pass gradually into the
upper world and animate the bodies of his progeny. On beholding his
son, who, as at Drepanum, vainly tried to embrace him, Anchises
revealed all he had learned in regard to life, death, and immortality,
and gave a synopsis of the history of Rome for the next thousand
years, naming its great worthies, from Romulus, founder of Rome, down
to Augustus, first emperor and ruler of the main part of the world.

This account of the glories and vicissitudes of his race takes
considerable time, and when it is finished the Sibyl guides Aeneas
back to earth by one of the two gates which lead out of this dismal
region. Pleased with having accomplished his errand so successfully
and duly encouraged by all he has learned, Aeneas returns to his fleet
and sets sail for the home he is so anxious to reach.

Book VII. We now skirt with Aeneas the west coast of Italy, sail
past Circe's island, and see his ships driven up the winding Tiber by
favorable winds. On his first landing the Muse Erato rehearses for our
benefit the history of the Latins, whose royal race, represented at
present by Latinus, claims to descend from Saturn. Although Latinus
has already betrothed his daughter Lavinia to Turnus, a neighboring
prince, he is favored by an omen at the moment when the Trojans land.
On seeking an interpretation of this sign, he learns he is not to
bestow his daughter upon Turnus, but is to reserve her hand for a
stranger, whose descendants will be powerful indeed.

Meantime the Trojans feast upon meat which is served to each man on a
wheaten cake. Young Iulus, greedily devouring his, exclaims playfully
that he is so hungry he has actually eaten the board on which his meal
was spread! Hearing these significant words, his happy father exclaims
they have reached their destined goal, since the Harpies' terrifying
prophecy has been fulfilled.

"Hail, auspicious land!" he cries,
"So long from Fate my due!
All hail, ye Trojan deities,
To Trojan fortunes true!
At length we rest, no more to roam.
Here is our country, here our home."

Then the Trojans begin to explore, and, discovering Latinus' capital,
send thither an embassy of a hundred men, who are hospitably
entertained. After hearing all they have to say, Latinus assures them
that men of his race once migrated from Asia, and that the gods have
just enjoined upon him to bestow his daughter upon a foreign
bridegroom. When he proposes to unite Lavinia to Aeneas, Juno, unable
to prevent a marriage decreed by Fate, tries to postpone it by
infuriating Amata, mother of the bride, and causing her to flee into
the woods with her daughter.

Not satisfied with one manifestation of power, Juno despatches Discord
to ask Turnus if he will tamely allow his promised bride to be given
to another man? Such a taunt is sufficient to determine hot-headed
Turnus to make war, but, as a pretext is lacking, one of the Furies
prompts Iulus to pursue and wound the pet stag of a young shepherdess
called Sylvia. The distress of this rustic maid so excites her
shepherd brothers that they fall upon the Trojans, who, of course,
defend themselves, and thus the conflict begins. Having successfully
broken the peace, Discord hastens back to Juno, who, seeing Latinus
would fain remain neutral, compels him to take part in the war by
opening with her own hand the gates of the temple of Janus. Here the
poet recites the names of the various heroes about to distinguish
themselves on either side, specially mentioning in the Rutules' force
Mezentius, his son Lausus, and the Volscian maid Camilla, who prefers
the stirring life of a camp to the peaceful avocations of her sex.

Book VIII. Because Turnus is reinforced by many allies, Aeneas is
anxious to secure some too, and soon sets out to seek the aid of
Evander, king of Etruria, formerly a Greek. On his way to this realm,
Aeneas perceives on the banks of the Tiber a white sow with thirty
young, which he sacrifices to the gods in gratitude for having pointed
out to him the spot where his future capital will rise. On reaching
the Etruscan's stronghold, Aeneas readily secures the promise of a
large contingent of warriors, who prepare to join him under the
command of Pallas, son of the king. He then assists at a great
Etruscan banquet in honor of one of Hercules' triumphs, and while he
is sleeping there his mother, Venus, induces her blacksmith husband,
Vulcan, to make him a suit of armor.

Dawn having appeared, Evander entertains his guests with tales, while
his son completes his preparations. Aeneas' departure, however, is
hastened by Venus, who warns her son that his camp is in danger when
she delivers to him the armor she has procured. This is adorned by
many scenes in the coming history of Rome, among which special mention
is made of the twins suckled by the traditional wolf, of the
kidnapping of the Sabines, and of the heroic deeds of Cocles, Cloelia,
and Manlius, as well as battles and festivals galore.[6]

Book IX. Meantime, obedient to Turnus' orders, the Rutules have
surrounded the Trojan camp and set fire to Aeneas' ships. But, as Fate
has decreed these vessels shall be immortal, they sink beneath the
waves as soon as the flames touch them, only to reappear a moment
later as ocean-nymphs and swim down the Tiber to warn Aeneas of the
danger of his friends. This miracle awes the foe, until Turnus boldly
interprets it in his favor, whereupon the Rutules attack the
foreigners' camp so furiously that the Trojans gladly accept the
proposal made by Nisus and Euryalus to slip out and summon Aeneas to

Stealing out of the Trojan camp by night, these two heroes bravely
thread their way through their sleeping foes, killing sundry famous
warriors as they go, and appropriating choice bits of their spoil.
Leaving death in their wake, the two Trojans pass through the enemy's
ranks and finally enter a forest, where they are pursued by a troop of
the Volscians, who surround and slay Euryalus. But, although Nisus
first manages to escape from their hands, he returns to defend his
comrade and is slain too. The Volscians therefore bear two bloody
heads to the Rutules camp to serve as their war standards on the next
day. It is thus that Euryalus' mother becomes aware of the death of
her son, whom she mourns in touching terms.

"Was it this, ah me,
I followed over land and sea?
O slay me, Rutules! if ye know
A mother's love, on me bestow
The tempest of your spears!
Or thou, great Thunderer, pity take,
And whelm me 'neath the Stygian lake,
Since otherwise I may not break
This life of bitter tears!"

To recount all the deeds of valor performed on this day would require much space, but, although Mars inspires the party of Aeneas with great courage, it is evidently on the verge of defeat when Jupiter orders Turnus to withdraw.

Book X. Having convoked his Olympian council, Jupiter forbids the gods to interfere on either side, and decrees that the present quarrel shall be settled without divine aid. Hearing this, Venus vehemently protests that, having promised her son should found a new realm in Italy, he is bound to protect him, while Juno argues with equal force that the Trojans should be further punished for kidnapping Helen. Silencing both goddesses, Jupiter reiterates his orders and dissolves the assembly.

The scene now changes back to earth, where the Trojans, closely hemmed
in by foes, long for Aeneas' return. He, on his way back, encounters
the sea-nymphs, who explain they were once his ships and bid him
hasten and rescue his son. Thus admonished, Aeneas hurries back, to
take part in a battle where many heroic deeds are performed, and where
Turnus, Mezentius, and Lausus prove bravest on the enemy's side,
although they find their match in Aeneas, Pallas, and Iulus. Among the
brilliant duels fought, mention must be made of one between Pallas and
Turnus, where notwithstanding his courage the Trojan prince succumbs.
After stripping his companion of his armor, Turnus abandons his corpse
to his friends, who mourn to think that he lost his life while helping
them. Vowing to avenge him, Aeneas next attacks his foe with such fury
that it seems as if Turnus' last day has come, but Juno pleads so
eloquently in his behalf, that, although Fate has decreed he shall
perish, she grants him brief respite.

To preserve Turnus from the deadly blows of the real Aeneas, Juno
causes him to pursue a phantom foe on board a ship, whose moorings she
loosens, thus setting him adrift upon the Tiber. Perceiving only then
how he has been tricked, Turnus threatens to slay himself, but is
restrained by Juno, who after awhile allows him to land and return to
the battle. Thus deprived of his principal foe, Aeneas ranges over the
battle-field, where he wounds Mezentius and kills Lausus. Seeing his
beloved son is gone, Mezentius is so anxious to die that he now offers
an unresisting throat to Aeneas, who slays him on the spot.

"One boon (if vanquished foe may crave
The victor's grace) I ask--a grave.
My wrathful subjects round me wait:
Protect me from their savage hate,
And let me in the tomb enjoy
The presence of my slaughtered boy."

Book XI. Having made a trophy of the enemies' spoil, Aeneas, even before proceeding to bury his own comrades, adorns the body of Pallas and sends it back to Etruria. Then he bargains with Turnus' ambassadors for a twelve-days truce, during which both parties celebrate pompous funerals, the finest of all being that of Pallas.

Hoping to check further bloodshed, Latinus now proposes a peace, whose terms Aeneas is willing to accept, but which Turnus angrily rejects since they deprive him of his promised bride. The conflict is therefore resumed, and the next interesting episode refers to Camilla, the warrior maid, whose father when she was only a babe tied her to the shaft of his spear and flung her across a torrent he was unable to stem with her in his arms. Having thus saved her from the enemy's clutches, this father taught Camilla to fight so bravely, that she causes dire havoc among the Trojans before she dies, using her last breath to implore Turnus to hasten to the rescue.

"Go: my last charge to Turnus tell,
To haste with succor, and repel
The Trojans from the town--farewell."
She spoke, and speaking, dropped her rein,
Perforce descending to the plain.
Then by degrees she slips away
From all that heavy load of clay:
Her languid neck, her drowsy head
She droops to earth, of vigor sped:
She lets her martial weapons go:
The indignant soul flies down below.

Book XII. Unappeased by Latinus' reiterated assertions that he is bestowing Lavinia upon a stranger merely to obey the gods, or by the entreaties in which Amata now joins, Turnus still refuses peace. More fighting therefore ensues, during which Aeneas is wounded in the thigh. While his leech is vainly trying to stanch his blood, Venus drops a magic herb into the water used for bathing his wounds and thus miraculously cures him. Plunging back into the fray, which becomes so horrible that Amata brings Lavinia home and commits suicide, Turnus and Aeneas finally meet in duel, but, although Juno would fain interfere once more in behalf of her protιgι, Jupiter refuses to allow it. But he grants instead his wife's petition that the Trojan name and language shall forever be merged into that of the Latin race.

"Let Latium prosper as she will,
Their thrones let Alban monarchs fill;
Let Rome be glorious on the earth,
The centre of Italian worth;
But fallen Troy be fallen still,
The nation and the name."

Toward the end of this momentous encounter, during which both heroes indulged in sundry boastful speeches, a bird warns Turnus that his end is near, and his sister Juturna basely deserts him. Driven to bay and deprived of all other weapons, Turnus finally hurls a rock at Aeneas, who, dodging this missile, deals him a deadly wound. Turnus now pitifully begs for mercy, but the sight of Pallas' belt, which his foe proudly wears, so angers Aeneas that, after wrathfully snatching it from him, he deals his foe the deadly blow which ends this epic.

"What! in my friend's dear spoils arrayed
To me for mercy sue?
'Tis Pallas, Pallas guides the blade:
From your cursed blood his injured shade
Thus takes atonement due."
Thus as he spoke, his sword he drave
With fierce and fiery blow
Through the broad breast before him spread:
The stalwart limbs grow cold and dead:
One groan the indignant spirit gave,
Then sought the shades below.


[Footnote 5: All the quotations in this article are from Virgil's
Aeneid, Conington's translation.]

[Footnote 6: See the author's "Story of the Romans."]

Retrieved from ""
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License