The original CliffsNotes study guides offer expert commentary on major themes, plots, characters, literary devices, and historical background. The latest generation of titles in this series also features glossaries and visual elements that complement the classic, familiar format.

CliffsNotes on Aeneid takes you on the journey of a band of survivors who leave their destroyed city to seek another home in a faraway country. Woven from myth and legend, the story is about rebirth, about life springing forth from ruin and death.

This study guide will help navigate the voyages of the Trojans and uncover their significance in Virgil's time and today. You'll also gain insight into the life and cultural background of the author. Other features that help you study include

  • Character analyses of major players
  • A character map that graphically illustrates the relationships among the characters
  • Critical essays
  • A review section that tests your knowledge
  • A Resource Center full of books, articles, films, and Internet sites

Classic literature or modern modern-day treasure - you'll understand it all with expert information and insight from CliffsNotes study guides.



Virgil begins his epic poem with a succinct statement of its theme: He will sing of war and the man—Aeneas—who, driven by fate, sailed from Troy’s shores to Italy, where he founded a city called Lavinium, the precursor of Rome. Why, Virgil asks, appealing to the muse of epic poetry, does Juno, the queen of the gods, harass such a good man? He mentions two explicit reasons for Juno’s hostility: her love for Carthage and corresponding hatred for the future Rome, which is destined to overthrow her favorite city; and her lingering resentment because Paris, a Trojan, did not award her the golden apple, the prize given to the most beautiful woman in the world. She also hates the Trojans because one of their ancestors was Dardanus, the son of Jupiter—Juno’s husband and king of the gods—and Electra, a daughter of Atlas and Juno’s rival for Jupiter’s affection. Finally, Juno is angry because Jupiter made Ganymede, a Trojan prince, the gods’s cupbearer.

Seeing the Trojans set sail for Italy, Juno commands Aeolus, the god of the winds, to raise a storm that will capsize their ships and drown them all. Aeolus obeys her. Many of the ships appear to be lost at sea.

Neptune, the god of the sea, angry because Aeolus has infringed on his own territory, calms the water, and the seven remaining ships of Aeneas’s fleet find a safe harbor on the North African coast of Libya, site of the city of Carthage.

Meanwhile, Aeneas’s mother, the goddess Venus, reminds Jupiter of his promise that the Trojans will reach Italy and become the forebears of the Roman people. Jupiter quiets her fears by telling her that the Trojans will arrive in Latium; Aeneas will win a great battle and found the city of Lavinium; his son, Ascanius, also known as Iulus, will found Alba Longa, near the future site of Rome; and Romulus will eventually found Rome itself, which will conquer the world, including Greece. Juno will come to love the Romans, and at last a Trojan caesar named Julius, after Aeneas’s son Iulus—not Julius Caesar, but his heir by adoption, Augustus—will bring an age of peace.

Jupiter now sends Mercury, the messenger god, to Carthage to put the Carthaginians and their queen, Dido, in a mood to receive the . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.