Aeneas, Rome's Man of Destiny

By Brisson, Jean-Paul | UNESCO Courier, September 1989 | Go to article overview

Aeneas, Rome's Man of Destiny


Brisson, Jean-Paul, UNESCO Courier


Aeneas, Rome's man of destiny

The adventures of Aeneas chronicled in Virgil's great poem the Aeneid make a powerful human drama whose force is undiminished by time.

WRITTEN between 29 BC and 19 BC, the Roman poet Virgil's epic, the Aeneid, recounts the adventures of the Trojan hero Aeneas, fruit of the union of the mortal Anchises with the goddess Venus.

Having miraculously survived the destruction of Troy, Aeneas, accompanied by his father, his infant son Iulus and a handful of faithful companions, sets sail in search of the place, appointed by destiny but as yet unknown to him, where he is to build a new Troy. As his journey unfolds, he comes to realize that the city's mysterious new site is situated in Italy, in the region of Latium.

Warrings and wanderings

Before reaching his goal, however, he is fated to wander the length and breadth of the Mediterranean for seven years. This is partly because the utterances of the oracles, who purport to guide him in his quest, are inevitably far from clear. A false interpretation of one oracular message makes him think for a time that his destination is Crete until, warned of his error by the outbreak of a terrible plague, he is forced to flee the island. But the prime cause of his misfortunes is the unrelenting hatred of the all-powerful Juno, wife of Jupiter, the king of the gods.

This hatred stems from an ancient incident recounted by Homer--the famous judgement of Paris, the Trojan who dared to award the prize for beauty to Venus rather than to Juno. As depicted at the beginning of Virgil's epic, the queen of Olympus neither can nor wishes to forget what she considers to be a personal affront for which, through Paris, she holds all Trojans responsible. She finds it intolerable that a small group of Trojans should have survived her vengeance and have the temerity to want to rebuild a city that is for her accursed. No subterfuge that may prevent Aeneas from achieving his aim and ensure his final downfall is too low for her.

After seven years of wanderings, Aeneas lands in Sicily where his old father dies. By now he knows for certain how and where he will discover the site to which destiny will lead him and it is with confidence and a light heart that he sets out for Italy. Seeing him so near his goal, Juno succumbs to a murderous rage and bribes Aeolus, the keeper of the winds, to unleash a furious tempest. The Trojan fleet is scattered and largely destroyed; the few survivors are thrown up on the African coast not far from Carthage.

Thanks to the intervention of Venus, anxious to ensure the safety of her son, the sovereign of those parts, the Phoenician queen, Dido, welcomes the shipwrecked survivors with generous hospitality. Taking advantage of these events in a further attempt to detain Aeneas far from his Italian goal, Juno, with the complicity of Venus, thrusts the unfortunate Dido into the arms of her Trojan guest.

Surrendering himself to the delights of a mad passion, the Trojan hero forgets his predestined mission for twelve long months. When Jupiter imperiously takes him to task, however, he remembers the duty fate has laid upon him and leaves Carthage and the delights of love, setting sail to the light of the funeral pyre on which the despairing Dido has thrown herself.

A stop at Cumae gives Aeneas, guided by the Sibyl, the opportunity to descend into the nether regions where he encounters his father's shade, who presents to him those who will play leading roles in the accomplishment of Rome's future glory. Aeneas next arrives at the mouth of the Tiber where the fulfilment of a prophecy confirms that his long voyage is over. Recognizing in him the foreigner his diviners have predicted will marry his daughter Lavinia, Latinus, the king of the region, welcomes Aeneas with open arms.

Juno, however, returns to the charge. Arousing the jealousy of Turnus, a suitor of Lavinia who cannot bear to find himself set aside in favour of the newly-arrived stranger, she sets the scene for a desperate struggle. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Aeneas, Rome's Man of Destiny
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    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.