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Virgil's Aeneid
Book Summaries…read more

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Book 1: Storm and Banquet
· At the start of Book 1, Virgil invokes the Muse. He states that he sings of "arms and of the man.
· In this invocation, Virgil explains that this man (Aeneas), left the land of Troy and came to Italy, to the
shores of Lavinium. This man encountered many hardships before he found Latium. He was at the
mercy of Juno's anger, and war.
· He is the man, who was the founder of the "Latin race, the Alban fathers and the high walls of
· Virgil then asks the Muse, to explain why Juno is angry at Aeneas, what offence Aeneas committed,
and the suffering and hardship that Aeneas endured. "Can there be so much anger in the hearts of
the heavenly gods?"
· Carthage, a city held by colonists from Tyre, is Juno's favourite city.
· Juno discovered that one day, a race of men, risen from Trojan blood, would destroy Carthage. This
was decided by the "Fates." Juno tries to prevent these Trojan men from fulfilling their fates, by
presenting them with obstacles, that keep them wandering the oceans for years.
· "So heavy was the cost of founding the Roman race."
· Digression of the gods: Juno is comically selfish. She worries about the fact people may stop offering
her sacrifices. She refuses to stop meddling with Fate.
· The Trojans are blown off course by Aeolus, who uses the winds to scatter the men, as a favour for
Juno. Aeneas is distressed.
· The storm (C.f. "...there came towering over them a sheer mountain of water") destroys the ships of
Ilioneus, Achates, Abas, Aletes, Orontes and his Lycians.
· Neptune realises what Juno has done, intervenes, and calms the waves. He sends the `winds' back to
Aeolus with a severe warning.…read more

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Book 1: Storm and Banquet
· Neptune clears the storm. Exhausted, Aeneas and his men set course for the coast of Libya. They dock the 7
remaining ships in a cave by a natural harbour, which is formed by an island blocking the mouth of a long sound.
· Achates lights a fire, using brushwood. They take out corn, - a guest-gift from the goddess Ceres- and they cook
it. In the meantime, Aeneas climbs up a rock, and surveys the ocean, hoping that he will spot some of his ship-
wrecked men. Instead, he spots three stags, and their herd, grazing on the shore. Aeneas snatches his bow and
arrow from Achates, and then promptly kills the three leaders. He kills four more stags, before the rest of the
herd seeks salvation in the nearby shrubbery. Aeneas then stretches out seven huge carcasses on the ground-
one for each of his remaining ships. He shares this all between his men. They also share the wine that Acestes, of
Sicily gave to them.
· Aeneas offers words of comfort to his men, telling them that this is not the first time that they have encountered
hardship, and that there will be more suffering. He reminds them that they have survived the wrath of Scylla,
and the Cyclops, and that now is the time for them to summon up their courage, as they are fated to reach
Latium-their place of rest. He encourages them to endure, despite the fact that he is worried: "He showed them
the face of hope and kept his misery deep in his heart." Selfless.
· Whilst his men feast, they talk about their missing comrades. Aeneas mourns the loss of, Orontes, Amycus,
Lycus, Gyas and Cloanthus.
· Divine Digression: Jupiter casts an eye upon the world, setting his sights on Libya. Venus is in tears when she
approaches Jupiter. She is worried about all the suffering that Aeneas has had to endure. In a pleading tone, she
asks Jupiter whether Aeneas' fate has changed. Jupiter placates her by revealing more of Aeneas' fate, and the
fate of the Romans, through a prophecy: he tells her that she will see the city of Lavinium. He also reveals that
Aeneas will `wage' a great war in Italy. He will dominate the fierce tribes that inhabit Italy, and then he will lay
the foundations of a wall for his people, and establish their way of life. He will rule for three years. Ascanius
(Iulus) will inherit, and will reign for thirty years. He will re-establish the kingdom of Lavinium, at Alba Longa,
building a city with powerful fortifications.…read more

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Book 1: Storm and Banquet
· The city of Lavinium will stand for 300 years at Alba Longa, until Ilia, the priestess queen, conceives Romulus
and Remus with Mars.
· Romulus is destined to receive and rule the people, wearing the "tawny hide" of the wolf which nursed him.
He will build new walls, with the help of Mars, and he shall give his people a new name: Romans. Jupiter has
not imposed a time limit on the Romans (it's his favourite race.) Jupiter assures Venus that even Juno will
eventually come to love the Roman race.
· Eventually, the house of Assaracus will conquer and rule the city of Argos. From this stock, will spring a Trojan
Caesar, who will be called Julius, a name that has been passed down to him from Iulus. All wars will cease.
Romulus and Remus will rule. Peace will prevail suggests that there will be a time of peace refers to te
reign of Augustus glorification of Rome.
· Jupiter sends Mercury down to Carthage to calm the hearts and minds of Dido and the Carthaginians, so that
they openly welcome Aeneas and his men.
· Aeneas does not sleep; instead, he mulls over certain occurrences. At the crack of dawn, Aeneas and Achates
set out with the intention of exploring Libya. Whilst exploring the woods, Venus, disguised as a Spartan girl
approaches Aeneas and Achates, asking if they have seen her sister. Aeneas tells her that they have not seen
her sister. He also realises that this girl is not a mortal. He asks her about the land they are in, and whether
people inhabit this country. He offers her ample sacrifices. In response, Venus informs Aeneas and Achates
that this is a Phoenician Kingdom and that Dido is the leader of the Tyrian people. She explains Dido's
background, (C.f. Sychaeus and Dido wed. Dido's brother Pygmalion is power hungry. He kills Sychaeus and
lies to Dido, to prevent her from discovering his crime. However, Sychaeus appears to Dido in a dream,
bruised and dead. He tells her what has happened, and then helps her unearth hidden wealth. Dido, with
willing followers, escaped and arrived in Libya. She bought a piece of land, as large as the hide of a bull, which
is now known as Carthage. Aeneas is about to tell Venus about the hardship he has encountered, but Venus
interrupts him.…read more

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Book 1: Storm and Banquet
· She urges Aeneas to approach Dido. She also assures him that his comrades are okay, and that his fleet has
reached the shore. An omen: "...twelve swans flying joyfully in formation. The eagle of Jupiter was
swooping down on them from the heights of heaven and scattering them over the open sky, but now look
at them in their long column. Some are reaching land. Some have already reached it and are looking down
on it. Just as they have come to their home and their flock has circled the sky in play, singing as they fly
with whirring wings, so your ships and your warriors are either already in port or crossing the bar in full
sail" apparently confirms this proclamation. Venus points Aeneas in the direction of the city. As she turns
away, she reveals her true form. Aeneas realises that he has been speaking to his mother, and wonders why
she never presents herself in her real form to Aeneas.
· As Aeneas and Achates are walking up the road, Venus shrouds them in a cloud of mist. She then returns to
Paphos. Aeneas and Achates hasten on, until they reach the city. Aeneas is amazed at how much the city has
evolved: walls are being laid, sites are being marked out, laws are being created and Senates are being
elected. A theatre is being erected.
· Dido is building a temple for Juno in a wooded grove, where, upon arriving in Libya, Dido and her men dug up
the head of a spirited stallion. This acted as a sign to the Catharginians that, they would be a "race glorious in
war and would have no difficulty in finding fields to graze." In this temple, Aeneas sees depictions of the
Trojan War: on one side Greek warriors were fleeing from vicious Trojan warriors. On the other side, Trojans
were retreating, as Achillies pursued them in his chariot. Aeneas also recognises the tents of Rhesus, that
were being ripped down by Diomede, who was drenched in crimson blood. Achillies also stole the horses,
taking them back to the Greek camp. Another depiction: Trolius-a young boy, who lost his armour- was being
pursued by Achillies. His horses were dragging him along, on his chariot. The women of Troy were offering
sacrifices to Athene. Athene ignores their offering- a robe. There is also a scene depicting Achilles dragging
Hector around the walls of Troy, three times, before attempting to sell his body for gold. Aeneas even
recognises himself in the midst of battle. He spots the Amazon warriors, and the warriors of the East.
· Whilst Aeneas is gazing at these depictions, Dido arrives at the temple, surrounded by a great crowd of
warriors. She is compared to Diana...(C.f. Diana simile.)…read more

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Book 1: Storm and Banquet
· Dido takes her seat under the middle of the vault of the temple. She instructs her people in the matter of conduct
and decorum, as well assigning tasks to that need to be completed, to various individuals.
· It is then, that Aeneans notices a crowd of men, namely his ship-wrecked comrades, Antheus, Sergestus, Cloanthus
and many others, approaching Dido. Aeneas and Achates, shocked by this, long to question, and greet their
comrades. Instead, they remain in the "cloak of cloud", waiting, and eager to hear about their comrades'
· The aforementioned comrades are allowed to address Dido, as suppliants. Ilioneus asks her to take pity on them,
and to realise that they are not a threat to her people or the city of Carthage. He explains that they were on their
way to Italy (Hesperia), until the winds blew them off course. He enquires as to what kind of people inhabit this
Land: a civilized, god-fearing people, or barbarians? He complains about being refused the right to shore. He
explains to Dido, that their King was Aeneas ("He had no equal for piety and his care for justice, and no equal in
the field of battle.") Ilioneus emphasises that it would be wise for Dido to welcome the Trojans in her land- they
mean no harm. He says that if Dido refuses them salvation, then they will return to the place where they came
from, where King Acestes is waiting.
· Dido's response is favourable: she urges the Trojan men to not worry, as she explains the harsh precautions that
she has to take to protect the new kingdom of Carthage. She explains that the exploits of Aeneas, and the events
of the Trojan War are known in Carthage. She promises them protection, when they leave the island, and new
supplies for their journey. She offers them the opportunity to stay in Carthage (C.f. Trojan and Tyrian shall be as
one in my eyes.) She sends the best of her men, to search the coast for Aeneas.
· Aeneas and Achates are eager to talk to their comrades, and to address Dido. Achates tells Aeneas that all is as his
mother, Venus said it should be: there is no imminent danger, the ships are safe, and their comrades have been
rescued. Suddenly, the cloud of mist that was shrouding Aeneas and Achates disperses. Aeneas, `stood there
resplendent in the bright light of day with the head and shoulders of a god." youthful.
· Aeneas addresses Dido, stating that there is no way that the Trojans and himself can repay Dido. He talks of their
suffering, on both land and sea, and he asks the gods to bless Dido with only good things. He asks about Dido's
heritage: her parents, her age, her life. He says that he will speak praises of her, wherever he goes. (Duty to Dido?)
In the midst of this, he greets Ilioneus, Serestus, Gyas and Cloanthus.…read more

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Phoebe Clark


Do you have notes for the other books by any chance? These were so helpful!

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