Epic: The Aeneid: Book 7: War in Latium: Themes

Book 7 Summary and Thematic notes.

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A2 Classical Civilisations: The Aeneid
Book 7: War in Latium
Thematic notes
Book 7: War in Latium
Aenea's nurse, Caieta dies. Aeneas performs the appropriate funeral rights, heaping up a
barrow for the tomb. After this, Aeneas and his men set sail-they drift pass Circe's island,
Aeaea. Neptune worries that Aeneas and his men will be tempted by the allure of land,
and, conseuquently intervenes, providing them with a favourable breeze.
Eventually, Aeneas and his men reach the coast of Italy, and the mouth of the `river
Tiber', near the kingdom of Latium.
Virgil invokes the Muse (`Erato'), asking the Muse to aide him, in describing the history
and the political state of affairs in Latium.
We are told that, King Latinus, an aged man has ruled over Latium for many years,
keeping peace. His lineage is revealed to us: he is the son of Faunus, and `the Laurentine
nymph Marcia.' Faunus' father was Picus, who claims that his father was Saturn. By the
will of Fate, King Latinus did not have a son, but rather a daughter, who is now a grown
woman, ready to be married. We are told that she is pursued by many a Suitor, but that
a skilled warrior, and the lord of a neighbouring kingdom, Turnus, is seemingly the most
eligible Suitor, at the moment. The Queen, Amata, longed for Turnus to wed her
daughter, but many `frightening portent's from the gods, hindered this union.
King Latinus, worried by an omen- a swarm of bees, inhabiting an aged, ancient laurel
tree, in the innermost courtyard of the palace- seeks the advice of a prophet. The
prophet interprets this omen as the arrival of a stranger, and his army, who will gain
power and majestry over Latium. Another omen occurs: Lavinia is standing beside her
father, when her hair is set alight, in flames. King Latinus, clearly shocked, consults the
Oracle again, who states that this omen, dictates that Lavinia's future will be bright, but
that a great war will befall Latium. For the third time, Latinus consults an oracle: his
"prophetic father Faunus." He sacrifices a hundred unshorn yearling sheep, as ritual
prescribed.
The oracle states that Lavinia will not marry a man of Latin stock, but will rather wed a
foreigner who will bring Latium great fame, and power. Rumour takes hold of this
prophecy, and spreads, just as the Trojans are docking their ships on the "grassy
ramparts of the river bank.
In the meantime, Aeneas and his men sit down to a meal, of fruit, and flat, hard loaves
of bread on the beach. The men are still hungry, even though they have finished the
bread, and so they eat the "wheaten cakes" that they have used as tables, as instructed
by Jupiter to eat their meal on. Ascanius jokingly notes that they have eaten their tables,
and then it dawns on Aeneas that they have fulfilled the Harpie's prophecy and riddle
provided by Anchises, meaning that they have arrived in the land promised to Aeneas by
Jupiter.

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A2 Classical Civilisations: The Aeneid
Book 7: War in Latium
Thematic notes
Aeneas then sends emissaries to King Latinus, diplomatically requesting some land, on
which he can set the foundations for a new city. In return, Latinus agrees to give Aeneas
land, as well as offering his daughter's hand in marriage to Aeneas. In this instance,
Latinus acknowledges the importance of accepting fate, even if it results in him losing
his hold over his kingdom.…read more

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A2 Classical Civilisations: The Aeneid
Book 7: War in Latium
Thematic notes
that he dismisses Allectos' taunts, chalking them up to, "old age and decay", only
hints at calmness and that of a sound mind.
-After Allecto's taunt, "trembling came over his [Turnus'] limbs." This is suggestive
of fear, emphasising Allecto's imposing, fearsome nature.
-Turnus, "faltered and tried to go on speaking..." This is indicative of resistance
further emphasising Turnus' lack of anger-he is trying to be reasonable.…read more

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A2 Classical Civilisations: The Aeneid
Book 7: War in Latium
Thematic notes
Latinus:
-Latinus is an, "old man" and he has ruled, "over the countryside and the cities for
many peaceful years."
This connotes wisdom and strength of character.
-Latinus consults an oracle- his father, Faunus- after seeing these omens.
This is indicative of piety, and dedication. This notion is only emphasised by the fact
that he sacrifices 100 unshorn yearling sheep, as `ritual prescribes.'
-Latinus freely welcomes Aeneas' envoy of men into his palace.…read more

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A2 Classical Civilisations: The Aeneid
Book 7: War in Latium
Thematic notes
Ascanius:
-Ascanius is hunting by himself.
This connotes maturation.
-Ascanius was, "burning with a passionate love of glory..."
This hints at the encouragement of glory, and achievement, emphasising the fact that
Ascanius is being raised well.
Women:
Amata:
-Amata, "longed above all things to see" Turnus marry her daughter.
The use of the noun, "longed" is suggestive of desperation and eagerness.…read more

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A2 Classical Civilisations: The Aeneid
Book 7: War in Latium
Thematic notes
Lavinia:
-A prize to be won. She is of age, and she is an only daughter. This in many ways, makes
her more appealing.
Juno:
- Juno is described as, "fierce", connoting her anger and her wrath.
-The use of the verb, "pierced" is suggestive of violence, foreshadowing the harshness
and cruelty of Juno's actions.…read more

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A2 Classical Civilisations: The Aeneid
Book 7: War in Latium
Thematic notes
Suggestive of a threat, invokes terror/horror.
-When she appears to Turnus, Allecto disguises herself, as Calybe, the aged priestess of
Juno.
This is suggestive of duplicity and deceit, emphasising the fact that Allecto is
associated with evil, corruption and manipulation.
-Allecto, "flung" Turnus back.
This is suggestive of brutality and violence, hinting at manipulation through
intimidation.
Camilla:
-Camilla is described as a, "warrior maiden.…read more

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A2 Classical Civilisations: The Aeneid
Book 7: War in Latium
Thematic notes
-The stag is tame, and it would, "wander through the woods and come back home
of its own accord to the door it knew so well, no matter how late the night."
This is suggestive of pampering and love, emphasising the fact that this stag is deeply
loved by the Rutulians. This notion is only furthered by the fact that Silvia would weave
soft garlands for its' horns. This is indicative of adoration.…read more

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A2 Classical Civilisations: The Aeneid
Book 7: War in Latium
Thematic notes
-Celano's prophecy, (C.f. Book 3) is realised, as the Trojans eat `wheaten cakes', which
were acting as their tables, upon arrival in Italy. This is emphasised through Ascanius who
says, "Look! We are eating even our tables!" This hints at a realization.…read more

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A2 Classical Civilisations: The Aeneid
Book 7: War in Latium
Thematic notes
This emphasises the fact that the gods view the mortal world as a game of frivolous
chess that is just waiting to be played. This also implies that war has drastic
consequences.
-Allecto: 1) poisons Amata with anger and fury, 2) forces Turnus into a mad rage and 3)
causes Ascanius to shoot a stag that is deeply cherished by Latinus' herdsman, and the
rest of the Latins.…read more

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