Aeneid-Book 5 Summary

  • Created by: Zmarston1
  • Created on: 31-05-18 19:08

Aeneid Book 5


As the Trojan fleet leaves Carthage behind, Aeneas sees flames lighting the city, and although he is unaware that the fire is from Dido's funeral pyre, he fears for his former lover because he knows that thwarted love has made her desperate. Massive storm clouds greet the Trojan fleet as it embarks from Carthage, hindering the approach to Italy. Aeneas redirects the ships to the Sicilian port of Eryx, where his friend and fellow Trojan Acestes rules. After landing and being welcomed by Acestes, Aeneas realizes that it is the one-year anniversary of his father’s death. He proposes eight days of sacrificial offerings and a ninth day of competitive games, including rowing, running, javelin, and boxing, in honor of his father.

When the ninth day arrives, the festivities begin with a rowing race. Four galleys participate, each piloted by one of Aeneas’s captains and manned by many eager youths. A suitable distance is marked off along the coastline and the race starts, with many spectators cheering from the beaches. Gyas, piloting the ship Chimaera, leads during the first half of the race. But at the turnaround point, his helmsman takes the turn too wide, and his boat falls behind. Down the final stretch, Sergestus takes the lead, but plows into the rocks. Cloanthus and Mnestheus race together to the finish, but Cloanthus prays to Neptune, who causes him to win. Lavish prizes are bestowed upon the competitors—even upon Sergestus, after he dislodges his ship from the rocks.

Next comes the footrace. Nisus leads for most of the way but slips on sacrificial blood near the finish. Euryalus wins the race, but Aeneas, as generous as before, hands out prizes to all the competitors. Next, the mighty Trojan Dares puts on his gauntlets (heavy fighting gloves) and challenges anyone to box with him. No one rises to the challenge at first, but Acestes finally persuades his fellow Sicilian Entellus—a great boxer now past his


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