Paris, son of Priam, king of Troy, judged Venus to be more beautiful than Juno and Pallas Athene, and claimed his reward, Helen, wife of Menelaus, king of Sparta. The Greeks gathered an army and sacked the city of Troy after a ten years' siege. Aeneas escaped with his father, Anchises, and his son, Ascanius Iulus. Driven by the jealous hatred of Juno, he wandered across the Mediterranean for six years, trying to found a new city. At the opening of the poeam, his father has just died in Sicily and Aeneas is sailing for Troy.
Book 1 - Storm and Banquet
Juno sends a fearful storm which wrecks the Trojan ships on the coast of Libya, near Carthage. There the Trojans are hospitably received by Dido, queen of Crathage. Venus, mother of Aeneas, anxious for the safety of her son, contrives that Dido should fall in love with him.
Virgil and Homer
The poems that set the benchmark for all future epics were Homer's Iliad, the story of Achilles at the siege of Troy, and his Odyssey, the story of Odysseus' wanderings and homecoming from Troy to his native Ithaca. The first words of the Aeneid are 'I sing of arms and of the man...'(arma virumque cano). Since the Iliad is the epic of war and the first word in the writing an epic in Homeric style. The 'man' is Aeneas, the legendary first founder of Rome, who escaped from the sack of Troy and wandered the seas for six years looking for a place to found a new city. The 'arms' are the battles he fought at the fall of Troy as described in the second book of the Aeneid and also, in the last four books, the war he fought against the Latin peoples as he tried to establish his city in Italy.
Virgil and Augustus
Aeneas was victorious. He founded his city of Lavinium and ruled it for three years. After thrity years his son Ascanius Iulus, moved from Lavinium to Alba Longa, where the Alban kings ruled for three houndred years, until the birth of Romulus and Remus. It was Romulus, son of the priestess Ilia and Mars, who founded the city of Rome and gave it its name in 753BC, according to the traditional dating. When Virgil was writing the Aeneid in the twenties BC, Rome was ruled by Augustus, theadopted son of Julius Caesar. The Julian family, therefore, still ruled Rome, and in describing how Aeneas, father of the Julians, suffered in founding his city, Virgil is paying tribute to contemporary Julian in hs palace on the Palatine Hill in Rome.
Aeneas and the Gods
For six years Aeneas and the remnanats of his people were driven across the Mediterranean by the anger of the goddess Juno, and yet as early as the tenth line of the poem we learn that Aeneas…