Book 6

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The Aeneid – Book 6 Revision



Lines 264-294                                     Virgil begs permission from the gods of the                                               Underworld to reveal their secrets, then starts his                                               description of the monsters at the mouth of hell


·         Together Aeneas and the Sibyl set off through the desolate empty realms of Dis (Underworld).  It was just like walking in a forest by the feeble light of a fitful moon.

·         Just by the porch at the mouth of Hell they saw Grief, Anxiety, Hunger, Poverty, Suffering and Death.  They also saw Sleep, sinful Pleasures and War

·         They could see in iron cells the Furies, and insane Civil War

·         They see other monsters such as Gorgons and Centaurs

Lines 295-332                                     Aeneas and the Sibyl move forward to the river Styx


·         From here Aeneas and the Sibyl took the road to the river Styx

·         Charon the ferryman looked after the river crossing.  He was horrible to look at:

-          He was very dirty

-          He had a long unkempt grey beard

-          He was dressed in filthy rags

-          His glaring eyes darted fire

·         All the dead were rushing towards Charon:

-          Mothers and husbands

-          Courageous heroes

-          Boys and unmarried girls

-          Young men who had died before their parents


they were as numerous as the leaves that fall from the woodland trees at the first chill of autumn, or as birds flocking into land from the sea, when winter drives them across the ocean to a sunnier climate.’

·         They were all begging to be taken across the river.  Charon accepted some but pushed others away.

·         Aeneas was distressed by what he saw and asked the Sibyl for an explanation

Ø  The souls are selected for crossing by a law which even the gods are afraid to break

Ø  Those who have been buried are allowed to cross

Ø  The unburied must wander for a hundred years until they are allowed to do so

·         Aeneas stood still, thinking about this, feeling pity for the unburied






Lines 333-383                                     They see some of Aeneas’ companions who have died on their travels, including Palinurus, his helmsman


·         Aeneas recognised Palinurus, his helmsman, approaching him though the gloom.  He asked him how he came to be on the shore of the river Styx:

Ø  He was not drowned by a god

Ø  While he was gripping the tiller it was broken off by a mighty force and he was dragged down with it

Ø  After four days Italy came in sight and he swam to the shore.  There he was killed by a gang of ruffians and his body was left unburied.

·         Palinurus begged Aeneas to take pity on him and take him on…


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