Virgil: Aeneid IV

Virgil: Aeneid IV


Language: English

Pages: 202


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

In Book IV of Virgil's "Aeneid", one of the most studied books of that epic poem, Dido, queen of Carthage, is inflamed by love for Aeneas. The goddesses Juno and Venus plot to unite them, and their 'marriage' is consummated in a cave during a hunt. However, Jupiter sends Mercury to remind Aeneas of his duty, and the hero departs despite Dido's passionate pleas. At the end of the book, Dido commits suicide.

This classic edition of the Latin text of Book IV replaces the long-serving edition by Gould and Whiteley, making this book more accessible to today's students and taking account of the most recent scholarship and critical approaches to Virgil. It includes a substantial introduction, annotation to explain language and content, and a comprehensive vocabulary.




















reference-point in Greek civilisation, and in the Iliad Aeneas has a part as one of the leaders of the Trojans. It is said of him26 that he is fated to escape the destruction of Troy and become king over the revived Trojans. Long before Virgil’s time, this story of Aeneas had been connected with the foundation of Rome.27 (iii) Finally, Virgil was writing as if the history of the city, originating with Aeneas in the legendary past, first built by Romulus at the beginning of recorded time, was

the spirits who watch over such things should bring him to account. si quid … possunt: ‘if the spirits … have any power’. 383. Dido here could be a Greek acc. but is so nowhere else in the Aeneid, so more likely voc. 384. ‘Though not with you (absens), I shall follow you with black fires.’ ‘Black’ and ‘fire’ (the fire of torches) are associated with the Furies, the spirits of revenge, with which Dido seems to be identifying herself, though it is not easy to imagine what she says in concrete

-ere -fēcī -factum shake labō -āre -āvī totter lābor lābī lāpsus sum collapse, slip away; glide (223) labor -ōris m. labour, trouble, difficulty lac lactis n. milk, sap lacrima -ae f. tear lacus -ūs m. lake laena -ae f. cloak laetus -a -um adj. happy, joyful lāmenta -ōrum wailing lampas lampadis f. torch, light lāpsus -ūs m. movement, course lātē adv. over a wide area lateō -ēre be hidden latex -icis m. water, liquid lātus -a -um adj. broad, wide latus -eris n. side laus

‘marriage’ (172, 316). But she is not convinced. ‘She calls it “marriage”; under this name she cloaks her culpa.’ From 19 we know that the word culpa is her own. If Virgil had wished to represent the occasion as having a happy outcome, there were other ways of expressing it – ‘she exchanged culpa for coniugium’, for example. Although nothing else is directly said about Dido’s state of mind between now and 305 when she taxes Aeneas with desertion, the short phrase omnia tuta timens (298) suggests

Aeneas’ sword and not by the flames. The effect of these changes is to make Dido’s end a distortion of her beginning. On Book 1, and even until the hunt scene of Book 4, Dido is seen in public and in splendour. After the hunt we see no more of her Carthaginian subjects. All that happens takes place in private and much of it by night. Dido relies no longer on frankness but on secrecy and manipulation. Nevertheless there remains a wild magnificence in the nocturnal ritual of 504-21 and the cursing

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