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Mythology in Aeneid

Mythology Examples in Aeneid:

Book I

🔒 26

"Leda's..."   (Book I)

Leda, who was ravished by Jupiter in the form of a swan, is Helen of Troy's mother. The garment referred to in this speech was a present from Leda to Helen.

"Dardan..."   (Book I)

Dardan is the son of Zeus and the mythical founder of Troy and the dynasty of King Priam.  

"Latona..."   (Book I)

Latona is a goddess loved by Jupiter and the mother of Apollo and Diana.

"Penthisilea..."   (Book I)

Penthisilea is the queen of the Amazons, allies of Troy, and is killed by Achilles.

"stern goddess..."   (Book I)

Pallas Athena in Greek, or Minerva in Roman, is, among other things, the goddess of war, which is why she is described as "stern."

"May view the turrets of new Carthage rise..."   (Book I)

Dido convinces King Iarbus in North Africa to give her as much land as could be covered with an ox hide. She then cuts the hide into tiny strips and covered enough area to create the city of Carthage.

"Sichaeus..."   (Book I)

Sichaeus is Dido's first husband, who was later killed by her brother Pygmalion. Pygmalion concealed his murder of Sichaeus from Dido, but she eventually found out after a visit from Sichaeus's spirit and fled to North Africa. The next several lines detail the murder and Dido's flight to Africa.

"Phoenician Dido rules the growing state..."   (Book I)

Dido, originally a Phoenician goddess, founded the city of Carthage after leaving Phoenicia to escape her brother, Pygmalion. After the death of her first husband, she committed suicide to avoid a second marriage to a man she despised.

"chaste Diana's..."   (Book I)

Diana, daughter of Jupiter and twin sister of Apollo, is the goddess of the forest, hunting, chastity, as well as goddess of the moon.

"Harpalyce..."   (Book I)

Achates mother, Venus, is being compared to the Thracian princess Harpalcye, who was a legendary goddess of war and hunting.

"Cyllenius..."   (Book I)

Cyllenius is a reference to the god Mercury (Hermes in the Greek) born near Mt. Cyllene. He was the gods' messenger and, later, became the god of travel and roads.

"Fury..."   (Book I)

In Greco-Roman mythology, there are usually three female Furies, all of whom are avengers of crime and wrong-doing, especially crimes against kinship. In later Roman times, they were depicted as ugly women, but they were originally, in Greek mythology, beautiful. Eventually, one of the three, named Megaera, became associated with Medusa, who could kill men with a glance.

"Janus..."   (Book I)

Janus is an ancient Roman god who presided over beginnings and endings, entrances and exits. His face, depicted as looking both forward and backward (called the "Two-faced God"), was often found near entrances of towns and buildings, and he was thought to preside also over the beginning and ending of the day and year.

"Quirinus..."   (Book I)

Originally, Quirinus is a Roman local god who later became associated with Romulus, not Remus, as the poem suggests.

"Ilia the fair, a priestess and a queen, Who, full of Mars..."   (Book I)

Ilia, the mother of Romulus and Remus, also known as Rhea Silvia.  The father of Romulus and Remus was reputed to be the Roman god of war, Mars.

"Alba Longa..."   (Book I)

The city of Alba Longa is destined to be founded by Aeneas's son, Ascanius, and from which will come the mother of Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome.

"Cyclops..."   (Book I)

In Homer's Odyssey, the Cyclops is a one-eyed monsters living on the island of Sicily and known for making thunderbolts for Zeus (Greek) and Jupiter or Saturn (Roman). The most well-known Cyclops in Greek myth is the one encountered by Odysseus on his long voyage home after the Trojan War.

"Scylla..."   (Book I)

In Greek mythology, Scylla, a beautiful young woman loved by Poseidon, is changed into a monster by her rival Amphitrite.  Scylla grabs and eats sailors who come too near her cave near the straits of Messina.  Her cave is just opposite the whirlpool known as Charybdis, so between Scylla and Charybdis, sailors had little chance of survival.

"Nereids..."   (Book I)

The Nereids are the daughters of Nereus, a wise and generous god, often called the "Old man of the sea."  His daughters are beautiful and gentle creatures—the two most often referred to are Thetis and Galatea.

"he skims the liquid plains, High on his chariot..."   (Book I)

Neptune's chariot is depicted as a normal chariot but pulled by two powerful fish, usually in the shape of dolphins.

"Cymothoe, Triton..."   (Book I)

Cymothoe is a sea-nymph; Triton is Neptune's son, often depicted as a man whose lower body is that of a fish.  He was also a musician famous for using a conch shell as a horn.

"imperial Neptune..."   (Book I)

The Roman god of the sea, Neptune, is called Poseidon in Greek mythology. In both the Roman and Greek, Neptune and Poseidon are also associated with horses, so the horse became a protected animal of the god of the sea.

"Aeolus..."   (Book I)

Aeolus is the god of the winds. In the Odyssey, he gives Odysseus a leather bag containing wind to be used when Odysseus's ship is becalmed.

"Pallas..."   (Book I)

While another Pallas was a supporter of Aeneas from Troy, this reference is likely to the goddess Minerva, often identified as the goddess of war. In the Greek, she is known as Athena, or Pallas Athena.

"Electra's..."   (Book I)

Electra is one of Atlas's daughters; she is also known as one of the Pleiades or Seven Sisters (a constellation).

"on ravish'd Ganymed..."   (Book I)

The young boy Ganymed (or Ganymede) was abducted and taken to Mount Olympus to serve as Jupiter's cup bearer. He displaced Juno's daughter Hebe in this role.

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