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The Aeneid, Book Iv
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  • 1. The Aeneid , Book IV
  • 2. Background
    • Trojan War is over
    • Aeneas is leading the remainder of the Trojans (20 ships in all) to their new destiny—Italy.
    • Juno does not like the Trojans, and so does everything she can to keep them from reaching Italy.
  • 3. Background continued
    • She bribes Aeolus (king of the winds) into creating a powerful storm to blow the Trojans off track. In the storm, the Trojans lose 13 ships. Neptune finally calms the sea and the storm.
    • Aeneas and the rest of his men take shelter in a harbor that looks ominously like a huge mouth. The waters are calm, and that is all they care about.
  • 4. Background continued
    • Aeneas gets his men on land, starts them roasting grain and drying out supplies, and then goes to look for food. He and his friend Achates kill 7 deer, one for each ship, and they feast, remembering their fallen comrades.
    • The scene switches to the heavens, where Venus, Aeneas’ mother, is complaining to Zeus that the Trojans are being treated unfairly. Zeus calms her down and reads off a list of things that will happen in the future for the Trojan people.
  • 5. Background continued
    • Aeneas and Achates go exploring and come across a young maiden dressed in hunting gear. Aeneas thinks that she is too ethereal to be a maiden, and inquires if she is actually a goddess in disguise, such as Diana or Minerva.
    • After much dialogue, the maiden is set to leave when she does reveal her divine nature—his mother Venus. Aeneas is not particularly happy about this.
  • 6. Background continued
    • Aeneas and Achates continue on to Carthage surrounded in a mist provided by Venus so that no one will stop them.
    • Eventually, they come to the temple of Juno (you would think this would be a signal of doom for them, but no...). Inside the walls are picture depicting the Trojan War and all the battles, including some pictures with Aeneas. He weeps.
  • 7. Background continued
    • Aeneas and Achates are brought to see Dido, queen of Carthage. Dido asks them to recount their travels and travails. Thus ends Book I.
    • In Book II, Aeneas begins to recount everything that has happened, including details about the Trojan War that were left out of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey .
    • He describes in great detail the Trojan Horse incident.
  • 8. Background continued
    • In Book III, Aeneas finishes his lengthy tale. By the end of this book, Dido has decided that she has great feelings for Aeneas. And so we enter Book IV...
  • 9. The confusion of Dido
    • Dido confronts her dilemma—should she remain faithful to her dead husband Sychaeus, or does she enter into a relationship with Aeneas?
      • Sychaeus was her husband when they lived in Tyre (ancient Phoenicia). He was killed by his brother Pygmalion (not the sculptor), who then did not tell Dido that Sychaeus was dead.
      • Sychaeus came to Dido in a dream and told her to get out. He also told her where he had buried some loot. She took his advice and some loyal subjects and sailed for Africa.
  • 10. The confusion of Dido continued
    • Dido discusses her quandary with her sister Anna. Anna tells her that she should stop being a widow and go after Aeneas. She lists three reasons:
      • (1) Dido is childless—Sychaeus died early in their marriage. She could use an heir or two.
      • (2) The Phoenicians are strangers in this land—gaining a political alliance with the Trojans will help keep them safe.
      • (3) It is fate—”Backed by Juno’s will, the ships from Ilium held their course this way on the wind.”
        • Of course, we know that Juno hated the Trojans. Oops.
  • 11. The confusion of Dido continued
    • Dido takes Anna’s advice and begins preparing for her courtship of Aeneas.
    • She makes all the proper sacrifices—to Ceres, for being the Earth mother; to Apollo, for being the giver of light; to Bacchus, god of wine (associated here with marriage); and to Juno, goddess of marriage and motherhood.
  • 12. Dido in Love
    • Dido crushes hard on Aeneas. She wanders the streets in a stupor, she thinks of nothing but him, and she neglects the day-to-day operation of her city. Walls remain half-built, projects were stopped, and she would sit in her room with Ascanius (Aeneas’ son by his late wife Creusa), marveling at how much he resembled Aeneas.
  • 13. Juno schemes
    • Switch scenes to the heavens again.
    • Juno approaches Venus and suggests a marriage between Dido and Aeneas. Her reasons are very deceitful—remember, she does not like the Trojans, and will do anything to keep them from Italy—and so this, according to her thoughts, will keep the Trojan exiles in the same city as the Tyrian exiles.
    • Venus urges Juno to talk this over with Jupiter. Juno says she will take care of it.
  • 14. Juno schemes some more
    • Juno has everything mapped out:
      • Aeneas and Dido will go hunting
      • Juno will conjure a storm, shaking heaven and earth with thunder and black rain
      • All the attendants and hunters will scatter
      • Aeneas and Dido will end up in the same cave
      • Juno and Venus will be on hand, and Juno will preside over a “wedding”
    • Venus agrees to this plan
  • 15. Hunting Day!
    • Dido comes out fashionably late, but dressed in royal purple and gold, radiance shining forth from her. She is the most beautiful woman in the room.
    • Aeneas comes to meet her. He is resplendent in his wardrobe, as he is compared to Apollo in his appearance.
    • His son is also there, along with attendants from both Carthage and Troy.
  • 16. Peril on the hunt
    • The party goes out hunting (1). But something is amiss. The animals, instead of being playful or running and hiding from the hunters, are running away from the mountain and its protection. A storm is approaching, rain and hail pouring from the sky (2). Then “Tyrians and Trojans in alarm—with Venus’ Dardan (Trojan) grandson—ran for cover here and there in the wilderness (3).
  • 17. The Wedding
    • The following comes from the Robert Fitzgerald translation of the Aeneid .
      • Now to the self-same cave came Dido and the captain of the Trojans (4). Primal Earth herself and Nuptial Juno opened the ritual, torches of lightning blazed, high Heaven became witness to the marriage (5), and nymphs cried out wild hymns from a mountaintop...She (Dido) thought no longer of a secret love but called it marriage. Thus, under that name, she hid her fault.
  • 18. Important comparisons in the cave
    • The entire cave scene—a wedding
    • Nuptial Juno—priestess
    • Torches of lightning—wedding torches
    • Nymphs singing—the wedding singers with hymns to marriage goddesses, including Hymen
  • 19. Bad news travels fast
    • Immediately, we shift to the personification of Rumor as a goddess.
    • Rumor starts slowly but picks up speed as more people hear what she has to say.
    • Rumor goes to every nation, letting them know what has happened in the cave.
  • 20. Rumor personified
    • A description of her, as given by Fitzgerald:
      • (Born) to the giants Cocus and Enceladus, giving her speed on foot and on the wing: monstrous, deformed, titanic. Pinioned (feathered), with an eye beneath for every body feather, and, strange to say, as many tongues and buzzing mouths as eyes, as many pricked-up ears, by night she flies between the earth and heaven shrieking through darkness, and she never turns her eyelids down to sleep. By day she broods, on the alert, on rooftops or on towers, bringing great cities fear, harping on lies and slander evenhandedly with truth.
  • 21. Rumor’s travels
    • Rumor goes all over Africa, spreading news of what has happened in the cave.
    • News gets back to King Iarbas, a suitor from a neighboring kingdom who has been rejected by Dido (before Aeneas came along). He is a son of Jupiter by a nymph, and has built 100 altars to him.
    • Iarbas wonders what Aeneas has done to make him worthy enough to capture Dido’s attentions, while Iarbas must sit by and watch from afar.
  • 22. Jupiter answers Iarbas
    • Jupiter hears the pleas of Iarbas and calls Mercury over. He tells Mercury to go to Aeneas and tell him these things:
      • He is not acting like Venus said he would;
      • He is to be the ruler of Italy;
      • He is to father men of noble Trojan blood;
      • He is to bring the world under Trojan law;
      • If he is not worried about his destiny now, then he should think about his son’s, whose destiny is brighter than Aeneas’.
  • 23. Mercury flies to Aeneas
    • Mercury swiftly flies to Aeneas, passing Atlas holding up the world, hugging the coastline and coast height to get to Carthage more quickly.
    • Mercury finds Aeneas dressed in much the same outfit that Dido was in on hunting day (only a masculine version of it).
  • 24. Mercury speaks to Aeneas
    • Mercury chides Aeneas for his look and the work he is doing to complete Dido’s city.
    • Mercury tells him these things:
      • He is not acting like Venus said he would;
      • He is to be the ruler of Italy;
      • He is to father men of noble Trojan blood;
      • He is to bring the world under Trojan law;
      • If he is not worried about his destiny now, then he should think about his son’s, whose destiny is brighter than Aeneas’.
      • GET OUT OF CARTHAGE AND GET TO ITALY!
    • He then flies away so that Aeneas cannot whine and plead to stay.
  • 25. Aeneas makes his choice
    • Now Aeneas is faced with a dilemma— to tell or not to tell.
    • Aeneas never refuses the gods—one of his characterizations is pius Aeneas , loyal, dutiful, worshipful Aeneas—so he tries to think of a way to let Dido know he and his men are leaving without breaking her heart...so he chooses to NOT say anything, but to try to leave as quickly as possible without Dido finding out until it is too late to stop him.
  • 26. Dido finds out
    • Dido hears from Rumor (her again!) that Aeneas is leaving. So she rushes through the city is a rage—she is compared to a Bacchante—looking for Aeneas.
    • She finds him and tears into him: When were you going to say anything? Why are you leaving? What is your problem, trying to slink out of town? Talk to me, you little twerp!
  • 27. Aeneas’ response
    • I don’t deny what you have said. I can only say that I have been commanded by the gods. I don’t want to leave, it’s the gods who want me to leave. But I have a duty to my comrades rather than to you—I love you, but we are not married.
  • 28. Dido’s response
    • You liar, you wretched cheat! You are not born of a goddess, you are not Trojan! You were fed by wild tigresses! How can I believe that? We were fated by the gods to be together. Don’t give me your ‘the gods told me to leave’ lines...You are a pathetic excuse of a man! Can’t you just say truthfully that you want to leave?
  • 29. Dido’s curse
    • If divine justice is real, you will crash into a reef in the middle of the sea and you will drown thinking of me! I shall come at you from afar with black fires, and even after I am dead, I shall haunt you from the Underworld! You will pay!
  • 30. Dido runs home
    • Aeneas listens to her, then after she leaves, gets back to work with his men, preparing the ships and finally sailing toward Italy.
    • Dido runs to her bedchamber and faints onto the bed.
    • She arises, asking Anna if it is true, if the Trojans are leaving. She begs Anna to go to the harbor and plead with him to stay for only a little while. She does not care if he stays forever; she just wants him to stay until she can come to grips with his choice.
  • 31. Anna tries to convince Aeneas
    • Anna goes to the harbor and pleads in Dido’s words for him to stay.
    • Aeneas retells the reason for his leaving: the gods are making him go.
    • Anna returns home, not expecting what she is about to find...
  • 32. Dido desolate
    • Dido prepares the altars for sacrifice: incense, holy water, wine
    • Dido has been almost driven mad by the thoughts of her “husband” and the shrine she had set up for him
    • Dido thinks of killing herself, but Anna comes home, so Dido calmed herself and waits for her report
  • 33. Dido the concealer
    • Dido talks to Anna about finding a way to bring Aeneas back. She spends a good amount of time rambling about how she has found a way to pray for his return and that it will work.
    • Anna listens and hopes in her heart that this will work. She does not see the reality that is hidden...
  • 34. Dido suicidal
    • After another night of bad dreams and wanting of Aeneas’ return, Dido gets up and resigns herself to the fact that he’s just not that into her...
    • She builds a pyre (large pile of wood for a fire) and calls for her sister.
    • As Anna is being retrieved, Dido climbs the pyre, speaks a litany of her deeds, and stabs herself with the sword Aeneas gave her.
    • “ I die avenged, but let me die.”
  • 35. Anna’s and Juno’s reactions
    • Anna gets there too late. Dido is dying.
    • Anna gets angry at Dido for deceiving her about her suicide. She kisses her sister as the dying breath leaves her body.
    • Juno sees what has happened and, sad, sends down Iris, her messenger, to retrieve a lock of hair, in order to free Dido’s soul from her body.