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Homer, The Iliad
Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War
Sophocles, Antigone
Plato, The Republic
Virgil, The Aeneid


The Basics
Close and Critical Reading


Roger Dunkle
Donna Wilson
Hardy Hanson
John Van Sickle


CORC 1110 Study Guide
Perseus Project
Classics Resources
Greek Mythology Link
Glossary of Terms

Aeneid by Vergil

"It is easy to go down into Hell; night and day, the gates of dark Death stand wide; but to climb back again, to retrace one's steps to the upper air - there's the rub, the task."

Vergil's Life

Publius Vergilius Maro (Virgil or Vergil) is known to be one of the most influential Roman authors. Born in 70 BC to a farmers family, Virgil knew early on that farming was not for him. He left home and moved to Cremona where he could study Greek and Latin. He later moved to Mediolanum and finally Rome, where he studied mathematics, medicine and rhetoric. Virgil completed his studies in Naples. It was in Naples that Virgil met Epicurean and Siro. From 45 to 37 B.C., Virgil wrote his ten Ecologues and form 36 to 29 B.C., he wrote the four books Georgics.

During the course of his life, Virgil wrote other stories, and poems, some of which were influenced by Lucritius and Thoecritus. One epic poem in particular is The Aeneid. It depicts the story of Aeneas and his fellow Trojans on a journey to find a new city after their homeland was siezed by the Greeks. Virgil wrote The Aeneid, in 27 B.C., during the reign of the Augustus, the Roman emporer. He died before completing the Aenied. His death was caused by a fever that he contracted while visiting Greece. Although unfinished, the Aeneid was and still is recognized as one of the greatest epic poems.

Introduction to the Plot Summary

After being fooled into accepting a wooden horse as a gift from thier rivals, the Greeks, Aeneas and his fellow Trojans are in retreat from Troy, their homeland, which is now under the control of the Greeks. They are sailing the Mediterranean Sea determined to find Rome, Italy, where it is destined by the gods that Aeneas is to become the founder. Twice they are thrown off course and land in Carthage and then in Sicily. Over the course of thier travels, some of the people become travel-weary and ill and remain behind while the others continue the journey. Their arrival to Rome begins peacefully, but it is not long before Aeneas and his fellow Trojans must once again battle for leadership.

Main Characters and Places of The Aeneid:

Aeneas - Son of Anchies and Venus; leader of the Trojans after the destruction of Troy.
Agamemnon - leader of the Greek expedition against Troy, king of Mycenae.
Queen Dido - founder of Carthage who has a brief romantic relationship with Aeneas.
Anchises - father of Aeneas by Venus; crippled by a flash of lightening by Jupiter for boasting his love of Venus.
Ascanius - son of Aeneas and Creusa.
King Latinus - Italian ruler.
Lavinia - destined to marry Aeneas, according to propechy.
Queen Amata - wife of Latinus; determined for her daughter to marry Turnus and not Aeneas.
Turnus - a local suitor who want to marry Lavinia; leads the Italian forces against Aeneas.
Pallas - the son of Evander.
King Evander - founder of Pallanteum; father of Pallas; ally of Aeneas.


Tiberinus - the river-god of Tiber.
Venus - goddess of love; daughter of Jupiter; mother of Aeneas by Anchises.
Vulcan - god of fire and the forge; husband of Venus.
Venilia - nymph, mother of Turnus.
Jupiter (Zeus) - supreme God; husband of Juno
Juno (Hera) - sister an wife of jupiter; hostile to the Trojans


Aeanean - the island of Circe.
Aegean - a sea on south and east coast of Greece.
Carthage - a city in North Africa, founded by Dido and the Tyrian exiles; traditional enemy of Rome.

Additional Resources for the Aeneid:

Life of Virgil,

Virgil, Perseus Project

Virgil's Aeneid, Roger Dunkle, Study Guide

Outline of the Aeneid, UK Classics Department