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Roman Mythology

Aeneus and Virgil’s Aeneid

What is the story of the “Iliadic” section of the Aeneid?

The last six books of the Aeneid, reminiscent of the Iliad, contain the story of war, in this case the war that will establish the power of Aeneas and his followers on the Italian peninsula, specifically in Old Latium.

Aeneas and his followers arrive at the mouth of the Tiber. At first they are welcomed by King Latinus of the Latins, and based on a prophecy that his daughter Lavinia will marry a foreigner, Latinus promises her to Aeneas in spite of the fact that she is betrothed to the Latin hero Turnus. In terms of the parallels with the Iliad, Turnus becomes the Hector of this story and Aeneas the Achilles. War, instigated by Juno, breaks out. Evander and the Etruscans come to Aeneas’s aid and Venus brings Aeneas a beautiful set of armor made by her husband, Vulcan. As in the Iliad, the battles are brutal and many are killed.

During a council in heaven Jupiter announces that Aeneas must prevail, but Juno achieves a compromise whereby the Trojans will establish an Italian-based culture in which the Latins will retain their language and customs and will become with Aeneas and his people not Trojans, but a new and powerful civilization.

Finally a truce is called and it is agreed that the dispute should be settled by single combat between Turnus and Aeneas, a combat which Aeneas wins, paving the way for the founding of Rome.



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