Journey of Aeneas
- For further information, see Aeneid
In the Aeneid by Virgil, the fleeing Trojan hero Aeneas visited many places in the Mediterranean Sea. Here is a brief chronological account of the travels of Aeneas. See the following map. Generally Aeneas travels westward, avoiding Greece, and detouring in Carthage, before finally making his way to Rome, which was then called Latium.
- Troy. Aeneas flees the burning city with the household gods called the Penates, his son Ascanius, his father Anchises. His wife Creusa follows behind but gets lost in the mayhem. Aeneas and other Trojans meet up and build ships.
- Thrace. Aeneas originally intended to build a city there but blood oozed out of the ground. This was the burial ground of Polydorus, who was the son of King Priam. They kept going.
- Delos was an island in the Aegean Sea. The god Apollo tells Aeneas to find the place of his ancestors.
- Crete was an larger island in the Mediterranean Sea, visiting Knossos, but while sleeping, Aeneas had a vision that the Penates were telling him to travel to Italy.
- They traveled west, skirting the coast of Greece, and stopping at the Strophades Islands in the Ionian Sea, which was west of the Peloponnese. Harpies attacked them, were beaten off, but one of them confirmed that Italy was indeed their final destination.
- Buthrotum on the mainland of Greece on the western side, opposite Corfu. Aeneas meets Andromache who was the wife of fallen Trojan hero Hector. Andromache was married to a son of King Priam named Helenus and they lived now in Greece, and they had built a little kingdom to resemble Troy which Aeneas called Little Troy. Helenus prophesied that Aeneas would know that he was at his final and proper destination when a white sow had thirty young. Andromache gave gives of mantles to Aeneas' son Ascanius because the little boy reminded her of her dead son Astyanax.
- Ceraunia off of the coast of Albania was the closest point to Italy, on the eastern side of the Adriatic Sea. They sailed westward to Italy.
- Italy on the southeasternmost point was where they saw the temple of the goddess Minerva and saw a sign of four white horses, suggesting that there would have to be war in Italy. They made a sacrifice to Juno, trying to appease the goddess and wife of Jupiter, and continued their voyage southward and westward to Tarentum. They drifted to Sicily.
- Sicily on the eastern coast, they stayed at the harbor of the Cyclops. They saw Mount Etna. They met Achaemenides who was a Greek abandoned by Ulysses when the Greek crew had visited perhaps a few months ahead of Aeneas. Achaemenides related the story of the blinding of the Cyclops, and welcomed the stranger as one of them; it showed how the Trojans were inclusive and welcoming to strangers, and it was a way for Virgil to contrast the attitudes of the Greeks (who abandoned stragglers) to the Trojans (who took pity on the abandoned man). The short route at this point would have taken them by Scylla and Charybdis but it was treacherous for ships, so they sailed along the longer route, around the bottom of Sicily. Aeneas' father Anchises died and was buried in Sicily. They departed. Juno asked Aeolus, the God of Winds, to start a storm. Aeneas and his men were caught out at sea in the storm. Neptune, God of the Sea, stilled the storm and Aeneas, exhausted, made for the nearest coast, which was Africa.
- Carthage. Aeneas and his crew are waylaid here on the northern coast of Africa. Aeneas meets the beautiful and intelligent Queen Dido from Tyre which is modern day Lebanon, whose husband Sychaeus was murdered by Dido's brother. Dido is building a city and planning its laws, but Aeneas and Dido, by the will of Juno and Venus, fall in love. They had sexual intercourse in a cave during a rainstorm, and Dido considered her relationship with Aeneas to be a marriage. But later, Jupiter directs Mercury to remind Aeneas of his duty to found the city of Rome, and Aeneas makes preparations to leave, without first informing Dido. She is furious, saddened, and later commits suicide on a funeral pyre. Aeneas departs.
- Sicily is revisited. A year had passed in Carthage. Aeneas decides to hold the Lusus Troiae or Trojan Games in honor of his dead father Anchises. Juno struck fear into the hearts of the women, who set fire to the ships in an attempt to prevent further sea voyages; Ascanius tries to stop them, but fails, but gods prevent most of the ships from burning. Aeneas is discouraged, but the prophet Nautes tells him to keep going; at this point, Aeneas lets each Trojan determine for himself or herself whether to keep going; many Trojans, including almost all of the women, decide to stay on Sicily.
- Cumae on the west coast of Italy is where they landed. Aeneas met the Cumaean Sibyl, a goddess who acted as his guide and brought him to the Underworld which was overseen by the brother of Jupiter, or Hades.
- In the Underworld, Aeneas enters by means of the Golden Bough, and crosses the River Styx on the boat of Charon. Aeneas sees Dido who refuses to speak to him or even look at him; he sees fallen heroes from the Trojan War; he sees Sisyphus; he meets the spirits of future leaders of Rome; and others including Silvius, Romulus, Numa, Augustus Caesar, and others. Virgil uses a philosophy of reincarnation to justify how he could permit a character from the past have the power of seeing people from the future.
- In Latium, which is north and west along the western coast of Italy, Aeneas travels up the river Tiber and becomes engaged in a war with his rival Turnus. Turnus hoped to marry princess Lavinia, the daughter of King Latinus and Queen Amata, but the king thought that his daughter should marry a stranger, as foretold in a prophecy. Venus enlisted the help of her husband Vulcan to make armor for Aeneas including a famous shield which showed future scenes of Roman glory which Aeneas could not understand, but enjoyed nevertheless. Different adventures take place in this section of the book which is often compared to the Iliad by Homer; the earlier sections of the sea-faring Aenean ventures were often compared to the Odyssey by Homer. At one point Turnus kills the best friend of Aeneas, the allied warrior Pallas, which causes grieving by the parent of Pallas. The warrior maiden Camilla fought against the Trojans, and fought brilliantly in her aristeia, or episode of particularly excellent battling, but she was killed by the Trojan Arruns. A truce between the two sides eventually holds, and an agreement that Aeneas and Turnus should fight in a one-on-one combat. At one point in the battle, Turnus agrees that Aeneas can have the hand of Lavinia in marriage, but Aeneas sees Turnus wearing the sword-belt of his former fallen friend Pallas, and Aeneas is once more consumed with anger, and Aeneas kills Turnus. This ends the story.
- The Journey of Aeneas, curriculum online, 2010-04-03. Retrieved on 2010-04-03. “Using a map show the locations of: Troy, Mount Ida, Thrace, Delos, Crete, Strophades, Actium, Corfu, Sicily, Carthage, Tyre, and Rome.”