In legend, Dido was an ancient Phoenician queen, and founder of Carthage, a city in modern day Tunisia which was later to become a prominent rival to Rome. Both ancient Greek and Roman sources describe her as Carthage's first queen. Carthage was directly opposite from Sicily, with only about seventy miles separating the two points of land. Because its location was a natural dividing point between the the west and east parts of the Mediterranean Sea, Carthage quickly grew in influence in Phoenician culture. According to some mythological sources, Dido is also called by the name Elissa.
Dido, Queen of Carthage, is a prominent fictional character in Virgil's Aeneid, which describes Dido as the lover of Aeneas who was forced to fall in love with Aeneas by the goddess Venus. Virgil's story of Dido is not considered historically possible because Carthage is believed to have been founded around 814 B.C, about four centuries after the period when the (likely fully fictional) Aeneas has just escaped from the Trojan War. Per the Aeneid, Dido had previously been married before she met Aeneas, and she swore an oath that she would never remarry. Dido's sister Anna helped persuade her to fall in love with Aeneas, but when fate forces Aeneas to leave Carthage, Dido commits suicide. Later in the epic story, Aeneas looks at the ghost of Dido in the underworld, but she won't even look at him, and walks away without saying a word. The Aeneas-Dido love story forms a major transition in the epic tale.