Virgil's "Aeneid" by David Bruce
A Retelling in Prose

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This is a retelling of Virgil's "Aeneid" in novel form.

The "Aeneid" is well worth reading. In addition to being the epic of ancient Rome, the "Aeneid" contains the fullest surviving ancient account of the fall of Troy. It also contains the story of the tragic love affair between Aeneas and Dido, the queen of Carthage—a story that Virgil apparently invented.

Chapter 1: Arrival at Carthage

My theme is war and a particular man—a man driven by destiny to abandon Troy and sail to western Italy to fulfill his fate of founding the people who would build Rome. Fulfilling his destiny was not easy. Juno, the wife of Jupiter, the king of gods and men, opposed him, as did many warriors. They did not want him to bring his household gods—the Penates—to Latium on the western coast of Italy, to marry Lavinia, to found the city of Lavinium, and to become the ancestor of the Romans.

Muse, remind me of the reasons why Juno hated Aeneas, a man renowned for his pietas, for his devotion to duty, whether to the gods, to his family, or to his destiny. Aeneas had respect for those things to which respect is due. Why did Juno make his fulfilling his destiny so difficult? Are the immortals capable of such anger?

Phoenicians from the city of Tyre founded a city named Carthage on the coast of north Africa. Carthage and Rome were the two competitors for worldwide empire, and Juno loved Carthage even more than her beloved island of Samos. In Carthage, Juno kept her armor and her chariot. Juno was willing for Carthage to have a worldwide empire, but the Fates were not. Juno did all she could to make Carthage strong, but gods and goddesses know fate, and Juno knew that a city founded by the descendants of men from Troy would conquer Carthage. Rome, not Carthage, would have a worldwide empire. For that reason, Juno hated Aeneas.

Juno also hated Aeneas because she hated all Trojans. A jealous wife, Juno hated the many affairs that her husband, Jupiter, had had over the centuries. She especially hated the children who resulted from these affairs. One of these illegitimate children, Dardanus, became an early king of the city of Troy.

Also, Paris, prince of Troy, had insulted Juno. Asked to judge a beauty contest of the goddesses Juno, Minerva, and Venus, Paris had accepted a bribe from Venus, the goddess of sexual passion, who offered him the most beautiful woman in the world. Paris went to Sparta and ran away with the most beautiful woman in the world: Helen, the lawfully wedded wife of Menelaus, king of Sparta. Helen became Helen of Troy, and the Trojan War was fought so that Menelaus could get Helen back. Because Juno’s beauty had been insulted, Juno hated the Trojans.

Juno also hated the Trojans because of Ganymede. A jealous wife, Juno hated the affairs of her husband Jupiter, who chased more than just skirts. Ganymede was a beautiful young son of Tros, a king of Troy, and Jupiter kidnapped Ganymede to be his cupbearer and his paramour.

For these reasons, Juno hated Aeneas and the other Trojans, and she did her best to keep them away from western Italy, forcing them to wander the seas and strange lands despite their destiny. Founding the Roman people was a huge burden bore by many people.

About David Bruce

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Published January 22, 2013 245 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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