Eneida: resumen, características, personajes, argumento, y más

The Aeneid is a Latin epic poem written by Virgil between 29 and 19 BC, which tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan who travelled to Italy and became the ancestor of the Romans. It consists of 9,896 lines in dactylic hexameter.


The first six of the poem’s twelve books tell the story of Aeneas’ journey from Troy to Italy, and the second half of the poem tells the story of the Trojans’ eventual victory over the Latins, under whose name Aeneas and his Trojan followers are to be subsumed. The epic also alludes to the Iliad and the Odyssey.

Summary of the Aeneid

In the Mediterranean, Aeneas and his Trojan companions flee their home city of Troy, which has been destroyed by the Greeks. They sail to Italy, where Aeneas is to found Rome. As they approach their destination, a violent storm blows them off course and they end up in Carthage. Dido, the founder and queen of Carthage, welcomes them. Aeneas tells Dido the long and painful story of his party’s travels so far.



Aeneas tells of the sack of Troy, which ended the war after ten years of Greek siege. In the final campaign, the Trojans were deceived when they accepted within the walls of their city a wooden horse which, unbeknownst to them, contained several Greek soldiers in its hollow belly. He tells how he fled the burning city with his father, Anchises, his son, Ascanius, and the household gods who represented their fallen city.

Assured by the gods that a glorious future awaited him in Italy, he set sail with a fleet of the surviving citizens of Troy. Aeneas recounts the trials they faced on their journey. Twice they tried to build a new city, only to be driven back by evil omens and plagues. Harpies, creatures half woman and half bird, cursed them, but they also found unexpected friends among their countrymen.


After the loss of Anchises and terrible weather, they finally make their way to Carthage. Impressed by Aeneas’ exploits and sympathetic to his plight, Dido, a Phoenician princess who had fled her homeland and founded Carthage after her brother murdered her husband, falls in love with Aeneas. They live together as lovers for a time, until the gods remind Aeneas of his duty to found a new city.

He decides to set sail again. Dido is devastated by his departure and kills herself by ordering a huge funeral pyre to be built from Aeneas’ shipwrecked possessions, climbing over it and stabbing herself with the sword Aeneas leaves behind. As the Trojans make their way to Italy, bad weather drives them to Sicily, where they play funeral games for the dead Anchises. The women, tired from the journey, begin to burn the ships, but a downpour puts out the fire.


Some of the travel-weary stay behind, while Aeneas, reinvigorated by a dream visit from his father, takes the rest to Italy. There, guided by the Sibyl of Cumae, Aeneas descends into the underworld to visit his father. He is shown a parade of future history and the heroes of Rome, which helps him to understand the importance of his mission. Aeneas returns from the underworld and the Trojans continue along the coast to the region of Latium.

The Trojans’ arrival in Italy begins peacefully. King Latinus, the Italian ruler, extends hospitality in the hope that Aeneas will prove to be the foreigner whom a prophecy says his daughter Lavinia will marry. But Latinus’ wife, Amata, has other ideas. She wants Lavinia to marry Turnus, a local suitor. Amata and Turnus are hostile to the newly arrived Trojans.


Meanwhile, Ascanius is hunting a deer that was a pet of the local shepherds. A fight breaks out and several people are killed. Turnus, riding on the wave of anger, starts a war. Aeneas, at the suggestion of the river god Tiberinus, sails north up the Tiber to seek military support from the neighbouring tribes, during which time his mother Venus descends to give him a new set of weapons forged by Vulcan.

While the Trojan leader is away, Turnus attacks. Aeneas returns to find his countrymen engaged in battle. Pallas, the son of Aeneas’ new ally Evander, is killed by Turnus. Aeneas is furious, and many more die by the end of the day. The two sides agree to a truce to bury the dead, and the Latin leaders debate whether to continue the battle. Another epic you may be interested in is the Iliad.


They decide to avoid any unnecessary carnage by proposing a hand-to-hand duel between Aeneas and Turnus. As the two leaders face each other, however, the other men begin to fight, and the battle resumes in earnest. Aeneas is wounded in the thigh, but eventually the Trojans threaten the enemy city. Turnus runs out to meet Aeneas, who wounds Turnus badly. Aeneas almost saves Turnus but, remembering the slain Pallas, kills him instead.

Chapter-by-chapter summary of the Aeneid

Book I: Virgil begins his epic poem by stating its theme, “war and a man at war”, and by asking a muse, or goddess of inspiration, to explain the wrath of Juno, queen of the gods. The man in question is Aeneas, who is fleeing the ruins of his home city of Troy, which has been devastated in a war with Achilles and the Greeks. The surviving Trojans accompany Aeneas on a perilous journey to found a new home in Italy, but must contend with the vengeful Juno.


Book II: In response to Dido’s request, Aeneas begins his painful tale, adding that retelling it means reliving the pain. He takes us back ten years to the Trojan War: when the story begins, the Danaans (Greeks) have built a huge wooden horse with a hollow belly, in which they secretly hide their best soldiers. The sight of a huge horse standing outside their gates on a seemingly deserted battlefield confuses the Trojans.

Book III: Aeneas continues his story, recounting the aftermath of the fall of Troy. After fleeing Troy, he leads the survivors to the coast of Antander, where they build a new fleet of ships, sailing first to Thrace, where Aeneas prepares to offer sacrifices. As he tears at the roots and branches of a tree, dark blood soaks the ground and the bark. The tree speaks to him and reveals itself to be the spirit of Polydorus, son of Priam.


Book IV: The flame of love for Aeneas that Cupid has kindled in Dido’s heart only grows as she listens to his painful story. She hesitates, however, because after the death of her husband, Sychaeus, she vowed never to marry again. On the other hand, as her sister Anna advises her, marrying Aeneas would increase the power of Carthage, as many Trojan warriors follow Aeneas.

Book V: Huge storm clouds greet the Trojan fleet as it sets sail from Carthage, making the approach to Italy difficult, and Aeneas diverts the ships to the Sicilian port of Eryx, where his friend and fellow Trojan Acestes reigns. After landing and being welcomed by Acestes, Aeneas realises that it is the first anniversary of his father’s death. He proposes eight days of sacrifice and a ninth day of competition.


Book VI: The Trojan fleet reaches the Italian coast. The ships anchor off the coast of Cumae, near modern Naples. Aeneas goes to the temple of Apollo, where he is met by the Sibyl, a priestess. Aeneas begs Apollo to allow the Trojans to settle in Latium. The priestess warns him that more trials await him in Italy: battles on the scale of the Trojan War, an enemy of the calibre of the Greek warrior Achilles, and more interference from Juno.

Book VII: Sailing along the coast of Italy, the Trojans reach the mouth of the Tiber, near the kingdom of Latium. Virgil, once again invoking the Muse to begin the second half of his epic narrative, describes the political situation in Latium. The king, Latinus, has an unmarried daughter, Lavinia. She is pursued by many suitors, but the great warrior Turnus, lord of a nearby kingdom, seems the most eligible for her hand.


Book VIII: As Turnus gathers his forces, Aeneas prepares Trojan troops and enlists the support of nearby cities in Latium. Still, he worries about his prospects in battle. That night, the river god Tiberinus speaks to him and tells him to approach the Arcadians, who are also at war with the Latins, and form an alliance with them. Aeneas takes two galleys and travels for several days up the Tiber to the Arcadian forest.

Book IX: Never one to miss an opportunity, Juno sends her messenger Iris from Olympus to inform Turnus that Aeneas is far from his camp. Without their leader, the Trojans are particularly vulnerable to attack, so Turnus immediately leads his army towards the enemy camp. The Trojans see the oncoming army and take cover in their newly built fortress, unwilling to risk open battle while Aeneas is away.


Book X: From Olympus, Jupiter takes note of the carnage in Italy. He had hoped that the Trojans would settle there peacefully and calls a council of all the gods to discuss the matter. Venus blames Juno for the continued suffering of Aeneas and the Trojans. Juno angrily replies that she did not force Aeneas to go to Italy.

Book XI: The day after the battle, Aeneas sees the body of young Pallas and, weeping, arranges for 1,000 men to escort the prince’s body to King Evander and join the king in mourning. When Evander learns of his son’s death, he is crushed, but because Pallas died honourably, he forgives Aeneas in his heart and only wishes Turnus dead. I recommend reading the Ramayana.


Book XII: Turnus decides to fight Aeneas alone for the kingdom and Lavinia’s hand. King Latinus and Queen Amata protest, wanting Turnus to surrender and protect their lives, but Turnus ignores their pleas, valuing his honour over his life. Latinus draws up a treaty, with Aeneas’ approval. The next day, the armies gather as spectators on either side of a field outside the city.


Characteristics of the Aeneid

The Aeneid is an epic because it is a long poem that recounts the actions of men, gods and heroes. Like the Greek epics on which it is based, the Aeneid uses the poetic meter of the “dactylic hexameter”. As an epic poet, Virgil was an innovator; before him, epic poetry was thought to be the telling of stories from the distant past, and no one would have thought to make all the connections with recent political history that he does.


It is also influenced by the genre of the epyllion or “little epic”, which became popular among the sophisticated Greek poets of Alexandria in the 3rd century BC and was later taken up in Rome by poets such as Catullus. This genre was always written in dactylic hexameter, but was shorter than the true epic; it was generally written in a witty and erudite style and dealt with the theme of love.

Characters of the Aeneid

Aeneas – The protagonist of the Aeneid. Aeneas is a survivor of the siege of Troy, a city on the coast of Asia Minor. His defining characteristic is piety, a respect for the will of the gods. He is a fearsome warrior and a leader capable of motivating his men in the face of adversity, but also a man capable of great compassion and sorrow. His destiny is to found the Roman race in Italy, and he subordinates all other concerns to this mission.


Dido – Queen of Carthage, a city in North Africa, in what is now Tunisia, and lover of Aeneas. Dido left the land of Tyre when her husband was murdered by Pygmalion, her brother. She and her city are strong, but she becomes an unfortunate pawn of the gods in their struggle over Aeneas’ fate. Her love for Aeneas is her undoing. After he leaves her, he builds a funeral pyre and stabs himself with Aeneas’ sword. Read a full analysis of Dido.

Turnus – Ruler of the Rutulians in Italy. Turnus is Aeneas’ greatest mortal enemy. He is Lavinia’s main suitor until Aeneas arrives. This rivalry leads him to wage war against the Trojans, despite Latinus’ willingness to allow the Trojans to settle in Latium and Turnus’ realisation that he cannot successfully defy fate.


Ascanius – Aeneas’ infant son by his first wife Creusa, Ascanius (also known as Iulus) is most important as a symbol of Aeneas’ destiny: his future foundation of the Roman race. Although still a child, Ascanius has several opportunities throughout the epic to demonstrate his bravery and leadership. He leads a procession of children on horseback during the Games of Book V and helps defend the Trojan camp against Turnus’ attack in his father’s absence.

Anchises – Aeneas’ father and a symbol of Aeneas’ Trojan heritage. Although Anchises dies on the journey from Troy to Italy, he continues in spirit to help his son fulfil the decrees of fate, notably by guiding Aeneas through the underworld and showing him what fate has in store for his descendants. If you want to read a different genre, I recommend The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.


Creusa – the wife of Aeneas in Troy and the mother of Ascanius. Creusa is lost and dies when her family tries to flee the city, but she tells Aeneas that she will find a new wife in her new home.

Latinus – The king of the Latins, the people of what is now central Italy around the Tiber River. Latinus allows Aeneas to enter his kingdom and encourages him to become a suitor for his daughter Lavinia, causing resentment and eventually war among his subjects. He respects the gods and fate, but does not keep a tight rein on his people.


Juno – Queen of the King of the Gods, wife and sister of Jupiter and daughter of Saturn. Juno (Hera in Greek mythology) hates the Trojans because the Trojan Paris defeated her in a beauty contest. She is also the patron saint of Carthage and knows that the Roman descendants of Aeneas are destined to destroy Carthage. She draws his wrath against Aeneas through the Epic, and in her wrath acts as his chief divine antagonist.

Venus – The goddess of love and Aeneas’ mother. Venus is the benefactor of the Trojans. She helps her son when Juno tries to harm him, causing a conflict between the gods. She is also known as Cytherea, after Cythera, the island where she was born and where her shrine is located.


Jupiter – the king of the gods and the son of Saturn. While the gods often fight against each other in battles of will, Jupiter’s will reigns supreme and is identified with the more impersonal force of destiny. Thus, Jupiter directs the overall progress of Aeneas’ destiny, ensuring that Aeneas never permanently deviates from his course towards Italy. Jupiter’s behaviour is controlled and balanced in comparison to the volatility of Juno and Venus.

Neptune – God of the sea, and generally an ally of Venus and Aeneas. Neptune (Poseidon in Greek mythology) calms the storm that opens the epic and leads Aeneas safely on the last leg of his journey. Be sure to read Gulliver’s Travels.


Allecto – One of the Furies, or avenging deities, sent by Juno in Book VII to incite the Latin people to war against the Trojans.

Minerva – the goddess who protects the Greeks during the Trojan War and helps them conquer Troy. Like Juno, Minerva (Pallas Athena in Greek mythology) is motivated against the Trojans by the verdict of the Trojans of Paris that Venus is the most beautiful of the goddesses.

Apollo – Son of Jupiter and god of the sun. Apollo was born on Delos and helps the Trojans on their journey when they stop there. Because he is often depicted as an archer, many characters invoke his name before firing an arrow in battle.


Cupid – a son of Venus and the god of erotic desire. Cupid (Eros in Greek mythology) disguises himself as Ascanius, the son of Aeneas, and makes Dido fall in love with Aeneas.

Hector – The greatest of the Trojan warriors, killed at Troy. Hector is in some ways a parallel figure to Turnus, who also defends his home city to the death. You may be interested in the novel The Death of Ivan Ilyich.

Plot of the Aeneid

Virgil wrote the Aeneid during the so-called Golden Age of the Roman Empire, under the patronage of Rome’s first emperor, Caesar Augustus. Virgil’s aim was to write a myth about the origins of Rome that would emphasise the greatness and legitimise the success of an empire that had conquered most of the known world.


The Aeneid constantly refers to this already achieved cultural pinnacle; Aeneas even justifies his settlement in Latium in the same way that the Empire justified its settlement in numerous other foreign territories. Virgil works backwards, linking the political and social situation of his own time to the inherited tradition of Greek gods and heroes, to show that the former is historically derived from the latter.


Order and good government emphatically triumph over the Italian peoples, whose pre-Trojan world is characterised as a primitive existence of war, chaos and emotional irrationality. By contrast, the empire of Augustus was by and large a world of peace, order and emotional stability. I recommend reading The Sound and the Fury.

Analysis of the Aeneid

After leaving Troy, in modern Turkey, Aeneas’ fleet bounces like a pinball around the main landmarks of the ancient Mediterranean: Thrace, the Greek islands, Crete, Epirus, Sicily, North Africa and finally Italy. It is important to remember, however, that the time in which Aeneas’ adventures take place is not only ancient from our point of view, but also very, very lost in Virgil’s night.


This gave him the freedom to mix things up a bit and include mythological elements in his geography. For example, in Virgil’s time, eastern Sicily was not inhabited by a race of cyclops. Similarly, the Strait of Messina (between the toes of Italy and Sicily) was not protected by the terrible creatures Scylla and Charybdis.

Editing the Aeneid

According to tradition, Virgil travelled to Greece around 19 BC to revise the Aeneid. After meeting Augustus in Athens and deciding to return home, Virgil caught a fever while visiting a town near Megara. He left a wish that the manuscript of the Aeneid should be burned.


Augustus ordered Virgil’s literary managers to refuse this request and instead to publish the Aeneid with as few editorial changes as possible. As a result, the existing text of the Aeneid may contain errors that Virgil intended to correct before publication.

The author of the Aeneid

Virgil was a Roman poet and the author of three popular works, including the Aeneid, the Bucolics and the Georgics. He was always surrounded by prominent cultural circles. He studied philosophy, mathematics and rhetoric. He was also fascinated by other fields such as astrology, botany, medicine and zoology. The Aeneid was so popular because it is a true reflection of the man of his time, with his illusions and sufferings.

Aeneid film

Aeneid has several versions of films, the first was in 1961 called The Trojan War, directed by Giorgio Ferroni, the other was in 1962, called The Legend of Aeneas, is the continuation of the previous film, was directed by Giorgio Venturini. and in 1991, Aeneid produced animated film directed by Volodymyr Dajnó. It is an adaptation of the poems of the same name by the Ukrainian writer Ivan Kotliarievvsky.

Structure of the Aeneid

The structure of the Aeneid is based on three acts, so that it can be placed in its author’s hat. At the end of the first act, the main character is completely immersed in a conflict. In the second act, he is further away from his goals. At the end of the third act, the story is resolved.


Act I: Aeneas arrives in Libya and begins a love affair with Dido, jeopardising their future. Act II: Aeneas leaves Dido and goes to the underworld, where Anchises shows him many interesting things about the future, and Act III: Aeneas goes to Italy and kills a group of boys, including Turnus, thus securing his future.


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