The Tale of Aeneas
Aeneas is mentioned in both Greek and Roman mythology. Although Aeneas is remembered mostly from Virgil’s Aeneid, which consist of twelve books. Aeneas is a survivor of the fall of Troy who goes on a journey through different lands and faces difficult trials to fulfill his destiny.
Aeneas is the son of Anchises, second cousin to the king of Troy Priam, and Venus, the goddess of love. Even though Aeneas has divine blood running through his vains Virgil gives no instances of Aeneas using any supernatural abilities in the Aeneid.
During the fall of Troy Aeneas flees the war ravaged city with his son, Ascanius, his wife, Creusa, and his father. Aeneas, carring his father and holding his son’s hand, loses his wife in the midst of a battle. When he tries to find Creusa he is met by her “shade” or ghoust that tells him to leave and of his destiny to found a great kingdom along the Tiber River. Aeneas, along with other trojan servivors, sets sail for foreign lands.
Aeneas goes through many trials on his journey. Juno, goddess of marriage, is the main entity behind most of Aeneas’s troubles. Aeneas and his crew suffer through several tempests, plague and war. Before Aeneas built Rome he tried to build his empire in Thrace and Crete. In Thrace, Aeneas and his men were scared off by bad omens. When in Crete the men were hit with many plagues and there crops would not grow. When Aeneas finally reaches the Tiber River and befriends the nearby king Latinus, who gives Aeneas land so he can build his city. In a final attempt to thwart Aeneas Juno starts a war between Aeneas and another neighboring king Turnus. The war was bloody and many lives were lost. To keep from having any more casualties Aeneas and Turnus decide to have a one on one battle. This fight is Aeneas’s final trial in the Aeneid.
Aenaes is helped many times in the Aeneid from either the gods or spirits. The one god that helps Aeneas the most is his own mother Venus. In the poem her only concern is to make sure that Aeneas makes it safely to Italy. Venus even goes to Neptune to beg for him to help Aeneas. The poem itself seems to be more about the arguement between venus and Juno. Even from the begining the intervention of the gods is apparent.
Aeneas and the Underworld
An aspect of a epic hero is that the hero goes to a place forbidden to humans. For Aeneas this is the underworld. To get to the underworld one must cross the river of Styx and the only way to cross the river of Styx is by the ferryman Charon, who does not take any living human into the underworld. To get into the underworld Aeneas gets the help of Sibyl, the priestess of Apollo, to lead him through the underworld so he can find his father, who had died on the journey. To get past Charon Aeneas and Sibyl say that they brought a gift for Persephone and Charon lets them through. Aeneas ends up finding his father and after words Aeneas continues on his voyage.