The Classical Quarterly (New Series)

Research Article

The Pictures on Dido's Temple: (Aeneid I. 450–93)

R. D. Williamsa1

a1 University of Reading

Shortly after his arrival at Carthage, while he is waiting for Dido to meet him, Aeneas finds that the walls of her temple are adorned with pictures of the Trojan War. Sunt hie etiam sua praemia laudi, he cries to Achates, sunt lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt. The description of the pictures which follows is a remarkable example of Virgil's ability to use a traditional device S0009838800003906_inline1 in such a way as to strengthen and illuminate the main themes of his poem. It is my object here first to reinterpret one of the scenes which has been misunderstood, and then to discuss how Virgil has chosen and arranged his episodes so that the description of a picture gallery becomes a part of an epic poem.