Aeneas

"Aeneas" submitted by RomeTour Editorial Team and last updated on Tuesday 26th April 2011

Legend
Classical myth. Trojan prince from the Royal family, the son of Anchises and Aphrodite (Venus). He escaped with his father and son Ascanius (Julus) the sack of Troy and sailed to Italy via Carthage and Sicily. After seven years of roaming in numerous countries, where he founded the new cities and temples dedicated to the cult of his mother, he and his followers established themselves near the site of the future Rome.

History
This legend became a kind of political and religious dogma in the 3rd-2nd centuries b.C. in Roman world, determining the divine origins of the founder of Rome and serving the idea of national pride and as a guarantee of stability of the acquired power.

Virgil used this legend for his poem ordered by Augustus to glorify the Roman Empire and Peace. The founders of the Empire derived their origins from mother of Aeneas, Aphrodite (Venus), by means of this legend, calling themselves "gens Julia".

The figure of Aeneas, as a loyal, brave and pitiful hero, was considered to be an example of an ideal man conceived by Romans.

Art
Ancient: (Greek and Roman) statue of Aeneas fighting with Diomed in Olimpia; statue of Aeneas with Anchises on his shoulders (Forum of Augustus, Rome); relief of Ara Pacis (Rome); statuettes from Veius (5th-4th centuries b.C.); paintings by Parrasius; Pompei's paintings in House of Siricus; illustrations for the poem by Virgil. There were also numerous ceramic compositions with the image of mythic prince.

Modern: the episodes from his life appear in the paintings by Niccolo' dell'Abate (Modena), by the Carracci, by Albani (Bologna, Palazzo Fava), Claude Lorrain and in engravings by Abraham Bosse. Should also be noticed the paintings by Tintoretto (Paris, Louvre), L.Giordano (Madrid), Van Dyck (Mantoa), Jordaens (Copenaghen), Elsheimer (Monaco), N.Poussin (London), Van Loo (Paris, Louvre), Tiepolo (Madrid, Prado).

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