Aeneas and his encounters in the Underworld An important aspect of Book VI is Aeneas’ various encounters with key people from his past. One of his first important meetings is with PALINURUS • Who was Palinurus? He was Aeneas’ helmsmen who was lost overboard at the end of Book V. Aeneas presumed him drowned, but in this conversation in the underworld, Palinurus explains that he actually survived in the ocean after falling overboard, but was killed by “savage tribesmen” just as he reached the shores of Italy. Because he was not buried, Palinurus is stuck with the other unburied souls, unable to cross the river Styx. A second important meeting is with DIDO • In which area of the underworld does Aeneas meet Dido? (clue: pg.160) in the Fields of Mourning (the home of those who died of love) • Aeneas now tries to explain his actions, hoping to gain forgiveness from Dido, but she refused to speak to him or even look at him. She instead returns to the comfort of her husband Sychaeus, with whom she has been reunited. Following this, Aeneas comes to the fields inhabited by the spirits of men famous in battle, among them DEIPHOBUS • Who was Deiphobus? He was another of Priam’s sons. He had been one of the brave warriors at the fall of Troy and he was still “mutilated in every part of his body” when Aeneas meets him in the underworld. Deiphobus represents all who died when Troy fell. • How does this meeting affect Aeneas? He appears to feel guilt, but Deiphobus encourages him: “Go on your way, you, the glory of our Troy, and meet a happier fate than mine”. From now on Aeneas must concentrate on the future and happier fates, rather than on the unhappy events of the past. And now comes Aeneas’ most important reunion: he meets his father Anchises • Where do they meet and what ‘key’ does Aeneas use to enter this area? (clue: pg.166) Aeneas places the golden bough on the threshold as an offering, and is thus permitted to enter Elysium (the Elysian Fields) – the land of joy, the fortunate woods, the homes of the blessed... After an emotional reunion and some discussion about death and reincarnation, Anchises guides Aeneas and the sibyl to a higher place where they could see the PARADE OF SOULS This is the key reason for Aeneas visiting the underworld. Anchises shows Aeneas his descendents – a roll call of key historical personalities who would have been very familiar to Virgil's Roman readers, but who are described from the vantage point of Aeneas and Anchises in Elysium as belonging to the future of a city yet to be founded. The list of names was not in chronological order. It included... THE ALBAN KINGS (legendary) These included: • Sylvius (Aeneas’ last born child) • The grandparents of Romulus and Remus (they mythical founders of Rome) • Romulus himself, son of Mars and Rhea Silvia The Caesar This is AUGUSTUS – the adopted son of Julius Caesar who will bring back the golden age of peace. Virgil is very generous to Augustus and extent of his achievements. The Kings of Rome • Only some are included... – – – – Numa Tullus Ancus The Tarquins Rulers of the Republic • Brutus – the republic was set up and Brutus became one of the first consuls in 509BC Caesar and Pompey • The leaders of the Civil War (ie. Just before Augustus) – Pompey: Military and political leader of the late Roman Republic. Initially an ally of Julius Caesar – Julius Caesar: Roman statesman, general and author, famous for the conquest of Gaul (modern France and Belgium) and his subsequent coup d'état. He changed the Roman republic into a monarchy and a truly Mediterranean empire. At this point Anchises also mentions Cato, the Gracchi and other republicans Marcellus • Two of them are mentioned: – Marcellus I – the older who was a leading general at the time of the Second Punic War against Carthage – Marcellus II – the younger who was to be Augustus’ heir but who died in 23BC thus Anchises actually ends his speech on a note of sadness. Basically... Anchises describes what will become of the Trojan descendants: Romulus will found Rome, a Caesar will eventually come from the line of Ascanius, and Rome will reach a Golden Age of rule over the world. Finally, Aeneas grasps the profound significance of his long journey to Italy.