Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


Aeneas was a famous Trojan hero, son of Anchises and Aphrodite, father of Ascanius with Creusa, and one of the most important figures in Greek and Roman legendary history. In Homer's stories, he is represented as the chief bulwark of the Trojans next to Hector, and the favourite of the gods, who frequently interpose to save him from danger (Iliad, v. 311). The legend states that he remained in the country after the fall of Troy, and founded a new kingdom (Iliad, xx. 308). He is a life-death-rebirth deity.

Aeneas' wet-nurse was named Caieta.

Aeneas killed Medon in the Trojan War.

Diomedes almost killed Aeneas in battle during the Trojan War but Aphrodite, Aeneas' mother, saved him. Diomedes wounded Aphrodite and she dropped her son, fleeing to Mt. Olympus. Aeneas was then eneveloped in a cloud by Apollo, who took him to Pergamos, a sacred spot in Troy. Artemis healed Aeneas there.

When Troy lost the Trojan War, Aeneas, with his trumpeter Misenus, father Anchises, friends Achates, Sergestus and Acmon, healer Iapyx, wife Creusa, son Ascanius, all the Lares and Penates and Mimas as a guide (collectively Aeneads), traveled to Italy and became a progenitor of the Romans. He also took Achaemenides, one of Odysseus' crew from Sicily with him to Italy.

After Aeneas fled Troy, he stopped in Carthage and Queen Dido fell in love with him. When he left to go found Rome (because Hermes had ordered him to continue his journey), she killed herself. When Aeneas went to Hades, he talked to her ghost; she refused to forgive him.

On the coast of Lucania, Aeneas' helmsman, Palinurus, fell asleep and dropped into the water. He swam to shore but was killed by the Lucanians. Mt. Palinuro is named after him.

In Sicily, Aeneas was welcomed by Acestes.

Soon after arriving in Italy, Aeneas made war against the city of Falerii.

Latinus, the wise king of the Latins, hosted Aeneas' army of exiled Trojans and let them reorganize their life in Latium. His daughter Lavinia had been promised to Turnus, king of the Rutuli, but Latinus preferred to offer her to Aeneas; Turnus consequently declared war on Aeneas (at the urging of Hera), who was allied with King Tarchon of the Etruscans and Queen Amata of the Rutulians. The outcome was that Turnus was killed and his people captured. Ascanius, the son of Aeneas, also known as Iulus, founded Albalonga and was the first in a long series of kings.

Aeneas and Lavinia had one son, Silvius.

He later welcomed Dido's sister, Anna Perenna, who then committed suicide after learning of Lavinia's jealousy.

Aeneas founded the city Lavinium. He named it after Lavinia.

After his death, Aeneas became the god Indiges.

Aeneas was also the primary character in Virgil's epic poem, the Aeneid. According to the mythology outlined by the Aeneid, Romulus and Remus were both descendants of Aeneas (through their mother, their father was Mars, the god of war), and thus Aeneas was responsible for founding the Roman people.

The Julian family (Gens Julia) of Rome, whose most famous member was Julius Caesar, traced their lineage to Aeneas's son Ascanius.

Homer, Iliad II, 819-21; V, 217-575; XIII, 455-544; XX, 75-352; Apollodorus, Bibliotheke III, xii, 2; Apollodorus, Epitome III, 32-IV, 2; V, 21; Virgil, Aeneid; Ovid, Metamorphoses XIV, 581-608; Ovid, Heroides, VII.