Between Troy and Rome
- Virgil’s Ascanius: Imagining the Future in the ‘Aeneid’ by Anne Rogerson
Cambridge, 246 pp, £75.00, January, ISBN 978 1 107 11539 2
Virgil’s Aeneid became the canonical myth of Rome’s origins as soon as it was published, following the poet’s death, in 19 BCE. When Troy fell to the Greeks, the story goes, Aeneas, the son of Venus and Anchises, survived and escaped from the burning city with his father and young son Ascanius (also called Iulus). After years of wandering, the Trojans reached Italy and settled in Latium, where Aeneas married the Latin princess Lavinia and founded a city named Lavinium after her. Following the death of Aeneas, Ascanius established a new city, Alba Longa, and a long line of Alban kings eventually resulted in the birth of the twins Romulus and Remus, who founded the city of Rome, hundreds of years after the Trojans’ arrival in Italy.
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