Virgil's Aeneid

Book 1

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Part 3 The Gods discuss Aeneas' Destiny (223 - 304)

Venus complains to Jupiter about her son's treatment

By now it was all over, when Jupiter, glancing down from the highest point of the sky at the cloud-specked sea, and the countries lying alongside, and the coasts, and the scattered nations, came to a stop, and focused his gaze on the kingdom of Libya.

While he was weighing up problems like these in his mind, one more downcast than he, her pleading eyes clouded with tears, Venus, confronted him.

Venus is angry"You who tyrannise men and gods with your unbreakable rules, and strike terror with your thunderbolt: what great crime did my Aeneas commit against you? What could the Trojans have done, that despite so much death and suffering, the whole world is closed against them, because of Italy? You definitely promised that one day with the passing of years from them would come Romans, from them would come leaders from the revived bloodline of Troy, who would hold the sea and all the lands in their sway. What has changed your mind? I used to be consoled for the fall of Troy, its tragic destruction, by balancing the future against the past; now the same bad luck dogs those men, beaten down by so much ill fortune. What end do you offer, great king, for their sufferings? Antenor was allowed to slip right through the Greeks and reach the bays of Illyria, and come safe to the hidden kingdoms of the Liburnians, and conquer the spring of Timavus, from where the sea of a sudden breaks in through nine mouths with a mighty mountain's roar and floods the countryside with a thundering tide. Nevertheless, it was here that he founded the city of Patavium, and established a home for Trojans, and introduced their name to the local people, and established power from Troy, and now he takes his ease, tamed by the tranquillity of peace. While we, your own family, for whom you govern the vault of heaven, have - scandalously - lost ships and are betrayed through one person's hate, and are kept far away from the coasts of Italy. Is this how respect is rewarded? Is this the way you give us back our kingdom?" [253]

Jupiter outlines his plans for the future of Aeneas and his descendants

Smiling at her, the father of gods and men, with that expression he uses to pacify the stormy sky, kissed his daughter, and then said this:

"Put away your fear, Cytherea, your family's destiny remains unchanged, I assure you; you shall see the promised city walls of Lavinium, and you shall bring the brave-hearted Aeneas high up among the stars in the sky. No, my mind has not changed. He shall, I reveal, (for I shall, since this worry is gnawing at you, describe things in more detail and open up the secrets of what has been foretold) conduct a long campaign in Italy and shall grind down its belligerent tribes, imposing order and civilisation on its people, until a third summer has seen him king in Latium, and a third winter has passed since the final conquest of the Rutulians. But your son Ascanius, to whom will be given also the name Iulus (he was called Ilus at the time when the city of Troy still stood), shall extend his rule for thirty years, and shall move his capital from its home at Lavinium, and shall, in a show of power, build Alba Longa. Here now there shall be kings of Hector's line for a total of three hundred years, until Ilia, a queen and a priest, pregnant by Mars, shall give birth to twin children. Then Romulus will gladly welcome the animal warmth of a mother wolf to suckle him, and shall build the walls of Mars and establish a race of people, whom he shall call 'Romans', after his own name. [277] For them I have planned no ups and downs in their history, no time-scale. I have granted them power without limit. In fact the implacable Juno, who is now inflicting her routine of terror by land sea and sky, shall change her plans for the better, and will join me in cherishing the Romans, a race who are masters of the world yet wear togas,[not armour]. This is my pleasure. There shall came a time when, as the decades pass, the house of Assaracus shall force Phthia and renowned Mycenae into slavery, and lord it over a vanquished Argos. From this fine pedigree shall be born a Trojan, Caesar, whose power will only be limited by the Ocean, whose fame only by the stars, named Iulius after the great Iulus. You shall one day, your worries at end, be welcoming this man to heaven, loaded with prizes from the East. He too shall be called on in prayer. Then the era of struggle shall yield to one of peace, as wars are no more; white-haired Fides and Vesta, Quirinus and his brother Remus shall dispense justice; the fearsome doors of War shall be shut, secured with iron bars; Unholy Furor squatting within amid his terrible weapons, and chained with a hundred spiked bronze fetters fastened behind his back shall open his blood-stained lips in shrill protest." [296]

When he had spoken, he despatched the son of Maia form on high, so that the land and the newly-built citadel of Carthage should be open to entertain the Trojan guests, and so Dido would not, through ignorance of destiny, bar them from her territory. He flew through the open sky, his wings beating like the oars of a warship, and soon landed on the Libyan coast. Straightaway he carried out his orders: the Phoenicians, as god required, set aside their belligerent feelings; in particular the queen adopted a peaceful attitude with hospitable intentions towards the Trojans. [304]

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