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IMAGINARY IDENTITY: AENEAS' SEARCH FOR A HOME IN AENEID 3
GENEROSA A. SANGCO-JACKSON
A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ARTS
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
Generosa A. Sangco-Jackson
I would like to express my gratitude to the professors of my committee, Dr.
Jennifer Rea, Dr. Timothy Johnson, and Dr. Victoria Pagan. I am appreciative of their
time and insight. I would like especially to thank Dr. Rea for putting her faith in me and
for giving me opportunities to further my career. I am grateful to all those who had the
patience to read my thesis in its preliminary stages. Also, I am indebted to those
generous friends who spent late, overly-caffeinated nights with me. Finally, I would like
to thank my family for supporting me in the past and for their continued support in the
TABLE OF CONTENTS
A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ......... ................................................................................... iii
A B STRA C T ............... ......................................... ........... ... .... ......... .v
1 IN T R O D U C T IO N ............................................................................... .............. ..
2 THE THEORETICAL APPROACH TO AENEID BOOK 3.............. ..................3
3 REPETITION COMPULSION AND AENEAS' OTHERNESS ............................14
4 DARDANUS: AENEAS' FUTURE PAST.................................... ....................29
5 C O N C L U S IO N ................................................................................................. 4 2
LIST OF REFEREN CE S ............................................. ........................ ............... 45
BIOGRAPH ICAL SKETCH ...................................................... 48
Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Master of Arts
IMAGINARY IDENTITY: AENEAS' SEARCH FOR A HOME IN AENEID 3
Generosa A. Sangco-Jackson
Chair: Jennifer A. Rea
Major Department: Classics
This thesis examines Aeneas' changing sense of cultural identity in Book 3 of the
Aeneid. Although he begins his journey as a Trojan intending to re-found Troy, Aeneas
must give up his identity and his desire to recreate Troy so that he can eventually found
Rome. This thesis will take a literary psychoanalytic approach to the topic of Aeneas'
shifting sense of cultural identity, by applying the theories of Freud and Lacan to scenes
in Book 3 where Aeneas is forced to confront the loss of Troy.
In the first chapter, I will explain my critical methodology and lay the theoretical
foundation for my analysis of Book 3. This chapter will introduce Freud's theory of
repetition compulsion as it applies to Aeneas' repeated attempts to re-found Troy in Book
3. Aeneas' Trojan identity is constructed by his desire to rebuild Troy, thereby rescuing
the city and mastering the past. Since all his Trojan cities fail, Aeneas ceases from trying
to re-establish Troy. By no longer trying to rescue Troy, Aeneas forfeits his Trojan
identity, thus excluding him from other Trojans who still intend to recreate Troy.
Aeneas' exclusion makes him an Other as defined by Lacanian and post-colonial theory,
which considers the "Other" to be defined by a point of reference that is opposite or
outside of the "Self." This work is a departure from prior psychoanalytic readings of the
Aeneid because it treats Aeneas as an excluded person who is the Other, rather than
treating him as the Self.
The second chapter of this thesis will examine both how in Book 3 Aeneas
compulsively repeats the past as well as how he is made aware of his Otherness. Aeneas'
initial attempts to re-found Troy or Troy-like settlements are his way of rescuing his
fallen city. After the Penates order Aeneas to sail to Italy, Aeneas becomes disassociated
from the recent Trojan past, thus breaking his cycle of repetition compulsion. His
disassociation from the fall of Troy separates Aeneas from other Trojans, particularly
Helenus and Andromache. Aeneas' encounter with these two Trojans in Buthrotum,
which is an exact replica of Troy, forces him to recognize his own Otherness as well as
the futility of rebuilding Troy.
The third chapter will examine how Aeneas reconstructs his identity in terms of
Dardanus' story as it is presented within the Aeneid. Vergil highlights corresponding
details in the stories of Aeneas and Dardanus. By identifying himself with Dardanus,
Aeneas creates a new identity and legitimacy for his arrival in Italy. This new identity is
one that is based upon his kinship with a legendary ancestor, rather than immediate
culture. Through his descent, Aeneas will link Greeks, Trojans, and Italians into a single,
interrelated community that is perceived in the collective imagination of the entire group.
This thesis will evaluate the way in which Aeneas copes with the loss of his
homeland. At first, Aeneas only wishes to re-found Troy, but his intention is stymied by
a greater plan, to begin the foundation of Rome. Aeneas hears many prophecies that he
does not understand, but he follows them despite his desire to return to the Troad.
Aeneas tries repeatedly to construct simulated Trojan cities, but to imitate Troy is to
imitate its fall. What allows him to persevere is the necessity of his journey; he cannot
return to Troy, nor can he rebuild it, since to do so would condemn him to compulsively
repeat the past. Thus, all Aeneas' attempts to re-found in Book 3 fail. Eventually, each
of Aeneas' failures forces him to turn away from his compulsive intention to rebuild
Aeneas' long physical journey from Asia Minor to Italy is paralleled by an equally
arduous psychological one. Aeneas must exist outside of his own culture, becoming an
Other, who is displaced and excluded from the Trojan community. Through his
Otherness that Aeneas, be able to integrate himself into the Italian community, thus
completing his journey. If he were not excluded from the Trojan diaspora, his only
aspiration would be to remain with Trojans and to re-found Troy.Aeneas is given the
directive to journey to Italy.
Upon his arrival in Italy, Aeneas collects his allies by tracing his genealogy through
Dardanus to both Greeks and Italians alike. Ultimately, Aeneas will mix his own group
of Trojans with the different peoples present in Italy, creating a mixed race, one whose
viability Jupiter ensures. By affiliating himself with his ancestor Dardanus, Aeneas then
embarks upon a new method of reconstructing a community, one based on imagined
genealogies which will connect formerly incompatible groups, such as Greeks, Trojans,
and Italians. These imagined genealogies, which are created from traditions and stories
about the mythic past, are propagated and revitalized by foundation stories. By sharing in
the same foundation stories, disparate communities can consolidate themselves and re-
evaluate their own self-identities.
Aeneas' own story will serve as a touchstone for the Romans to consolidate their
own identity. In the first century BCE, a time of civil wars and imperial expansion,
Rome was forced to manage the integration of many different cultures under a single
identity. The Aeneid, a new version developed from many different traditional
foundation stories, will aid in the incorporation of these new peoples by reinventing more
inclusive genealogies. Aeneas' reinvention of his identity in accordance with Dardanus'
story will provide an exemplar for the way in which the Romans should reconsider their
own collective identity.
This thesis analyizes the above issues in the following way. The first chapter will be
devoted to an explanaiton of Freud's theory of repetitive compulision and Lacan's theory
of the Other, both as applied to the Aeneid. The second chapter of this thesis will
evaluate two things: Aeneas' changing identity in terms of the Other, which will be
defined subsequently, and his compulsive resistance to his destiny. The third chapter of
this thesis will then show how Aeneas reconstructs his identity by turning toward his own
culture's foundation story, the story of Dardanus.
THE THEORETICAL APPROACH TO AENEID BOOK 3
Book 3 of the Aeneid has interested scholars for its portrayal of city-founding, for
its references to locations of historical significance for Vergil's contemporaries, for
Aeneas' subordinate relationship to Anchises, and for the further development of Aeneas'
pietas. 1 This book constitutes one-half of Aeneas' narrative to Dido, which itself is an
extended allusion to the wanderings of Odysseus.2 Furthermore, this book has intrigued
many scholars because of its unfinished state and its structural relationship to the Aeneid
as a whole.3 This thesis, however, will be a departure from these traditional methods of
approaching Book 3. Here, the approach taken will be a psychological assessment of
Aeneas' identity as his relationships to both his culture and his past change. This chapter
will set the theoretical ground work upon which the evaluation of Aeneas' identity will be
based, which I will explore thoroughly in the second and third chapters.
While the theories explained in this chapter seem unrelated, they share a common
thread by being important to identity formation. In order to evaluate Aeneas' identity as
1 For the theme of city foundation, see Morwood (1991), "Aeneas, Augustus, and the Theme of the City."
For allusions to places of historical significance, see Stahl (1998), "Political Stop-Overs on a Mythological
Travel Route: From Battling Harpies to the Battle of Actium: Aeneid 3.268-93" and Cairns (1989), Virgil's
Augustan Epic. For Anchises as the leading figure of Book 3 see Lloyd (1957b), "Aeneid III: A New
Approach." For an interpretation of how Aeneas' pietas is manifested see Mackie (1988), The
Characterization ofAeneas, Nethercut (1968), "Invasion in the 'Aeneid'," and Otis (1964), A Study in
2 For the relationship of Book 3 to Odysseus' narrative to the Phaecians, see Knauer (1990) "Vergil's
Aeneid and Homer" and Anderson (2005) The Art of the Aeneid.
3 For a structural analysis of Book 3 as related to the overarching structure of the Aeneid see Lloyd (1957b)
"Aeneid III: A New Approach" and Hershkowitz (1991) "The Aeneid inAeneid 3." For the unfinished state
of Book 3 see Heinze (1993) Virgil's Epic Technique and Otis (1964) Virgil: A Study in Civilized Poetry.
it shifts from the beginning of Book 3 to his visit to Buthrotum, I will employ two
concepts from literary psychoanalysis: the "Other," and "repetition compulsion."
Aeneas will lose his Trojan identity and become the "Other" in order to avoid
compulsively repeating the past. After his loss of identity, Aeneas will overcome his
compulsion by reforming his identity in relation to the foundation story of Dardanus.
This foundation story's effect is twofold; from it, Aeneas will receive a sense of purpose
and eventually it will help him reintegrate himself into a community. These ideas of
reintegration and re-evaluation of traditional foundation stories become important to
Vergil's contemporary Romans, who after long periods of upheaval must restore a sense
of national unity.
First of all, the term "Other," in its various permutations, requires some definition,
since it is used by many schools of thought to mean different things.4 One use of the
term, that of J. Lacan, applies specifically to identity formation. The Lacanian usage of
Other, as explained by D. Macey, indicates the thing that is desired by the Self, also
known as the "subject" or one's sense of personal identity.5 The Self articulates its own
identity through the desire for and the recognition of the Other. This then presumes both
that the Self and the Other are separate entities, and that the space between them is
irreconcilable. A later development of Lacan's idea helps to define the Other as the
opposite, or the thing which the subject is not, as it is used in the scope of this thesis.6
The post-colonial theorist H. Bhabha uses Lacan's ideas to discuss the use of visual
4 The term itself can be rendered in the following ways: other, "other," Other, and "Other" based on
stylistic preference. I give preference to Other because it denotes a concept and because I use the common,
5 Macey (2000b) 368.
6 Macey (2000a) 286: The Other refers to things which "are quite alien to and inassimilable by the subject "
stereotypes: "The visibility of the racial/colonial Other is at once point of identity ...
and at the same time problem for the attempted closure within discourse."' If the Other
is an opposed "point of identity," then it must both exist outside of and be different from
the Self 8 The Other then is indicative both of difference and of separation from the
It is within this modified Lacanian definition of the Other as the opposite that
critics in classical studies have applied the term. The idea that one people's self-identity
is constructed only by comparison to what it is not, has already been applied to the
ancient history, material culture, and archaeology of Greece, due to the influence of E.
Hall's Inventing the Barbarian. Identity studies in Greek colonization in terms of the
Self and the Other followed. Then these Self/Other constructions were similarly applied
to Roman history, material culture, and archeology.10 Two scholars-one of Roman
history, the other of Roman literature-employ concise definitions of the Other that will
be of particular use here. E. Marshall, in her work on the cultural conflict between
Cyrenaica and Libya, uses the following definition:
The other is, therefore, defined through the self because it is the reverse self.
Conversely, the other serves to unite a group, or a number of groups, because it
defines the group's self, and in other words, defines who the group is. 11
SBhabha (2002) 81. Original emphasis.
SMacey (2000a) 286. This is in opposition to Lacan's idea that the Other is a projection of the Self into a
9 Bhabha (2002) 86.
10 For these historical approaches to cultural identity formation see both Gruen (1992) Culture and National
Identity in Republican Rome and Lawrence (1998) Cultural Identity in the Roman Empire.
" Marshall (1998) 89.
A similar idea of the Other has been applied to the Aeneid by J. Evans, whose definition
helps to dispel the idea that the Other is a fixed concept:
'Self and 'other' are interdependent concepts. The 'other' is what we are not, and
in turn, what we are not serves to define ourselves. It may be hostile, or friendly, or
something in between: different, but willing to interact with us.12
My analysis of the Aeneid will approach the Other and Otherness as mutable
constructions, while the Self remains static. Thus I will focus on the Otherness exhibited
by Aeneas, rather than approach Aeneas as the Self which is the focus of Evans' work.
For my purposes, Otherness will be defined as the difference and separation which are
caused by Aeneas' exclusion from his own cultural group, the Trojans. It is commonly
agreed by scholars that Aeneas must lose or leave behind his Trojan identity-this is
indicative of Aeneas' Otherness because he no longer is a member of that group.13
To evaluate why Aeneas' identity changes, I will apply another theory propagated
in psychoanalysis, that of Freud's "repetition compulsion" as it is used by D. Quint.14
Freud determines that suffering (a loss or a traumatic event) leaves "a permanent injury to
self-regard in the form of a narcissistic scar."15 Those who suffer this sort of traumatic
event may become "neurotics" who compulsively repeat their own traumas either to elicit
some pleasure from the experiences or to master them.16 The motivation for repetition is
12 Evans (2003) 45.
13 For the development of Aeneas' character see Otis (1964) Virgil: A Study in Civilized Poetry, Di Cesare
(1974) The Altar and the City, and Furher (1989) "Aeneas: A Study in Character Development."
14 Quint (1999) 116.
15 Freud (1961) 21-22.
16 Freud (1961) 22-3 and 16: "Patients repeat all of these unwanted situations and painful emotions in the
transference and revive them with the greatest ingenuity" and "We are therefore left in doubt as to whether
the impulse to work over in the mind some overpowering experience so as to make oneself master of it can
find expression as a primary event."
strange particularly because "[n]one of these things can have produced pleasure in the
past."17 In Aeneas' case, the traumatic event is the fall of Troy, which leaves him
without a homeland.
This approach is not a new one; D. Quint applies this theory to the Aeneid and then
expands it to the Romans themselves. Quint argues that the first half of the Aeneid, the
Odyssean wanderings, exhibits the compulsive repetition of the past, while the second
half, the Iliadic wars, portrays the final re-enactment through which Aeneas will
restructure and master the traumatic past. Quint states that focusing on the repetition of
the founding and destruction of Troy engages the idea of narrative itself, which then
constitutes the Aeneid as a "teleologically structured narrative, a repetition that links the
two events [the wanderings and the wars], but demonstrates their difference and the
overcoming of the first by the second."18 I, however, differ in my application of Freud's
"repetition compulsion," since I apply this theory only to Aeneas' wanderings in Book 3.
In this book, Aeneas tries to master his past; if he can re-found Troy, he can save it from
being destroyed by the Greeks. In the failure of each reconstruction, Aeneas, in effect,
relives Troy's destruction. Eventually within the same book, Aeneas not only breaks his
neurotic cycle of repetition, but by doing so, he separates himself culturally from the
other Trojans. Then, Aeneas neither continues compulsively to repeat the fall of Troy nor
does he master Troy's fall by successfully re-founding it. Instead, Aeneas breaks from
the traumatic destruction of the city by associating himself with the idea of the very
distant past, namely Dardanus' exile from Italy and his foundation of Troy.
17 Freud (1961) 22-3.
18 Quint (1999) 118.
In addition to Quint's Freudian reading and the Lacanian Other, I will make use of
Y. Syed's psychoanalytic reading of the Aeneid which she uses to extrapolate the
"Roman readers' sense of self as Romans."19 She sets up Vergil's characterization of
Aeneas as occupying the "subject position," namely the vantage point from or through
which the Roman reader engages the poem and reacts emotionally to the other
characters.20 When Aeneas reacts emotionally to the opposition imposed by both gender
and ethnicity, he causes the reader to react as well.21 For example, Aeneas is defined as
Trojan so long as he maintains a Trojan opposition to Greeks. Then Syed argues that
through the vantage point of Aeneas, the reader uses the Other as a point of reference
against which he can formulate his own Roman identity by comparison to what he is
not-the Roman is not the Other, be it female, Carthaginian, or Greek.
Aeneas' identity is developed through the articulation of contrasting dualities, that
is, Others, like male/female, Roman/Carthaginian, Greek/Trojan, and Trojan/Italian. This
mutability of his identity is possible because after his exclusion from the Trojan culture,
Aeneas' ethnic status is that of a "cipher," which Syed explicates as
[a] blank space onto which Roman national identity is projected through his
interactions with various ethnic others. This is possible because Aeneas leaves
behind him his Trojan identity when he decides to follow the commands of fate that
direct him to found a new city elsewhere.22
19 Syed (2005) 2-3.
20 Syed (2005) 3.
21 Syed (2005) 35.
22 Syed (2005) 175.
These dualities are helpful in understanding how the Other is constructed; it is, however,
my argument that Aeneas is the Other, since his identity is in a state of flux in
comparison to the diasporic Trojans, whose identities remain in a fixed condition.
Syed's concept of the "cipher" is very useful because it pinpoints a state that
Aeneas reaches only though the necessary removal of his Trojan identity. It allows
Aeneas to break the repetitive compulsive cycle of trying to re-found Troy. Syed's
concept of the "cipher" will form the basis for the evaluation of Aeneas' identity in
chapter 3 of this thesis. After Aeneas has abandoned his Trojan identity, which was
constructed in relation to the recent past, the fall of Troy, he reconstructs his identity in
terms of the very distant Trojan past, namely the exile of Dardanus, which ultimately
leads to the foundation of Troy.
This idea of a shared point of reference which connects a community is based on B.
Anderson's development of the "imagined community" or a community that was
reinvented only in the imaginations of many cultures which shared in the same idea of
nation.23 For Aeneas, Dardanus represents the "immemorial past," a point of reference
that he, the Trojans, and the Italians can all share in.24 If disparate groups can define
themselves in relationship to Dardanus, they then have a precedent for developing their
relationships with one another. It is this idea of the imagined community that empowers
Quint and Syed's applications of psychoanalysis to Roman identity. On one hand, Quint
expands his theory to the Romans themselves, who must overcome the trauma of the civil
wars in their quest for mastery over their past since "[t]he Aeneid plots out just such a
23 Anderson (2003) 6.
24 Quint (1999) 130 and Anderson (2003) 11.
struggle for empowerment and for a narrative which is both the result and means of
empowerment: but it is the struggle not of the individual psyche, but of a collective
political nation."25 On the other hand, Syed involves the Roman reader in all of Aeneas'
wanderings and efforts to become proto-Roman, which then allows the reader himself to
develop his own Roman identity.
In forming and reassessing a community's own collective identity, foundation
stories become important as the point of reference in which the all the members of the
community can share. The fundamental theme of city-founding in the Aeneid as well as
the Aeneid itself participate in the discourse of identity formation. In Aeneas' case, after
he must give up his Trojan identity, he turns to the distant story about the founder of
Troy, which gives him a model to emulate, thus helping him reform his identity and
possibly reintegrate himself into a culture. Though excluded from one community,
Aeneas must restructure his identity so that he can become included in another:
A community defined by culture is potentially open: one may become a member of
that community by acquiring its culture. A community defined by race or ethnicity,
on the other hand, is accessible only to those who are born to existing members of
the requisite group. In practice, of course, the two often overlap: race and ethnicity
may be associated with certain qualities and vice versa. In either case, foundation
stories help to define who is in, who is out, and whether membership is open or
In order to redefine who will be an internal member of Aeneas' future community, the
Romans, the Aeneid gives a new version of an old foundation story. By relying on
foundation stories to help synthesize a new idea of identity within a community, Aeneas
25 Quint (1999) 119.
26 Miles (1999) 232.
and his foundation story then become exemplars for the Romans, who must reassess their
collective identity after a long period of upheaval.
Incorporating so many non-Romans in a period during which Rome was divided
against itself caused a schism in the constitution of Roman identity, which manifested
itself in terms of social anxiety. The awareness of this anxiety is not only manifested in
the Aeneid, but it is present in Vergil's other works as well:
The finale of the first book of Vergil's' Georgics, reflecting the atmosphere of the
mid-30s rather than of the poem's date of publication circa 29, ends with an
apocalyptic vision of the civil wars, and sees the young Caesar (the future
Augustus) as a potential solution, but ends with a vivid picture of an anarchic world
at war, with no guarantee that control will be re-restablished. The civil war has
moved to total conflict at global level, with accompanying further fear and anxiety
about the future of Rome.27
Vergil offers a newly constructed foundation story as a solution to the social anxiety of
Rome. The Aeneid serves as an example of how an outsider can become an internal
member of a community, as well as how one can stop repeating the traumatic past of civil
By incorporating Italian and Greek peoples through both enfranchisement and
expansion, Rome was forced to absorb their cultures as well. One example of the
appropriation of Greek culture was Hellenism, Rome's acceptance of Greek art and
literature.28 While many Romans embraced Greek oratory and philosophy, Cato the
Censor lambasted these things in favor of cultivating Roman values, yet Hellenism was
so prevalent in Rome that trying to divorce the two would have caused further anxiety
27 Harrison (2 1!) 291.
28 Gruen (1992) 52-83.
about Rome's identity.29 Many Greek sources portray Rome as a Greek city in
"character and lineage."30 There were multiple versions of the foundation of Rome,
some of which feature Aeneas, some of which feature Odysseus and others.31 The
version in which Aeneas founded Rome took precedence around the 3rd century, after
many Greek authors explained away a line in Homer which indicated that Aeneas
remained in the Troad.32 Vergil dealt directly with this Hellenism as he created his
version of the Aeneid. Needless to say, the accounts are conflicted, but Vergil's
eventually becomes canonized.33
Vergil's version may have been preferred because of its more inclusive
genealogy.34 By making Dardanus an Italian with a Greek mother, Vergil incorporated
the various traditions while at the same time reinventing them. The Aeneid, as a
foundation story that included and valued many different cultures, may have appealed to
the recently annexed Italian people:
Those readers ('the original audience') were not, of course,
a unified, homogenous entity .[N]ot a few of these
readers had some share in a post-colonial mentality, that is,
that they or their families had recently become naturalized
Romans; that they had some memory of the Italian (that is,
non-Roman) heritage; that many of these people felt, to
some degree, conflict between their new and their old
29 Gruen (1992) 81.
30 Gruen(1992) 11.
31 McKay (1970) 79-80.
32 Gruen (1992) 9-18.
33 Gruen (1992) 6.
34 For the development of Romans tracing their genealogies, see Wiseman (1974) "Legendary Genealogies
in Late-Republican Rome."
35 Johnson (2001) 8.
Yet the foundation stories are set in the very distant, immemorial past. Also, a genealogy
formed from the very distant, mythical past can be manipulated and used to please many
different peoples. This makes the genealogy of Aeneas appealing to both the Greeks and
the Italians alike through a buffer of distant "Trojanness":
Troy supplied an especially attractive ingredient in that endeavor. The celebrated
Trojan past lay in remote antiquity, its people no longer extant, the city but a shell
of its former self. Troy, unlike Greece, persisted as a symbol, not a current reality .
.The Romans could mold the ancient Trojans to suit their own ends.36
The more inclusive a genealogy, the more appeal it has. But this genealogy, if from the
traditions of bygone times, can be changed to suit the needs of the present day. Thus, the
story of Aeneas can be changed to make Dardanus an Italian, though this is an innovation
on the part of Vergil.37
These theories, the Other, Freud's repetition compulsion, and identity
reconstruction, though grounded in psychoanalysis, have found widespread application to
the consciousness of nations through yet another theory, post-colonialism. While this
mode of thought is anachronistic for the purposes of evaluating the collective identity of
Rome, some methods can be analogously applied.38 It is in this post-colonial vein that
the subsequent chapters of this thesis will progress in an attempt to view the role that
Vergil's version of the Roman foundation story plays in reforming Roman identity.
36 Gruen (1993) 7-8.
7 McKay (1970) 8.
38 It is not within the scope of this thesis to treat the constructions of the colonizer and colonized, nor will it
treat Vergil as the sub-altern voice. The aim of this thesis is to analyze the identity formation of a culture
represented in literature using ideas grounded in post-colonial theory.
REPETITION COMPULSION AND AENEAS' OTHERNESS
This chapter will analyze how Aeneas' attempts to re-found Troy in Book 3 of the
Aeneid are indicative of a psychological crisis in Aeneas' identity which forces him to
either compulsively repeat the past or to abandon his Trojan identity entirely. Aeneas'
attempted cities in Book 3 exhibit Aeneas' compulsion to re-found Troy in order to save
it, which is indicative of Freud's theory of the "repetition compulsion."1 Each foundation
fails; therefore Aeneas is not able to create a "new version" in which he can prevent the
fall of Troy thereby mastering his trauma.2 Instead, Aeneas must found something new,
separate from his own nostalgia. It is the aim of this chapter to explain how erasure of
the recent past occurs in Book 3 through Aeneas' foundations and through his
interactions with other Trojans.
Quint's observance that the Trojan past must be forgotten conforms to the
reconciliation between Jupiter and Juno in Book 12, which mandates that the city of Troy
and its very name be obliterated: occidit occideritque sinas cum nominee Troia (A. 12.828).
Jupiter allows the former Trojans to keep only their sacred customs and rites:
do quod uis et me uictusque uolensque remitto.
sermonem Ausoniipatrium moresque tenebunt
utque est nomen erit; commixti corpore tantum
subsident Teucri. Morem ritusque sacrorum
adiciamfaciamque omnis uno ore Latinos. (A. 12.833-7)
1 Quint (1999) 118.
2 Freud (1961) 16.
Though the terms for the reconciliation come at the end of the epic, Book 3 focuses on
the process of creating a mixed race (genus ... mixtum A. 12.838), one in which the past
Trojan identity is suppressed (save their religious customs). The suppression of Trojan
identity exhibited by Aeneas' character is achieved through his construction as the Other,
as one who is excluded by his difference from self-contained cultures. This chapter will
examine how Aeneas' Otherness is established by analyzing how Aeneas manifests his
nostalgia when he creates unsuccessful imitations of Troy in Thrace and on Crete
(thereby also asserting his own "Trojanness"). Aeneas tries to master his past by re-
founding Troy in spite of its fall. If he should successfully rebuild the city, he would, in
effect, save it from destruction. Although his destiny calls for a mixed race, Aeneas'
cities are purely Trojan recreations; thus, they are doomed to fail. After he accepts his
greater destiny, Aeneas must be excluded from other Trojans in the diaspora, particularly
Helenus and Andromache, who intend to master the fall of Troy. This exclusion is
indicative of Aeneas' Otherness, his difference from his fellow Trojans. It marks both his
deliverance from compulsively repeating the traumatic fall of Troy, and the beginning of
his nullification of his Trojan cultural identity.
Aeneas' nostalgia, triggered by his exile after the traumatic destruction of his
homeland, compels him to found imitations of Troy, rather than a new city. By
rebuilding Troy, Aeneas would affirm his "Trojanness." From the very beginning of his
story, Aeneas considers himself Trojan (tantus amor casus cognoscere nostros A.2.10;
litora cum patriae lacrimans portusque relinquo /et campos A. 3.10-1).3 After the city's
fall and his flight, Aeneas considers his purpose not simply to found a new home, but to
3 The earliest moment in linear time is the beginning of Book 2. My emphasis.
re-found Troy, (da propriam, Thymbraee, domum, da moeniafessis et genus et
mansuram urbem; serua altera Troiae PergamaA.3.85-7). Yet, each of Aeneas'
attempts to re-establish a Trojan city will fail.
At the beginning of Book 3 Aeneas establishes two cities, the first in Thrace, and
the second in Crete, both of which are clear manifestations of Aeneas' homesickness
since they retain Trojan names and are built in locations not far from the Troad. 4
Aeneas' efforts to found a city that is similar to Troia antiqua are destined to fail because
they repeat the recent past, the fall of Troy. Each city does fail: Thrace must be
abandoned because of a terrifying omen while a plague blights Crete. The fall of each
city forces Aeneas to examine his future, that which is revealed to him in prophecies,
rather than compulsively repeat a defunct Trojan past.
Addionally, by erecting a city in Thrace whose people are named after himself-a
man who on account of his nostalgia longs only to rebuild fallen Troy-Aeneas
inescapably dooms the endeavor as a repetition of the traumatic past.5 Vergil describes
Aeneas' Thracian settlement only in scant detail, but the descriptions chosen reinforce
Aeneas' nostalgic state of mind. Aeneas calls his people the Aeneadae, a name which
confirms his role as leader of the expedition while endorsing the expedition itself as a
Troj an one (Aeneadeasque meo nomen de nominefingo A. 3.19). Aeneas also describes
the land as sharing with Troy not only hospitium, but also socii Penates (hospitium
antiquum Troiae sociique Penates 3.15). The hospitium, a mutual agreement of
4 Connington (1875) 193: "Thrace was separated from the Troad only by the Hellespont, so that 'procul' is
used, as it sometimes is without any notion of great distance, expressing local separation, and no more."
5 In Book 3, the first indication of Aeneas longing for Troy appears at 3.10-1, litora cum patriae lacrimans
portusque relinquo /et campus, ubi Troiafuit.
hospitality, serves to link the two groups in both a common experience and a method of
cultural exchange. The hospitium, the shared gods, and the close proximity to the Troad
portray Thrace as a substitute for Troy-far too similar for Aeneas to settle there properly
since his destiny demands a mixed race.
Also, Aeneas' encounter with the shade of Polydorus provides a starting point for
how the reader should evaluate Aeneas' Trojan status since this is the first instance in
which Aeneas interacts with a Trojan outside of his own band of refugees. In Thrace,
Aeneas barely erects his walls before the shade of Polydorus implores that Aeneas flee.
Aeneas unwittingly desecrates Polydorus' tomb, causing the branches of a bush to bleed
and causing the shade of Polydorus to lament:
quid miserum, Aenea, laceras? iam parce sepulto,
parce pias scelerare manus. non me tibi Troia
externum tulit aut cruor hic de stipite manat.
heufuge crudelis terras, fuge litus auarum.
nam Polydorus ego. hic confixumferrea texit
telorum seges et iaculis increuit acutis. (A.3.41-7)
From Polydorus' perspective, though he has been changed into a mound overgrown with
cornel bushes and myrtle trees (forte fuit iuxta tumulus, quo cornea summo / uirgulta et
densis hastilibus horrida myrtus A. 3.22-3), Aeneas' injury to the plants is still an injury
to his kinsman. For this reason, Polydorus orders Aeneas to spare his pious hands from
this form of pollution (A.3.42). The phrase Polydorus uses to establish that his
relationship to Aeneas is non ... externum (A.3.342-3). Polydorus conceives of
"Trojanness" as a contained concept-one can be excluded and outside (externus), or one
can be a member (internus).6 Polydorus' speech indicates that being a member of Trojan
culture (internus) has to do with birth place and heredity (Troia .. / tulit aut cruor hic
6 1 have extrapolated internus as the natural opposite of externus, though Vergil does not use the term.
destipite manatA.3.42-3). He also implies that his status as a Trojan, despite being raised
in Thrace, is a permanent situation (Hunc Polydorum... / infelix Priamusfurtim
mandarat alendum / Threicio regi A.3.49-51). Polydorus recognizes Aeneas as an
internal member of the Trojan gens, but from beyond the grave, he cannot conceive that
Aeneas' destiny will force him to disassociate himself from the Trojan past in favor of a
When compared to Polydorus, Aeneas is non externum, yet he remains estranged
from his kinsman. Polydorus' own version of"Trojanness" is fixed upon the finality of
the fall of Troy while Aeneas intends to re-found the city. Priam sends his son to Thrace
only after he perceives the inevitability of Troy's destruction (infelix Priamusfurtim
mandarat alendum / Threicio regi, cum iam diffideret armis /Dardaniae cingique urbem
obsidione uideretA.3.50-2). In Polydorus, Priam set his hopes for perpetuating the
Trojan line; instead, Polydorus' death actually ensures the obliteration of Troy since
Priam has no other living direct heirs.7 In this scene, Vergil reiterates the fall of Troy,
but it is replayed in Thrace. The comparison between Aeneas and dead Troy, represented
by Polydorus, marks his separation from Trojan culture which thereby evidences Aeneas'
Undaunted by the horrific omen of Polydorus and motivated still by his nostalgia,
Aeneas acquiesces to Anchises' misinterpretation of Apollo's oracle. After being driven
from Thrace by Polydorus' warnings, Aeneas visits the oracle of Apollo at Delos for
guidance. While at the oracle of Apollo, Aeneas asks for a second citadel of Troy: da
propriam, Thymbraee, domum; da moeniafessis /et genus et mansuram urbem; serua
7 Quint (1982) 32: "the verb 'condimus' in the final verse of the episode (68) transforms the activity of
city-founding into one of burial."
altera Troiae /Pergama, reliquias Danaum atque immitis Achilli (A. 3.85-87). It is still
with this nostalgic mindset that Aeneas prays for his second city. At Delos, Aeneas
receives another directive, that he must seek his ancient mother (antiquam exquirite
matrem A.3.96). Tracing the Trojan ancestry back to Crete, Anchises interprets this
island as the ancient mother.
Although Apollo's oracle intends that the Trojans head for Italy, Anchises'
interpretation, which favors Crete, convinces Aeneas because it appeals to his desire to
re-found Troy. Anchises' recollection of the Trojans' past links Troy to Crete.8 Both
areas worship Cybele and have a mountain called Mt. Ida.9 At the beginning of Book 3,
Aeneas mentions that his fleet was built under the Phrygian Mt. Ida, and later in Book 9,
when the Rutulians try to burn the fleet; the same ships are changed to nymphs by
Cybele.10 Pergamea, Aeneas' city in Crete, is set under the Cretan Mt. Ida (Creta louis
magni medio iacet insula ponto / mons Idaeus ubi et gentis cunabula nostrae A. 3.104-5).
Anchises' mention of Cybele may also have reminded Aeneas of Creusa's farewell in
which she claimed that Cybele held her to the Trojan shores (sedme magna deum
genetrix his detinet oris A.2.788). These attributes establish a series of correspondences
between Crete and Troy, which would appeal to Aeneas' compulsion to create a city just
like Troy. Since Anchises must remind the ignorant Trojans of Crete's significance, the
8 For the prominence of Anchises' role in Book 3 see Sanderlin (1975) "Aeneas as Apprentice-Point of
View in the Third Aeneid," Quint (1982) "Painful Memories: Aeneid 3 and the Problem of the Past," and
Otis (1964) Virgil: A Study in Civilized Poetry.
9 For the Jupiter's role in connecting Troy and Crete as well as the image of Daedalus throughout the
Aeneid, see Armstrong (2002) "Crete in the Aeneid: Recurring Trauma and Alternative Fate."
10 auguriis agimur diuum, classemque sub ipsa /Antandro et Phrygiae molimur montibus Idae A.3.5-6,
hinc mater cultrix Cybeli Corybantiaque aera /Idaeumque nemus, hincfida silentia sacris, /et iuncti
currum dominae subiere leonesA.3.111-3, and tempore quo primum Phrygiaformabat in Ida /Aeneas
classem etpelagi petere alta parabat, / ipsa deum fertur genetrix Berecyntia magnum A.9.80-2.
need for a lengthy description of Crete's similarity to Troy reveals the Trojans'
disassociation from their own past. This disassociation from Troy's origin stories, tales
which help define one's own community, exemplifies Aeneas' Otherness. Aeneas
willingly invests in a Trojan past which he knows nothing about, simply because
Anchises convinces him that Crete is similar to ancient Troy.
Vergil's development of the Trojans' emotional state as they approach Crete seems
exaggerated in order to compensate for the inadequacy of their new settlement. The
Trojans' eagerness to settle the land abandoned by their enemy (hoste A.3.123) is very
exuberant: the sailors shout (nauticus exoritur uario certamine clamor A. 3.128), Aeneas
becomes greedy when he approaches the city for which he has been longing (ergo auidus
muros optatae molior urbis A.3.132), and the other Trojans are happy (laetam cognomine
gentem A.3.133). Aeneas names his new city Pergamea, with a reference to the citadel of
fallen Troy (Pergameamque uoco A.3.133) as well as his prayer at Delos (serua altera
Troiae /Pergama A.3.86-7). But these emotions seem forced: the sailors' shouting
becomes a contest (certamine), the word used for Aeneas' desire for the new city is
auidus, and Aeneas must encourage his people to love their new home, implying that
their love does not come naturally (hortor amarefocos arcemque attollere tectis
A.3.134). Aeneas' exhaustion from his diasporic wanderings causes him to be overly
eager for the wrong place; his eagerness emphasizes the unease with which Pergamea is
Crete is also a Greek place; Aeneas, as a Trojan who has spent ten years warring
with the Greeks, should not be comfortable slipping into abandoned Greek homes. Crete
1 Hucferor; haecfessos tuto placidissima portu /accepitA.3.78-9, and da moeniafessisA.3.85.
has been described as having one-hundred cities (centum urbes habitant magnas
A. 3.106), all of which were under the rule of Idomeneus, a Greek king who has
abandoned Crete on account of his own religious exile.12 Vergil is ambiguous as to
whether or not all the Cretan people leave with Idomeneus, or otherwise abandon the
land.13 Vergil states that the shores have been deserted and that the homes and
habitations have been abandoned (desertaque litora Cretae, /hoste uacare domum
sedesque astare relictas A. 3.122-3). Because Crete recently has been occupied with
Greek cities, Aeneas creates a problematic situation by resettling his Trojan people within
a Greek environment. 14 In Crete he takes over Greek hearths and homes, which he must
encourage his people to love (hortor amarefocos arcemque attollere tectis A. 3.134).
While Apollo's prophecy may give Aeneas some comfort and the (mistaken) authority to
settle there, Vergil gives no indication that the Trojans object to Crete's Greek past,
illustrating that they are moving beyond their former perceptions of Greeks as being the
Other; in other words, the Trojans themselves are evolving beyond their recent traumatic
In Crete, Aeneas' identity remains in an exilic limbo, since the island can only offer
him Teucer's abandonment or Idomeneus' empty homes, neither of which are
satisfactory. Since there are no other people living on the island, Aeneas can not possibly
fulfill Jupiter's prophecy of creating a mixed race. Crete simply is not the place for
12 Serv. A.3.121: Idomeneus abandons his land after he incites a plague by sacrificing his own son in
accordance with a prayer to Neptune. If Idomeneus arrived at Crete safely, he was to sacrifice the first
living creature he saw, which turned out to be his son. Idomeneus, according to Vergil, emigrated to Italy.
13 Connington (1875) 204.
14 Because Teucer, a Trojan forefather, was born in Crete, Aeneas' foundation on the island may be
construed as a return, but it will not fulfill the requirement for a mixed race. The island is also blighted, so
it is not a viable place to settle.
Aeneas to settle; the divine intervention of the plague confirms this certainty."1 To
remain despite the cultural discomfort of living in a Greek land would condemn these
Trojans to death, just as remaining in ancient Troy or Thrace would.
After Aeneas' mission to found a city in Italy is confirmed by the Penates, Aeneas
can begin reconstructing his identity in terms of his future city, rather than his nostalgia
for the recent Trojan past. Aeneas' abandonment of his "Trojanness" comes to a head
when he is portrayed as an outsider in Helenus' and Andromache's city, Buthrotum. Of
all the imitations of Troy, the Buthrotum episode marks "the strongest contrast between
the two sets of Trojans."16 The Trojans hear a rumor that Helenus and Andromache, both
taken by Pyrrhus as slaves at the end of the war, have been set as rulers of Pyrrhus' lands
and have established a new city, a replica of Troy:
hic incredibilis rerumfama occupat auris
Priamiden Helenum Graias regnare per urbes
coniugio Aeacidae Pyrrhi sceptrisque potitum
etpatrio Andromachen iterum cessisse marito. (A. 3.294-7)
Throughout Book 3, Aeneas has been driven by his compulsive desire to re-build Troy;
although he prayed for an altera Pergama Troiae at Delos, Aeneas has never been
successful at building a replacement Troy which he can inhabit. Here, at Buthrotum,
Aeneas sees his greatest desire realized: Troy has been rebuilt. Thisparua Troia should
be a great temptation for him, causing him to feel greed and hope, emotions already
caused by Pergama in Crete.17 While Aeneas does express wonderment and aims to find
15 ... subito cum tabida membris corrupto caeli tractu miserandaque uenit / arboribusque satisque lues
et letifer annus. /linquebant dulcis animals aut aegra trahebant corporaa; tur sterilis exurere Sirius agros,
/ arebant herbae et uictum seges aegra negebatA.3.137-142.
16 Otis (1964) 260.
17 procedo etparuam Troiam simulataque magnis /Pergama A.3.349-50.
out how his kinsmen fared, he does not exhibit any desire to live in Buthrotum (obstipui
miroque incensum pectus more compellare uirum et casus cognoscere tantos A.3.298-
99). Aeneas' rejection of Helenus and Andromache's unadulterated and imitative
"Trojanness" asserts his Otherness, his existence now outside of the Trojan experience.
Instead, he embarks on founding a new city, one that will become culturally Roman
rather than Trojan.
In the Aeneid, Helenus' city is the replica described as most similar to Troy.
Helenus himself reconstructed and renamed the area to fit the description of ancient Troy:
morte Neoptolemi regnorum reddita cessit
pars Heleno, qui Chaonios cognomine campos
Chaoniamque omnem Troiano a Chaone dixit
Pergamaque Iliacamque iugis hanc addidit arcem.
The rivers and gates surrounding the city have both been named after those of the original
Troy (Pergama et arentem Xanthi cognomine riuum / agnosco Scaeaeque amplector
liminaportae A.3.350-1). Even a Trojan family rules thisparua Troia. Helenus has
succeeded in completing what Aeneas has greatly desired to do:
me sifata meis paterentur ducere uitam
auspiciis et sponte mea componere curas
urbem Troianam primum dulcisque meorum
reliquias colorem Priami tecta alta manerent
et recidiua manu posuissem Pergama uictis. (A.4.340-4)1
The Trojans of Buthrotum have rebuilt Troy in order to repeat the past and master it, just
as Aeneas has tried to do himself. Here, Helenus is king over Greek lands while
Neoptolemus, son of Achilles, is dead. Though in a diminished form, the gates of Troy
stand. In Epirus, Helenus has recreated a conflict between Greeks and Trojans, but in its
18 Aeneas reveals this to Dido as he leaves Carthage. Although this episode happens after Book 3, Aeneas'
admission confirms what his foundation practices have already indicated.
resolution, the Trojans victoriously conquer the Greeks and colonize their lands. But
Aeneas has broken free from constructing his identity in terms of the trauma of the
Trojan war; thus, he is excluded from Helenus' new version, the Trojan mastery of the
Greeks in Epirus.
Aeneas' Otherness is fully expressed when he is compared to Andromache. She
associates herself only with the past, in terms of fallen Troy, while Aeneas has broken his
compulsion to rebuild the city. From Andromache's perspective, "Trojanness" means
being opposed to the Greeks and being at war. For her, "Trojanness" means being the
wife of dead Hector and the mother of dead Astyanax, as indicated by her farewell to
Aeneas and Ascanius:
accipe et haec, manuum tibi quae monument mearum
sint, puer, et longum Andromachae testentur amorem
coniugis Hectoreae. cape dona extrema tuorum
o mihi sola mei super Astyanactis imago. (A.3.486-9)19
When Aeneas first lands and approaches the city, he meets with Andromache who is
sacrificing at a cenotaph of Hector (sollemnis cum forte dapes et tristia dona ante urbem
in lucofalsi Simoentis adundam /libabat cineri Andromache manisque vocabatA.3.301-
3).20 Andromache's customary (sollemnes) rites to Hector imply that her mourning is
still fresh, even well after Troy's destruction. Despite her relocation and her new city,
Andromache compulsively continues the behaviors which were prompted by the
traumatic event of her husband's death.
19 Bettini (1997) 9-11. Bettini argues that Andromache, a foreign bride, upon marrying Hector,
reconstructed her identity entirely in relationship to her husband and his city.
20 Bettini (1997) 12. Bettini argues that Aeneas' arrival on the anniversary of Hector's death is a
"coincidence." Frankly, it may be that Andromache simply does this every day, since "sollemnes" can
mean customary (Oxford Latin Dictionary, sollemnis, 2). This repetitive behavior would fit with her
obsession with the past. This, however, is in opposition to Serv. A. 3.301: "sollemnes non festas, sed
'!,.1,A i,1, ', 'anni uersarias'."
Andromache seems to have no knowledge of other Trojans outside of her city, as if
her imitative Troy were segregated so that she may continue her repetition of the past in
uninterrupted peace. She is clearly startled at the sight of other approaching Trojans,
particularly because they are dressed in distinctive Trojan armor.21 This rare description
of Aeneas' dress registers as odd because he wears the garb of war when approaching the
city of his kinsman. Vergil may have chosen to depict Aeneas in this way not only
because in Andromache's eyes it confirms the static nature of the past in that all Trojans
are war-time Trojans, but also because Aeneas has changed so drastically that he would
be unrecognizable to other Trojans without his armor.
Andromache's own obsessive nostalgia makes her the self-appointed guardian of
her version of Trojan culture. She and Aeneas are juxtaposed in this capacity, since
Aeneas carries the Penates to their rightful home, while Andromache recreates Troy in
order to keep its memory alive. At their initial meeting, she asks Aeneas six questions,
four of which are about the past. She asks if Ascanius lives: quidpuer Ascanius?
superatne et uescitur aura? /quem tibi iam Troia-(A.3.339-40).22 Then she asks if
Ascanius has any knowledge of Creusa and Hector, prominent Trojans who were lost in
the fall of Troy. But Andromache's question really concerns whether or not Ascanius is
familiar with Trojan people and ideals, in other words her concern is Ascanius'
involvement in Trojan culture. To insure Ascanius' memory of Troy, Andromache
makes gifts for him that are meant to remind him of Trojan culture: accipe et haec,
21 Bettini (1997) 13-4. Bettini argues that Andromache was performing a ritual to summon the spirits of the
dead. Aeneas' sudden appearance seemed to fulfill her prayers. I believe her startled questions and her
faint imply that she has tried this ritual before, with unsuccessful results.
22 Line 340 is incomplete but there are some senses that can be extrapolated-the quem still refers to
Ascanius, the Troia is either the subject or an ablative.
manuum tibi quae monument mearum /sint, puer, et longum Andromachae testentur
amorem (A.3.486-7). Andromache has found Trojan objects, even imitations, comforting
and familiar. For instance, Andromache sacrifices at an empty tomb since she could not
bring the corpse of Hector with her (Hectoreum ad tumulum, uiridi quem caespite inanem
/etgeminasA.3.304-5). But she feels connected to Hector so long as she creates a tomb
for him. The Trojans feel connected to Troy if they create a substitute Troy, a
manifestation of their nostalgia. In turn, the imitation of Troy re-affirms for the people
that they are Trojan. It is this cycle of regressively and compulsively recreating the past
that Aeneas finally manages to break by accepting his destiny in Italy. By abstention
from repeating the traumatic past, Aeneas' Trojan identity is eradicated in deference to
Jupiter's intention of creating a mixed Roman people.
Andromache's barrenparua Troia starkly contrasts to Jupiter's prophecy of a
mixed race. Andromache's preoccupation with Ascanius brings her current bereft state
into focus. Andromache continually compares Ascanius to Astyanax, who was killed at
Troy. Though there is a passing reference to her son by Neoptolemus, there is no
mention of Andromache bearing any children to Helenus (nospatria incensa diuersaper
aequora uectae /stirpis Achilleaefastus iuuenemque superbum /seruitio enixae tulimus
A.3.325-7). The fertility of the city is even questioned when the riverbed is described as
dry (arentem Xanthi cognomine riuum /agnoscoA.3.350-1). Clearly there are Greeks
nearby, the former subjects of Neoptolemus, with which the people of Buthrotum could
intermarry and invigorate their own people. Still, the Trojans in Epirus remain hostile to
Greeks, just as they were in the past.23 If a city imitates Troy in every aspect, it must also
23 Otis (1964) 261: "Helenus' city in Epirus is clearly no new creation like Rome. There is no intentional
mixture of the old and the new (Trojan and Latin) but mere reproduction of the old."
imitate the fall of Troy, which is its most famed distinction-thus Buthrotum, through its
obsession with the past, condemns itself to inviability.
Aeneas remains separate from this reductive Trojan imitation. Despite dressing in
his old Trojan armor, Aeneas has a future which gives him a viability not available to
Helenus and Andromache. Aeneas perceives a reflection of himself in Andromache's
excessive, compulsive repetition of the past, however, he can no longer participate in this
reductive compulsion to rebuild Troy. After seeing Buthrotum, he recognizes that the
city cannot be saved, only imitated. Aeneas Otherness, his exclusion from "Trojanness,"
manifests itself when he addresses Helenus and Andromache as having completed their
fates (uiuite felices, quibus estfortuna peracta / iam sua: nos alia ex aliis infata
uocamur A.3.493-4). Their city has already been established, while he himself has yet to
fulfill his journey. D. Bright argues that their completed fates and obsession with the past
constitute a pseudo-nekyia in Buthrotum.24 This would be the ultimate expression of
Aeneas' Otherness; he lives, while Andromache and Helenus are dead. In this most
extreme form of Otherness, there is only exclusion or inclusion; the difference cannot be
bridged by hospitium or kinship. Yet this difference may explain why Aeneas does not
leave any Trojans in Buthrotum. Previously he left a few people in Crete, but if
Buthrotum is, as Bright calls it, a "necropolis," Aeneas would not be able to leave living
Trojans among the dead.25
24 For the analysis of Aeneas' experience in Buthrotum as a nekyia see Bright (1981) "Aeneas' Other
Nekyia" and Hershkowitz (1991) "The Aeneid inAeneid 3." For comparisons of Aeneas' nekyia with
Odysseus' see Quint (1982) "Painful Memories: Aeneid 3 and the Problem of the Past."
25 Bright (1981) 44 and Williams ( 1990) 94. Hanc quoque deserimus sedem paucisque relictis /uela
damus A.3.190-1. Williams argues that the mention of Aeneas leaving people behind accounts for the
epichoric cities which are somehow associated Aeneas' journey.
Although he began his journey with the intention of re-founding Troy, he has
accepted his destiny to settle an unknown place with a new city. Through comparisons
with other Trojans and failed attempts at founding Trojan cities, Aeneas is made aware of
the reductive nature of his own nostalgia for the past as well as his own compulsion to
repeat it. This realization comes at the cost of Aeneas' Trojan identity, which formerly
was constructed in terms of the war and the city herself. In the future, Aeneas will
instead reconstruct his identity from his destiny which demands that he establish a new,
mixed culture rather than try futilely to restore a fallen city.
DARDANUS: AENEAS' FUTURE PAST
In order to reconstruct his identity after the destruction of Troy, Aeneas turns to his
prophesized future which leads him to Italy. Many of these prophecies are based on
Aeneas' genealogy which can be traced backward to his ancestor, Dardanus. Yet, not
much is revealed about Dardanus to Aeneas: "He [Aeneas] goes to a home, but a strange,
cold, unknown home; and Vergil makes it mysteriously a return, claiming, with some
justification, too, that Dardanus, Troy's founder, first came from Italy."1 To Aeneas,
Dardanus is unfamiliar, but Aeneas clings to his story in spite of his unfamiliarity. It is
the purpose of this chapter to evaluate how Dardanus acts as a "cipher," a cultural blank
onto whom Aeneas may project his perception of an ideal homeland and from whom he
gains identity.2 Aeneas affiliates himself with Dardanus because the both exiles have
similar stories, though Dardanus' story has been truncated. This chapter will examine
both why the long traditions about Dardanus became condensed into very minor episodes
in the Aeneid, and what role Aeneas' descent from Dardanus plays in his efforts to
reintegrate himself into a community.
Dardanus' story and lineage have older traditions from which Vergil draws his own
version. The sources such as Homer, Apollodorus, and Dionysius of Halicarnassus agree
1 Knight (1944) 132.
2 Syed (2005) 175: Syed reserves her term "cipher" for Aeneas.
that Dardanus is the son of Jupiter and Electra, a daughter of Atlas.3 Eventually,
Dardanus leaves his home and travels to the Troad region, where he becomes king.
While all sources again concur that he ends up in the area of Troy, they disagree very
much as to Dardanus' place of origin. The Greek tradition is the most complex: either
Dardanus was born in the region of Troy or he traveled there by way of either
Samothrace or Crete.4 The Roman tradition rejects these Greek versions, preferring
instead that Dardanus was born in Italy, in the region of Etruria, and went to the Troad
via Samothrace.5 Once in the region of Troy, Dardanus met with Teucer, who offered his
daughter, Bateia, and his kingdom to the immigrant.6 Then, Dardanus and Bateia had
two sons, Ilus, the eponym of Ilium, and Erichthonius.7 Both sons became rulers in the
region, renamed Dardania, though the area still lacked a ruling city. After Ilus died
childless, Erichthonius succeeded to the Dardanian throne.8 He eventually married
Astyoche, daughter of the river god Simoeis, and fathered Tros, the eponym of Troy.9
Like his father, Tros married a daughter of a river god, Callirrhoe, daughter of
3 Dardanon a4 prwton teketo nefelhgereta Zeu- (II. 20.215) and /Hlektra- de t- Atlanto- kail Di-
llasiwn kai Dardano- genonto (Apollod. 3.12.1).
4 Dardano- de epi tw qanaltw tou adel fou lupoumeno-, Samoqrakhn apolipwn eij thf aptipera tIpeiron
tfpeiron iflqe (Apollod. 3.12.1)
5 Dardanus Idaeas Phrygiae penetrarit ad urbes / Threiciamque Samum, quae nunc Samothraciafertur
A.7.208-9. For Vergil's innovation of Dardanus' birth place, see McKay (1970) Vergil's Italy.
6 upodecqel- de utpa tou Basilew-, kai labwf mero- th- gh- kai tyhn keinou qugatera Bateian (Apollod.
7 llou shma palaiou Dardanidao (11.11.166), llou Dardanidao, palaiou dhmogeronto- (11.11.372), and
Dardano- a4u tekeq / uin jErcqonion basilha (11.20.219). Ilium seems to be the first name of the city of
Troy before it was renamed after Tros.
8 Genomenwn de autW paidwn /llou kai /Ericqoniou, /lo- ,men a/pais apeqanen, /Ericqonio- de diadexameno-
thn basileian (Apollod. 3.12.2).
9 Trwa d /Ericqonio- teketo Trwessin anakta (II. 20.230) and ghma- Astuochn thn Zimoentos, teknoi
Trwa (Apollod. 3.12.2).
Scamander. Tros and Callirrhoe had three sons, Ilus, Assaracus, Ganymede, and a
daughter, Cleopatra.10 While Ganymede is famous for being kidnapped by Jupiter,
almost nothing is known about his sister, Cleopatra. The eldest brothers, Ilus and
Assaracus, ruled in Dardania, but eventually Ilus emigrated to another part of Phrygia,
leaving Assaracus to rule Dardania.11 Ilus left after receiving an omen to follow a cow,
then to found a city where it lay down; on that spot Ilus founded the city of Troy.12
During the fourth generation of Dardanus' family, the city of Troy itself is constructed.
From the foundation of Troy, the kingdoms of Ilus and Assaracus are considered separate
ruling houses. In Phrygia, Ilus married Eurydice, who bore a son, Laomedon, and a
daughter, Themiste.13 Laomedon became the king of Troy and the father of many
children, the most famous of which was Priam.14 Themiste then married her cousin
Capys, the son of Assaracus.15 This couple bore Anchises, who then fathered Aeneas by
Venus.16 This is the tradition of Dardanus' family from which Vergil develops his own
ideas about Aeneas.
10 Th- gar toi geneh- I- Trwil per euruopa Zef- / dwc / uio- poinhn Ganumhdeo- (11.5.265-6), Trwo- d
ai4 trei- paide- amumone- epegenonto / /lHa- t /Assa/raka- te kail aptiqeo- Ganumhdh- (11.20.231-2), and
oito- paralabfn thn basileian thn men cwran qf/ eaoutou Troian qkalese, kai ghma- Kallirrohn thn
Skamandrou genna/ qugaterra men Kleopatran, paida- de /lion kai /Assa/rakon kai Ganumhdhn (Apollod.
" llo- de ei- Frugian qfikomeno- (Apollod. 3.12.3).
12 donto- aitW tou basilew- kata crhsmoin kai bound pokilhn, kai frasanto- en *wper an aqth kliql tapw
polin ktizein, eipeto th boil. h de afikomenh epi ton legomenon th- Frugia- AAth- Iofon klinetai:
eiqa palin ktisa- /llo- tauthn men /lion ekalese (Apollod. 3.12.3).
13 ///a- d / a4 tekeq / uibn aumona Laomedonta (11.20.236)
14 Laomedwn d / ra Tiqwnon teketo Priamon te / Lampon te Klution q /l/ketaona t / oon Arho-
15 Assa/rako- de Kapun, d d / r Agcishn teke paida (11.20.239).
Vergil does not describe Aeneas' genealogy in a full family tree. When Vergil
does mention characters from the Dardanian house, he only gives very generalized details
when he gives them at all. When interpreting Apollo's oracle, Anchises only recalls the
story of Teucer's emigration to the Troad from Crete, but he cannot immediately
remember the story of Dardanus.17 Even Ganymede's story is relegated to a fleeting
reference in the list of the causes of Juno's anger (rapti Ganymedis honors A. 1.28).
When Vergil mentions Ilus and Assaracus, they are described only as great Trojan
heroes, and their relationship to Dardanus is omitted: hic genus antiquum Teucri,
pulcherrima proles, /magnanimi heroes, nati meloribus annis, /Ilusque Assaracusque et
Troiae Dardanus auctor (A.6.648-50).
When compared with the scant details given about other members of Aeneas'
distant relatives, Vergil's description of Dardanus is considerably better developed.
Vergil confirms that Dardanus is the son of Electra, who is the daughter of Atlas
(Dardanus, Iliacae primus pater urbis et auctor, /Electra, ut Grai perhibent, Atlantide
cretus A.8.134-5). The most important detail Vergil gives about Dardanus is that he
emigrated from Italy:
.. nuncfama minores
Italiam dixisse ducis de nominee gentem.
Hae nobis propriae sedes hinc Dardanus ortus
lasiusque pater, genus a quo principle nostrum. (A.3.165-8)
Later in the same epiphany, the Penates specify that Aeneas should seek Corythus and
Ausonia (haud dubitanda refer, Corythum terrasque requirat /Ausonias A.3.170-1).
Later, Latinus repeats Dardanus' birth place specifically as Corythus: hinc illum Corythi
Tyrrhena ab sedeprofectum (A.7.209). Vergil stresses Dardanus' origins by repeating
1 Anchises describes the Teucrian emigration atA.3.103-17, and he realizes his mistake atA.3.182-7.
his birth place. Though Latinus does not explain why Dardanus left Italy, he does state
that Dardanus traveled to Samothrace before arriving in the Troad.18 These references to
specific cities may be epichoric allusions to the outside traditions that Vergil chooses not
to employ. The final detail about Dardanus describes his apotheosis: aurea nunc solo
stellantis regia caeli /accipit et numerum divorum altaribus auget (A.7.210-1). This
reference to Dardanus' deification may be another Vergilian innovation.19 All of these
descriptions edify Aeneas about his legacy, but they do not expand Dardanus' character
much beyond his relocation from Italy.
The paucity of descriptions of Dardanus in the text reflects Aeneas' unfamiliarity
with his own ancestor as well as with Italy. Of the four descriptions of Dardanus, three
are explained to Aeneas, in order to educate him about his journey. Aeneas' ignorance of
the references to Italy in some of the prophecies reinforces Aeneas' disassociation from
the early Trojan origins. At the outset of Book 3, the Trojans are described as incerti in
respect to their destination (A.3.7).20 Although Creusa, at the fall of Troy, told Aeneas to
travel to Hesperia, when Aeneas begins his journey, he does not know where he should
travel. In Creusa's prophecy, she specifically mentions Hesperia and the Lydius Thybris,
both of which may have been very vague to Aeneas at the time.21 The Trojans exhibit a
pattern of ignorance about their own past, since Anchises interprets Apollo's oracle to
mean Crete (Creta lovis mani medio iacet insulaponto, / mons Idaeus ubi et gentis
18 Dardanus Idaeas Phrygiae penetrarit ad urbes / Threiciamque Samum, quae nunc Samothraciafertur
19 Horsfall (2000) 169.
20 Khan (2001) 910.
21 Saunders (1925) 85.
cunabula nostrae A.3.104-5). Anchises' solution to the oracle seems firm and
acceptable; it does not cross his mind that there could be another Trojan ancestor.
Anchises and the other Trojans have forgotten about Dardanus.
Though Aeneas may be unfamiliar with Dardanus the man, Aeneas is very familiar
with the epithet "Dardanian," which is often used to categorize the Trojans as an ethnic
group. Aeneas and his people are referred to as "Dardanian" at least once per book; in
fact it happens quite often. Aeneas twice is called "Dardanus," once by Dido and once by
Diomedes.22 The epithet "Dardanidae" or the adjectives "Dardanidis" and "Dardanius"
are used to describe either the Trojans or their possessions 51 times.23 Troy is referred to
as "Dardania" 12 times.24 Yet this epithet only identifies Aeneas ethnically; it does not
characterize him because Dardanus himself is not characterized with depth.25 Also, the
epithet is ambiguous since Dardanus is both Italian and Trojan. Because he knows so
little about his ancestor, this ambiguity seems to have no meaning for Aeneas. So for
Aeneas, only the name "Dardanus" is familiar, while the implications of an ambiguous
Italian/Troj an ethnicity remain imperceptible.
Despite his unfamiliarity with Dardanus, Aeneas chooses to identify himself with
his ancestor after he breaks his compulsion to re-found Troy. He accepts his new future
22 hauriat hunc oculis ignem crudelis ab alto /Dardanus, et nostrae secumferat omina mortis A.4.661-2,
and si duo praeterea talis Idaea tulisset / terra viros, ultro Inachias venisset ad urbes /Dardanus, et versis
lugeret Graecia fatis A. 11.285-7.
23A.1.494, 595, 602; 2.59, 72, 445, 612, 787; 3.94, 596; 4.163, 224, 626, 640, 647, 658; 5.30, 45, 386, 576,
711; 6.85, 169, 482, 756; 7.195, 289, 422, 756; 8.14, 120; 9.88, 100, 293, 247, 660; 10.4, 92, 133, 263, 545,
603, 638, 814; 11.353, 400, 472; 12.14, 549, 585, 775.
24A.2.242, 281; 3.52, 156; 5.119, 622; 6.57, 65;7.219; 8.120; 9.695; 10.326.
25 For the flexible use of the epithet Dardanus as either praiseworthy or as an ethnic slur, see Anderson
"Trojan, Dardanian, Roman: The Power of Epithets in the Aeneid."
rather suddenly, and with gusto once he spies Italy herself: cum procul obscuros colles
humilemque videmus Italiam. Italiam prumus conclamat Achates, /Italiam laeto socii
clamore salutant (A.3.522-4). Also, after Aeneas makes landfall in Carthage, he
professes that Italy is his homeland: Italiam quaero patriam (A. 1.380).26 Then, later in
Book 4, Aeneas goes so far as to call Italy not only hispatria, but also his love: hic
amor, haec patria est (A.4.347).
Dardanus' story appeals to Aeneas because in the few details given, it strongly
parallels his own. The Penates reveal to Aeneas a vision which is his first introduction to
his ancestor, Dardanus (A.3.154-71). In this vision, the Penates not only admit that their
own home is in Italy, but also they indicate that they are linked to Dardanus through the
land (hae nobis propriae sedes, hinc Dardanus ortus / asiusque pater, genus a quo
principle nostrum A. 3.167-8). The Penates imply that when Dardanus left Italy, he carried
the Penates with him, just as Aeneas did upon fleeing Troy. 27 Vergil emphasizes
Aeneas' transportation of the Penates both when Aeneas describes his strange vision and
when the Penates confirm their own identity. Aeneas identifies the Penates not only as
sacred, but as the very gods which he carried: effigies sacrae divum Phrygiique Penates,
quos mecum a Troia mediisque ex ignibus urbis / extuleram (A. 3.148-50). Only six lines
later, the Penates reiterate their journey with Aeneas: nos te Dardania incensa tuaque
arma secuti, /nos tumidum sub te permensi classibus aequor (A. 3.156-7). By
emphasizing that Aeneas must return the Penates to the land of Dardanus, and by
26 Wilhelm (1992) 132: "In these lines, Aeneas is stating his genealogical credentials; the reference to his
patria, which is based on his descent from Dardanus, is an indication that Aeneas has recognized and
accepted his genealogical heritage following Anchises' revised interpretation of the Delian Apollo's
27sacra suosque tibi commendat Troia Penates A.2.293.
implying that Dardanus originally removed the Penates, Vergil links the two Trojans in a
Another detail of Dardanus' trip related by Latinus, namely Dardanus' stop-over in
Samothrace, supports the view that Aeneas' journey is an inverse of Dardanus'. At least
one Greek tradition states that Dardanus was born on the island of Samothrace; Vergil
claims he simply stopped there on his way to Troy.28 Though Aeneas does not stop at the
island itself, he does make a landfall in Thrace, the mainland from which Samothrace
takes its name.29 Vergil's wording, his hysteron-proteron shifting of the name
"Samothrace" emphasizes the Thracian half: Threiciamque Samum, qua nunc
S.ithi,/ i, itfertur (A.7.208). This echo of the name "Thrace" serves as a corresponding
point for both Aeneas' and Dardanus' journeys.30 It restructures Aeneas' course as the
reversal of Dardanus' journey. This correspondence, a shared experience, helps Aeneas
familiarize himself with Dardanus' story, which then allows him to identify himself with
The third correspondence between Dardanus' journey and Aeneas' lies only in
allusions to Aeneas' eventual deification. According to Jupiter's prophesies in Book 1,
Aeneas will be deified (sublimemqueferes ad sidera caeli magnanimum Aenean
A. 1.259-60). After his apotheosis, Aeneas will be called "Indiges," the native god.31
Aeneas' status as a native in Italy is contingent upon his association with Dardanus. In
28 Apollod. 3.12.1.
29 Horsfall (2000) 167-8.
30 Horsfall (2000) 168: The rest of line 210, qua nunc Samothraciafertur, is what Horsfall calls an
unmistakablebe marker of Virgilian name-play".
31 Serv. A.1.259.
Latinus' description of Dardanus, he suggests that Dardanus likewise was deified (aurea
nunc solio stellantis regia caeli / accipit et numerum divorum altaribus auget A. 7.210-1).
While this detail may link Dardanus and Aeneas, since both would be bound for the stars,
the only testament for Dardanus' apotheosis is Vergil's description at A. 7.210-11.32 This
innovation shows how even in such few details about Dardanus, Vergil carefully crafts
this minor character.
Vergil manufactures similarities between Aeneas and Dardanus so that a
connection stronger than just genealogy exists between them. Both Dardanus and Aeneas
are displaced persons, consequently both are Others. Just as Aeneas is no longer Trojan
because he has no homeland, Dardanus is not precisely Italian because he is an expatriate.
Aeneas' Otherness, his exclusion from other cultures, makes him a cipher, a cultural
blank who must reform his identity. Dardanus, although born in Italy, seems to have no
culture of his own. In fact, he barely has an identity of his own. In this way, Dardanus is
also a cipher, a blank. The details given abut Dardanus are like echoes from Aeneas'
journey rather than original details about his own history. Yet, Dardanus' depiction as a
cipher is useful to Aeneas. If Dardanus is as much of a cultural blank as he is an
underdeveloped character, then Aeneas can mold Dardanus' story for his own use to
fulfill his destiny in Italy.33
Dardanus' story will serve as a common denominator for Aeneas' interactions with
other peoples, including the Trojans. The story also allows Aeneas to link himself to
many different ethnic groups without committing his inclusion in one at the expense of
32 Horsfall (2000) 169.
33 Quint (1999) proposes an idea similar to this one, namely that the foundation story can be changed and
manipulated to serve a purpose, but he applies it only to Aeneas' view of Italy and Rome's recent past.
his exclusion from another. After Aeneas' exclusion from the rest of the Trojan diaspora,
he invents a connection to them by restating their mutual genealogical link to Dardanus:
si quando Thybrim uicinaque Thybridis arua
intraro gentique meae data moenia cernam,
cognatas urbes olim populosque propinquos,
Epiro Hesperiam (quibus idem Dardanus auctor
atque idem casus), unamfaciemus utramque
Troiam animis: maneat nostros ea cura nepotes. (A.3.500-
Aeneas' relationship to Helenus is no longer that of brother-in-law or even compatriot.
Aeneas and Helenus must turn to the very distant past, represented by Dardanus, to
establish their connection, namely their common Dardanian descent. The genealogical
link will also join their peoples, those in Epirus and Italy. The communities of Helenus
and Aeneas will be interconnected by their identification with Dardanus.
In the same way that Aeneas maintains his connection to Helenus, it is through
Dardanus that Aeneas will connect himself to Italy, thus reconstructing Italy as his
legitimate future homeland. When Aeneas arrives in Italy, he has already lost his original
homeland and he has been excluded from his own people. His destiny in Italy and his
associations with Dardanus have caused him to consider Italy his patria even before his
arrival (hic amor, haecpatria est A.4.347). Here then is a paradox: is Aeneas Trojan or
Italian?34 It is my assessment that Aeneas is both and neither at the same time. Aeneas is
an externus when he arrives in Italy, but through his relationship to Dardanus auctor, he
is an Italian descendant. On one hand, Aeneas must be an externus to fulfill the prophecy
that he will marry Lavinia (hunc illum fatis externa ab sede profectum /portendi
34 Toll (1991) 8.
generum paribusque in regna vocari /auspiciis A. 7.255-7).35 Yet on the other hand, the
Penates have demanded Aeneas make his home in Italy as an internus (A.3.154-71).
Aeneas' Otherness causes him to be an ambiguous ethnic character once he arrives in
Italy. He has also restructured his identity against another ethnically ambiguous
character, Dardanus. Paradoxically both characters are ciphers, but Dardanus' identity is
so underdeveloped and malleable that Aeneas manipulates it in order to gain associations
with disparate cultures. In this case, as a descendant of Dardanus, Aeneas links the
separated Trojans and Italians into one community.
Aeneas uses Dardanus' role as auctor to forge imagined kinships between separate
cultures. These kinships are imagined because they arise out of nearly forgotten
traditions in order to link groups that are isolated from one another. Thus far, through
Dardanus, Aeneas has linked himself with Italians, and with diasporic Trojans. These
kinships and the foundation stories help different peoples to consider themselves the
same people in a shared (nascent) nationalism.36 Aeneas will use his genealogy to link
himself with one more group: Greeks living in Italy. Through this imaginary link to
Dardanus, Aeneas gains a Greek ally in Evander:
Dardanus, Iliacae primus pater urbis et auctor,
Electra, ut Grai perhibent, Atlantide cretus,
aduehitur Teucros; Electram maximus Atlas
edidit, aetherios umero qui sustinet orbis.
uobis Mercurius pater est, quem candida Maia
Cyllenae gelido conceptum uerticefudit;
at Maiam, auditis si quicquam credimus, Atlas,
idem Atlas generate caeli qui sidera tollit.
sic genus amborum scindit se sanguine ab uno. (A.8.134-
35 My emphasis.
36 Anderson (2003) 7.
Here, Aeneas again traces his ancestry to Dardanus, whose mother was Electra, the
daughter of Atlas. He then traces Evander's genealogy, pointing out that his father
Mercury is also a grandson of Atlas, thus making Dardanus and Mercury second
cousins.37 Through these imaginary links of kinship to Dardanus, Aeneas has linked
Italians, Trojans, and now Greeks.
This is the only description of Dardanus that Aeneas makes himself; the other three
are explained to Aeneas. The small detail about Electra does not appear in any of the
other descriptions of Dardanus. While it does conform to the traditions about Dardanus,
how did Aeneas, who knew so little about Dardanus at the outset, come to know this fact?
How he came by the information may not be as important as how he uses it. Here,
Dardanus is the cipher onto which Aeneas can project an identity for his own ends.
Aeneas independently fashions this portion of his lineage in order to have a connection to
Evander, a blood tie which joins the culturally separate men into a single community (sic
genus amborum scindit se sanquine ab uno A. 8.42). By reconstructing his genealogy
back to Atlas, Aeneas participates in a reformation and re-imagining of new traditions
into his own past.
Aeneas' reformation of his past and his identity are results of his Otherness; in
order to achieve his destiny in Italy, Aeneas must become an internus rather than an
external Other. He cannot become a Latin simply by marrying Lavinia, so he turns to his
distant ancestry in order to find connections to different people present in Italy. These
kinships are imagined; they exist in the nearly forgotten, very ancient world of myth.
They are imagined because they can be changed, either accepted or rejected, and because
37 Horsfall (1989) 19.
they can be projected onto characters like Dardanus. Just as Aeneas chooses a strategic
moment to reveal a key piece of information about Dardanus' past in order to form an
imagined kinship with Dardanus, so Vergil chooses to make Dardanus Italian rather than
Greek. Just as Dardanus' ambiguous ethnic status links Trojans, Italians, and Greeks, so
Aeneas' ambiguous ethnic status will link Italians, Greeks, and Romans.
Since it retold a foundation story, the Aeneid allowed the Romans to break the
compulsive repetition of their recent, traumatic past in favor of the more distant past, but
more importantly, the Aeneid provided one coherent foundation story for all to share in.
While the Roman foundation myths were multifarious and contradictory and Vergil's
own version may not have been unified into a homogeneous narrative, the contradictory
stories of Dardanus within the Aeneid were still contained within the same work, which
allowed them to be propagated as a unit.1 Thus the Aeneid did for the Roman people
what the story of Dardanus did for Aeneas: it provided a point of reference upon which
the relationships between disparate groups were formed.
The result of Aeneas' spatial and psychological journey was ultimately Rome
herself. At the start of his journey, Aeneas could only conceive of the past and the fall of
Troy. His unsuccessful foundation attempts in Thrace and Crete were reflections of his
obsession with the past and reluctance for the future. Aeneas was neither prepared nor
willing to embark upon his great future; rather he preferred to follow his compulsion to
repeat the past and to rebuild Troy.
In order to follow his destiny, Aeneas had to break away from his nostalgic desire
to restore Troy. His divorce from Trojan culture was not a willing one. Only the most
horrific portents could force Aeneas to give up his intention of recreating Troy; these
1 For the development of the Aeneid as a foundation story in a tradition of other stories, see both Gruen
(1992) Culture and National Identity in Republican Rome, and McKay (1970) Vergil's Italy.
portents, the bleeding stems on Polydorus' grave and the deadly plague at Crete, taught
Aeneas that to repeat the past was to condemn himself to it. Yet by breaking free from
his compulsion, Aeneas separated himself from the other Trojans, particularly Helenus
and Andromache, who, in their obsession with the past, lived in a scaled-down replica of
ancient Troy. Through his separation, Aeneas became an Other, one who existed outside
of Trojan culture. His Otherness emphasized his exile; Aeneas no longer belonged to any
group, he was only an externus without a community in which he could belong.
Aeneas' destiny called for something greater than Troy, something more
encompassing. His relationship to Dardanus auctor became paramount because Aeneas
was then linked to Italians, Greeks, and Trojans. Jupiter mandated that the group
descended from Aeneas be a mixed race; Aeneas' own descent from Dardanus and his
altered identity fulfill this requirement. Dardanus, an Italian born to a Greek woman,
founded Troy. Then, Aeneas, an exile who must give up his Trojan identity for an Italian
woman, is destined to marry Lavinia, a Latin woman. It is through Dardanus that Aeneas
rebuilt both his identity and his community. In this way, Aeneas became an internus to
the multifarious communities living in Italy at his arrival.
This mixed race, linked by the convoluted genealogies and traditions of Dardanus
and Aeneas, typified the multicultural environment of Rome in the first century BCE.
Also by emphasizing Aeneas' ancestry as descended from both Greeks and Italians,
Vergil appealed to a Roman trend of tracing genealogies in an effort to elevate one's
family and stress one's origin. But Vergil's version, rather than simply privileging a
particular family line, connected Romans, Greeks, and Italians in a newly invented,
imagined link of kinship. This link created an interconnected Roman national identity
based on an affiliation through the very distant, legendary past, so as to forget and
overcome the recent traumas of civil wars and colonization. This control over the past
was achieved through the same double process of forgetting and reinventing that Aeneas
participated in when reconstructing his own identity. Once it is restructured in terms of
his legendary ancestry, Aeneas' identity serves as an approach for Rome's newly
incorporated peoples to refashion a cohesive Roman imagined community.
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Generosa Sangco was born in Portsmouth, Virginia, on January 22, 1981. After
moving multiple times along the east coast, she moved with her mother to Jacksonville,
Florida, in 1995. There she graduated from Sandalwood High School in 1999. She then
graduated from the University of Florida in 2003 with a Bachelor of Arts in both English
and classics. She will receive a Master of Arts in classics from the University of Florida