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The Student's Mythology A Compendium of Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Assyrian, Persian, Hindoo, Chinese, Thibetian, Scandinavian, Celtic, Aztec, and Peruvian Mythologies

Page: 33

When Dido found that all was unavailing, and that the Trojans had already embarked, she killed herself in despair.

Æne´as spent some time in Sicily, where he celebrated funeral games in honor of his father, who had died there the preceding year. He left with Acestes, a Trojan prince who governed a part of the island, the women, the aged men, and all who were likely to be useless in the wars which awaited him. Æne´as next landed at Cumæ, in Italy. This was the abode of a famous Sibyl, of whom we will speak elsewhere. She foretold to the hero much that was to happen during his settlement in Italy; but in order that he might be fully informed of the future destinies of his race, she offered to conduct him to the world of shades. Æne´as having plucked, in the sacred grove, a golden bough as a gift to Proser´pine, descended [174] with the Sibyl to the dreary realms of Pluto. After seeing much that was wonderful, and passing through regions inhabited by different classes of departed souls, they entered the happy plains of Elysium. This was the abode of the heroes and other favorites of the gods. Here, in a fragrant meadow, Æne´as found the shade of Anchi´ses, who showed him the souls which were destined to return to earth, and become the future heroes of Rome. Anchi´ses also recounted to Æne´as the glorious deeds which they were one day to perform. In this passage, Virgil takes occasion to gratify the vanity of Augustus and the great families of Rome, by introducing their names and actions in the prophetic discourse of Anchi´ses.

Returning to upper air, Æne´as took leave of the sibyl, and pursued his voyage along the Italian coast, anchoring at length in the mouth of the Tiber.

The country around was governed by a prince named Latinus, the son of Faunus and the nymph Marica. This prince had one child, a daughter named Lavinia. Her hand had been promised to Turnus, prince of the Rutulians, but Latinus was warned by an oracle that his destined son-in-law was to come from afar, and that Lavinia was to wed a foreigner. When Æne´as sent an embassy to Latinus, requesting permission to settle in the country, that prince believed that the Trojan chief was the person pointed out by the oracle, [175] and invited him to his palace. All now seemed to promise a peaceful settlement to the harassed Trojans, but the enmity of Juno was not yet appeased. She sent the Fury Alecto to the palace of Turnus, with orders to excite this prince against the stranger, who was about to rob him of his promised bride. A long war ensued, which forms the subject of the concluding books of the Æneid. At length Turnus fell in a personal combat with Æne´as. The hand of Lavinia was the price of victory, and from the Trojan hero were descended the founders of Rome.


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