King of the Sicilian city of Drepanum, Acestes offers Aeneas and his men a safe harbor when they are driven ashore by a raging storm.
A Greek warrior who was accidentally abandoned by his shipmates in Sicily when they fled the one-eyed Cyclops Polyphemus, Achaemenides is rescued by Aeneas and his crew, who take pity on him and allow him to join their ranks.
One of Aeneas's most faithful and trusted men, Achates remains by his side throughout the tale.
The titular protagonist of the Aeneid, Aeneas is one of the great epic heroes. One of the ancestors of Emperor Augustus, Aeneas is one of the only survivors of the Trojan War. A fearless warrior and remarkable leader, Aeneas guides his men through uncharted waters and terrible adversity, finally bringing them to the land to which they were destined: the land that would one day become Rome. Aeneas is the embodiment of a number of characteristics highly valued by the Romans of Virgil's era, including piety (obedience to the will of the gods), courage, skill at arms, leadership, and determination.
The god of the winds, Aeolus raises the waves in an attempt to capsize Aeneas's ship, thereby angering Neptune, god of the sea.
One of the Furies, Allecto is sent by Juno to start the war between the Latins and the Trojans.
The wife of Latinus and the Queen of Laurentum, where Aeneas and his crew seek their destiny, Amata is strongly opposed to the proposed marriage between Aeneas and her daughter, Lavinia. Favoring the disagreeable Turnus, Amata becomes a mortal assistant to the goddess Juno in her quest to destroy the Trojans, and eventually takes her own life once she realizes that Aeneas is destined to win the battle.
Aeneas's father, for whom Aeneas has a deep love and respect. Although Anchises dies during the journey, he maintains his role as a wise counselor, appearing to Aeneas in a series of visions and dreams and helping him to determine the most appropriate course of action. In Book VI, Anchises guides Aeneas through the Underworld and reveals the future of Rome to his son.
Queen of Buthrotum, Andromache is a Trojan and the widow of the great Hector. Remarried to Hector's brother, Helenus, Andromache is overwhelmed with emotion when Aeneas and his men arrive on her shores, and offers them counsel.
Dido's sister, Anna has good intentions, but unwittingly sets into motion a series of events with disastrous consequences. Advising Dido to surrender herself to her love for Aeneas and forget her vow to her slain husband, she places the life of her sister in grave danger.
The god of the sun, Apollo comes to Aeneas's aid when he and his men stop in Delos.
The Trojan warrior who slays Camilla, and who is in turn killed by one of Diana's emissaries to avenge Camilla's death.
The son of Aeneas with his first wife, Creusa (who dies during the flight from Troy). Also called Iulus, Ascanius is a symbol of Aeneas's future (and, by extension, the future of Rome). He is a motivating force for Aeneas, and though still a child, demonstrates remarkable courage; he is clearly destined for greatness.
One of Turnus's allies, the female warrior Camilla leads a doomed attack on the Trojans during the battle in Latium. Her death is avenged by the goddess Diana, who sends an emissary to slay the Etruscan warrior who killed her.
A sorceress who transforms men into beasts, Circe's island is narrowly avoided by Aeneas and his men.
Aeneas's first wife and Ascanius's mother, Creusa pleads with Aeneas to flee Troy to save their family. When their group is besieged during the flight, Aeneas, in a panic, loses Creusa. He returns to Troy in search of her, but is met by Creusa's shade, who urges him to escape so that he can fulfill his destiny to rule a kingdom and win a royal bride.
The god of desire, Venus's son Cupid makes Dido fall in love with Aeneas by disguising himself as Ascanius, Aeneas's son.
Queen of the African city of Carthage, Dido is one of the strongest female characters in the Aeneid. Dido left her homeland, Tyre, when her husband was murdered by Pygmalion, and began construction on a great new city. Although she is portrayed as Aeneas's equal, Dido is undone by her love for him; the gods use her as a pawn in their conflict over the fate of the Trojans. Overwhelmed by passion, Dido builds a funeral pyre and stabs herself atop the structure using Aeneas's sword.
The Greek Diomedes is one of the heroes of the Trojan War, but he refuses Turnus's request to aid him in his battle against Aeneas.
A Latin leader with an old grudge against Turnus who urges Turnus and Aeneas to put an end to their battle.
Pallas's father and the ruler of the Italian city Pallanteum, Evander aids Aeneas in his battle against the Latins. Evander is also related to Aeneas, since both men are descendants of Atlas.
Hector is the husband of Andromache and the son of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy. One of the greatest Trojan warriors, Hector is killed during the fall of Troy. His shade appears to Aeneas in a dream on the night of the battle, warning him to flee the city.
Queen Hecuba of Troy, Priam's wife, pleas with her husband not to go into battle during the fall of Troy, but to stay with her and her daughters and pray at the altar.
The ruler of the city of Butrothum and Andromache's new husband, Helenus is also brother of the slain Hector. A fellow Trojan, Helenus offers Aeneas and his men shelter when they arrive on his shores, and he gives them guidance.
Renowned for his strength, Hercules is honored with yearly celebrations by King Evander and his subjects for having slain the monster Cacus.
Queen of the gods and wife of Jupiter, Juno is the driving force behind Aeneas's trials. She despises the Trojans because Paris, a Trojan, did not choose her as the fairest of the goddesses in a contest of beauty. Although Juno's wrath causes Aeneas considerable difficulty, she is ultimately unable to alter his fate.
King of the gods and husband of Juno, Jupiter is the most powerful of the gods and is the ultimate arbiter of fate. Although many other gods attempt to intervene during Aeneas's journey, it is Jupiter who guides him towards his destiny.
Turnus's sister, Juturna is Juno's pawn in instigating the battle between the Latins and the Trojans.
The only Trojan to question the appearance of the wooden horse at their gates, Laocoon hurls a spear at the object in anger. When two enormous sea snakes kill Laocoon and his two sons, the Trojans believe that it is a portent and that Laocoon was killed because he profaned the horse. Fearing further wrath from the gods, the Trojans decide to take the horse into their city, precipitating the fall of Troy.
The Latin King, Latinus is a respectful, warm man who welcomes Aeneas and his men. He also encourages Aeneas to marry his daughter, Lavinia, thereby instigating the battle with Turnus, Lavinia's other suitor.
Daughter of King Latinus and Queen Amata, Lavinia is the sole heir to Latium. She is pursued by both Aeneas and Turnus, and she is designated as the prize that will go to the victor of the battle.
The messenger god, Mercury repeatedly appears to Aeneas to communicate the wishes of the gods.
The former king of the Etruscans and one of Turnus's most faithful allies. Mezentius is a complex character because he is portrayed as cruel and heartless, yet he is so overcome by grief when Aeneas kills his son, Lausus, that he sacrifices his own life in an attempt at revenge.
Another goddess who was not chosen by Paris as the fairest, Minerva aids Juno in her quest to destroy the Trojans. Minerva protects the Greeks during the battle in Troy.
The god of the sea, Neptune is angered when Aeolus, god of the winds, intervenes in his territory and raises the waves in an attempt to capsize Aeneas's ship. Neptune calms the seas and allows the Trojans to continue on their voyage.
The Trojan warrior and best friend of Euryalus, Nisus is slain while attempting to carry a message to Aeneas.
The pilot of Aeneas's ship, Palinurus is killed when Somnus, the god of slumber, puts him to sleep, causing him to fall overboard. He manages to swim ashore but then is slain by the island savages.
Evander's son and Aeneas's companion, Pallas is killed by Turnus. Overcome with anger when Turnus carelessly slings Pallas's belt over his shoulder, Aeneas kills Turnus to avenge his friend.
King Priam of Troy is killed during the fall of his great city. Priam is husband to Queen Hecuba and father to the slain Hector. Priam is a noble character who displays courage and piety even in the face of certain death. Aeneas is powerfully affected by the death of his king.
A Greek warrior who enters Troy in the belly of the wooden horse.
Father to both Jupiter and Juno, Saturn is the former king of Olympus.
A Greek warrior who turns himself over to the Trojans, Sinon tells them that he has defected to their side and convinces them to bring the wooden horse into the city.
Sychaeus, Dido's husband, was killed by Dido's brother, Pygmalion. Following his death, Dido pledged never to marry again, but her vow is threatened by the appearance of Aeneas, with whom she falls passionately in love. Sychaeus and Dido are reunited in the afterlife.
Aeneas's greatest mortal opponent, Turnus is the leader of the Latin warriors. Turnus opposes Latinus's decision to allow the Trojans to settle in Latium, and he is angered by Aeneas's pursuit of Lavinia. When Aeneas slays Turnus in the climactic moment of the Aeneid, the event symbolizes the triumph of virtue and piety over pride and egoism.
The goddess of love and Aeneas's mother, Venus appears to her son a number of times throughout the poem to offer him aid.
Venus's husband and the god of fire, Vulcan crafts a set of arms for Aeneas that helps him win the battle against Turnus.
The Aeneid Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Aeneid is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
The Aeneid opens with Virgil's famous words, "I sing of arms and of a man." The narrator describes the impetus behind Aeneas's many struggles. First and foremost, we are introduced to the gods, and we become familiar with their tendency to meddle...