Virgil’s Erato and the Fate of Aeneas

Michael B. Sullivan


So much has been written about Virgil’s invocation of Erato at Aeneid 7.37-45 that one is tempted to call on the Muse for assistance with the catalogue. [1] Mynors’ text of the controversial passage runs as follows [2] :

Nunc age, qui reges, Erato, quae tempora, rerum
quis Latio antiquo fuerit status, aduena classem
cum primum Ausoniis exercitus appulit oris,
expediam, et primae reuocabo exordia pugnae.
tu uatem, tu, diua, mone. dicam horrida bella,
dicam acies actosque animis in funera reges,
Tyrrhenamque manum totamque sub arma coactam
Hesperiam. maior rerum mihi nascitur ordo,
maius opus moueo.
Come now, Erato, and I shall relate the kings,
the times, and the state of things in ancient Latium,
when the foreign fleet first beached on Ausonian
shores, and recall the first beginnings of battle.
You, goddess, you—guide your bard. Of horrible wars,
of combats and kings driven to death by anger,
of the Tuscan host, of all Hesperia under
arms I shall tell. A higher order grows before me;
I set a greater work in motion.

Confronted with these lines, the poem’s critics have been led to an overwhelming question. Why, in the ‘Iliadic’ context of Aeneid 7-12, does Virgil invoke the Muse traditionally associated with erotic poetry? [3] Puzzlement over the poet’s source of inspiration began early. Servius auctus theorizes Virgil sane Erato uel pro Calliope uel pro qualicumque Musa posuit (surely put down Erato either for Calliope or for some other Muse), and succeeding generations of scholars have tended to frame their arguments in response to this hypothesis. [4] Those who follow Servius in denying an erotic aspect to Virgil’s Muse do so on the grounds that, as Nisbet and Hubbard comment on Horace, C. 1.24.3, the assignment of provinces to the Muses ‘was still vague’ among Roman poets until after the Augustan period. [5] Others argue that, on the contrary, the erotic Muse is a fitting patroness for the horrida bella of Aeneid 7-12 because, as Williams most succinctly puts it, ‘the whole conflict about to be described arises from Turnus’ refusal to give up his bride Lavinia to the Trojan stranger.’ [6]

Crucial for both interpretations is the passage’s long-recognized intertextual engagement with Apollonius, Argonautica 3.1-5. I reproduce Fränkel’s text [7] :

Εἰ δ’ ἄγε νῦν Ἐρατώ, παρ’ ἔμ’ ἵστασο καί μοι ἔνισπε
ἔνθεν ὅπως ἐς Ἰωλκὸν ἀνήγαγε κῶας Ἰήσων
Μηδείης ὑπ’ ἔρωτι· σὺ γὰρ καὶ Κύπριδος αἶσαν
ἔμμορες, ἀδμῆτας δὲ τεοῖς μελεδήμασι θέλγεις
παρθενικάς· τῶ καί τοι ἐπήρατον οὔνομ’ ἀνῆπται.
Come now, Erato, stand by my side, and tell me
next how Jason brought back the fleece to Iolcus
with Medea’s love. For you also share the lot
of Cypris, and with your love-cares you charm unwed
maidens; to you also the name of love is joined.

As all agree, the correspondence between Apollonius’ Εἰ δ’ ἄγε νῦν Ἐρατώ and Virgil’s Nunc age… Erato is too exact to be coincidental. The echo’s significance, however, has proven contentious. Scholars stressing the erotic aspect of Virgil’s Muse argue that the Apollonian inter-text encodes the etymological and thematic justifications for the poet’s choice. Etymological, because at Argonautica 3.5, the ἐπήρατον οὔνομα is explicitly joined to Erato. [8] Thematic, because the erotic Muse’s power over ἀδμῆτας παρθενικάς at Argonautica 3.3-5 foreshadows Lavinia’s description at Aeneid 7.53: iam matura uiro, iam plenis nubilis annis (now ripe for a husband, now fit with full years to wed). [9] Nor, according to this approach, does Erato’s amatory influence pertain only to the emerging ‘love triangle’ between Aeneas, Lavinia, and Turnus. Pavlock, for instance, asserts that the inter-textual link with Medea evokes the ‘problematic female sexuality and social chaos’ exemplified by Aeneas’ affair with Dido, Amata’s mirus amor for Turnus (Aeneid 7.57) and her ensuing Bacchic rampage with the matres Latinae (Aeneid 7.373-405). [10] In a related vein, Fernandelli argues that the invocation establishes continuity between the poem’s ‘Odyssean’ and ‘Iliadic’ halves by signaling the abiding role of passion, especially but not exclusively the wrath of Juno, in driving the epic narrative. [11]

On the other side of the debate, scholars who reject these arguments contend that the Apollonian inter-text encodes a purely aesthetic justification for Virgil’s choice. [12] Mariotti was the first to introduce this line of reasoning, arguing that Virgil’s invocation of Erato signals the poet’s synthesis of Homeric material and Apollonian method. [13] Building on this analysis, Thomas demonstrates how the sepulchral, aetiological, and specifically Apollonian elements of Aeneid 7.1-36 allow Virgil to sing the reges et proelia he once renounced at Eclogues 6.3-9 without compromising the Alexandrian poetic principles that his maius opus would seem to preclude. [14] Thus, Virgil’s Erato emblematizes not any amatory undercurrents in the Aeneid’s second half, but rather the poet’s sustained, albeit somewhat tempered commitment to Alexandrian aesthetics in the context of an ostensibly un-Callimachean endeavor. [15] As Thomas puts it, ‘the Muse of the Hellenistic epic is invoked precisely because at the point where his epic will become particularly traditional or Homeric, Virgil is concerned to avoid the taint deriving from mere Homeric imitation. The very presence of Erato at Argonautica 3.1 is sufficient motivation for Virgil’s choice.’ [16]
Finally, in a brief but wide-ranging article, Conte draws attention to how the medial proems of Ennius, Virgil, Ovid, Manilius, and perhaps even Lucretius are constructed in such a way ‘that the public will know not only the object—the quid—of the incipient poem, but also and above all its individual artistic character—its quale.’ [17] Adopting this useful terminology, I would argue that, while Mariotti and Thomas are quite right to highlight the Alexandrian elements of Virgil’s quale at Aeneid 7.1-37, critics stressing Erato’s amatory aspect take an unnecessarily reductive view of the poet’s quid. For by overemphasizing the etymological and thematic justifications encoded by the Apollonian intertext, they undervalue the first of the Hellenistic poet’s incentives for invoking Erato, namely that she ‘also share[s] the lot of Cypris’ (A.R. 3.3-4: σὺ γὰρ καὶ Κύπριδος αἶσαν / ἔμμορες). As we shall see, it is this intertextual link with the ‘lot’ of Venus—a link that subsumes rather than excludes the Muse’s erotic connotations—that makes Erato a uniquely appropriate patronness for the horrida bella that ensue from Aeneas’ destined arrival in Latium.


Crucial for understanding this connection between Erato, Venus’ ‘lot,’ and the fate of Aeneas is the polyvalence of Apollonius’ αἶσα as Virgil would have understood the term. In his commentary on Argonautica 3.3-4, Hunter translates the poet’s σὺ γὰρ καὶ Κύπριδος αἶσαν / ἔμμορες as ‘[I invoke you] because you have a share also in Cypris’ field of influence.’ [18] This perfectly sensible rendering of αἶσα as ‘field of influence’ derives from the noun’s root meaning ‘part’ or ‘lot’ as established by Chantraine; insofar as Erato has been allotted erotic power, the Apollonian Muse shares Cypris’ ‘field of influence.’ [19] However, we must also bear in mind that for Virgil and his contemporaries, this process of allotment also carried providential connotations. For as Chantraine also notes, αἶσα achieves ‘finalement le sens de destinée, où le mot est rapproché de μοῖρα sans différence de sens.’ [20] And indeed, that Apollonius himself was concerned to highlight this particular valence of αἶσα is demonstrated by his punning use of the verb ἔμμορες in the subsequent line. For as Hunter also observes, ‘αἶσα and μοῖρα (the noun of μείρομαι) are synonymous.’ [21] Already in the Argonautica, then, Apollonius uses etymological wordplay to draw attention to destiny’s role in allotting Erato a share in Cypris’ ‘field of influence.’ These two concepts are not mutually exclusive, but complementary. Indeed, this striking turn of phrase probably reflects the Hellenistic poet’s interest in Homeric philology, since as Lee demonstrates, ‘μοῖρα, κήρ, and αἶσα are identical in meaning and are interchangeable in usage’ in Homer. [22] Thus, it should come as no surprise that Virgil—who, we should remember, effects a fusion of imitatio Homerica and imitatio Apolloniana at Aeneid 7.1-37—embraces this equivalence not only when echoing Apollonius’ invocation, but also whenever he appropriates Homeric μοῖρα, κήρ, and αἶσα for the Aeneid. [23] Almost without exception, the word with which Virgil conveys these Greek concepts is fata, or less commonly, its singular form fatum. [24]
To illustrate this point, we need only examine a few passages from the Aeneid whose inter-textual engagement with Homeric concepts of fate is beyond question. For instance, at Iliad 22.209-13, Zeus famously weighs the fates (here, κῆρε) of Achilles and Hector in his golden scales:

καὶ τότε δὴ χρύσεια πατὴρ ἐτίταινε τάλαντα,
210 ἐν δὲ τίθει δύο κῆρε τανηλεγέος θανάτοιο,
τὴν μὲν Ἀχιλλῆος, τὴν δ’ Ἕκτορος ἱπποδάμοιο,
ἕλκε δὲ μὲσσα λαβών· ῥέπε δ’ Ἕκτορος αἴσιμον ἧμαρ,
ᾤχετο δ’ ἐις Ἀΐδαο, λίπεν δὲ ἑ Φοῖβος Ἀπόλλων.
And then the father balanced his golden scales, and
210 placed therein two lots of death, the bringer of woe;
one for Achilles, and one for Hector tamer
of horses, and he held the scales by the middle:
Hector’s fateful day fell and left for Hades, and
Phoebus Apollo left him.

When Aeneas and Turnus finally meet for their long-postponed duel in Aeneid 12, Jupiter likewise weighs their fata (Aeneid 12.723-7):

non aliter Tros Aeneas et Daunius heros
concurrunt clipeis, ingens fragor aethera complet.
725 Iuppiter ipse duas aequato examine lances
sustinet et fata imponit diuersa duorum,
quem damnet labor et quo uergat pondere letum.
So too did Trojan Aeneas and Daunus’ son
clash shields, and a huge thunderclap fills the heavens.
725 Jove himself holds out two scales in equal balance,
and places on them the two men’s divergent fates,
to see whom the trial dooms, and which weight leads to death.

The implications of the Homeric inter-text for our understanding of the poet’s narrative are manifold, and have accordingly received much critical attention. [25] For the purposes of this study, however, it is sufficient to note that for Virgil, Homeric κῆρε in this instance are represented by Latin fata. Moreover, the poet’s compression of his Homeric source material appears to fuse Hector’s κήρ at Iliad 22.210 with the hero’s αἴσιμον ἧμαρ at Iliad 22.213—a formula previously linked with Turnus’ fata at Aeneid 12.149-50. [26] Like Apollonius with αἶσαν / ἔμμορες at Argonautica 3.3-4, therefore, Virgil collapses two Homeric terms for ‘lot’ into a single phrase, both of which are conveyed by Latin fata.

Homeric μοῖρα also falls under the auspices of Virgilian fata. For example, later in Iliad 22, Hector recognizes that the moment of his death is close at hand (Iliad 22.300-305):

300 νῦν δὲ δὴ ἐγγύθι μοι θάνατος κακός, ὀυδ’ ἔτ’ ἄνευθεν,
οὐδ’ ἀλέη· ἦ γάρ ῥα πάλαι τό γε φίλτερον ἦεν
Ζηνί τε καὶ Διὸς υἷι ἑκηβόλῳ, οἵ με πάρος γε
πρόφρονες εἰρύατο· νῦν αὖτέ με μοῖρα κιχάνει.
μὴ μὰν ἀσπουδί γε καὶ ἀκλειῶς ἀπολοίμην,
305 ἀλλὰ μέγα ῥέξας τι καὶ ἐσσομένοισι πυθέσθαι.
300 Now evil death is indeed close upon me, and
there is no escape; for so it long ago pleased
Zeus and his far-darting son, who heretofore have
protected me; but now my fate is upon me.
Let me not die, then, without struggle or glory,
305 but by doing some great deed for posterity.

For Turnus, a smilar moment of recognition occurs before Jupiter’s weighing of the scales in Aeneid 12 (Aeneid 12.676-80):

‘iam iam fata, soror, superant, absiste morari;
quo deus et quo dura uocat Fortuna sequamur.
stat conferre manum Aeneae, stat, quidquid acerbi est,
morte pati, neque me indecorem, germana, uidebis
680 amplius. hunc, oro, sine me furere ante furorem.’
Now fate overwhelms me, sister; cease all delay.
I shall follow where Jove and harsh Fortune call me.
I must engage Aeneas. I must suffer death,
however bitter. Nor shall you see me disgraced
680 further. Let me, I beg, first rage this last rage.

Again, Virgil’s adaptation substantially compresses the themes found in the Homeric inter-text. While Hector wishes to die not ‘without struggle or glory, / but by doing some great deed for posterity,’ Turnus tells Juturna that she will not see him ‘disgraced further.’ Whereas the Homeric hero attributes his impending death to the will of ‘Zeus and his far-darting son,’ the Rutulian substitutes Fortuna for Apollo. Still, the heroes’ remarks on death and fate exhibit striking similarities. Turnus’ quidquid acerbi est, morte at Aeneid 12.678-9 recalls Hector’s θάνατος κακός at Iliad 22.300. More importantly, the Virgilian hero’s iam iam fata, soror, superant at Aeneid 12.676 echoes the Homeric νῦν αὖτέ με μοῖρα κιχάνει at Iliad 22.303. In this case, then, Turnus’ fata evoke not Hector’s κήρ, but his μοῖρα. [27]

Finally, at the conclusion of his banquet among the Phaeacians in Odyssey 8, Odysseus requests that Demodocus change his theme from the Achaeans’ deeds and sufferings to the construction of the wooden horse. The bard obliges him and begins in medias res, recounting how the Trojans were divided as to whether they should break the horse apart, throw it from the top of the citadel, or choose the third, ultimately ‘fatal’ option (Odyssey 8.509-13):

ἢ ἐάαν μέγ’ ἄγαλμα θεῶν θελκτήριον εἶναι,
510 τῇ περ δὴ καὶ ἔπειτα τελευτήσεσθαι ἔμελλεν·
αἶσα γὰρ ἦν ἀπολέσθαι, ἐπὴν πόλις ἀμφικαλύψῃ
δουράτεον μέγαν ἵππον, ὅθ’ εἵατο πάντες ἄριστοι
Ἀργεῖοι Τρώεσσι φόνον καὶ κῆρα φέροντες.
Others thought the wonder should be left to appease
510 the gods, and on this course they settled in the end;
for its lot was to fall, when the city received
the great wooden horse, where all the best Achaeans
waited to deal out death and fate to the Trojans.

As he narrates his own version of the Iliupersis in Aeneid 2, Aeneas glosses the Homeric passage in the wake of Laocoon’s warnings, which the priest punctuates by hurling his spear into the horse (Aeneid 2.54-6):

et, si fata deum, si mens non laeua fuisset,
55 impulerat ferro Argolicas foedare latebras,
Troiaque nunc staret, Priamique arx alta maneres.
and if the fates of the gods and our own wits weren’t
55 against us, he had struck through to wound the hidden
Argives with iron, and Troy would now stand, and you,
Priam’s high citadel, would remain.

In the Homeric passage, Troy’s αἶσα is fixed on the city’s destruction, which derives explicitly from its reception of the horse. In Aeneas’ contrafactual recapitulation, the fata deum preside over the Argives’ success in evading detection, which along with Sinon’s duplicity results in the horse’s transferal within the city walls, and hence Troy’s downfall. Like κήρ and μοῖρα, then, Homeric αἶσα also finds equivalent expression in Virgil’s fata.


Taken together, these appropriations of Homeric κήρ, μοῖρα, and αἶσα suggest that for Virgil, Apollonius’ punning σὺ γὰρ καὶ Κύπριδος αἶσαν / ἔμμορες at A.R. 3.3-4 established an inter-textual connection between Erato and the fata that are Venus’ special concern. And of course, what Clausen terms ‘the grave and recurrent emphasis on fate throughout the poem’ is signaled almost immediately in the Aeneid’s opening lines (Aeneid 1.1-7) [28] :

Arma uirumque cano, Troiae qui primus ab oris
Italiam fato profugus Lauiniaque uenit
litora, multum ille et terris iactatus et alto
ui superum, saeuae memorem Iunonis ob iram,
5 multa quoque et bello passus, dum conderet urbem
inferretque deos Latio; genus unde Latinum
Albanique patres atque altae moenia Romae.
I sing of arms and a man, who first from the coasts
of Troy came, fate’s fugitive, to Italy and
Lavinian shores, tossed on land and sea by the gods’
might through fierce Juno’s recollected wrath, suffering
much in war as well, ’til he founded a city
and brought his gods to Latium; whence the Latin race
and the Alban fathers and the walls of high Rome.

As has long been recognized, Virgil’s first proem iconically encapsulates his epic’s quid by charting its action between the genitives Troiae at Aeneid 1.1 and Romae at Aeneid 1.7. [29] Between them are presented the conflicting divine forces that drive the epic narrative, namely the fatum that compels Aeneas from Troy toward Latium, and Juno’s ira, which constantly works against Rome’s preordained foundation. Moreover, in a particularly elegant instance of epic compression, the poem’s ‘Odyssean’ and ‘Iliadic’ halves are summarized by the iactatus and passus clauses at Aeneid 1.3-4 and Aeneid 1.5-6, respectively. [30] This latter clause is expanded by Virgil in the proem to Aeneid 7, whose position near the outset of the epic’s ‘Iliadic’ half closely mirrors the first proem’s placement at the commencement of its ‘Odyssean’ narrative. [31] Thus, the horrida bella announced at Aeneid 7.41 recapitulate the bellum foreshadowed at Aeneid 1.5, just as Latio antiquo at Aeneid 7.38 evokes the Latio of Aeneid 1.6.

As I now hope to demonstrate, Virgil’s invocation of Erato at Aeneid 7.37 similarly reprises another theme announced in the Aeneid’s first proem, namely fate’s role in bringing Aeneas ‘to Italy and Lavinian shores’ at Aeneid 1.2-3. For by virtue of her inter-textual link with Apollonius’ punning σὺ γὰρ καὶ Κύπριδος αἶσαν / ἔμμορες at A.R. 3.3-4, Erato not only shares Venus’ erotic ‘sphere of influence,’ but also presides over the fata that obsess the Aeneadum genetrix throughout the epic. [32] As such, Erato is a fitting patronness indeed for the horrida bella in Italy that ultimately lead to ‘the Latin race / and the Alban fathers and the walls of high Rome.’
That the fata of Aeneas and his descendants are Venus’ overriding concern is repeatedly asserted by the goddess herself throughout the epic. In her very first speech, for example, Venus demands to know if some new sententia has caused Jupiter to alter her son’s fata, and hence the destiny of the entire Roman race (Aeneid 1.229-41):

‘o qui res hominumque deumque
230 aeternis regis imperiis et fulmine terres,
quid meus Aeneas in te committere tantum,
quid Troes potuere, quibus tot funera passis
cunctus ob Italiam terrarum clauditur orbis?
certe hinc Romanos olim uoluentibus annis,
235 hinc fore ductores, reuocato a sanguine Teucri,
qui mare, qui terras omnis dicione tenerent,
pollicitus—quae te, genitor, sententia uertit?
hoc equidem occasum Troiae tristisque ruinas
solabar fatis contraria fata rependens;
240 nunc eadem fortuna uiros tot casibus actos
insequitur. quem das finem, rex magne, laborum?
‘You who with eternal rule oversee
230 the affairs of gods and men, and with thunder shock,
how has my Aeneas offended you, what have
his Trojans done, that after suffering so many deaths
the whole world is closed to them before Italy?
Surely you swore that, one day as the years roll by,
235 from these men would spring the Romans, the generals
who from Teucer’s reborn blood would hold the ocean
and whole earth in their sway—what thought, father, has changed
your mind? With this I consoled myself for Troy’s fall
and sad ruins, weighing adverse fates against fates;
240 now the same ill fortune follows men dragged down by
so many falls. What end, great king, do you grant to
their labors?

Here, Venus reminds Jupiter of his promise that from Aeneas and his Trojan refugees ‘would spring the Romans, the generals who from Teucer’s reborn blood would hold the ocean and whole earth in their sway.’ This pledge, as she asserts at Aeneid 1.238-9, has been her sole consolation for Troy’s downfall; as she understands Jupiter’s promise, the contraria fata responsible for the city’s destruction are counterbalanced by the fata that will ultimately give rise to Rome. For this to come about, however, her Aeneas (Aeneid 1.231: meus Aeneas) must reach Italy, an outcome that the goddess now doubts in the wake of her son’s shipwreck. Thus, Venus’ very first words in the Aeneid demonstrate her overriding concern with the allotted destiny that, as Virgil announces in his first proem, will bring her son ‘to Italy and Lavinian shores.’

Jupiter immediately perceives and assuages his daughter’s concerns regarding Aeneas’ fata (Aeneid 1.257-66):

‘parce metu, Cytherea, manent immota tuorum
fata tibi; cernes urbem et promissa Lauini
moenia, sublimemque feres ad sidera caeli
260 magnanimum Aenean; neque me sententia uertit.
hic tibi (fabor enim, quando haec te cura remordet,
longius, et uoluens fatorum arcana mouebo)
bellum ingens geret Italia populosque ferocis
contundet moresque uiris et moenia ponet,
265 tertia dum Latio regnantem uiderit aestas
ternaque transierint Rutulis hiberna subactis.
Cease from fear, Cytherea. Your descendants’ fates
remain unmoved; you shall behold the city and
Lavinium’s promised walls, and raise to heaven’s
260 stars great-hearted Aeneas; my mind hasn’t changed.
He shall (so I shall tell at length, since this worry
gnaws at you, and roll forth the secret scrolls of fate)
wage a great war in Italy and crush savage
peoples, and lay down customs and walls for its men,
265 until the third summer sees him rule in Latium,
and three winters pass from the Rutuli’s defeat.

The inextricable link between Venus’ lot and the fata of her descendants is elegantly encapsulated by Jupiter’s pronouncement at Aeneid 1.257-8, manent immota tuorum / fata tibi. As Commager notes, ‘tibi, usually dismissed as a mere ethical dative—‘I’ll tell you,’ ‘you’ll see’—is not without its force.’ [33] On the contrary, the dative explicitly involves Venus in her descendants’ fata, which her father proceeds to relate. [34] But rather than unrolling the fatorum arcana to Aeneas’ wanderings as they are presented in Books 1-6, Jupiter instead commences his prophesy with the bellum ingens in Italy that occupies the poem’s second half. Thus, the immota… fata of Venus’ descendants as ordained by Jupiter at Aeneid 1.261-6 consist of precisely those events over which Erato presides at Aeneid 7.37-45. Indeed, Virgil’s maius opus moueo at Aeneid 7.45 echoes Jupiter’s own uoluens fatorum arcana mouebo at Aeneid 1.262; like the king of the gods before him, the poet sets Aeneas’ fata in motion, with Erato’s help.

Nor is Aeneas himself wholly ignorant of Venus’ preoccupation with the fata that have led him away from Troy. When he encounters his disguised mother not far from Carthage later in Aeneid 1, he introduces himself as follows (Aeneid 1.378-83):

sum pius Aeneas, raptos qui ex hoste penatis
classe ueho mecum, fama super aethera notus;
380 Italiam quaero patriam, et genus ab Ioue summo.
bis denis Phrygium conscendi nauibus aequor,
matre dea monstrante uiam data fata secutus;
uix septem conuulsae undis Euroque supersunt.
I am pious Aeneas. I bring in my ships
with me my household gods, snatched from the enemy.
My fame reaches beyond the heavens; my homeland
(380) in Italy, and the race of high Jove I seek.
I embarked the Phrygian sea with a score of ships,
and followed my granted fates; my goddess mother
showed the way; scarcely seven ships remain, shattered
by the waves and the east wind.

Almost immediately after stating his name, origin, and destination, Aeneas asserts that he has been able to follow his data fata because his ‘goddess mother showed the way.’ In a particularly witty reversal, Venus then proceeds to interpret the omen of the twelve swans for her son, concluding her augury with the enjoinder at Aeneid 1.401, perge modo et, qua te ducit uia, derige gressum (just press on, and go where the way leads you). Thus, Virgil doubly emphasizes Venus’ role in guiding her son along the uia prescribed by his ‘granted fates.’

After instructing Cupid to inflame Dido’s passion for her son at Aeneid 1.657-694, Aeneas’ mother effectively disappears from the narrative for the duration of Books 2 and 3. When she reappears near the beginning of Aeneid 4, however, her obsession with her son’s fata yet again comes to the fore. To Juno’s suggestion that they should join forces and ‘rule this (that is, the Carthaginian) people in common with equal authority’ (Aeneid 4.102-3: communem hunc ergo populum paribusque regamus / auspiciis), the goddess dissimulates (Aeneid 4.105-14):

105 Olli (sensit enim simulata mente locutam,
quo regnum Italiae Libycas auerteret oras)
sic contra est ingressa Venus: ‘quis talia demens
abnuat aut tecum malit contendere bello?
si modo quod memoras factum fortuna sequatur.
110 sed fatis incerta feror, si Iuppiter unam
esse uelit Tyriis urbem Troiaque profectis,
misceriue probet populos aut foedera iungi.
tu coniunx, tibi fas animum temptare precando.
perge, sequar.’
105 To her (for she sensed Juno spoke with veiled intent
to shift Italy’s kingdom to Libyan shores)
Venus answered: ‘who would be mad enough to snub
you, or prefer to contend with you in war? If
only fortune would favor the deed you describe.
110 But I am at fate’s mercy, uncertain if Jove
wants one city for the Tyrians and Trojan
refugees, or approves that their peoples be mixed
or oaths be joined. You are his wife; it’s right that you
try his mind with prayers. Lead on, I’ll follow.

Venus of course knows from her prior conversation with Jupiter that Aeneas is destined to reach Italy, where he will wage his bellum ingens and lay the foundations for the reigns of Iulus, Romulus, and Augustus. Here, however, she claims to be ‘at fate’s mercy, uncertain if Jove wants one city for the Tyrians and Trojan refugees.’ Again, the goddess’ obsession with her descendants’ fata preoccupies her to the point that she cites it as a plausible motivation for joining forces with Juno. As Austin observes, ‘it is the existence of Fate and its possibilities that makes Venus feign such doubts.’ [35]

The love goddess’ next divine consultation exhibits the same obsessive preoccupation with Aeneas’ fata. After Juno dispatches Iris to torch the Trojan fleet in Aeneid 5, Venus approaches Neptune for help. She begins her entreaty by railing against Juno’s defiance of both the fates and Jupiter’s will (Aeneid 5.781-4):

‘Iunonis grauis ira neque exsaturabile pectus
cogunt me, Neptune, preces descendere in omnis;
quam nec longa dies pietas nec mitigat ulla,
nec Iouis imperio fatisque infracta quiescit.
‘Juno’s heavy wrath and insatiable heart
drive me, Neptune, to stoop to every kind of prayer;
No length of time, no honor can appease her; she
won’t rest, unbroken by the fates and Jove’s command.

After enumerating her many grievances against Juno, Venus again returns to the subject of the Trojans’ fates as she finally states her plea (Aeneid 5.796-8):

quod superest, oro, liceat dare tuta per undas
uela tibi, liceat Laurentem attingere Thybrim,
si concessa peto, si dant ea moenia Parcae.’
Let the remnant, I beg you, set sail through the waves,
let them reach the Laurentine Tiber if I seek
what is granted, if the Fates accord them those walls.

Here, Venus refers not to the fata that Juno defies at Aeneid 5.784, but rather to the Parcae who, in Virgil’s cosmology, are ‘harmonious in the unchanging power of the fates’ (Eclogues 4.47: concordes stabili fatorum numine Parcae). [36] While Venus does not explicitly invoke the Trojans’ fata as she does at the outset of her speech, therefore, she nevertheless concludes her request much as she begins it, by emphasizing her personal investment in the Trojans’ destiny as allotted by the Parcae.

And of course, that investment is most concretely symbolized by Venus’ famous gift to her son, the shield that she commissions from Vulcan on his behalf. At the conclusion of its much-celebrated ecphrasis, Virgil describes Aeneas’ reaction to the wondrous artifact (Aeneid 8.729-31):

Talia per clipeum Volcani, dona parentis,
730 miratur rerumque ignarus imagine gaudet
attollens umero famamque et fata nepotum.
He wonders at such details on Vulcan’s shield,
730 his mother’s gifts, and delights in the image, though
he knows not what it means, shouldering the glory
and fates of his descendants.

Here, in one of the poem’s most memorable passages, Virgil takes pains to reiterate that the objects of Aeneas’ wonder are the dona parentis, ‘his mother’s gifts.’ That they depict the fata of their mutual descendants is no coincidence, since as we have seen, these have been Venus’ obsession from her very first appearance in the poem. Moreover, the shield and other armaments provided by Venus are the instruments of Aeneas’ conquest of Latium; as such, they play a crucial role in the horrida bella over which Erato presides. Thus, as skillfully as Vulcan himself, the poet forges yet another link between Venus, her descendants’ fata, and the Apollonian Muse.

Even Turnus, who resists them both almost to his last breath, recognizes the powerful connection between Venus and the fata that have ordained Aeneas’ horrida bella in his homeland. After the miraculous transformation of the Trojans’ ships into sea-nymphs in Aeneid 9, he attempts to rally his troops with some fatal rhetoric (Aeneid 9.133-9):

nil me fatalia terrent,
si qua Phryges prae se iactant, responsa deorum;
135 sat fatis Venerique datum, tetigere quod arua
fertilis Ausoniae Troes. sunt et mea contra
fata mihi, ferro sceleratam excindere gentem
coniuge praerepta; nec solos tangit Atridas
iste dolor, solisque licet capere arma Mycenis.
The gods’ fatal oracles frighten me not, of
which the Phrygians boast; enough has been granted
(135) to Venus and the fates, that the Trojans have touched
fertile Ausonia’s fields. And I have my own
fates against theirs, to devastate with my sword
the race guilty of stealing my bride; the sons of
Atreus are not alone in this sorrow, and
to take up arms is not for Mycene alone.

Here, the Rutulian argues that ‘the gods’ fatal oracles’ may have prescribed Aeneas’ arrival in Latium, but not his victory—hence his claim that ‘enough has been granted to Venus and the fates.’ As mistaken as this interpretation is, Turnus nevertheless displays a correct understanding of the forces arrayed against him. Again, it is Venus who presides over the fata that compel Aeneas toward his victory in Latium, and her descendants’ future preeminence.

Finally, in her last speech in the Aeneid, Venus once again reminds Jupiter of his promise concerning the Trojans’ fata (Aeneid 10.31-5):

si sine pace tua atque inuito numine Troes
Italiam petiere, luant peccata neque illos
iuueris auxilio; sin tot responsa secuti
quae superi manesque dabant, cur nunc tua quisquam
35 uertere iussa potest aut cur noua condere fata?
If the Trojans have sought out Italy without
your leave and against your will, let them pay the price
and aid them not; but if they have followed so many
signs given by gods and shades, why can anyone now
35 overturn your commands or create new fates?

Here, in a diatribe whose careful deployment of rhetoric has often been noted by commentators, Venus ironically dares Jupiter to go back on the pledge whose details he unfolded at Aeneid 1.257-96. [37] Again, the goddess argues that the Trojans were destined to seek out Italy, and that no one, not even Jupiter himself, can create new fata for them. [38] Indeed, Venus’ obsession with her descendants’ fata is amply demonstrated by her (again ironic) request that she be permitted to ‘remove Ascanius from the fray safe and sound’ and that Jupiter at least ‘let [her] grandson survive’ (Aeneid 10.46-7: liceat dimittere ab armis / incolumem Ascanium, liceat superesse nepotem). Thus, Aeneas’ mother concludes her speaking role in the Aeneid much as she begins it, by fiercely advocating the fata responsible for her son’s arrival in Italy, where the horrida bella overseen by Erato unfold.

As Aeneas’ predestined bride, Lavinia of course plays a critical role in the fata with which Venus is so constantly obsessed. Indeed, her first actual appearance in the Aeneid dwells not so much on her suitability for marriage—although as we have seen, Virgil briefly mentions this at Aeneid 7.53—as on the ‘fatal’ impact she will have on her people. When we first encounter Lavinia in person at Aeneid 7.72-80, her hair catches fire in the midst of her father’s sacrifice and scatters flames throughout the palace. Those present immediately recognize the portent’s significance (Aeneid 7.78-80):

id uero horrendum ac uisu mirabile ferri:
namque fore inlustrem fama fatisque canebant
80 ipsam, sed populo magnum portendere bellum.
That was taken as both wondrous and fearsome
to see: for they sang she would shine in fame and fate
80 herself, but portend a great war for her people.

Here we find no mention of Lavinia’s impending marriage, although as Latinus’ subsequent consultation of Faunus’ oracle makes clear, this is of course at the root of the problem. Instead, the portent’s interpreters stress Lavinia’s glorious connection with Aeneas’ fate, which likewise ordains the magnum bellum for which Virgil invokes Erato’s aid just a few lines earlier.

And indeed, the ‘fatal’ nature of Lavinia’s betrothal to Aeneas is soon acknowledged by Juno herself as she sets in motion the primae…exordia pugnae that result in the poet’s horrida bella (Aeneid 7.313-22):

non dabitur regnis, esto, prohibere Latinis,
atque immota manet fatis Lauinia coniunx.
315 at trahere atque moras tantis licet addere rebus,
at licet amborum populos exscindere regum.
hac gener atque socer coeant mercede suorum:
sanguine Troiano et Rutulo dotabere, uirgo,
et Bellona manet te pronuba. nec face tantum
320 Cisseis praegnas ignis enixa iugalis;
quin idem Veneri partus suus et Paris alter,
funestaeque iterum recidiua in Pergama taedae.
I cannot keep him from Latin realms; so be it.
and Lavinia remains his wife, unmoved by fate.
315 But I can drag out and add delays to such things,
I can devastate both kings’ peoples. At this price
to their nations let father and son-in-law be joined:
your dowry, maiden, shall be Trojan and Latin
blood, and your bridesmaid Bellona awaits. A torch
320 wasn’t conceived by Hecuba alone to birth
bridal flames; no, Venus’ son shall be another
Paris, and funeral torches for reborn Troy.

Echoing Jupiter’s promise to Venus in Book 1 that her ‘descendants’ fates remain unmoved’ (Aeneid 1.257-8: manent immota tuorum / fata tibi), Juno here admits that ‘Lavinia remains [Aeneas’] wife, unmoved by fate’ (Aeneid 7.314: atque immota manet fatis Lauinia coniunx). Thus, she concedes the crucial role that Lavinia plays in the fata of Aeneas, even while she unleashes the war that will delay their destined marriage—the war over which Erato presides.


As we have seen, Virgilian scholars since the time of Servius auctus have been divided over why the poet chooses to invoke the Muse traditionally associated with erotic poetry for assistance with the horrida bella of Aeneid 7-12. In Conte’s terminology, one camp has emphasized the erotic quid of the war for Lavinia’s hand, while the other has advocated the Alexandrian quale that informs Virgil’s method. As I hope to have shown, however, these two interpretations are not incompatible. On the contrary, Erato’s participation in the ‘lot’ of Venus at Argonautica 3.3-4 provides an inter-textual justification for the poet’s choice that subsumes the erotic quid without precluding the aesthetic quale. For as Virgil’s appropriation of Homeric μοῖρα, κήρ, and αἶσα elsewhere in the Aeneid demonstrates, Apollonius’ punning σὺ γὰρ καὶ Κύπριδος αἶσαν / ἔμμορες establishes a connection between Erato and the fata that obsess the Aeneadum genetrix throughout the epic. This connection, in turn, formally recapitulates the fatum that compels the hero ‘to Italy and Lavinian shores’ in Virgil’s first proem—the fate that ultimately results in the foundation of both Rome and the Julian line. Thus, while Erato’s amatory aspect doubtless colors Virgil’s invocation to some extent insofar as Lavinia is concerned, it is the Apollonian Muse’s intertextual link with the fate of Aeneas that makes her an appropriate patroness of the horrida bella that are the subject of Aeneid 7-12.
Instead of following Servius auctus’ suggestion that the poet ‘surely put down Erato either for Calliope or for some other Muse,’ therefore, we should take Virgil at his word when he singles out Erato with the anaphora, ‘You, goddess, you—guide your bard’ (Aeneid 7.41: tu uatem, tu, diua, mone). For as Propertius reminds us, ‘the nine maidens, each allotted her own realm, busy their tender hands on their own gifts’ (Propertius 3.3.33-4: diuersaeque nouem sortitae iura puellae / exercent teneras in sua dona manus). In the case of Virgil’s Erato, those gifts are not just erotic, but fatal.


[ back ] 1. Ad nos uix tenuis famae perlabitur aura: F.A. Todd, ‘Virgil’s Invocation of Erato,’ CR 45 (1931) 216-18; E. Fraenkel, ‘Some Aspects of the Structure of Aeneid VII,’ JRS 35 (1945) 1-14; K.J. Reckford, ‘Latent Tragedy in Aeneid VII, 1-285,’ AJP 82 (1961) 252-69; F. Klingner, Virgil: Bucolica Georgica Aeneis (Zurich 1967), 497-501; G. Williams, Tradition and Originality in Roman Poetry (Oxford 1968), 35-7; M.C.J. Putnam, ‘Aeneid VII and the Aeneid,’ AJP 91 (1970) 408-30; R.D. Williams, (ed.), Virgil: Aeneid, Books VII-XII (London 1973), 169; W.P. Basson, Pivotal Catalogues in the Aeneid (Amsterdam 1975), 95-116; G.B. Conte, ‘Proemi a mezzo,’ RCCM 18 (1976) 263-73 = ‘Proems in the Middle,’ YCS 29 (1992) 147-59; C.J. Fordyce, (ed.), P. Vergili Maronis Aeneidos Libri VII-VIII with a Commentary (Oxford 1977), 63-6; C. Monteleone, ‘Eneide 7,37, l’invocatione ad Erato come segnale,’ AC 46 (1977) 184-91; E.L. Harrison, ‘The Structure of the Aeneid: Observations on the Links Between Books,’ ANRW 2.31.1 (1980) 359-93; I. Mariotti, ‘Il secondo proemio dell’Eneide,’ in Letterature comparate. Problemi e metodo. Studi in onore di E. Paratore (Bologna 1981), 459-66; S. Skulsky, ‘Invitus, Regina…: Aeneas and the Love of Rome,’ AJP 106 (1985) 447-55, at 450; R.F. Thomas, ‘From Recusatio to Commitment: The Evolution of the Virgilian Programme,’ PLLS 5 (1985) 61-73; M. Fernandelli, ‘Il compito della Musa. Sul proemio di Eneide VII,’ QFC 5 (1986) 85-104; S.J. Harrison, ‘Vergil as a Poet of War,’ PVS 19 (1988) 46-68; F. Cairns, Virgil’s Augustan Epic (Cambridge 1989), 156-7; K. Toll, ‘What’s Love Got to Do with It? The Invocation to Erato, and Patriotism in the Aeneid,’ QUCC 2 33 (1989) 107-18; D.C. Feeney, The Gods in Epic: Poets and Critics of the Classical Tradition (Oxford 1991), 186; N. Horsfall, Virgilio: L’epopea in alambicco (Napoli 1991), 106-7; B. Pavlock, ‘The Hero and the Erotic in Aeneid 7-12,’ Vergilius 38 (1992) 72-87; R.L. Hunter, The Argonautica of Apollonius: Literary Studies (Cambridge 1993) 177-81; S. Kyriakidis, ‘Invocatio ad Musam (Aen. 7.37),’ MD 33 (1994) 197-206; J.J. O’Hara, ‘Vergil’s Best Reader? Ovidian Commentary on Vergilian Etymological Wordplay,’ CJ 91 (1996) 268-9; N. Horsfall, (ed.), Vergil, Aeneid VII. A Commentary (Leiden 2000), 67-71; A. Laird, ‘Design and Designation in Virgil’s Aeneid, Tacitus’ Annals, and Michelangelo’s Conversion of Saint Paul,’ in A. Sharrock & H. Morales, (edd.), Intratextuality: Greek and Roman Relations (Oxford 2000), 143-70; S. Heil, Spannungen und Ambivalenzen in Vergils Aeneis (Hamburg 2001), 138-40. D.P. Nelis, ‘Apollonius and Virgil,’ in T. Papanghelis, & A. Rengakos, (edd.), A Companion to Apollonius Rhodius (Leiden 2001), 237-59. D.P. Nelis, Vergil’s Aeneid and the Argonautica of Apollonius Rhodius (Leeds 2001), 267-75.
[ back ] 2. R.A.B. Mynors, (ed). P. Vergili Maronis Opera (Oxford 1972) 257. All quotations from Virgil are drawn from this text. All translations are my own.
[ back ] 3. For Erato as patroness of erotic poetry in Greek traditions, see Plato, Phaedrus 259c2-d3; A.R. 3.1-5 (below).
[ back ] 4. G. Thilo & H. Hagen, (edd), Seruii grammatici qui feruntur in Vergilii Carmina Commentarii (Leipzig 1881-1902), ad loc.
[ back ] 5. R.G.M. Nisbet & M. Hubbard, (edd.), A Commentary on Horace: Odes, Book I (Oxford 1970), 283. For this view, see Klingner 1967, 497; Basson 1975, 100; Fordyce 1977, 64; Harrison 1980, 377; Mariotti 1981, 463 n19; Thomas 1985, 64 n11; Kyriakidis 1994, 198; Heil 2001, 139. See also S. Hinds, The Metamorphosis of Persephone: Ovid and the Self-conscious Muse (Cambridge 1987), 15-16, 125-6, 139-40 n41.
[ back ] 6. Williams 1973, 169. For variations on this view, see Todd 1931; Reckford 1961, 257; Putnam 1970, 418; Monteleone 1977; Skulsky 1985, 450; Cairns 1989, 156-7; Toll 1989; Pavlock 1992, 72-5; Hunter 1993, 180-1; O’Hara 1996, 269, reiterated in his True Names: Vergil and the Alexandrian Tradition of Etymological Wordplay (Ann Arbor 1996), 184-5; Horsfall 2000, 70.
[ back ] 7. H. Fränkel, (ed.), Apollonii Rhodii Argonautica (Oxford 1961), 113.
[ back ] 8. O’Hara 1996, 268-9, citing Ovid’s deployment of the Apollonian etymology at Ars 2.16: nunc Erato, nam tu nomen Amoris habes, and Fasti 4.195-6: sic Erato (mensis Cythereius illi / cessit, quod teneri nomen Amoris habet), though he admits that ‘nothing in these lines points directly to Vergil.’
[ back ] 9. Horsfall 2000, 70.
[ back ] 10. Pavlock 1992, 75.
[ back ] 11. Fernandelli 1986. For more on the structural correspondence between the poem’s two halves, (especially between Aeneid 1 and 7), see Fraenkel 1945.
[ back ] 12. Exceptions are Basson 1975, 101 and Fordyce 1977, 64, who deny any erotic aspect to Virgil’s Muse without offering an alternative explanation.
[ back ] 13. Mariotti 1981.
[ back ] 14. Thomas 1985, also demonstrating how the proem of Georgics 3 exhibits a ‘programmatic tension’ that looks ‘back to the pure Alexandrianism of the Eclogues and forward to the classicism of the new Roman epic,’ hence the evolution ‘from recusatio to commitment’ of his title.
[ back ] 15. Kyriakidis 1994, 203 is probably right to contend that Callimachus, fragment 238 SH (Ἐρατώ δ’ ἀνταπάμειπτο τάδε) influenced Virgil’s choice, but his suggestion that the poet was motivated by an etymology from ἐρωτάω derived from ‘the well-known Callimachean technique of question and answer between the poet and the Muses in the first two books of the Aetia’ asks too much of this particular reader.
[ back ] 16. Thomas 1985, 64.
[ back ] 17. Conte 1992, 149.
[ back ] 18. R.L. Hunter, (ed.), Apollonius of Rhodes: Argonautica Book III (Cambridge 1989), 96.
[ back ] 19. P. Chantraine, Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue grecque: histoire des mots (Paris 1999), 38-9. Cf. LSJ s.v. αἶσα 3.
[ back ] 20. Chantraine 1999, 38. Cf. LSJ s.v. αἶσα 1-2.
[ back ] 21. Hunter 1989, 96.
[ back ] 22. D.G.N. Lee, ‘Homeric κήρ and Others,’ Glotta 39 (1960-61), 191-207.
[ back ] 23. I say ‘appropriating’ rather than ‘translating’ or ‘rendering’ because of course Virgil’s imitatio Homerica always transforms his exemplary model. On this subject generally, see Conte 1986, esp. 31, 141-84.
[ back ] 24. Having cross-referenced all instances of Homeric μοῖρα, κήρ, αἶσα and their derivatives with the indices of G.N. Knauer, Die Aeneis und Homer (Göttingen 1964), 432-527, I find only one deviation from this practice, in which the Homeric formula αἴσιμον ἧμαρ is equivalent to Parcarumque dies (see n26, below). On the curious prevalence of fata over fatum in the Aeneid (104 vs. 15 instances), see MacInnes 1910, 171 n3.
[ back ] 25. E.g. W. Kühn, Götterszenen bei Vergil (Heidelberg 1971), 158-61; Williams 1973, 488-9; W.R. Johnson, Darkness Visible: A Study of Vergil’s Aeneid (Berkeley 1976), 129-30; C. Bandera, ‘Sacrificial Levels in Virgil’s Aeneid,’ Arethusa 14 (1981) 233-4; P. Hardie, The Epic Successors of Virgil: A Study in the Dynamics of a Tradition (Cambridge 1993), 25-6; R.F. Thomas, ‘The Isolation of Turnus,’ in H.P. Stahl, (ed.), Vergil’s Aeneid: Augustan Epic and Political Context (London 1998) 271-302; J.T. Dyson, King of the Wood: The Sacrificial Victor in Virgil’s Aeneid (Norman, OK 2001) 119-21.
[ back ] 26. Juno to Juturna: nunc iuuenem imparibus uideo concurrere fatis, / Parcarumque dies et uis inimica propinquat. For more on the connection between the Parcae and fata, see below on Aeneid 5.796-8.
[ back ] 27. Cf. the similar parallel between Peisander’s μοῖρα at Iliad 13.602-3, τὸν δ’ἄγε μοῖρα κακὴ θανάτοιο τέλοσδε, / σοί, Μενέλαε, δαμῆναι ἐν αἰνῇ δηϊοτῆτι, and Turnus’ fata at Aeneid 10.471-2, etiam sua Turnum / fata uocant metasque dati peruenit ad aeui.
[ back ] 28. W. Clausen, ‘An Interpretation of the Aeneid,’ HSCP 68 (1964) 140. I should stress that my aim here is not to discuss fate in the Aeneid generally, but rather to demonstrate Erato’s patronage of Aeneas’ fata in the poem’s second half. For more comprehensive treatments of fate in the poem, see MacInnes 1910; L.E. Matthaei, ‘The Fates, the Gods, and the Freedom of Man’s Will in the Aeneid,’ CQ 11 (1917) 11-26; C. Bailey, Religion in Virgil (Oxford 1935), 204-40; G. Carlsson, ‘The Hero and Fate in Virgil’s Aeneid,’ Eranos 43 (1945) 111-35; H.L. Tracy, ‘Fata Deum and the Action of the Aeneid,’ Greece & Rome 11 (1964) 188-95; K. Quinn, Virgil’s Aeneid: A Critical Description (Ann Arbor 1968), 320-22; W.A. Camps, An Introduction to Virgil’s Aeneid (Oxford 1969), 41-50; Kühn 1971, 97-101; M. Ruch, ‘Le destin dans l’Énéide: essence et réalité’ in H. Bardon & R. Verdière, (edd.), Vergiliana (Leiden 1971), 312-21; R.F. Lebrun, ‘La notion de Fatum dans l’œvre de Virgile,’ LEC 44 (1976) 35-44; A. Thornton, The Living Universe: Gods and Men in Virgil’s Aeneid (Leiden 1976), 150-58; D.M. Halperin, ‘Man’s Fate in the Aeneid,’ Virginia Quarterly Review 53 (1977) 58-72; C.H. Wilson, ‘Jupiter and the Fates in the Aeneid,’ CQ 2 29 (1979) 361-71; S. Commager, ‘Fateful Words: Some Conversations in Aeneid 4,’ Arethusa 14 (1981) 101-14; A. Ortega, ‘Fatum y unidad en la obra de Virgilio,’ Helmantica 33 (1982) 475-94; G. Williams, Technique and Ideas in the Aeneid (New Haven 1983), 3-16; D. Fasciano, ‘Il concetto di Fatum nell’Eneide,’ RCCM 26 (1984) 65-76; V. Neri, ‘Dei, Fato e divinazione nella letteratura latina del I sec. d.C.’ ANRW 2.16.3 (1986) 1974-81; J.J. O’Hara, Death and the Optimistic Prophesy in Vergil’s Aeneid (Princeton 1990); Feeney 1991, 129-87; R. Heinze, Virgil’s Epic Technique (Berkeley 1993), 236-41.
[ back ] 29. e.g. R.G. Austin, (ed.), P. Vergili Maronis Aeneidos Liber Primus (Oxford 1971) 26; R.D. Williams, (ed.), Virgil: Aeneid, Books I-VI (London 1972), 156.
[ back ] 30. On epic expansion and compression generally, see G. Nagy, Homeric Questions (Austin 1996), 76-77.
[ back ] 31. See above, n11.
[ back ] 32. On the connection between Erato, Venus’ ancestral aspect, and Aeneas’ ‘love of Rome’ (as opposed to his love of Dido) see Skulsky 1985, 450 n6.
[ back ] 33. Commager 1981, 105.
[ back ] 34. On the ‘bald etymological play’ between fabor and fatorum at Aeneid 1.261-2, see Feeney 1991, 139-40.
[ back ] 35. R.G. Austin, (ed.), P. Vergili Maronis Aeneidos Liber Quartus (Oxford 1955), 55.
[ back ] 36. For another connection between fata and the Parcae, see n23 above.
[ back ] 37. e.g. Williams 1973, 322-25.
[ back ] 38. On Jupiter’s powerlessness to alter fate, see Feeney 1991, 144-6.