Opbouw en vernietiging: Van Sappho naar Dido

van der Keur, M., Mar-2020, In : Lampas. Tijdschrift voor Nederlandse classici. 53, 1, p. 28-48 21 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleProfessional

In the Aeneid, the recurrent themes of ‘construction’ and ‘destruction’ can be connected to generic roles. Dido, founder of Carthage, is presented progressively in elegiac terms, as is suggested by a number of echoes of Sapphic love poetry; as a character, she is guided primarily by personal motives. Dido’s ‘elegiac role’ forebodes her own destruction and that of her city. Aeneas, on the other hand, needs to adhere to his epic role as founder of the new Trojan/Roman nation, in order to avert destruction and the repetition of Troy’s fate. When during his stay in Carthage, he starts to show signs of transforming into an elegiac lover, the gods intervene and put him back onto the epic track: the public interest should take precedence over personal feelings. This opposition between elegiac Dido and epic Aeneas may grant insight into Vergil’s message for his contemporaries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-48
Number of pages21
JournalLampas. Tijdschrift voor Nederlandse classici
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar-2020


  • Vergil, Aeneid, Aeneas, Dido, Sappho, intertextuality, elegiac poetry, Troy, Genre

ID: 129577264