Opbouw en vernietiging: Van Sappho naar Dido

Keur, van der, M., 2019.

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOtherProfessional

In the Aeneid, the recurrent themes of ‘construction’ and ‘destruction’ can be connected to generic roles. Dido, founder of Carthage, is presented in progressively more lyric 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 ‘lyrical 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 a lyrical lover, the gods intervene and put him back onto the epic track: the public interest should take precedence over personal feelings. This opposition between lyric Dido and epic Aeneas may grant insight into Vergil’s message for his contemporaries.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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

ID: 117223507