Book 1 - Juno's Storm Drives the Trojans to Carthage

Virgil outlines the subject-matter of his poem and invokes the Muses before detailing the causes of Juno's anger against the Trojans.

The action begins and we find the Trojans sailing from Sicily, which rouses Juno to anger. She visits Aeolus and bids him raise a storm, which he consents to do. He frees all the winds and thus causes a storm which terrifies Aeneas and scatters his fleet, sinking one ship. At the critical moment, Neptune hears the tumult and calms the storm himself. Aeneas collects seven ships and reaches a sheltered cove on the coast of North Africa. While looking out for the missing ships, he sights a herd of deer, kills seven and distributes them to his comrades together with wine. He makes a speech of encouragement to his men who, after feasting, give way to regrets for lost companions.

While Jupiter looks down from heaven, Venus reproaches him for his apparent indifference to the fate of the Trojans. Jupiter consoles her by prophesying Aeneas' triumph and the future glories of Rome and Augustus. He sends down Mercury to influence Dido and the Carthaginians in favour of the Trojans.

While Aeneas is reconnoitring, he meets Venus disguised as a huntress. Suspecting that she is not mortal, he prays her to tell him where he is. Venus tells him that he is in Carthage and describes the story of Dido's flight from Tyre. She asks Aeneas about himself. He begins but, at the sight of twelve swans, Venus interrupts to prophesy the safe return of his lost ships. As she leaves, she reveals herself as a goddess and makes Aeneas and Achates invisible by covering them in mist. Protected by this mist, they go to the city of Carthage , which is still being built, and enter unseen. They reach the temple of Juno, and Aeneas weeps on seeing scenes from the siege of Troy on the walls.

Dido arrives at the temple in regal fashion, and then a deputation from the missing ships also arrives. Ilioneus complains that he and his comrades have been treated like pirates and asks Dido for protection and permission to repair their ships and to return to Sicily, if Aeneas is dead. Dido promises protection and to search for Aeneas. The mist that has rendered Aeneas and Achates invisible up until this point now dissipates, leaving the two in full view. Aeneas expresses eternal gratitude to Dido for her kindness. She takes him to her palace and prepares for a banquet. Aeneas sends for his son Ascanius and orders that presents be brought for Dido.

Venus, thinking that she can see Juno's hand in all this, instructs Cupid to take Ascanius' place and cause Dido to fall deeply in love with Aeneas. The banquet begins and Cupid carries out his orders. Wine starts to flow and Dido asks Aeneas to tell of the capture of Troy and of his wanderings.

Book 2 - The Sack of Troy

Aeneas introduces his tale. The Trojans take their first look at the horse, thinking that the Greeks have sailed away. Laocoon rushes down and warns the Trojans not to trust the horse. Sinon is captured and makes three long speeches, to obtain pity, curiosity and credibility. He is both freed and believed. Laocoon is devoured by serpents, together with his sons - a supposed punishment for his earlier 'sacrilege'. The Trojans, now thoroughly convinced, wheel the horse into the city. The last fight for Troy begins as the Greek fleet sails back in the moonlight and Sinon lets out those inside the horse.

The ghost of Hector appears to Aeneas in a dream and warns him to get out of Troy. Aeneas is startled out of sleep and becomes aware of what is happening. He does the exact opposite of what Hector has advised and wildly seizes his weapons. On his way to the fray, he is met by Panthus, priest of Apollo, carrying holy objects and telling him that all is lost. The Trojans, led by Aeneas, after killing Androgeos and his men, win some success, dressed in Greek armour they have captured. Finally Coroebus springs to help Cassandra and in the consequent skirmish the Trojans are defeated and killed.

The fighting shifts to Priam's palace, where Aeneas is unable to check the Greek attack. Pyrrhus smashes down the doors and the Greeks swarm into the palace. Priam is cruelly slaughtered by Pyrrhus. Aeneas

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