Aeneas: the Man, the Myth, the Legend

Essay by giggsy111College, UndergraduateA+, March 2002

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From the beginning to the end, the Roman Empire established itself as one of the greatest empires ever. At the pinnacle of its empire, it stretched from most of Europe to Northern Africa and Asia Minor. Such accomplishments were shaped by many great leaders of that time period including, but not limited to, Augustus, Trajan, Marcus Aurelius, and many others. To Romans, many of these leaders were great because their leadership spurred from their willingness to submit to the gods. Aeneas, unlike some of the other characters in The Aeneid, gives in to the will of the gods to gain unimaginable leadership skills through Aeneas' excursion through the Mediterranean Sea, his contact/relationship with Dido, and his travels through the Underworld.

When Aeneas set forth onto the Mediterranean Sea from Troy, he encountered many different setbacks in his journey until he found out where he was truly destined. Aeneas first arrived in Crete, thinking this is the place for him, only to find out in his dreams that this is not where the gods commanded him to settle.

"It was night and sleep held in its grasp all the living things. There I lay, the holy images of the God's...Apollo here speaks the prophecy he will give must leave this place. Delian Apollo did not send you to these shores. Crete is not where he commanded you to settle...Jupiter forbids you the Dictaen fields of Crete" (61).

Here two of Aeneas' gods command him to leave Crete. With such a strong prophecy, Aeneas knew he had to follow the words of the gods so he could become the great leader he was destined to be. Aeneas, seen as a great leader among his fleet, offers his knowledge to them and it is accepted gladly. "Let us yield to Phoebus Apollo.