classical queen who cursed a trojan fleet
The mythological tale of Dido was written by the Roman poet Virgil in the 4th century BC. He was inspired by a legend told by his contemporary Sicilian historian Silius Italicus. In it, Dido, queen of Carthage, marries her brother-in-law, King AEneas of Troy, and abandons her home city to follow him to Italy. There she falls in love with him and he leaves her behind. Later, during the Trojan War, she commits suicide out of grief over his death.
Virgil’s version of the story was the most famous one up until Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, which was based on another tradition. This later tradition held that the real Dido did not die, but lived happily ever after; however, this version of events never became widely accepted.
The mythological figure known as Dido is one of the most popular figures in Roman mythology. She is usually identified with the queen of Carthage, Tyrian Dido. In some versions of her biography she is named Eshtar, while others call her Atyia. Her name appears in inscriptions found throughout the Mediterranean world, including Italy, Spain, North Africa, Greece, Cyprus, Malta, Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Turkey, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, Laos, Philippines, Japan, China, Mongolia, Korea, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Cuba, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Brazil, Paraguay, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Saint Lucia, Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos Islands, Bermuda, Aruba, Curacao, Sint Maarten, Netherlands Antilles, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, United States Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Palau, Federated States of Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Nauru, Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Cook Islands, Wallis and Futuna, Niue, Pitcairn, Macquarie Island, Norfolk Island, Easter Island, Tristan da Cunha, Ascension Island, Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Gibraltar, Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City, Kosovo, Iceland, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England, Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Dido, queen of Tyre, daughter of Anerib king of Sidon, married Ba’al-Eser II, king of Larsa, around 840 B.C., according to the Bible; she bore him a son named Mattan. Her husband died about eight years later, and Dido ruled jointly with her son. In 838 BC, however, she had her brother assassinated, probably because he wanted to rule alone. She took over his kingdom and became sole ruler of Sidon.
In 836 BC, she sent ambassadors to Egypt to ask King Psammetichus II to send her help against the Assyrians. He did so, sending her 500 talents of silver along with 60 chariots. After the Egyptians had defeated the Assyrians, she returned the money and chariots.
Her next move was to marry off her son Mattan to the Egyptian princess Maatkare, who gave birth to twin sons, one of whom was killed. When the Egyptian army came to punish her, she fled to Cyprus. There she met Pygmalion, king of Cyprus, who fell in love with her. They were married, and she built a city there called Aphidnae.
When the Cypriot revolt began, she joined it. But when the Cypriots asked her for help against the Spartans, she refused. So the Spartans invaded her territory and destroyed her fleet. Then she went to Rhodes and appealed to Ptolemy III Euergetes for help. He agreed, and sent her 300 ships.
She landed at Carthage, where she found that her sister-in-law, Queen Arsinoë, had been murdered. With the help of some mercenaries, she captured Sardis, Lydia, and Phoenicia. Next she marched into Asia Minor, taking up residence at Ephesus.
But when the Persian satrap Artaxerxes III Ochus learned that she had taken control of Lydia, he sent an army under Cyrus the Younger to attack her. She put up a valiant defense, but was forced to flee to Athens, where she lived out her life.
The mythological tradition about the founding of Carthage is very diverse. In some cases it refers to the mythical foundation of the city by Phoenician princess Tanit. Other traditions claim the founding of the city by Hamilcar Barca, the son of Hasdrubal, or by Hanno I, the brother of Hasdrubal. Some sources even claim that the foundation took place in 814 BC. However, most ancient writers agree that the city was established much later.
In the early 4th century BC, Polybius wrote that Hannibal had been born in Spain, and that he was sent to Libya by the Romans because of his father’s role in the First Punic War. He claimed that the Carthaginians were originally called “Carthago libera”, meaning free people of Carthage, and that the name came from the fact that they were freed from bondage under the Greeks. However, according to Livy, the original inhabitants of the area where Carthage was built were Libyans.
According to Diodorus Siculus, the founder of the city was named Zorus. This account is similar to the one given by Pliny the Elder. Both authors state that Zorus was the son of Hamilcar Barca and grandson of Hasdrubal Gisgo. They also say that Hamilcar Barca was the first king of Carthage.
Appian writes that the city was founded by a man named Carchedon. He says that the city was named after him, and that he was the son of Hammon, the brother of Hasdraebal. Appian states that the city was founded in 734 BC.
Livy gives a different version of the story, saying that the founders of the city were three brothers, Hanno, Mago, and Bomilcar. These three men are said to have come from Tartessos, a region located in modern day southern Spain. They settled there around 800 BC. When the Romans conquered the region, the three brothers fled to Africa. There, they joined forces with another group of refugees from the same region, led by Hanno II, and together they formed the colony of Carthage.
Polybius mentions that the city was founded sometime during the reign of Ancus Marcius (813–787 BC), the fifth king of Rome.
Strabo says that the city was founded around the middle of the 8th century BC.
Historicity and dating
The earliest attestation of the legend of Dido is in Ovid’s Fasti (1.541). He records that her father Pygmalion was king of Tyre, and that she married Elissa, daughter of King Acrisius of Argos. She was a priestess of Diana, and had been chosen as one of three virgins to attend upon the goddess during her annual festival. Her husband died soon afterwards, and she mourned him deeply. After some time, however, she became enamoured of Aeneas, son of Anchises, whom she met while he was travelling incognito among the Phoenician merchants. When he asked for her hand in marriage, she agreed; and the couple set out together for Italy.
Ovid tells us that they arrived safely in Italy, where Dido founded the city of Carthage. In his version of the myth, Dido becomes Queen of Carthage after persuading the people to accept her as ruler. This account differs from others in that it places the founding of Carthage much later than the traditional date of 734 BC.
According to Livy, however, the foundation of Carthage took place in 814 BC, although he gives no reason for this discrepancy. In another passage, he says that Dido came from Tyre, and that her brother was killed by the god Mars.
Livy further states that Dido ruled over Libya, and that she sent envoys to Troy to persuade Priam to send Aeneas away. However, according to Diodorus Siculus, the Trojans refused to allow Aeneas to go anywhere except Italy.
In addition, Dio Cassius mentions that the Trojan prince Paris gave Dido a necklace, and that she wore it when she went to meet Aeneas.
Although there are many discrepancies in the sources, it seems clear that Dido was a mythical figure, and that she played a role in the early history of both Carthage and Rome.
The Aeneid is a Latin epic poem written by the Roman poet Virgil in 29 BC. In it, Virgil tells the story of the founding of Rome by Aeneas, the Trojan prince who fled Troy because of war and founds the city of Latium near Naples in Italy. This work is considered one of the masterpieces of ancient literature, and is often regarded as among the greatest works of Western civilization.
The Aeneid deals with many themes, including love, courage, fate, religion, human nature, the afterlife, and the origins of society. Its structure consists of ten books, each subdivided into smaller units called “books”, which are named after the months of the Roman calendar. Each book covers approximately three days’ worth of events; the final book, Book XIX, recounts the fall of Troy and ends with Aeneas’ flight from the burning city.
There are several different versions of the text, some dating back to antiquity. The most famous version is the Bibliotheca Alexandrina edition, published in 1922–23 under the direction of the scholar Wilhelm Kroll. The BKAV edition is based on manuscripts discovered in Egypt in the 19th century. These manuscripts contain corrections and additions from medieval scribes and scholars, such as Boethius, Paulinus, Cassiodorus, Isidore of Seville, Bede, Alcuin, and Orosius.
In addition to the standard edition, there are numerous translations of the Aeneid into English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Hungarian, Czech, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Turkish, Japanese, Chinese, Hebrew, Arabic, Bulgarian, Serbian, Croatian, Romanian, Ukrainian, Estonian, Lithuanian, Persian, Georgian, Malayalam, Telugu, Sinhala, Nepali, Fijian, Maori, Samoan, Vietnamese, Thai, Indonesian, Filipino, Kyrgyz, and Tagalog. There are also numerous modern film adaptations of the work, including the 1949 Franco Zeffirelli production starring Charlton Heston, Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud, and Claire Bloom.
Later Roman tradition
The story of Dido and Aeneas is told in Book 3 of Ovid’s Heroines, where it appears as part of a collection of stories about women who loved men too much. Ovid tells the tale of how Dido, queen of Carthage, falls in love with Aeneas while he is away fighting against Troy. When he returns home, he marries her despite knowing that she loves another man. After he leaves again, she commits suicide rather than live without him. This story is similar to one found in Virgil’s Aenead, except that Dido kills herself out of grief rather than jealousy.
Ovid’s version includes several additional episodes. He describes how Aeneas’ mother Lavinia becomes enamored of him and attempts to seduce him, but he rejects her advances. She later tricks Aeneas into marrying her daughter, thus uniting the Trojan royal house with the royal houses of Latium. Finally, Dido sends a letter to Aeneas telling him that she is dying and begging him to return to her. Instead, he abandons her and takes up with Venus, whom he eventually impregnates.
In addition to these embellishments, Ovid adds some lines of his own. For example, he states explicitly that Dido killed herself because she had been raped by Aeneas’ father Anchises; this detail does not occur in either Virgil’s Aenead or Ovid’s earlier work Amores. Another difference is that Ovid makes clear that Aeneas was already married to Lavinia when he met Dido; Virgil omits this information.
Dido and Aeneas are mentioned briefly in Augustus’ Res Gestae. There, Augustus says that “the Carthaginians, having lost their city, gave themselves over to luxury.”