Dido and Aeneas

A year or so back — in June 2021 — I finished this small collection: a translation of Book IV of Vergil’s Aeneid and of Ovid’s seventh Heroides. Both concern the tragic story of the Trojan/Roman hero, Aeneas, and the Queen of Carthage, Dido.

The story is Vergil’s dramatic revision of an older tale about the Carthaginian Queen. It has both great narrative (and mythic) power as well as some intriguing ambiguity in it’s treatment of the principal characters. Ovid’s poem is in the form of a letter — a sort of suicide note by Dido — that recounts their love affair as portrayed by Vergil, from her perspective, and justifies her love, her spite and her death.

I don’t pretend that these are great translations; but this was a sort of challenge to myself as I spent the days of COVID “lockdown” recovering my ability to read Latin.

I hope you will dip into it (perhaps look at the pictures?). But for a much more expert, modern and metrical translation, I recommend Shardi Bartsch’s “Aeneid” (Profile Books, 2021), available from Amazon.

Page images from my Introduction to “The Tragedy of Dido and Aeneas”

Download “The Tragedy of Dido and Aeneas” (about 4MB).

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