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Barron's Booknotes-The Aeneid by Virgil-Free Book Summary
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BOOK III

Aeneas has just finished his sad story about the fall of Troy. He pauses for breath and perhaps sips some wine. Dido wipes the tears from her eyes. The Trojans gaze at the flickering torches, remembering the past.

Then Aeneas begins to talk again. In Book III he describes how he and the Trojans have been searching for a place to live, for the seven years since the day Troy fell to the storm that blew them to Carthage. Have you ever had a bad dream in which you were trying to reach a place or to find something, and you just couldn't? That's the mood of Book III. The Trojans have a vague idea that they are fated to find a new home somewhere in the west. The gods give them a few clues about where the place is, but the clues aren't very clear and the Trojans don't understand them. So they keep landing their ships and trying to settle down, but something always goes wrong and they have to pack up again.


Troy was located on the coast of present-day Turkey. If you look at the map (see illustration), you'll see that at first the Trojans keep trying to make a new home very close to their old one. They move closer and closer to Italy only after they are driven from more familiar spots by evil omens, plagues, or Harpies. Their first stop is Thrace, but the ghost of a Trojan murdered by the Thracians warns them that it's not safe. They then reach the island of Delos where there was a shrine to Apollo, who could foretell the future. Aeneas prays before the temple and Apollo answers:

The land which brought you forth, Men of endurance, will receive you home. Seek out your ancient mother.


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Barron's Booknotes-The Aeneid by Virgil-Free Book Summary
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