Quotes or quotations are phrases, sentences, lines, and paragraphs taken from a literary piece. These quotes quotations express universal truths or situations. Virgil’s The Aeneid, too, has famous quotes that are still relevant in many situations today. Some of the best quotes from The Aeneid are analyzed below.
Quotes in The Aeneid
“Wars and a man I sing—an exile driven on by Fate,
he was the first to flee the coast of Troy.”
These are the famous opening lines of this popular epic poem by Virgil. These lines, spoken by the third person omniscient narrator, show the author’s main purpose in writing this epic. He says that he is writing for a man who is involved in wars and the rest of the story is composed of his exile and his visit to the city of Troy.
“Then one, Romulus,
reveling in the tawny pelt of a wolf that nursed him,
will inherit the line and build the walls of Mars
and after his own name, call his people Romans.
On them I set no limits, space or time:”
These lines show Jupiter convincing Juno that her son’s fate has not changed and that he will reach Italy safely. He will have a long progeny, and the people will be called Romans. Jupiter sees that the Romans will rule the world. This divine prediction is a very clever use of foreshadowing as a literary device.
“But, oh how wrong to rely on gods dead set against you!
Watch: the virgin daughter of Priam, Cassandra,
torn from the sacred depths of Minerva’s shrine.”
Here Aeneas states that it is quite wrong to trust in gods, for they can turn against people and destroy them. He states that Priam’s daughter, Cassandra, has been raped and dragged by Ajax from Minerva’s shrine, a sacred place at that time, and the gods could do nothing to stop it. Here he is reflecting on the conflict he sees between the power of the gods and Fate as determinative.
“To what extremes won’t you compel our hearts,
you accursed lust for gold?” (Book III)
Here Aeneas alludes to the death of Polydorus, who was killed for the gold he brought to win Thracian. The desire for gold, Aeneas, says is destructive as it brings war. In fact, he means that wealth and war are intertwined with each other. One will automatically bring the other.
“With my own ears I drank
his message in. Come, stop inflaming us both
with your appeals. I set sail for Italy—
all against my will.”
In these lines, Aeneas reveals that he is leaving Dido and Carthage to go to Italy. He means that his fate is taking him to somewhere else against his will or else he does not want to go. This shows that Aeneas is a flawed human being and not divine as per the common perceptions.
“Here is the man, he’s here! Time and again
you’ve heard his coming promised—Caesar Augustus!
Son of a god, he will bring back the Age of Gold.”
Here the character of Anchises, father of Aeneas, meets his son in the Underworld when he comes over there. He shows him Caesar Augustus, who is the son of a god, saying that he will rule the world now. It would be the Golden Age on account of his prosperous rule, he adds. This is another good use of foreshadowing as a literary device.
“But you, Roman, remember, rule with all your power
the peoples of the earth—these will be your arts:
to put your stamp on the works and ways of peace,
to spare the defeated, break the proud in war.”
Here Anchises advises the Romans to be merciful and peace-loving yet sure to defeat the enemy when necessary to fight. He means that they should rule the world by every means as their purpose is right. Perhaps he is alluding to his fight with Turnus to advise him that he should be merciful when he defeats others.
“I am hardly the one to relent,
I’ll plead for the help I need, wherever it may be—
if I cannot sway the heavens, I’ll wake the powers of hell!”
Juno here expresses her commitment to making life difficult for Aeneas. She has done her best to create troubles and mayhem for Aeneas but he has come out victorious from every expedition. Now she turns to Allector, who is guarding the Underworld, to create troubles for Aeneas and vows that she would wake up “the powers of hell” if there is no help from the heavens for her. In other words, these lines show the role of deus ex machina against the hero.
“He writhes in death
as blood flows over his shapely limbs, his neck droops,
sinking over a shoulder, limp as a crimson flower
cut off by a passing plow, that droops as it dies.”
In these lines, the narrator is stating that Euryalus is dying like a flower cut or plucked from the field. It shows the head moving on his shoulder when he is dying. This is a good use of an extended simile, a literary device, which clarifies meanings through a comparison of two objects. Here Virgil compares the head of Euryalus with that of a poppy flower.
“Learn courage from me, my son, true hardship too.
Learn good luck from others. My hand will shield you
in war today and guide you toward the great rewards.”
Aeneas speaks to his son, Ascanius, when he leaves for the war. He tells Ascanius that he should learn from his courage and the way he has removed difficulties, but that he does not consider himself to have been that lucky. Aeneas advises his son to learn about luck from others and says that he can only pray for him that he gets rewards in the future.