- After a century of civil strife in Rome and Italy, Virgil wrote the Aeneid to honour the emperor Augustus by praising Aeneas – 'Augustus' legendary ancestor.
- As a patriotic epic imitating Homer, the Aeneid also set out to provide Rome with a literature equal to that of Greece.
- It tells of Aeneas, survivor of the sack of Troy, and of his seven-year journey: to Carthage, where he fell tragically in love with Queen Dido; then to the underworld, in the company of the Sibyl of Cumae; and finally to Italy, where he founded Rome.
- It is a story of defeat and exile, of love and war, hailed by Tennyson as 'the stateliest measure ever moulded by the lips of man'.
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