The Aeneid

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Themes and Colors
Fate Theme Icon
The Gods and Divine Intervention Theme Icon
Piety Theme Icon
Rome Theme Icon
War and Peace Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Aeneid, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

In the Aeneid, fate (or destiny) is an all-powerful force—what fate decrees will happen, must happen. It is Aeneas's fate to found a city in Italy, and so that he will do. Characters can, and do, have the free will to resist fate. But ultimately, such resistance is futile. Juno can delay Aeneas reaching Latium for a while, but not forever. Dido can get Aeneas to stay in Carthage for a while, but…

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The gods actively intervene in the lives of the mortals, often using the characters like chess pieces to carry out their own power struggles. Juno hates the Trojans and does her best to stop Aeneas from fulfilling his destiny, even setting up the war that fills the second half of the poem. Venus tries to protect and help her son. Neptune just gets annoyed that some other god thinks he can mess with the ocean…

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Pietas is a Latin word that can be translated as piety or devotion, and refers to someone's dutiful acceptance of the obligations placed on them by fate, by the will of the gods, and by the bonds of family and community. From the first lines of the poem, Virgil describes Aeneas as being remarkable for his piety, and "pious" is the most-used adjective to describe Aeneas throughout the poem. Aeneas always places these obligations above…

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Rome stands at the center of the poem. The city's founding, and the empire that will grow from it, is the endpoint of Aeneas's fate. Once Aeneas learns of Rome explicitly in Anchises's descriptions of it in the Underworld, the city comes to symbolize for him the pinnacle of his eventual achievement, spurring him on through all of his subsequent trials and tribulations. For Aeneas and his people, Rome also stands as an…

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War is everywhere in the Aeneid. The Trojan War begins Aeneas's journey by forcing him from Troy, and war concludes his journey on the fields of Italy. The characters constantly contend with the possibility of violence, giving gifts and forming alliances to try to avert it, or proving their bravery by rushing into it. And these wars are never purely tactical, fought just to gain land or power or wealth. Instead, the wars…

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