Aeneas is the protagonist of the Aeneid. He is the son of Anchises and Venus. He is the father of Ascanius, with his Trojan wife, Creusa, who died at Troy. He has a fling with Dido, the queen of Carthage, before leaving her (to her despair) and continuing on to reach his destined home in Italy, where he'll marry Lavinia and become the forefather of the Latin-Trojan people, whose descendents will found Rome and include Julius and Augustus Caesar. Aeneas is famous for his piety—his devotion to his friends, the gods, and, most important, fate. When he faces difficult decisions, he piously choses his fate over his own wants or any other human emotion. But at the end of the Aeneid, his anger overcomes him and he mercilessly kills Turnus. Despite his piety and great leadership, he's a complex and imperfect man.
The The Aeneid quotes below are all either spoken by Aeneas or refer to Aeneas. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one: Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Classics edition of The Aeneid published in 2006.).
Book 1 Quotes
A joy it will be one day, perhaps, to remember even this.
Even here, the world is a world of tears and the burdens of mortality touch the heart.
Book 5 Quotes
You trusted—oh, Palinurus—far too much to a calm sky and sea. Your naked corpse will lie on an unknown shore.
Book 12 Quotes
I shall not command Italians to bow to Trojans, nor do I seek the scepter for myself. May both nations, undefeated, under equal laws, march together toward an eternal pact of peace.
Decked in the spoils you stripped from the one I loved—escape my clutches? Never—Pallas strikes this blow, Pallas sacrifices you now, makes you pay the price with your own guilty blood!
The timeline below shows where the character Aeneas appears in The Aeneid. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Venus, still concerned about Juno's wrath and mistrustful of Carthaginian hospitality, sends Cupid, disguised as Aeneas's son Ascanius, to make Dido fall in love with Aeneas. Cupid brings the gifts to... (full context)
...return to Ortygia to consult Apollo again. But that evening, the household gods appear to Aeneas in a dream, and tell him that their homeland is actually the distant Italy. Aeneas... (full context)
...rumor, the "swiftest of all the evils in the world," spreads gossip about Dido and Aeneas's shameful union around the entire region, and about how they've forgotten their leadership roles, shirked... (full context)
...spurned, hears the rumors and, jealous, appeals to his father Jove to intervene. Iarbas criticizes Aeneas for becoming like a woman, perfuming himself and letting his men become "eunuchs." After checking... (full context)
...Trojans sleep in their ships, planning to leave the next day. Dido endures nightmares about Aeneas. Dido prepares for her death, hiding her intentions from Anna and pretending to be happy.... (full context)
...to shoot the targeted bird. Acestes shoots last, and his arrow catches fire in midair. Aeneas interprets this as a sign from Jove, and gives Acestes the first prize, Anchises's decorated... (full context)
...to doze off. Palinurus falls overboard and calls for help, but no one hears. Eventually, Aeneas takes over steering, and grieves for his friend, but blames him for putting too much... (full context)
...were not properly buried and therefore must wait a hundred years before crossing the river. Aeneas sees the ghost of Palinurus among those who are waiting. Aeneas says that Palinurus shouldn't... (full context)
...tables—so the Harpy Caelano's prophesy of famine has been harmlessly fulfilled. Anchises had also told Aeneas in the Underworld to build his home on the spot where he eats his tables.... (full context)
...each other. Allecto throws one of her evil magical snakes at Amata, poisoning her against Aeneas and making her angry that Lavinia won't marry Turnus. Amata tries to convince Latinus to... (full context)
...arriving, Pallas, Evander's son, goes to greet them so that the feast won't be interrupted. Aeneas explains he wants to ally with Evander in the coming war. Pallas is immediately impressed... (full context)
...middle of a nighttime meeting trying to decide who should go as a messenger to Aeneas when Nisus and Euryalus come to volunteer. Aletes and Ascanius praise and encourage them, and... (full context)
...and Virgil praises Lausus's bravery as deserving lasting recognition. Lausus jumps in to protect Mezentius. Aeneas tells Lausus he's being foolish. Lausus refuses to move, and Aeneas kills him, stabbing him.... (full context)
...hates Turnus, and with an angry, convincing speech, he tells Latinus to promise Lavinia to Aeneas. Then he speaks directly to Turnus, telling him either to surrender or to go meet... (full context)
...the turn of events against the Latins, Turnus announces to Latinus his intention to fight Aeneas and win Lavinia's hand. Latinus begs Turnus to reconsider, but Turnus is resolute. He says... (full context)
...see how uneven the duel will be, with Turnus looking scared and weak compared to Aeneas. Juturna sees her chance, and, disguising herself as the soldier Camers, she tells the Rutulians... (full context)
...and then invisibly mixes it into Iapyx's treatment. The arrow now comes out easily, and Aeneas feels well enough to fight. Iapyx realizes that his human skills couldn't have cured Aeneas—it's... (full context)