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.
Rome Theme Icon

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 embodiment of a new home to replace the one they lost in Troy, a place where he and his people can build a community, can worship their gods, can play out their fate. In short, a home is the source of identity, the place where they can build all the things that are worth being pious to.

At the same time, the Aeneid holds up Aeneas as a justification of Rome's greatness. Virgil wrote the poem during the "Golden Age" of Rome, and the poem stands as a founding myth that both connects Rome to the ancient Greek tradition of the Odyssey and the Iliad, and, by showing how Roman is founded on the values of piety and just leadership exemplified by Aeneas, explains how Rome surpasses that tradition. In the Underworld, Anchises goes so far as to explain Rome's superiority to the Greeks and all other nations. He explains that Rome has the unique capacity to spare the conquered and overcome the arrogant. In other words, Rome's greatest virtue is the ability not just to conquer new territories, but also to make them a part of the peaceful whole. And Anchises is right! Rome really was exceptional for that very reason. Rome managed to conquer much of the known world, including all the lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, and sustained two hundred years of peace, a feat that no other civilization since has ever matched.

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Rome ThemeTracker

The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of Rome appears in each section of The Aeneid. Click or tap on any chapter to read its Summary & Analysis.
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Rome Quotes in The Aeneid

Below you will find the important quotes in The Aeneid related to the theme of Rome.
Book 1 Quotes
Wars and a man I sing.
Related Characters: Virgil (speaker)
Page Number: 1.1
Explanation and Analysis:
Book 3 Quotes
Search for your ancient mother. There your house, the line of Aeneas, will rule all parts of the world.
Related Characters: Apollo (speaker)
Page Number: 3.17-18
Explanation and Analysis:
Book 6 Quotes
Others, I have no doubt, will forge the bronze to breathe with suppler lines, draw from the block of marble features quick with life, plead their cases better, chart with their rods the stars that climb the sky and foretell the times they rise. 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 the ways of peace, to spare the defeated, break the proud in war. — Anchises
Related Characters: Anchises (speaker)
Page Number: 6.976-984
Explanation and Analysis:
Book 8 Quotes
He fills with wonder—he knows nothing of these events but takes delight in their likeness, lifting onto his shoulders no the fame and fates of all his children's children.
Related Characters: Virgil (speaker)
Related Symbols: Aeneas's Shield
Page Number: 8.856-859
Explanation and Analysis:
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.
Related Characters: Aeneas (speaker)
Page Number: 12.225-228
Explanation and Analysis:
Now what god can unfold for me so many terrors? Who can make a song of slaughter in all its forms—the deaths of captains down the entire field, dealt now by Turnus, now by Aeneas, kill for kill? Did it please you, great Jove, to see the world at war, the peoples clash that would later live in everlasting peace?
Related Characters: Virgil (speaker)
Page Number: 12.584-589
Explanation and Analysis:
Go no further down the road of hatred.
Related Characters: Turnus (speaker)
Page Number: 12.1093
Explanation and Analysis: