The Aeneid

War and Peace Theme Analysis

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LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Aeneid, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
War and Peace Theme Icon

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 are often the results of personal, petty things, like insults or grudges. The Trojan War begins because of three goddesses' squabble about who's the most beautiful. The war in Italy begins because Turnus gets mad that a stranger is marrying the girl he likes, with Juno fanning the flames for a whole host imagined slights. These frivolous-seeming beginnings lead to warfare that offers the chance for glory, but which Virgil also regularly depicts as brutal and senseless, separating mothers from sons and sons from fathers.

Yet in Anchises comment in the Underworld that Rome will have the unique ability to spare the conquered (in extreme contrast to what the Greeks did to the defeated Trojans), the Aeneid suggests that the Romans, through Aeneas, will bring something new to war—that they will wage war in order to create peace.

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War and Peace ThemeTracker

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

Below you will find the important quotes in The Aeneid related to the theme of War and Peace.
Book 1 Quotes
Wars and a man I sing.
Related Characters: Virgil (speaker)
Page Number: 1.1
Explanation and Analysis:

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A woman leads them all.
Related Characters: Venus (speaker)
Page Number: 1.442
Explanation and Analysis:

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Book 2 Quotes
I fear the Greeks, especially bearing gifts.
Related Characters: Laocoon (speaker)
Page Number: 2.62
Explanation and Analysis:

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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:

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Book 9 Quotes
Yet first the handsome Iulus—beyond his years, filled with a man's courage, a man's concerns as well—gives them many messages to carry to his father. But the winds scatter them all, all useless, fling them into the clouds.
Related Characters: Virgil (speaker)
Page Number: 9.361-365
Explanation and Analysis:

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Book 10 Quotes
Fortune speeds the bold!
Related Characters: Turnus (speaker)
Page Number: 10.341
Explanation and Analysis:

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Book 11 Quotes
Camilla, keen to fix some Trojan arms on a temple wall or sport some golden plunder out on the hunt, she tracked him now, one man in the moil of war, she stalked him wildly, reckless through the ranks, afire with a woman's lust for loot and plunder…
Related Characters: Virgil (speaker), Camilla
Page Number: 11.914-918
Explanation and Analysis:

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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:

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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:

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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!
Related Characters: Aeneas (speaker)
Page Number: 12.1105-1108
Explanation and Analysis:

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Turnus's limbs went limp in the chill of death. His life breath fled with a groan of outrage down to the shades below.
Related Characters: Virgil (speaker), Turnus
Page Number: 12.1111-1113
Explanation and Analysis:

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