BOOK I. AENEAS is leading a fleet of Trojan survivors, but Juno still hates the Trojans and gets Aeolus to send winds to wreck them. Neptune calms the seas, and they land in North Africa. Meanwhile, Aeneas's mother Venus lobbies Jupiter on his behalf. Jupiter assures her that Aeneas's journeys will lead to great things (Rome). He sends Mercury to tell DIDO, the queen of nearby Carthage, that distinguished company is coming. Dido had fled Tyre (in Phoenicia) and founded Carthage when her brother Pygmalion had murdered her husband Sychaeus. Venus disguises herself as a huntress and tells the story to Aeneas, urging him to go to Carthage. Hidden by a mist (like Odysseus in Phaiakia), Aeneas watches has some lost companions turn up in Carthage and are well received. He reveals himself and sends back to his ships for his son Ascanius. Meanwhile, Cupid disguises himself as Ascanius and regales Dido with tales of Aeneas. At the banquet that night, Aeneas is asked to tell of his travels (like Odysseus in Phaiakia).
BOOK II. Aeneas tells how the Greeks succeed in sacking Troy using the ruse of the Trojan Horse. Hector comes to Aeneas in a dream and tells him to flee, but Aeneas fights on till all of his band are killed. At the palace, he sees the aged Priam don his armor, reproved by Queen Hecuba for this foolishness. Pyrrhus, the son of Achilles, pursues and kills Priam's son Polites in front of his parents' eyes, and then kills Priam himself. Aeneas considers killing Helen, but his mother Venus comes to him in a vision and tells him to think of his family. He carries his aged father ANCHISES off on his back and starts to leave with his son, Iulus (Ascanius) and his wife, Creusa. They somehow mislay Creusa, and he claims to have gone back to find her, only to have her come to him in a vision and tell him that he will find another wife one day by the banks of the river Tiber.
BOOK III. Aeneas and his fleet look for the right place to found their city, facing as they do so various sea dangers familiar from earlier epics--e.g., Scylla and Charybdis, as in the Odyssey. One of their stops is a new city ruled by Hellenus, a son of Priam, and Andromache, the widow of Hector, rule. Near the end of their journeys, his father Anchises dies, the worst of all the many disasters he has endured.
BOOK IV. Dido is now passionately in love with Aeneas, as she confides to her sister ANNA. Juno and Venus agree to cooperate to bring the lovers together. A convenient thunderstorm during a hunt drives Dido and Aeneas into the same cave, with inevitable results. As rumors of their romance spread, her rejected lover Iarbas complains to his father Jupiter, who sends Mercury to remind Aeneas of his duty, and he has his men prepare the fleet for secret departure. Dido suspects and has a lover's quarrel with Aeneas. As the ship leaves, Dido commits suicide. Her dying curse explains the future enmity of Carthage and Rome.
BOOK V. The Trojans sail off, seeing the light from Dido's funeral pyre in the distance. Stopping in Sicily, they celebrate funeral games in honor of Aeneas's father, rather like the games celebrated for Patroclus in the Iliad. The Trojans are getting tired of following Aeneas about. Incited by Juno's messenger Iris, the women burn most of the fleet, though Jupiter sends some useful rain. The prophet Nautes suggests that Aeneas leave those who do not want to go on to Italy behind with King Acestes of Egesta, whose mother was Trojan. His father Anchises appears in a dream to tell Aeneas to agree and to come see him in the Underworld, perhaps because Odysseus visits his mother there in the Odyssey. The fleet then sails to Italy. During the voyage, the helmsman Palirnus is lost at sea.
BOOK VI. At Cumae in Italy, Aeneas visits its famous Sibyl, a cave-dwelling oracular priestess of Apollo, who foretells his wars in Italy and then guides him on his visit to the Underworld. Among the usual sights, he sees Dido, who refuses to speak with him. In the Elysian Fields, Aeneas finds his father Anchises, who prophesies the future greatness of Rome.
BOOK VII. Aeneas arrives in Latium and is welcomed by King Latinus, who will let the Trojans settle peacefully and marry his daughter Lavinia to Aeneas. Juno sends the Fury Allecto to stir up trouble with Queen Amata and her own candidate for Lavinia's hand, TURNUS, the leader of the Rutuli.
BOOK VIII. Faced with war against the Latins, the Rutuli, and the followers of MEZENTIUS, an Etruscan exile, Aeneas follows his dreams to the river Tiber, the future site of Rome, where King EVANDER offers help, including his son, PALLAS. Venus gets her husband, Vulcan to make Aeneas a set of armor.
BOOK IX. While Aeneas is away, Turnus attacks the Trojan camp and tries unsuccessfully to burn the Trojan ships. Two young friends, Nisus and Euryalus, volunteer to try to break through the enemy lines to reach Aeneas. They kill quite a few but Euryalus is captured and killed and Nisus dies in a suicide attack on his friend's captors. Turnus fights his away inside the Trojan ramparts but he is alone and is finally driven off.
BOOK X. Jupiter complains that this war was not supposed to be, and Venus blames it all on Juno, who defends herself. Jupiter leaves the results to fortune. Aeneas comes with his new allies and lands against fierce opposition. Turnus kills Pallas. Aeneas can't find Turnus to exact revenge but succeeds in killing Mezentius and his son Lausus.
BOOK XI. Aeneas sends the body of Pallas back to Evander. The two sides debate among themselves. CAMILLA, the virgin leader of the Volscians, arrives to side with the Latins and is killed by Arruns in a cavalry skirmish. The god Diana, fond of Camilla, sends her companion Opis to kill Arruns in return.
BOOK XII. Turnus
and Aeneas are to settle the matters in single
combat,but Turnus's divine sister Juturna thwarts the plan till Jupiter insists that she cease helping her brother.
When the big duel finally arrives, Aeneas naturally wins. He pauses
before killing Turnus but then spots the belt Turnus had taken from
Pallas's body and kills him in revenge.
[ More complete summaries can be found at http://www.personal.kent.edu/~bkharvey/roman/virgsumm.htm and http://luna.cas.usf.edu/~demilio/2211unit3/aendplot.htm. Last posted July 15, 2002, by Bob Canary, mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org]