The Roman Epic Poem The Aeneid: Introduction and Summary

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Kelly Macquire
published on 03 July 2022

The Aeneid was written by the Roman poet Virgil who lived between 70 and 19 BCE during the Augustan Period (named for Augustus, the first emperor of Rome). The twelve-book long epic poem tells the journey of the Trojan Aeneas and the mythological founding of Rome. Aeneas, a Trojan prince and the son of the goddess Venus, survived the Trojan war and the subsequent sacking of the city, and took the scenic route (with a few stops) from the ravaged Troy in modern-day Turkey, looking for a new home that he finds in Italy.

The Aeneid was written during the last ten years of Virgil’s life, but it was left unfinished when he died in 19 BCE. Virgil requested that the unfinished epic poem be destroyed but lucky for us some two thousand years later, his friend and fellow poet Lucius Varius Rufus not only refused this request, but Augustus had the epic tale published soon after the death of the author.

The Aeneid tells the tale of the Trojan Aeneas who survives the sack of Troy, and flees with his father Anchises and his son Ascanius. He encounters many hardships on his journey to find a new home (mostly at the hands of Juno who really didn't want him founding Rome). Aeneas and his men end up at Carthage where Queen Dido falls in love with the Trojan hero, however eventually, Aeneas leaves Dido, who throws herself on a burning pyre and curses Aeneas and his people.

Discover the Treasures of Ancient Greece Guided Tour



0:00​ Introduction
0:36 Travel with us to Ancient Greece!
1:11 Introduction to the Aeneid and Virgil
3:45 About the Aeneid: Themes and Influences
5:36 Summary of the Aeneid
7:04 The Journey from Troy to Carthage
9:34 Aeneas Travels to Italy
11:54 War in Italy
14:28 Outro

The Aeneid
Roman Mythology
Romulus and Remus

History of the Iliad and the Trojan War
The Odyssey Summarised - Context, Themes and Importance
Ancient Roman Games, Sports and Spectacles
Ancient Roman Art and Architecture
The Founding of Rome: The Story of Romulus and Remus in Roman Mythology

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The music used in this recording is the intellectual copyright of Michael Levy, a prolific composer for the recreated lyres of antiquity, and used with the creator's permission. Michael Levy's music is available to stream at all the major digital music platforms. Find out more on:

Carole Raddato
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The Metropolitan Museum of Art
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World History Encyclopedia

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About the Author

Kelly Macquire
Kelly is a graduate from Monash University who has completed her BA (Honours) in Ancient History and Archaeology, focussing on iconography and status in Pylos burials. She has a passion for mythology and the Aegean Bronze Age.

Cite This Work

APA Style

Macquire, K. (2022, July 03). The Roman Epic Poem The Aeneid: Introduction and Summary. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

Macquire, Kelly. "The Roman Epic Poem The Aeneid: Introduction and Summary." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified July 03, 2022.

MLA Style

Macquire, Kelly. "The Roman Epic Poem The Aeneid: Introduction and Summary." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 03 Jul 2022. Web. 04 Feb 2023.