The Aeneid Family Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Book.Line). We used Robert Fitzgerald's translation.
"Have you at last come, has that loyalty
Your father counted on conquered the journey?
Am I to see your face, my son, and hear
Our voices in communion as before?
I thought so, surely; counting the months I thought
The time would come. My longing has not tricked me." (6.921-926)
Wouldn't it stink if Aeneas loved his dad a lot but his dad treated him badly? Fortunately, that isn't the case. As we can see from these lines, spoken by the spirit of Anchises in the underworld, the old man deeply loved his son as well.
Latinus had no son or male descendant,
Death having taken one in early youth.
A single daughter held that house's hopes,
A girl now ripe for marriage, for a man.
And many in broad Latium, in Ausonia,
Courted her, but the handsomest by far
Was Turnus, powerful heir of a great line.
Latinus' queen pressed for their union,
Desiring him with passion for a son. (7.67-76)
These lines shed light on a family structure very different from ours – in which young women did not get to choose who they would marry, but instead were carefully shepherded into matches that their parents deemed suitable. Theoretically, control over these matters rested squarely with the male head of the family, or paterfamilias, who in this case would be King Latinus. Family dynamics are rarely so simple, however, and much of the drama of the second half of the Aeneid comes from the fact that Latinus's wife, Amata, wants their daughter to marry Turnus, a Rutulian prince. This might be because Amata thinks he is the best match for Lavinia, but doesn't it strike a bit odd that Virgil says she was "desiring him with passion"? Compare this with other scenes involving Amata and see if you agree with us that there's something fishy going on between Amata and the Rutulian prince.
"But, Fortune, if you threaten some black day,
Now, now, let me break off my bitter life
While all's in doubt, while hope of what's to come
Remains uncertain, while I hold you here,
Dear boy, my late delight, my only one—
And may no graver message ever come
To wound my ears." (8.783-789)
Evander, king of the Arcadians, provides yet another example of a father who cares deeply for his son. All the same, he sends young Pallas off to war with Aeneas because he thinks it is important for him to learn how to fight.