The Aeneid Family Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Book.Line). We used Robert Fitzgerald's translation.
'When faintness of dread left me,
I brought before the leaders of the people,
My father first, these portents of the gods
And asked their judgment.' (3.82-84)
The standard epithet Virgil uses to characterize Aeneas is "pius." Although it is related to our word "pious," for the Romans this word had a much stronger connotation of devotion to family – and especially to one's parents. As the quotations in this section will show, devotion to one's parents, especially to one's father, is a very, very prevalent theme in the Aeneid. Here, we see this love and respect symbolized in the fact that Aeneas singles out his father as the first of the Trojan leaders he consults about a message from the gods.
'For after storms at sea had buffeted me
So often, here, alas, I lost my father,
Solace in all affliction and mischance;
O best of fathers, in my weariness—
Though you had been delivered from so many
Perils in vain—alas, here you forsook me.
Never had Helenus the seer, who warned
Of many things to make me quail, foretold
This grief to me—nor had the vile Celaeno.
Here was my final sorrow, here the goal
Of all my seafaring.' (3.937-948)
These lines come at the end of the story Aeneas tells to Dido in Books 2 and 3, so when he says "Here was my final sorrow," you have to understand that that is only from the perspective of his voyage so far. As we know, there are plenty more sad things that are going to happen to Aeneas before the poem is over. Still, given what we know of Aeneas's deep love for his father, there is no doubt that this was one of the worst calamities he ever experienced.
"I greet and bless you, sacred father, bless you,
Ashes and shade and soul, paternal soul
I vainly rescued once. It was not given me
With you beside me to explore the coasts
And plains of Italy, nor to discover,
Whatever it may be, Ausonian Tiber" (5.105-110)
Aeneas says these words while making a sacrifice at his father's grave in Sicily. They provide (yet another) sign of the depth of his affection.