Why "Eneide"?

"His ego nec metas rerum nec tempora pono"
(For these men I plot no course, nor do I set limits for their work)
(Aenead, I, 278).

Roberto Vittori’s flight to the ISS on the Soyuz spacecraft was dedicated to the memory of Aeneas, whose long voyage in search of a new homeland ended when he founded Rome.

“Eneide” (or Aenead in English) is the title of the epic poem written by Virgil, one of the greatest poets of the Augustan period (1st century BC), which describes the mythical events that took place before Aeneas founded Rome.

Inspired by the Odyssey and the Iliad, the Aenead recounts the voyage and battles of Aeneas, son of Anchises and Aphrodite, who was chosen by Fate as the one who would continue the Trojan race. One of his descendants was Romulus, founder of the city of Rome.

Having left Troy in flames behind him, and driven onward by the will of the gods, Aeneas, one of the priest-leaders of his people, undertakes a long journey, which often seems to him pointless and futile, in search of a new home in the land to the West called “Hesperia”.

After arriving in Latium, Aeneas is forced into a number of furious clashes with the local peoples, despite the initially warm welcome from Latinus, king of the Latins. The poem ends with the final defeat of Turnus, king of the Rutuli and one of the most implacable enemies of Aeneas.

Guided by a courageous sense of destiny, Aeneas is a modern hero, who accepts his fate with resignation, steadfastness, and sorrow, lamenting the painful cost of his sacrifice, but also aware of its consequences: the birth of Rome, the climax of his story, the start of a golden age and the peace of Augustus.

Last update: 28 March 2005

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