Camilla was a warrior princess, riding into
war against Aeneas, a surviving Trojan prince, son of Anchises
brother of Troy’s former king, and the goddess Venus,
destined by the gods to be the founder of a new great empire
The passage is from the Aeneid, an epic poem written 2,000
years ago by Virgil, a close personal friend of the Roman
and acknowledged today as one of the greatest Roman poets.
What the Lord of the Rings is for some people today, the Aeneid
was for the Romans. The only difference is that while Tolkien’s
trilogy is fantasy, the Aeneid is presented as the true tale
of what happened to the Trojan people after the fall of Troy,
and scholars today believe it may have basis in historical fact.
The Romans looked up to the people of Ilium, Troy, the glorious
city known from Homer’s Iliad, written about 750 B.C. The
Romans claimed kinship to the Trojans, and the Emperor Augustus
himself claimed to be a Camilla and the armies of Italy.
The gods have already decided the outcome,
but not the costs. And as in every great battle, the costs
are great, even for the
The Aeneid can be a bit heavy to read at times, but it is definitely
worth it. The Everyman’s Library 1992 translation by Robert
Fitzgerald is excellent. The language flows smoothly, and everything
is explained in footnotes for the 2004 reader, who lacks what
was considered common knowledge around year one.
If you like the Aeneid, you might also like to try Dante Alighieri’s
Divine Comedy. It was also written in Italy in the 14th century,
and Virgil plays an important part in the story as Dante’s
guide through hell and purgatory.