Aeneas was a Roman demigod, the son of Venus and the Trojan prince Anchises. He is the eponymous hero of Virgil's epic poem, the Aeneid, as well as Rome's ancestral founder, being the ancestor of Romulus, the founder and first king of Rome.
Aeneas was born a demigod, the son of Aphrodite (Roman Venus) and a mortal shepherd named Anchises. He was conceived when Aphrodite, charmed by Zeus to be filled with lust for a mortal man, descended to Earth to lay with Anchises. So as to not arouse suspicion, Aphrodite disguised herself as a beautiful maiden and approached the young shepherd, who was fooled by the disguise. Anchises then took the goddess back to his home on Mount Ida, where he proceeded to lie with her. The following morning, Aphrodite awoke and shed her disguise, as Anchises was seized with feared upon disovering the true identity of the "maiden". Aphrodite, however, told him not to worry, though she made Anchises promise not to tell anyone what had happened that night, lest he be struck down by Zeus. Anchises kept his word, as he raised their son, named Aeneas, to be a mighty warrior. During the Trojan War, Aeneas fought bravely on the side of the Trojans, as he lead the Dardanians (a tribe allied with the Trojans) into battle against the Greeks. After the fall of Troy, Aeneas traveled for many years. He had been told a prophecy that he would find a new home for his people, which would eventually grow to become a mighty empire which would go on to conquer half the known world. The tale of Aeneas' journey is recounted in the Aeneid, written by the Roman poet Virgil during the reign of Augustus, the first Roman Emperor.
On his journeys, he met or passed by many of the monsters that Odysseus met, such as Polyphemus and Circe, but he also met new characters such as Dido, queen of Carthage, and Deiphobe, daughter of Glaucus (who was also the Cumaean Sibyl). He also entered the Underworld to see his father's spirit in Elysium. He spent a good part of his mission in friendly island or cities, especially in Carthage, a city that some decades later would become the greatest enemy of Rome. Aeneas didn't found Rome directly, but was the predecessor of Romulus and Remus. Instead he founded the city that three centuries later would help in the foundation of Rome.
When Troy fell and started to burn, Aeneas escaped from it with his father on his back and his son running by his side. They went to the beach and encountered other survivors, including some of Troy's princes. They built a small fleet and within a month, left the coast and traveled to Thrace. There, after cutting a tree, they discovered the land was cursed by a horrendous murder so they left as soon as they could. After leaving Thrace, they headed to Crete and there they found a city. After a few months, Aeneas and his father heard a prophecy saying that their destination was Italy. So they went back in the ships and headed to Italy. In the middle of the sea, a tempest hit them and they traveled without a course for three days. When it finally stopped, they landed pn an island apparently without inhabitants. What they did not know was that the Harpies lived there, and after a furious attack, they were forced to leave the island.
After a long trip through the sea, they finally saw Italy, but because a war was prophesied to start on that land if they left the boat, they choose to continue looking for a place to live. When they arrived at Polyphemus' island, it was night and they couldn't see a thing. They come across a Greek soldier named Achaemenides (a memeber of Odysseus' crew who had been left marooned on the island) who told them where they were, and they left again as fast as they could. They passed close to Charybdis, but they survived without any damage. They arrived at Sicily a few days later.
As soon as they left Sicily, Juno, who was determined to not let Aeneas fulfill the prophecy, sent a storm to drown them and they would have sunk were it not for Neptune, who granted the Trojans safe passage to the nearest city, Carthage. There, Aeneas and his crew were welcomed by Queen Dido, with whom Aeneas started a relationship, as they stayed in Carthage for a couple of years (sometimes said to be months). However, upon receiving an order from Jupiter, Aeneas soon left to continue the journey to Italy. Upon discovering this, Dido committed suicide, though not before she uttered a curse that the Carthagians will forver be at war with Aeneas' people. (This is meant to serve as an allusion to the famous Punic Wars, a series of conflicts between Rome and Carthage).
After arriving in Italy (specifically the central western region of Latium), Aeneas and his men found refuge in the court of Latinus, king of the Latins, who gave his daughter, Lavinia, to Aeneas in marriage. (Latinus had received a prophecy that Lavinia would be betrothed to a person from another land, the first one to arrive on his shores). This would eventually lead to war, however, as Lavinia had already been promised to Turnus, king of the Rutuli. The two tribes soon came to blows, and, though Juno aided the Rutuli, they were defeated after a few days and Turnus was killed by Aeneas. Afterwards, Aeneas and Lavia settled down and soon founded a new city in the region, named Lavinium in honor of the hero's wife. Aeneas proved to be a wise and just king who ruled for many years until his death, whereupon his eldest son Ascanius (also known as Iulus) took to the throne. Ascanius would go on to establish the city of Alba Longa, which would later be of major importance to the foundation of Rome.
Aeneas was mentioned by Aphrodite in a dream message to Piper McLean, as well as by Aeolus, when he was talking about Roman demigods. Clovis also mentioned that his father's Roman form, Somnus, killed Aeneas's helmsman when they were sailing from Troy.
- His name means "to praise" in Ancient Greek.
- He is considered to be the first Roman demigod ever recorded. But Rome wasn't founded until long after he was born; the new forms of the gods were probably only known as the "Roman" gods when Rome was founded.
- He was the ancestor of Romulus and Remus through their mother, Rhea Silvia. Therefore, Romulus and Remus would be legacies of Venus, as well as demigod sons of Mars.
- The writer of the Aeneid, Virgil, is said to be "Il nostro mayor poeta" ("our greatest poet" in Italian).