The Personification of Vengeance (The Legend Of The Wandering Sword: Volume I Book 1)
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One of these, Romulus, would found the city of Rome, where the Trojan race would continue its heroic career and where Caesar would appear to fill the world with his fame. After a sleepless night Aeneas again set out with Achates to explore, and encountered in the forest his goddess mother in the guise of a Tyrian huntress. In return Aeneas gave the strange huntress his name, relating how the storm had scattered all his vessels save the seven anchored close by. To allay his anxiety in regard to his friends, Venus assured him that twelve swans flying overhead were omens of the safety of his ships, and it was only when she turned to leave him that Aeneas recognized his mother, who, notwithstanding his desire to embrace her, promptly disappeared.
In its centre stood a wonderful temple, whose brazen gates were decorated with scenes from the War of Troy. Hidden from all eyes by a divine mist, Aeneas and Achates tearfully gazed upon these reminders of the glories past and mingled with the throng until Queen Dido appeared. She was no sooner seated upon her throne than she summoned into her presence some prisoners just secured, in whom Aeneas recognized with joy the various captains of his missing ships.
Then he overheard them bewail the storm which robbed them of their leader, and was pleased because Dido promised them entertainment and ordered a search made for their chief. The right moment having come, the cloud enveloping Aeneas and Achates parted, and Dido thus suddenly became aware of the presence of other strangers in their midst.
Endowed by Venus with special attractions so as to secure the favor of the Libyan queen, Aeneas stepped gracefully forward, made himself known, and, after paying due respect to the queen, joyfully greeted his comrades. With the eyes of all present upon him, Aeneas related how the Greeks finally devised a colossal wooden horse, wherein their bravest chiefs remained concealed while the remainder of their forces pretended to sail home, although they anchored behind a neighboring island to await the signal to return and sack Troy.
Overjoyed by the departure of the foe, the Trojans hastened down to the shore, where, on discovering the huge wooden horse, they joyfully proposed to drag it into their city as a trophy.
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In vain their priest, Laocoon, implored them to desist, hurling his spear at the horse to prove it was hollow and hence might conceal some foe. This daring and apparent sacrilege horrified the Trojans, who, having secured a Greek fugitive in a swamp near by, besought him to disclose what purpose the horse was to serve. Enticed by this prospect, the Trojans proved more eager than ever to drag the horse into their city, even though it necessitated pulling down part of their walls.
Meantime part of the crowd gathered about Laocoon who was to offer public thanks on the sea-shore, but, even while he was standing at the altar, attended by his sons, two huge serpents arose out of the sea and, coiling fiercely around priest and both acolytes, throttled them in spite of their efforts. On seeing this, the horror-struck Trojans immediately concluded Laocoon was being punished for having attacked the wooden horse, which they joyfully dragged into Troy, although the prophet-princess, Cassandra, besought them to desist, foretelling all manner of woe.
Night now fell upon the city, where, for the first time in ten years, all slept peacefully without fear of surprise. At midnight Sinon released the captive Greeks from the wooden steed, and, joined by their companions, who had noiselessly returned, they swarmed all over the undefended city.
At this moment loud clamors awakened him, confirming what he had just heard in dream. Aeneas immediately rushed to the palace to defend his king, he and his men stripping the armor from fallen Greeks to enable them to get there unmolested. They also beheld the shrieking women ruthlessly dragged off into captivity, Cassandra wildly predicting the woes which would befall the Greek chiefs on their way home. Ah see! The fall of aged Priam and the plight of the women reminding Aeneas of the danger of his own father, wife, and son, he turned to rush home. On his way thither he met his mother, who for a moment removed the mortal veil from his eyes, to let him see Neptune, Minerva, and Juno zealously helping to ruin Troy.
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Because Venus passionately urged her son to escape while there was yet time, Aeneas, on reaching home, besought his father Anchises to depart, but it was only when the old man saw a bright flame hover over the head of his grandson, Iulus, that he realized heaven intended to favor his race and consented to leave. Seeing him too weak to walk, his son bade him hold the household goods, and carried him off on his back, leading his boy by the hand and calling to his wife and servants to follow.
Thus burdened, Aeneas reached a ruined fane by the shore, only to discover his beloved wife was missing. Anxiously retracing his footsteps, he encountered her shade, which bade him cease seeking for her among the living and hasten to Hesperia, where a new wife and home awaited him. This phenomenon was, however, explained by an underground voice, relating how a Trojan was robbed and slain by the inhabitants of this land, and how trees had sprung from the javelins stuck in his breast.
Unwilling to linger in such a neighborhood, Aeneas sailed to Delos, where an oracle informed him he would be able to settle only in the land whence his ancestors had come. Although Anchises interpreted this to mean they were to go to Crete, the household gods informed Aeneas, during the journey thither, that Hesperia was their destined goal.
They not only annoyed Aeneas in this way, but predicted, when attacked, that he should find a home only when driven by hunger to eat boards. It was during the parting sacrifice that Helenus predicted that, after long wanderings, his guests would settle in Italy, in a spot where they would find a white sow suckling thirty young. He also cautioned Aeneas about the hidden dangers of Charybdis and Scylla, and bade him visit the Cumaean Sibyl, so as to induce her, if possible, to lend him her aid.
Restored and refreshed by this brief sojourn among kinsmen, Aeneas and his followers resumed their journey, steering by the stars and avoiding all landing in eastern or southern Italy which was settled by Greeks.
After passing Charybdis and Scylla unharmed, and after gazing in awe at the plume of smoke crowning Mt. To rest his weary men, Aeneas finally landed at Drepanum, in Sicily, where his old father died and was buried with all due pomp. Not only did Anna encourage her sister to marry again, but united with her in a prayer to which Venus graciously listened, although Juno reminded her that Trojans and Carthaginians were destined to be foes.
But the brilliant hunting expedition is somewhat marred in the middle of the day by a sudden thunderstorm, during which Aeneas and Dido accidentally seek refuge in the same cave, where we are given to understand their union takes place. So momentous a step, proclaimed by the hundred-mouthed Goddess of Fame, rouses the ire of the native chiefs, one of whom fervently hopes Carthage may rue having spared these Trojan refugees.
This prayer is duly registered by Jupiter, who further bids Mercury remind Aeneas his new realm is to be founded in Italy and not on the African coast!
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His plans are, however, detected by Dido, who vehemently demands, how he dares forsake her now? So, leaving Dido to brood over her wrongs, Aeneas hastens down to the shore to hasten his preparations for departure. Seeing this, Dido implores her sister to detain her lover, and, as this proves vain, orders a pyre erected, on which she places all the objects Aeneas has used.
That night the gods arouse Aeneas from slumber to bid him sail without taking leave of the Tyrian queen. In obedience to this command, our hero cuts with his sword the rope which moors his vessel to the Carthaginian shore, and sails away, closely followed by the rest of his fleet. The Carthaginians, little expecting so tragical a denouement, witness the agony of their beloved queen in speechless horror, while Anna wails aloud.
Iris therefore speedily obeys, saying:. Sailing on, Aeneas, already dismayed by the smoke rising from the Carthaginian shore, is further troubled by rapidly gathering clouds. There they show due respect to the dead by a sacrifice, of which a serpent takes his tithe, and proceed to celebrate funeral games. We now have a detailed account of the winning of prizes for the naval, foot, horse and chariot races, and the boxing and archery matches.
While all the men are thus congenially occupied, the Trojan women, instigated by Juno in disguise, set fire to the ships, so they need no longer wander over seas they have learned to loathe. One of the warriors, seeing the smoke, raises the alarm, and a moment later his companions dash down to the shore to save their ships.
Seeing his fleet in flames, Aeneas wrings his hands, and prays with such fervor that a cloudburst drenches his burning vessels. Four, however, are beyond repair; so Aeneas, seeing he no longer has ship-room for all his force, allows the Trojans most anxious to rest to settle in Drepanum, taking with him only those who are willing to share his fortunes.
When Aeneas leaves Drepanum on the next day, his mother pleads so successfully in his behalf that Neptune promises to exact only one life as toll. We are further informed that the Sibyl generally wrote her oracles on separate oak leaves, which were set in due order in her cave, but which the wind, as soon as the doors opened, scattered or jumbled together, so that most of her predictions proved unintelligible to those who visited her shrine. After a solemn invocation, Aeneas besought her not to baffle him by writing on oak leaves, and was favored by her apparition and the announcement that, after escaping sundry perils by land and sea and reddening the Tiber with blood, he would, thanks to Greek aid, triumph over his foes and settle in Latium with a new bride.
Undaunted by the prospect of these trials, Aeneas besought the Sibyl to guide him down to Hades, to enable him to visit his father, a journey she flatly refused to undertake, unless he procured the golden bough which served as a key to that region, and unless he showed due respect to the corpse of his friend. Although both conditions sounded mysterious when uttered, Aeneas discovered, on rejoining his crew, that one of his Trojans had been slain. Armed with this talisman and escorted by the Sibyl, Aeneas, by way of Lake Avernus, entered the gloomy cave which formed the entrance to Hades.
Following the flying footsteps of his mystic guide, he there plunged into the realm of night, soon reaching the precinct of departed souls, where he saw innumerable shades. Among these unfortunates Aeneas recognized his recently drowned pilot, who related how he had come to his death and by what means he was going to secure funeral honors. In spite of the three-headed dog and sundry other grewsome sights, Aeneas and his guide reached the place where Minos holds judgment over arriving souls, and viewed the region where those who died for love were herded together.
Among these ghosts was Dido, but, although Aeneas pityingly addressed her, she sullenly refused to answer a word. Farther on Aeneas came to the place of dead heroes, and there beheld brave Hector and clever Teucer, together with many other warriors who took part in the Trojan War. The visitors were immediately directed to a quiet valley, where they found the aged Trojan, pleasantly occupied contemplating the unborn souls destined to pass gradually into the upper world and animate the bodies of his progeny.
On beholding his son, who, as at Drepanum, vainly tried to embrace him, Anchises revealed all he had learned in regard to life, death, and immortality, and gave a synopsis of the history of Rome for the next thousand years, naming its great worthies, from Romulus, founder of Rome, down to Augustus, first emperor and ruler of the main part of the world. This account of the glories and vicissitudes of his race takes considerable time, and when it is finished the Sibyl guides Aeneas back to earth by one of the two gates which lead out of this dismal region. Pleased with having accomplished his errand so successfully and duly encouraged by all he has learned, Aeneas returns to his fleet and sets sail for the home he is so anxious to reach.
On his first landing the Muse Erato rehearses for our benefit the history of the Latins, whose royal race, represented at present by Latinus, claims to descend from Saturn. Although Latinus has already betrothed his daughter Lavinia to Turnus, a neighboring prince, he is favored by an omen at the moment when the Trojans land.
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On seeking an interpretation of this sign, he learns he is not to bestow his daughter upon Turnus, but is to reserve her hand for a stranger, whose descendants will be powerful indeed. Meantime the Trojans feast upon meat which is served to each man on a wheaten cake. Young Iulus, greedily devouring his, exclaims playfully that he is so hungry he has actually eaten the board on which his meal was spread! At length we rest, no more to roam. Here is our country, here our home. After hearing all they have to say, Latinus assures them that men of his race once migrated from Asia, and that the gods have just enjoined upon him to bestow his daughter upon a foreign bridegroom.
When he proposes to unite Lavinia to Aeneas, Juno, unable to prevent a marriage decreed by Fate, tries to postpone it by infuriating Amata, mother of the bride, and causing her to flee into the woods with her daughter. Not satisfied with one manifestation of power, Juno despatches Discord to ask Turnus if he will tamely allow his promised bride to be given to another man?