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Annotated Bibliography

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Barrett, Anthony A.  “Anna’s Conduct in Aeneid 4.”  Vergilius 16 (1970) 21-25.

    An elaboration on Vergil’s gift for addressing both readers enthralled with linguistics, as well as those who prefer the prolonged task of acquainting with the Aeneid’s legendary facets.  Barrett claims that Vergil’s allusion to legends through Anna, Dido’s sister, appeals to this devoted reader, and he offers an interpretation of Anna’s four monologues in Aeneid 4. The article suggests the interpretation of Anna as a brief lover to Aeneas during his stay at Carthage, and suggests Dido’s perception of these events, despite the queen’s mental state. 

Benario, Janice M.  “Dido and Cleopatra.”  Vergilius 16 (1970): 2-6.

    A study of the figures of Vergil’s Dido and the Horace’s Cleopatra of Ode 1.37.  Comparison includes a brief discussion of differences, but mainly focuses on the similarities of the two queens, particularly regarding the themes of madness and suicide and their status as powerful, female enemies of Rome.  Issues of intertextuality are covered briefly. 

Bolton, M.Catherine.  “The Isolating Effect of Sola in Heroides 10.” Phoenix 48 
    (1980): 42-50.

    An exploration of the nuances and connotations of sola--the idea of the solitary woman--a theme which occurs in both the Dido episode in Aeneid 4 and in the Dido letter of Heroides 7.  The analysis focuses primarily on the Ariadne letter of Heroides 10, but the implications of the occurrence of sola in the Dido letter are discussed.  Themes examined include abandonment, loneliness, solitude, isolation, guilt, recrimination, emptiness, and desolation. 

Casali, Sergio.  “Facta Impia (Vergil, Aeneid 4.596-9).” Classical Quarterly 49
    (1999): 203-11. 

    A re-examination of the conventional view that the use of facta impia in Aeneid 4.496 refers to the “impious deeds” of Dido.  Argues that, based on the context in which facta impia appears, the phrase must logically apply to the deeds of Aeneas, not to Dido’s deeds.  Includes a discussion, centered on the account of Aeneas’ escape from Troy, and  the truthfulness of Aeneas.

Commager, Steele.  “Fateful Words: Some Conversations in Aeneid 4.”  Arethusa 14
    (1981): 101-13.

    Explores Virgil’s use of fatum and related words, his propensity for etymological word play, and the use of words with double meanings.  Asserts that Vergil’s poem provides a view of the realm of the gods and the realm of human beings which allows the narrative to be read as the founding myth of an imperial empire, but not without profound awareness of the human cost.

Covi, Madeline C.  “Dido in Vergil’s Aeneid.”  CJ 60 (1964) 56-60.

    A relatively short article, which offers an alternative explanation for Dido’s impending ruin in Book 4.  Covi suggests that Dido’s destruction results not from her human behavior in falling in love with Aeneas at the hands of two very powerful goddesses, but because of her “puritan conscience.”  After Dido has become infatuated with Aeneas, the grief and guilt following the surrender of the queen destroy her.  Covi portrays Dido as Vergil’s tool for symbolizing the classical sin of fervor conquering logic, and suggests that the poet was forced to destroy Dido at her own hands due to this immorality. 

Desmond, Marilynn.  “When Dido Reads Vergil: Gender and Intertextuality in 
     Ovid’s Heroides 7.”  Helios 20 (1993) 56-68.

    An often-referenced article that describes Dido in Heroides 7as an active reader of Vergil’s Aeneid.  In this sense, she portrays the texts as representing opposing viewpoints, with Vergil’s third-person narrative being more objective, and Ovid’s first-person perspective as self-interested.  Desmond’s article depicts Dido’s ignorance of fate as eventually leading to the queen’s destruction.   The author also suggests that Ovid’s Heroides 7 was written to produce closure to the Aeneid by allowing the queen to state her position.  She offers a caveat to the reader of both the Aeneid and Heroides 7 as she accuses Ovid of non-parallel structure to the original Aeneid, as Vergil’s depiction of the Dido myth is far more metaphorical than Ovid’s direct response.

Drake, H.A.  “Why Dido?” The Ancient World 31 (2000) 38-45.

    An inquiry into Vergil’s focus on the Carthaginian queen in the midst of a description of Rome’s founding; specifically, Drake asks why Vergil so obviously sympathizes with the woman who represents Carthage, the republic’s greatest enemy.  The author asserts that comparisons of Dido with other enemy’s of the state, such as Cleopatra or Circe, are “superficial at best,” as Dido was not able to become a barricade to Aeneas as Cleopatra and Circe became to their respective lovers.  The article offers a great deal of description regarding Dido’s fall as symbolic of the third Punic war, as well as Dido’s prophecy of Hannibal, one of the republic’s most formidable adversaries.  Drake’s article also offers the reader a slightly unorthodox division of the text and a table illustrating of his classifications.

Edgeworth, R.J.  “The Death of Dido.”  Classical Journal, 72 (1976-77): 129-33.

    Examines the issue of Dido’s funeral pyre, and looks at why Vergil employed this method to dispose of his heroine.  Discussion of the conventional modes of literary suicide, especially the suicide of queens, is presented.  Argues that in addition to fulfilling the literary theme of burning, which recurs throughout Aeneid 4, Vergil may be alluding to the death of the last queen of Carthage, the wife of Hasdrubal, upon a pyre. 

Estevez, Victor A.  “Queen and City: Three Similes in Aeneid 4.”  CP 77 (1982) 

    An analysis of the three similes found in Aeneid 4 as a symbolic representation and foreshadowing for Carthage’s inevitable destruction.  All three similes involve Dido; the first describes the stag hunt in which Aeneas wounds the queen, the second compares the madness of Dido to Venus, and the third emphasizes the fall of the city.  Estevez offers a table with explicit comparisons from one simile to the next, and indicates that the solidity formed by the rhetorical similarities directly illustrates the city’s foretold devastation.

Feldherr, Andrew.  “Putting Dido on the Map: Genre and Geography in Virgil’s
    Underworld.” Arethusa 32 (1999): 85-122. 

     An analysis of the relationship of the geography of the Vergilian underworld in Aeneid 6 and the coherence of Vergil’s text. Contains a discussion of the similarities in the Roman use of geography in the Augustan age as “a schema of imperium” and Virgil’s construction of the geography of the lovers’ area of the underworld.  Argues that Vergil’s composition of the underworld resists being represented objectively (i.e., mapped), ”as his narrative resists the weight of epic authority by the introduction of elegiac elements. 

Galinsky, Karl.  “The Aeneid as a Guide to Life.”  Augustan Age 7 (1987) 161-173.

    A transcribed speech presented by Karl Galinsky; the speech is a humorous discussion of the Aeneid and the study of Latin in general, as well as the epic’s applicability to modern day values.  Galinsky attributes the Aeneid’s effectiveness to the poem’s obsession with morality and values, an obsession that has been sustained throughout time.  The speech also addresses modern controversies surrounding the Aeneid, such as the possibility that Vergil wrote the epic as a critique of the Augustan reign.

Galinsky, Karl.  “Was Ovid a Sliver Latin Poet?”  ICS 14 (1989) 69-88.

    A query regarding the modern reputation of Ovid as an inferior poet to Vergil and Horace.  The work details the value placed on Ovidian work before the Renaissance, and the loss of respect incurred by the poet’s work in more modern times.  Although Galinsky focuses particularly on Ovid’s Metamorphoses, the article is relevant in understanding Ovid as an interpreter and respondent to Vergil’s text.

Gross, Nicholas P.  “Rhetorical Wit and Amatory Persuasion in Ovid.”  CJ 74 
     (1978-79) 305-16.

    A reprimand directed at Classics scholars for underrating the value of Ovid’s works, including the Heroides.  Part II of the description of Ovid’s rhetorical skill includes an evaluation of Dido in Heroides 7, including Dido’s propensity to embellish her anguish at her abandonment.  Gross also explains Dido’s self-importance as comedic, and uncharacteristic of a traditional Roman woman.  The classicist argues against interpreting the epistle as histrionic; Gross claims that Dido’s melodramatic behavior is Ovid’s purposeful and successful attempt at humor.

Hallett, Judith P.  “Women as Same and Other in Classical Roman Elite.”  Helios 16
    (1989): 59-77. 

    An inquiry into the role of women as reflected in literary and prose sources about real people and events.  Discusses the limitations imposed on the study by the source material available, which is written, almost exclusively, by male members of the Roman elite or by male authors addressing that class.  Includes an examination the themes of “women as same and other” in the work of the female Roman elegist, Sulpicia.  Brief discussion of Dido and the Aeneid

Harrison, E.L.  “The Tragedy of Dido.”  A study of the elements evident in the epic. 

    Links the Dido story in Aeneid 4 to Greek tragedy by a comparison of allusions and generic conventions. Concludes that the epic is not subsumed by tragedy, but retains its epic force. 

Horsfall, N.M.   “Dido in the Light of History.” In Oxford Readings in Vergil's ” 
    Aeneid.” S.J. Harrison, ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990.  27-144.

    First published in Proceedings of the Vergil Society 13 (1973-4): 1-13.  An examination of the effect of the historical hostility between Rome and Carthage on the Aeneid.  Argues that unlike the characterizations of her literary antecedents in Greek literature, the characterization of Dido is informed by Roman history regarding Carthage and by racial prejudice. Includes a discussion of Roman literary antecedents, especially Naevius.

Jacobson, Howard.  “Heroides 7: Dido.”  In Ovid’s Heroides.   Princeton: Princeton
    University Press, 1974, 76-93. 

    An analysis of Ovid’s allusions to Aeneid 4 in Heroides 7.  Discusses Ovid’s use of the rhetoric of persuasion as a tool employed to vindicate Dido.  Contains an evaluation of the poem’s technical merit.

Kennedy, Duncan F.  “The Epistolary Mode and the First of Ovid’s Heroides.” 
    Classical Quarterly 34 (1984): 413-22. 

    An exploration of the implications of Ovid’s choice of epistolary form as a way to develop drama in the Heroides.   Focuses on the double epistles (i.e., 16-21), but includes a brief discussion of the Dido letter.  An analysis of the Penelope letter contains examples of ways in which Ovid exploits the form of the epistle for dramatic effect. 

Kopff, E. Christian.  “Dido and Penelope.”  Philologus 111 (1988) 244-248. 

    An unconventional discussion of Dido’s similarity to Penelope, Odysseus’ wife in Homer’s Odyssey.  Kopff acknowledges opposing positions that place Dido as an obstacle to Aeneas’ goal, parallel to the female barriers that slowed Odysseus’ return to his wife and son.  The author describes Dido as a character identical to Penelope, in that she is Aeneas’ equal and his true love; however, Dido is placed in the middle of the journey, while Odysseus’ Penelope is placed at the end.

Means, Thomas.  “A Comparison of the Treatment by Vergil and by Ovid of the 
    Aeneas-Dido Myth.”  CW 23 (1929) 41-44.

    Although dated, the comparison presents an interpretation the Dido myth in the Aeneid and Heroides 7 as tainted by the respective author’s background.  The article presents Vergil as refined, and his insights into the myth as pure, while Ovid, who is seen as far more coarse, presents the angry and vengeful construal of the story.  The treatment provides an insightful representation of the lives and repute of both Vergil and Ovid, and their respective positions in society.

Miller, Paul Allen.  “Sive Deae Seu Sint Dirae Obscenaeque Volucres.”  Arethusa 22 
    (1989) 47-79.

    A description of the Aeneid as written “for and about men.”  Despite the biases present within the culture of Vergil and the Aeneid text, the poet’s discussion of feminine characters is impossible to disregard.  Miller maintains that awareness of traditional Roman gender roles are necessary for the text of the Aeneid to be interpreted; however, the representation of females in Aeneid, specifically Venus, Juno, and Dido, deviate greatly from the normal characteristics attributed to and expected of the women in Vergil’s era.

Monti, Richard C.  “Fides and the Right Hand.”  Chap. 1 in The Dido Episode and 
    the “Aeneid”: Roman Social and Political Values in the Epic.  Leiden: E.J.
    Brill, 1981, 1-8. 

    Looks at the tradition of Dido as an abandoned woman modeled after Appolonius’ Medea and at Vergil’s revision of this tradition by his inclusion of a political dynamic, in addition to the traditional romantic entanglement, in the relationship of Dido and Aeneas. Discussion centers on Dido’s evocation of the Roman sense of political obligation in her lament at Aeneas’ departure in Aeneid 4.  Examines Vergil’s use of fides and dextra, “the right hand,” in the context of the relationship of Dido and Aeneas, and explores in detail the meanings attached to these themes in the context of Roman socio-political values in the late Republic and Augustan periods.

Murgia, Charles E.  “Dido’s Puns.”  CP 82 (1987) 50-59.

    An analysis of the non-humorous double meaning of several statements made by Dido in Aeneid 4.  The article addresses the historical acceptance of Romulus and Remus’ founding of Rome, and describes the twins as born 300 years after the rule of Ascanius.  Murgia focuses his paper on the statement extremam hanc oro veniam (misere sororis), quam mihi cum dederis cumulatam morte remittam, and the dual interpretation of morte as an ablative of time at which or as an ablative of means.  The author refers to Dido’s promise to Anna as filled, but not in a manner expected by the original interpretation of her statement.

O’Hara, James J.  “Dido as ‘Interpreting Character’ at Aeneid 4.56-66.”  Arethusa
    26 (1993) 99-113.

    A study describing Dido’s misinterpretation of the “quivering entrails” seen in Book 4.  O’Hara addresses other Classics scholars in his article, reminding these academics that opposing viewpoints are necessary and may help to develop the field.  The article also offers a short discussion of Books 8 and 9 as a comparative tool, useful for analyzing Book 4.  O’Hara also unwraps the relationship of Anna and Dido, as well as the dual meanings of the sisters’ conversation before the sacrificial rites of Book 4.  The author’s approach is grounded, and he thinks highly of Vergil, stating, “one of the most important ways for us to avoid imposing our own views on Vergil is to grant that Vergil describes things the way he does because he wants to describe things the way he does.”  O’Hara’s analysis of Book 4 offers the reader a methodology for analysis, as well as the interpretation itself. 

O’Hara, James J.  “Vergil’s Best Reader?  Ovidian Commentary on Vergilian 
    Etymological Wordplay.”  CJ 91 (1996) 255-76.

    A discussion regarding the intertextuality of Vergilian and Ovidian works.  O’Hara describes the recognition of this wordplay as necessary to the interpretation of texts written by both poets.  The author notes that each poet explicitly refers to their respective etymology in their respective works, although Vergil tends to do so through his characters, while Ovid prefers to utilize his position as author to allude to his wordplay.  Despite the fact that the article does not address Heroides 7 directly, that Ovid is more explicit in his wordplay than Vergil is valuable when analyzing the text.  O’Hara refers to Ovid as a “meticulous” reader of Vergil, and the author acknowledges that Ovid was able to take pleasure in aspects of Vergil’s work that are undervalued in modern times.

Perkell, Christine.   “Ambiguity and Irony: The Last Resort?”  Helios 21 (1994) 63

    A response to the critical debate about whether a “correct reading” of the Aeneid is achievable.  Argues that ambiguity is an inherent feature of Virgil’s text.  Addresses problems of interpretation as illustrated by the suicide of Dido in Aeneid 4. 

Phillips, Jane A.  “Juno in Aeneid 4.693-705.”  Vergilius 23 (1977) 30-33.

    A treatment of Dido’s relationship with Juno, who is devoted to the queen as a result of the goddess’ support for Carthage.  The article discusses Dido’s bitterness at not having conceived a child by Aeneas.  Phillips also describes Juno’s responsibility as the goddess who presides over childbirth.  When Juno pities Dido in death, she intervenes as a substitute for intervening in Dido’s delivery of a child after proceeding over her marriage.  Because Dido ends her life early, Juno will never be permitted to perform this responsibility.  The article also examines Vergil’s symbolic discussion of birth and death as noticeably similar.

Schmidt, Ernst A.  “The Meaning of Vergil’s Aeneid: American and German 
    Approaches.” CW 94 (2001) 145-71.

    An essay examining cultural and political influences imposed on interpreters of Vergil’s Aeneid.  The article specifically treats Harvard’s American interpretation of the classic, and contrasts this viewpoint with that of modern German construal.  Schmidt describes the American perspective as pessimistic, and the German perception as patriotic and traditional.  The final section of Schmidt’s essay provides an exhaustive analysis of Vergil’s Book 4 as an objective and impartial representation of the world. 

Segal, Charles.  “Dido’s Hesitation in Aeneid 4.”  CW 84 (1990) 1-12.

    Segal offers an illustration of Vergil’s ability to condense multiple meaning within one line of his poetry.  Segal particularly focuses on Dido’s hesitation before leaving to meet Aeneas and his men.  The author acknowledges past interpretations of Dido’s delay, including that of Servius and his followers, which states that the queen paused to “primp” before leaving to meet the warrior.  Segal notes unsubstantiated tone of male superiority in this interpretation, specifically as Vergil chose to leave the description of Dido’s hesitation ambiguous.  The author then draws comparisons to other delays within the Aeneid, and concludes that Dido pauses as a demonstration against the goddesses who control her, as the queen’s only potential rebellion against powers which dwarf her own. 

Skinner, Marilyn.  “The Last Encounter of Dido and Aeneas: Aen. 6.450-476.” 
    Vergilius 28 (1982): 12-18.

    An explication of the moral ambiguities embodied in Dido’s meeting with Aeneas in the underworld.  Examines structural and linguistic patterns, and contends that the characters’ roles in the confrontation scene in Aeneas 4 are reversed in the underworld.  Points to the moral dilemma contained in the possibility of human choice.

Smith, R.A.  “A Lock and A Promise: Myth and Allusion in Aeneas’ Farewell to 
    Dido in Aeneid 6.”  Phoenix 48 (1993) 305-12.

    Smith’s article elaborates on various allusions to Catullus’ invita, o regina, tuo de vertice cessi as Aeneas addresses the fallen Carthaginian queen in the underworld.  The author of the journal article accuses Aeneas to be metaphorically “equal to the sword” which kills Dido.  The writing also contains an in depth analysis into the mythical associations of the cutting of Dido’s hair just before her death at the end of Book 4, and the symbolic implications of both the lock of hair and Aeneas himself being estranged from Dido by means of a sword.

Smith, R. A.  “The Furtherance of the Tradition: Codified Readings.”  In Poetic
    Allusion and Poetic Embrace in Ovid and Vergil.  Ann Arbor: University of 
    Michigan Press, 1997, 71-135. 

    Contains detailed discussion of intertextuality in Ovid and Vergil primarily, but includes references to the works of numerous Greek and Roman writers.  Uses a hermeneutic critical approach influenced by the philosophy of Martin Buber.  Contains a discussion of the complex web of intertextuality between the Medea of Appolonius (as informed by Euripides) and Ovid’s Medea (as informed by Ennius), as shaped by Virgil’s Dido, who was also influenced by Ennius and Appolonius.

Smith, R. A.  “Fantasy, Myth, and Love Letters: Text and Tale in Ovid’s
    Heroides.” Arethusa 27, 2 (1994): 247-73. 

    An analysis of the interplay of intertextual, psychological, and contextual elements in the Heroides and their effect on the personae Ovid employs in the poems.  Contains a study of the allusions to Aeneid 4 in the Dido letter of Heroides 7.  Addresses the effect of the interaction of epistolary and elegiac genres, and examines the interplay of genders with respect to the poet, his poetic personae, and the intended recipients of the letters.  Asserts that Ovid may have created a new genre in the Heroides:  “a genre of conflict and synthesis.”

Starks, John H., Jr.  “Fides Aeneia: The Transference of Punic Stereotypes in the 
    Aeneid.” Classical Journal 94 (1999): 255-83. 

    Discusses the history of Roman fear and hatred of Carthage in the Roman literary tradition and the effect of prejudice on Roman patriotic sentiment.  Outlines the function of Punic stereotypes in Vergil’s creation of Dido, particularly with reference to the attitude toward Carthage maintained in the popular imagination of his intended audience.  Also discusses readings of Dido found in ancient sources, from Ovid to the Christian moralists. 

Starr, Raymond J.  “An Epic of Praise: Tiberius Claudius Donatus and Vergil’s
    Aeneid.” Classical Antiquity 11 (1992) 159-73. 

    Examines the Interpretationes Vergilianae of Tiberius Claudius Donatus--a paraphrase of the Aeneid with extensive commentary—which has been read as an indication of Virgil’s view of Augustus and Rome in the Augustan age.  Argues that Donatus’ text is informed by “a praise theory” which caused the author to “overread passages [of the Aeneid] to make them praise Aeneas.”   Contends that the rhetoric Donatus uses renders the characterization of Aeneas flat and reduces the Aeneid to a one-dimensional, praise poem. 

Starr, Raymond J.  “Explaining Dido to Your Son:  Tiberius Claudius Donatus on 
    Vergil’s Dido.”  CJ 87 (1991) 25-34.

    An examination of Roman interpretation of the Aeneid.  The article provides insight into the personality of Tiberius Claudius Donatus, and Roman who wrote a manuscript 1200 modern pages in length to explain Book 4 of the Aeneid to his son.  The most relevant aspects of his work regard the Roman interpretation of women; Starr particularly emphasizes Donatus’ “limited expectations of women in general” as well as regarding females as “vulnerable.”  Although Starr remarks that Donatus’ interpretation is at times superficial, he emphasizes the Roman’s passion for the story and for the humanness of Vergil’s characters.

Sullivan, J.P.  “Dido and the Representation of Women in Vergil’s Aeneid.” 
    The Two Worlds of the Poet: New Perspectives on Vergil.  R.M. Wilhelm and 
    H. Jones, eds.   Detroit, MI 1992. 64-73.

    An examination of ambiguity in Vergil’s portrayal of female characters in the Aeneid.  Argues against a reading of the representations of women in the epic as latent misogyny by pointing out the complexity and subtly of the characterizations.  Provides an outline of the ways in which Vergil sets up the heroic ideal—with women characters portrayed as obstacles of the heroic quest and trophies of the hero’s successes—and then systematically undermines the tradition, often by the subversive use of allusion.

Vessey, D.W.T.  “Humor and Humanity in Ovid’s Heroides.”  Arethusa 9 (1976) 

    Another commentary on the undervalued Heroides; the discussion contains a section (Section III) specifically analyzing the rhetorical merit, as well as the humor, in Ovid’s Heroides 7.  Ovid’s Dido is described by Vessey as more rational and self-absorbed than Vergil’s Dido; he most interestingly points out the potential for symbolic interpretations in Dido’s reference to “acts of kindness,” which Vessey believes are a euphemism for sexual favors.  The article also briefly compares the Dido epistle to that of the other heroines in the Heroides.

Weber, Clifford,  “Dido and Circe Dorees: Two Golden Women in Aeneid 1.698 and
    7.190.”  Classical Journal 94 (1999) 317-27. 

    A detailed analysis of the use of the word aurea in Aeneid 1.698.  Uses metrical, syntactical, and literary evidence to argue that aurea applies to Dido.  Contends that the use of the epithet connects Dido to female characters of the elegiac tradition of love poetry.



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