Combat In The Aeneid

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The main theme of The Aeneid is revealed as early as in the opening line of the first book: “Wars and a man I sing” (Virgil 1.1). Therefore, Virgil gives vivid descriptions of war and Aeneas’s adventures in the epic. Aeneas follows the gods’ orders and takes his fellow Trojans to Italy to found a new Troy. However, in order to establish a new city, Trojans need to conquer Italian nations that get in their way. That is where the war comes in. Virgil’s depictions of the battles and personal combats are very intriguing, but also different from combats in a modern world. Some of the reasons for such differences are arms used, reasons behind the war, and even the war strategy. Even though Virgil’s depictions of combat might be abstract to a modern…show more content…
For instance, after Nisus and Euryalus get caught killing Rutulians during the siege of Troy, Rutulians kill Euryalus mercilessly. Virgil describes his death with the following words: “He writhes in death as blood flows over his shapely limbs” (Virgil 9.497-498). Similarly, Book X describes personal combat between Turnus and Pallas. After king Turnus kills Pallas, the king stabs his foot on the corpse and strips away Pallas’s sword-belt, which is another shocking depiction (Virgil 10.586-587). However, Aeneas is just as brutal. When Magus hugs his knees and begs for mercy, Aeneas holds Magus’s helmet and “digs his sword-blade deep down” into Magus’s neck (Virgil 10.634). Finally, the most memorable combat in the Aeneid is definitely the one between Turnus and Aeneas in the Book XII. The final combat starts with them tossing their spears. After a few blows, Turnus’s sword hilt breaks off and the gods get involved. Once Juno finally accepts the fact that Trojans will be victorious and stops intervening, Aeneas batters Turnus down to the ground and in revenge for Pallas’s death “plants his iron sword” into Turnus’s heart (Virgil
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