Wounds and Flames: Dido and Her Sisters

  • Antonio Ziosi Università di Bologna


This paper explores how the symbolic use of the recurrent metaphors of the wound and the flame not only shapes Virgil’s story of Dido (and her book in the Aeneid) but also the history of the reception of the queen of Carthage. Virgil had subtly exploited these metaphors (and their ‘realisation’) to deftly allude to the pre-Virgilian Dido – and to Dido’s intertextual sisters. The way in which later poets and artists engage in acknowledging and representing this metaphorical play also defines their functional reading of Virgil’s poetry.

Keywords: Virgil; Dido; Aeneid; tragedy; imagery; metaphors; reception