Researcher ORCID Identifier


Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Classical Studies

Reader 1

Christopher Chinn

Reader 2

David Roselli

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Rights Information

2022 James L Kleerup


Within Book 4 of Virgil’s Aeneid, the question of marriage is repeatedly raised. Specifically, it is debated whether or not Dido and Aeneas are married. This question is hotly debated by both the characters and scholars, as the answer is not definitively given within the text. This paper seeks to provide an answer, as the contemporary Roman reader would likely have interpreted their relationship, and also address why Virgil remained purposefully vague. Within Book 4, three key scenes are examined: the discussion between Juno and Venus where Juno proposes the wedding, the cave scene, and Dido and Aeneas’ argument when Aeneas is attempting to leave Carthage. While a plentitude of scholarship exists on this topic, this paper focuses on the original audience, looking at the legal requirements and ceremonies around weddings at the time, the nuisance of the original Latin, and the intertextual comparisons to Medea. Additionally, this paper addresses the distinct lack of certainty presented in the Aeneid, pointing to Aeneas’ status as the mythical ancestor of Rome and Augustus’ own connection to Aeneas through propaganda.