Chapter Summaries & Analyses
The book opens at dawn, with Aeneas decorating an oak tree with the trophies he stripped from the dead Mezentius. Rather than honoring himself with them, he piously dedicates them to Mars, the god of war. Aeneas gives his troops a pep talk and encourages them to bury their fallen comrades with the proper honors (1-28). He himself joins the mourners gathered around the corpse of Pallas, lamenting that he will be sent back this way to Evander, who still does not know of his son’s death (35-58). Aeneas drapes the body in a fine mantle spun by Dido, and Pallas is mourned in a ceremony resembling a Roman state funeral (72-99).
The enemy Latin troops ask Aeneas for permission to bury their dead, too, which Aeneas grants, reminding them that he would grant mercy to the living as well, if they would only surrender: “I wouldn’t be here if fate hadn’t granted me this place to settle. / I’m not at war with your people” (112-13). Drances, an older Italian who disagrees with Turnus, seizes the opportunity to tell Aeneas he is impressed with him and they will do their best to reunite the Latin tribes with the Trojans.