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65 pages 2 hours read

Virgil

Aeneid

Fiction | Novel/Book in Verse | Adult | BCE

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Books 5-6Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Book 5 Summary

Aeneas looks back and sees the blaze of Dido’s pyre but is not sure what it means. A storm builds. His helmsman Palinurus suggests a detour to Sicily, where Aeneas’s half-brother Eryx lives and where his father was buried (22-23). Since it has been a year since Anchises’s death, Aeneas and another Trojan who lives there, Acestes, hold funeral games for him. Aeneas offers a ritual libation at the grave, and a beautiful supernatural snake slithers up from the tomb to partake in the offerings (84-96). On the ninth day of the festivities, the games begin.

The games consist of a boat race (113-243), a foot race (286-361), a boxing match (365-484), and an archery contest (485-544). Four Trojans compete in the boat race: Mnestheus (captain of the Pristis), Gyas (of the Chimaera), Sergestus (of the Centaur), and Cloanthus (of the Scylla). The young warrior Gyas takes the lead, but his helmsman, Menoetes, refuses his captain’s dangerous order to hug the shore, allowing Cloanthus and the Scylla to overtake them. Humiliated, Gyas dumps the elderly Menoetes overboard. Everyone laughs (172-82). In his rush to capitalize on Gyas’s fumble, Sergestus runs his ship, the Centaur, onto the reef (201-09).

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By Virgil