65 pages 2 hours read



Fiction | Novel/Book in Verse | Adult | BCE

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Books 9-10Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Book 9 Summary

Juno sends the messenger goddess Iris to Turnus, encouraging him to strike while Aeneas is busy wooing the Arcadians (1-24). Turnus and his general Messapus attack the Trojan fortifications, but Aeneas has wisely instructed his men to defend the camp rather than risk a counterattack, frustrating their efforts (40-46).

Turnus instead tries to burn down the Trojan fleet, but he fails; Virgil makes an aside to explain why. When Aeneas was building the ships on Mt. Ida, a mountain near Troy sacred to Cybele, the goddess asked her son Jupiter to make the sacred wood indestructible. Jupiter hesitated, as indestructible ships might interfere with the designs of fate, but he agreed to transform the ships into goddesses once they had taken Aeneas to Italy (77-106). Most of the Italians are terrified to see the Trojan ships now metamorphize into female forms that swim off to sea, but Turnus is emboldened. Without their ships, the Trojans cannot escape him (116-32). He has his own destiny, he contends: to marry Lavinia, who has been stolen from him just as the Trojan Paris one stole Helen from the Greeks, kicking off the Trojan War.

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By Virgil