Today’s new Latin poem is from Virgil’s Aeneid. It sets the scene for Aeneas, as an honoured guest at the court of Dido, Queen of Carthage, to describe the fall of Troy. He is a Trojan prince, and the story he tells will be first-hand, vivid and full of drama, and a rarer subject in ancient literature than you might suppose – Homer’s Iliad ends before Troy falls. As Book 2 begins, Aeneas’s superhuman dignity and charisma are meant to remind us of his descendant, the Emperor Augustus.

Leaving Tartarus behind in his underworld journey, Aeneas arrives at the home of the blessed, the Elysian Fields. He will see many illustrious warriors there: the ones in the illustration are King Leonidas and the Spartans before the battle of Thermopylae, as imagined by Jacques-Louis David.

Hear the Latin and follow in English here.