Aeneas’ Farewell to Dido in Carthage by Claude Lorrain

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Aeneas Farewell to Dido in Carthage by Claude Lorrain

Painting NameAeneas' Farewell to Dido in Carthage
Painter NameClaude Lorrain
Completion Date1676
Place of CreationTunisia
Size120 x 149.2 cm (47.24" x 58.74")
Current LocationKunsthalle (Hamburg Germany)

The Greek myths are interacted with each other at very detailed level. The current scene was the first clue for the great Punic wars. This scene was the reason that Carthage and Rome fought history’s three most vicious wars and considered as the biggest wars at the contemporary time. Depicting it on five by four feet canvas with oil, Claude Lorrain has captured a large scale history in the single moment.

One of the Trojan heroes, Aeneas wandered for six years after the fall of Troy and reached Carthage for some rest. The queen Dido welcomed them whole-heartedly and heard their story. During his stay, Aeneas and Dido fell in love with each other and Dido declared him her lord and began to rule Carthage together.

But, Aeneas the hero of Troy had many tasks to accomplish yet. He was contacted by Jupiter through Mercury to remind his yet to complete tasks. The religious Aeneas had no other choice but obey him. He had to flee Carthage without the acknowledgement of Dido.

When Aeneas was fleeing away on his vessels, Dido came to know about it and reached on the bay where she saw Aeneas’s ships leaving the port.

She felt betrayed and ashamed against all her citizens and relatives. At that moment, she cursed Aeneas and declared the enmity between Carthage and Rome which ultimately led those cities into the infamous Punic wars.

Though, Dido didn’t live that much longer to witness the wars. On the leaving of Aeneas she arranged a pyre of the things Aeneas left and burned it. On the next move, she brought the sword Aeneas gave her and killed herself by that very sword. This sad ending killed many more lives in the wars and created a big pit between Rome and Carthage for many years.

The current picture depicts the moment when Dido recognized about the Aeneas’s fleeing act and she reached at the port to know for sure. She pointing at the vessels and maybe asking to her generals about what she was beholding. That moment of recognition of the betrayal was the point when Dido’s world changed and she became the igniter of the Punic Wars.



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