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date: 05 December 2022



  • Cyril Bailey
  •  and Philip Hardie


Legendary queen of *Carthage, daughter of a Phoenician king of Tyre, called Belus by *Virgil. According to *Timaeus (2), the earliest extant source for her story, her *Phoenician name was Elissa, and the name Dido (‘wanderer’) was given to her by the Libyans. Her husband, called Sychaeus by Virgil, was murdered by her brother *Pygmalion (2), now king of Tyre, and Dido escaped with some followers to Libya where she founded Carthage. In the earlier tradition, in order to escape marriage with a Libyan king (Iarbas in Virgil) Dido built a pyre as though for an offering and leapt into the flames. The story of the encounter of *Aeneas and Dido (chronologically difficult given the traditional dating of Carthage's foundation four centuries after the destruction of Troy) probably appeared in *Naevius' epic Bellum Poenicum. According to *Varro it was Dido's sister Anna who killed herself for love of Aeneas.


  • Latin Literature
  • Roman Myth and Religion

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