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date: 26 June 2022

Anchisesfree

Anchisesfree

  • Stephen J. Harrison

Subjects

  • Roman Myth and Religion

Anchises, character in literature and mythology, son of Capys, father of Aeneas, and member of the Trojan royal house. He does not appear in person in Homer's Iliad, but the Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite recounts his union with that goddess on the slopes of Mt. Ida. He was warned by Aphrodite not to reveal her identity as the mother of the resulting child, Aeneas (Hymn. Hom. 5. 286 ff), but disobeyed; as punishment, he was lamed by a thunderbolt (Verg. Aen. 2. 648–9) or blinded (Servius on Aen. 2. 35). Most versions of the Aeneas-legend tell how Anchises was carried on his son's back from Troy (e.g. Soph. fr. 373 Radt, Xen. Cyn. 1. 15); some state that he went with Aeneas to Carthage and Italy (Servius on Aen. 4. 427), but in the Aeneid he dies in Sicily before reaching either place (3. 707–15). Anchises' character in Aeneid bks. 2–3 is that of a frail and wise counsellor and priest-like religious authority; mutual affection between him and Aeneas is evident, especially when Aeneas descends to the Underworld to see his dead father (6. 106–9, 684–702), who offers both a philosophical revelation and a pageant of the future of Rome.

Bibliography

  • E. Flores, Enciclopedia Virgiliana (1984–1990), s.v. ‘Anchise’.