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date: 16 May 2021

Turnus(1)locked

, Italian hero
  • Stephen J. Harrison

Extract

Turnus (1), Italian hero, in *Virgil son of Daunus and the *nymph Venilia and brother of the nymph Juturna; the Greek tradition calls him ‘Tyrrhenus’, suggesting an *Etruscan link (Dion. Hal. 1. 64. 2). His role as *Aeneas' rival in Italy is well established before Virgil (Cato frs. 9, 11 Peter; Dion. Hal. 1. 64. 2; Livy, 1. 2. 1–5). In the Aeneid he is king of *Ardea and the Rutulians and favoured suitor, not fiancé, of *Latinus' daughter Lavinia; rejected in favour of Aeneas and maddened by Juno's intervention, he rouses the Latins (see latini) against the Trojans (Aen. 7). In the war (Aen. 9–12) he fights bravely as the Latin commander and can elicit sympathy, but is sometimes rash; his high-handed appropriation of the sword-belt of the dead *Pallas(2) leads tragically at the very end of the poem to his own death at the hands of Aeneas.

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