The Aeneid

Book 9: Enemy at the Gates

You're Invited!

To the Great Battle of Latnium

Side with either Aenius or Turnus on this epic journey to claim what is rightfully yours. Do you claim your bride? Do you fulfill the dreams of your people? In consideration of the variations and golden truths of gravitas, autoritas, and piety you must reflect what the gods wish of you.

Every Monday In Arcadia

Yunsha Ehtesham, Sydney McCormick, Kelsey Pearce


  • Iris was the goddess of the rainbow, the messenger of the Olympian gods, namely Juno (Hera).
  • In myth she appears only as an errand-running messenger and was usually described as a virgin goddess.
  • Her name contains a double meaning, being connected both with iris, "the rainbow," and eiris, "messenger."
  • "She towered into the sky with balanced wings, cleaving a giant rainbow, flying beneath the clouds" (The Aeneid 9.16-17).


  • Ruler of the Rutuli people, King of Ardea
  • Son of Daunus and the nymph Venilia, brother of the nymph Juturna
  • Aeneus' major rival upon securing Italy after the fall of Troy
  • Also called Tyrrhenus, which means “Etruscan”

Turnus vs Aeneus

Turnus is often seen as a revival of Dido

He is beloved by Juno (because he's easily manipulated to hate Trojans)

  • Operates on blind faith to gods
  • "And Turnus knew her and raised both hands to the stars, calling after the goddess, trailing her flight with cries: "'Iris,pride of the sky! Who has sped you here to me, swooping down from the clouds to reach the earth?'"
  • Similar to Aeneus and Dido
He is controlled by his emotions
  • "So wildly Turnus, scanning the camp and rampart, flares in anger, brute resentment sears him to the bone."
  • Etruscan background
  • "Let all the Etruscans..."-Uses power of people for his own will

He represents Chaos

  • "The Rutulians shrank in panic. Messapus himself was stunned with terror, his stallions reares, and the river, roaring, checked its currents"


  • "rich in cavalry, rich in braided cloaks, bright gold" -Luxury over practicality- Vanity
  • Turnus commands from the center- emphasis on individual and focus of his needs
  • "I have my own fate too, counter to theirs, to stamp out these accursed people with my sword--they've stolen away my bride!"- Victory for himself
  • "Turnus never loses faith in his daring"-egotistical pride
  • Tactics usually compared to "Aeneus, best of captains"
  • Prayer to the gods acts as a refusal to his known fate, it is not what he desires
  • "Prayed to gods, over and over, weighing down the heavens with his vows"
  • "All their fateful oracles- words from the gods these Phrygians bandy about- alarm me not at all."

Turnus vs Hercules

Middle of page 268

Turnus "gallops along the walls- a way in?- no way in."

  • Represents the 3 times Hercules was trying to find Cacus
Allows for the "light" of Aeneus
  • In some ways a foil to Aeneus
Use of cattle
  • "and the lambs kept bleating on, snug beneath their dams."

Use of Fire

Fire acts as a symbol throughout the novel

Used in this chapter mainly as a characteristic and representation of the chaos of both Turnus and war

  • "I am determined now to ring their walls with fire!"
  • "They've plundered the hearthfires, sooty torches ignite a murky glare, and the God of Fire hurls at the skies a swirl of sparks and ash."


  • In Rome, Cybele was known as Magna Mater ("Great Mother")
  • As a goddess of fertility she personified the earth and its abundant benefits, and was regarded as the Great Mother and unceasing producer of all plant life.
  • The symbol of Cybele was the Pine Cone, thus the holy pine wood given to the Trojans.
  • She was also believed to exercise unbounded sway over the animal world including wild animals, especially the lion. She is often depicted with lions to portray this domination.

Euryalus and Nisus Leave Camp

While everyone is sleeping the officers of the Trojan armies are holding a meeting, deciding what to do about the army outside and how to get word to Aeneas. During this Euryalus and Nisus rush in and tell the men that the two of them have found a way through the enemies camp and, with permission, could go through and go to Aeneas.

Euryalus and Nisus

  • Two young men who came from Troy with Aeneas
  • They're very close friends and have been since they were in Troy. Very devoted to each other
  • Both seen before in book 5 during the footrace
  • They seek glory for themselves and are devoted to the Trojan cause
They are aloud and Ascanius tells them that if the succeed he will reward them with “two cups… struck in silver... a pair of tripods, two large bars of gold, and a winebowl full of years.. armor.. all gold.. twelve women… and a dozen captive soldiers”. Before the two leave Euryalus asks Ascanius to tell his mother that he is leaving for him because he can’t bare to upset her and Ascanius agrees to take care of his mother. With this they leave the Trojan camp and start on their way through the Latin camp. While going through they start to kill many men and leaders only stopping when Nisus tells Euryalus that it’s almost dawn and they need to move on and Euryalus takes a helmet as a prize from his kills.
As they are leaving though a cavalry of 300 men comes riding in and spot Euryalus and Nisus because of the taken prize. They run to the woods and are pursued by a captain, Volcen, and some of his men. Nisus gets away but Euryalus is captured by Volcen and his men. Nisus goes back to help him and kills some of the men with a spear while hidden. Volcen then decides to take it out on Euryalus and takes his life for the life of the killed men. Outraged Nisus comes out and kills Volcen but is surrounded by his other men and then killed as well. After this the are Decapitated and their heads are paraded around the Trojan fort for all to see. Rumor comes to Euryalus mother that this is happening and she goes mad with greif and runs to see if it is true. Finding that it is, she begins her “womanly wailing” or “femineo ululatu” (Sharrock 57). This causes more grief for the lost within the Trojan camp and Iulus orders Actor and Idaeus to take her back inside.

  • Pietas: This is shown through the devotion the two men have for each other. Nisus throws away his life to avenge the death of his friend. It is also seen in the willingness they have to risk their lives for the Trojan cause.
  • Auctoritas: This is found in the grief of the people after the lose of Nisus and Euryalus because they died honorably fighting for the Trojans.
  • Individual Glory: This part of the book emphasizes glory to the individual as opposed to glory for the Gods. Nisus and Euryalus go out of the camp seeking glory for themselves by killing many Latin captains and getting to Aeneas, although they don't make it that far. Euryalus took the helmet to show he was victorious and have proof of his glory and this was their downfall.
  • Gold: Symbol; symbolizes glory. If the succeed in their mission they get the gold so they also get the glory. Euryalus takes the gold helmet symbolizing his glory for being triumphant in killing a captain.

Turnus Attacks

Day 2 rolls around and Turnus and his army attempt to eradicate the fortress once again. The army "[pack] under a tortoise-shell of shields" to protect themselves from the mass items being thrown at them (The Aeneid 9.580-81). However, the rocks and spears striking the shields do not hinder the Latins as the advance forward and raise ladders on the walls of the fortress.


Tortoise: Here the tortoise is able to provide with an essence of strength within the Latin army. Their strategic defense also illuminates the unity of the Latin army and their upper hand in the current situation. On the other hand, the Trojans are seen disorganized panicked as they all fling random objects towards the Rutulians.

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War and Peace: Here, as Virgil indicates, the "carnage and death the sword of Turnus" had caused each fighter to "[speed] down to darkness" (The Aeneid 9.602-603). This indicates a negative connotation of war as it causes humanity to to commit actions of inhumane destruction.

Turnus throws a flaming torch which promptly burns down a tower from the fortress. The tower falls, killing many. Only two survive the collapsing column, Helenor and Lycus. While Helenor dives head on into the battle and dies, Lycus attempts to climb up to wall to his comrades, but is ripped off the wall and killed by Turnus.

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Animals: Virgil constantly employs rhetoric with the inclusion of animalistic metaphors. This is seen with the tortoise shell of shields and also the metaphor of the wailing mother sheep as her lamb is taken away by the wolf. Here, Virgil indicates the inhumanity in war. By focusing on the loss of the mother sheep, he showcases that war has a greater effects on the families of the fighters than the fighters themselves. This concept exemplifies the virtue of peace instead of war.

The next section indicates the countless number of deaths that occur on the field. Both sides kill numerous warriors but Turnus takes the trophy of most Trojans single-handedly murdered. Young Ascanius comes on board as he kills his first human, Numanus, with his bow and arrow.

Turnus's kill list: Lycus, Caeneus, Itys, Clonius, Dioxippus, Promolus, Sagaris, and Idas.


  • Son of the Trojan hero Aeneas and Creusa, daughter of Priam.
  • Skilled with the bow and arrow
  • Ascanius is a teenager without real war experiences, but while besieged by the Italians, Ascanius launches an arrow against Numanus, the husband of the youngest sister of Turnus.
Numanus, recently hit with an arrow, staggers enough energy to slander all Trojans before he dies. He ensures to indiscriminate them by calling them "Phrygian women" with their "saffron braided dress, [their] flashy purple, [their life] for lazing, lost in [their dancing], ribbons on bonnets" (The Aeneid 9.698-701).


Women: Throughout The Aeneid, women are characterized as being weak and emotional. Numanus's insult not only characterizes the roles of useless women, but also showcases the insignificant attributes of women as well. Women are observed to be lazy and always preoccupied with their hair or dress.

At the sight of Numanus's death, Ascanius is overjoyed and over confidant in his abilities as a fighter. At this, Apollo applauds Ascanius for his victory, but also reminds him that he is fated to create peace through his actions and the actions of those who will come after him. In order for Ascanius to mature, he must not participate in this battle.


  • Recognized as a god of light and the sun, truth and prophecy, healing, plague, music, poetry, and more
  • Apollo is the son of Zeus and Leto, and has a twin sister, the chaste huntress Artemis
  • Apollo comes to earth disguised as the elderly Trojan Butes, and instructs Ascanius to stop fighting.
  • When he leaves, the other Trojans realize he was a god, and remove Ascanius from the battle.

Divine Intervention: The characters of The Aeneid are constantly aided or hindered by the gods. They act as pawns all controlled by the string of Fate and they must follow the orders of their beloved gods. Due to this, Apollo is here once again to ensure the lineage of Ascanius to follow as announced by Fate. This divine intervention indicates the actions of all characters to be preordained by the gods.

Pandarus and Bitias "fling wide the gate their captain entrusted to them" to fight the enemies head on (The Aeneid 9.769). As the Rututlian forces charge at this new opening, word quickly arrives to Turnus who wheels around destroy the Trojans. On his way to the open gates, he decides to kill more Trojans.

Turnus's kill list (continued): Antiphates, Merops, Erymas, Aphidnus, and Bitias

The death of Bitias is characterized as an immense loss as even the "earth groans as [his] giant shield thunders down on his body" (The Aeneid 9.805-6). This event causes Pandarus to reevaluate opening the gates so he quickly closes them. However, this causes many comrades to be shut out and Turnus to be shut in (characterized as a tiger= animal motif). He tries to defeat Turnus but Juno diverts it. Juno even enrages Turnus even more for him to cause greater destruction. This entitles him onto another massacre of multiple Trojans.

Turnus's kill list (continued again): Pandarus, Phaleris, Gyges, Halys, Phegeus, Alcander, Halius, Pytanis, Noemon, Lynceus, Amycus, Clytius, and Cretheus

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Turnus's ego leads him to lead this fight individually. Instead of smashing the bolts of the gates to invite the Rutulians in, he desires full fame and glory which causes him to neglect this tactical move. His actions are "personal and emotional. Although linked to courage and patriotism, it is ineffective, even damaging to common interest" (Saylor 89).

Mnesthus, a Trojan, encourages his friends, telling them to remember Aeneas and Troy. He increases the morale of his comrades and indicates their cowardness by running away. Now all the Trojans gather and push Turnus back towards the river.


  • He is described by Virgil as the ancestral hero of the Memmii and "Of the house of Assaracus"
  • One of a handful of vaguely defined lieutenants under Aeneas, he appears to be Aeneas's most senior captain, taking charge in Book 9 in his absence
  • He takes second place in the boat race during the funeral games of Anchises in Book 5.

The heroism presented at this moment entices the development of "Vergilian heroism" which "is done for the common good, and at its best it is effective and successful for the community or group. It is strategy for a group and accomplished in a group" (Saylor 89). Once all of the Trojans acted upon as a group, they were able to overpower Turnus and even godly intervention wouldn't have been able to stop them.

Jove sends down Iris to inform Turnus that Juno will not be able to aid him in his commands. Due to this, it would be wise for him to escape instead. Turnus follows this advice and dives headfirst into the Tiber river to float back to his friends.
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Aeneid PhotoStory (Book 9)