How are contemporary politics of Virgil's time incorporated into The Aeneid?
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Virgil's Aeneid is packed with references to past and present political activities in Rome. Just as Aeneas is trying to establish the city of Rome, Augustus, the emperor when Virgil was composing the Aeneid, was trying to recreate Rome as a state ruled by one man, rather than the Republic that had existed for almost five centuries.
Augustus' struggle to bring Rome under his control had culminated in his defeat of Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BCE, which is depicted on Aeneas' shield in Book 8:
In the centre bronze ships could be seen, the Battle of Actium, and you could make out all Leucate in feverish preparation for war, the waves gleaming with gold. On one side Augustus Caesar stands on the high stern... (A.S. Kline translation)
The romantic relationship between Antony and Cleopatra, Roman male and African female, finds its parallel in the relationship between founder of Rome Aeneas and African queen Dido. Like Dido, Cleopatra also committed suicide. Fortunately for Rome, Aeneas does not fully become a second Antony.
Obviously, Aeneas' love affair with the Queen of Carthage would have caused Virgil's Roman audience to shudder as they read about their founder having a relationship with the queen of a people with whom their forefathers had battled for 150 years before finally crushing their city into rubble in 146 BCE.
Numerous other political references are scattered throughout the poem. The most densely packed ones can be found in the latter half of Aeneid 6, where Aeneas sees various Romans in the underworld, and also Aeneid 8, where Aeneas' shield is described.