Dux Femina Facti: Gender and Ethnicity in the Aeneid Open Access

Burke, Rhiannon Christine (2011)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/9g54xh844?locale=en


Dux Femina Facti: Gender and Ethnicity in the Aeneid
By Rhiannon Burke
The women of Vergil's Aeneid are among the poem's most memorable characters. Readers and
scholars alike have given much thought to the doomed, love-struck Dido in particular, and the
traditional interpretation of this character has been one that positions her as a pitiable foil to
Aeneas, an antagonist who serves to underscore the necessity of the imposition of Roman
civilization upon a disordered world. The second half of the 20th century, however, saw a
reconsideration of the poem's more ambiguous elements and the increasing popularity of a
reading that found in the Aeneid a challenge to Roman imperialism. Greater attention has also
been given to the poem's large cast of female characters, extending the analysis of the poem's
gender representations beyond Dido. A considerable amount of this scholarship has focused
upon the negative gender stereotypes these characters embody. Interest in the Aeneid's ethnic
representations has grown recently as well. I propose to take these trends even further, by
examining the intersection of gender and ethnicity in the Aeneid and the ways in which these
constructs, as presented by the poem, can be used to either glorify or problematize the concept of
empire. The women of the Aeneid, while being used to contrast Roman masculinity, also provide
an alternative to Roman imperial values.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Chapter One: Dido 5

Chapter Two: Andromache 15

Chapter Three: Camilla 20

Chapter Four: Creusa and Lavinia 27

Conclusion 35

Bibliography 37

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