Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Legendary Tunisia

When it belonged to early Mediterranean civilization, the land of Tunisia featured in two of the oldest and greatest poems in the world: Homer's Odyssey and Virgil's Aeneid.

In Homer's Odyssey, Ulysses on his way  home from Troy with the rest of companions reached of Lotus-Eaters. Archaeologists refer it as the actual island of Djerba, 500 km south-east of Tunis capital.

In Virgil Aeneid, Aeneas was hosted by Dido, a princess from Phoenicia who escaped her city Tyre after the assassination of her husband. She founded Carthage and became its queen. Aeneas, the prince of  Troy who escaped it after the siege and the capture by the Greek. Aeneas destination is to found Rome from the ashes of Troy.

Aeneas was surprised by a storm that turned him to Carthage. He was welcomed by its ruler Dido. Shell fell in love with him but his mother Venus ordred him to leave Carthage and found Rome. Dido suicided after his departure while he arrived in Italian shores.

 Virgil inspired by two muses(Clio the muse of History with the writing tablet and Melpomene the muse of tragedy with mask)  writing the Aeneid (the 8th verse):
Musa mihi causas memora quo numine laes.... 
O muse put me in mind.....
The Aeneid of Virgil was written under Octavius, the son of Caesar and the founder of the Roman empire. He decided to rebuilt Carthage and made it the capital of Africa Proconsularis. Carthage was destroyed by the Romans in 146BC and the territory was considered accursed. Octavius wanted to find a religious excuse to rebuilt Carthage again. Dido and Aeneas symbolise Carthage andRome, her suicide may symbolise the end of Carthage. Aeneas may refer to Octavius who rebuilt the Roman Carthage.