Dido, or Elissa, as she is often known, was the legendary founder and first queen of Carthage, the Phoenician city-state that is now Tunisia. Stories about this Queen may be found in various ancient Roman and Greek literature. Dido is mentioned in Virgil’s epic poem, the most famous work in which she appears.
The escape of Dido
Dido was the daughter of King Belus, who reigned over the kingdom of Tyre, according to legend (modern-day Lebanon). Pygmalion was Dido’s brother. When she was a young girl, the princess fell in love with a rich Phoenician named Sychaeus and married him out of love.
On the other hand, Dido’s peaceful and happy family life was broken shortly after her father’s death. Pygmalion, who had taken the throne, decided to seize control of Sychaeus’s money and had him murdered. Didon had a dream in which Sychaeus appeared to her, according to mythology. Her husband revealed to the princess who was responsible for his killing. He also told her where his riches were buried and encouraged her to escape Tyre as soon as possible to avoid repeating the previous tragedy.
Dido was able to locate the riches almost quickly and set off from Tyre on a ship with the assistance of her allies and friends. After making their way across the Mediterranean Sea, the fugitives eventually arrived on the coast of North Africa.
The founding of the city of Carthage
Dido went out to purchase property from the local king, Iarbas, as soon as she arrived in Africa. According to history, the king has agreed to sell the princess as much land as she can get for the skin of a bull.
Then the cunning Dido cut the bull’s skin into the thinnest strips. She used it to outline a large area of land on the map. On this parcel of land, she later built Carthage, which translates as “New City.”
Carthage quickly rose to prominence as a prosperous metropolis. According to history, when King larbas learned of Dido’s riches, he decided to ask her to be his wife. The ruler, on the other hand, was rejected by the Queen. Didon still misses her husband and is determined never to get married again.
Aeneas’s arrival in Carthage
A version of the narrative shows that following the destruction of Troy, Aeneas travels the world and eventually lands in Carthage soon after that. Queen Dido allowed him and his men permission to stay.
Aeneas, shortly after, asked Didon to be his wife as well. However, the Queen turned him down as well. The goddess Venus then intervened, commanding Cupid to send an arrow through Dido’s heart due to her intervention. Following this, the Queen agreed to become Aeneas’s wife.
Soon after, King larbas was informed of the happy new union. According to legend, the king was said to be the son of Jupiter and a Garamantian nymph. Iarbas went to his father and expressed his displeasure with Dido. Jupiter encouraged Mercury to speak with Aeneas in order to assist his son. The Trojan (Aeneas ) was reminded of his fate by the god, and he decided to leave Carthage and continue his voyage.
The death of Queen Dido
Dido was devastated when she learned about Aeneas’s departure. The Queen cursed the Trojan ships while they were at sea. Dido promised that there would be an eternal enmity between her ancestors and those of Aeneas’s descendants for all time. A prophecy of the rivalry between Carthage and Rome and a prophecy of the Punic Wars arose from the interpretation of this curse.
Following the pronouncing of the curse, Dido ordered soldiers to burn a bonfire under the walls of her castle to appease her anger. She began by burning the bonfire with all of Aeneas’s belongings left behind. The Queen herself then took a seat on the chair she had shared with Aeneas in the middle of the fire and pierced herself with a sword. Aeneas has given Dido this sword as a gift from his own heart.