Brant: Landing of the Trojans near King Acestes

Aeneas and his fleet sail away from Carthage, while behind them the pyre on which Dido has committed suicide burns with high flames (1-4). Dido lies naked among the flames. In the top left corner, a storm rages (8-16), which has forced the fleet of Aeneas to change course (17-23) and sail to the land ruled by Acestes, a fellow Trojan (23-34). Palinurus, the helmsman, stands in the crow's nest of Aeneas's ship, shouting down to Aeneas below (12-25); Brant makes him a lookout, when he is meant to be steering the ship. On the left, below the storm, King Acestes greets the first of the Trojan ships landing on his shores (35-41). (Katy Purington)

Woodcut illustration from the “Strasbourg Vergil,” edited by Sebastian Brant: Publii Virgilii Maronis Opera cum quinque vulgatis commentariis expolitissimisque figuris atque imaginibus nuper per Sebastianum Brant superadditis (Strasbourg: Johannis Grieninger, 1502), fol. 230v, executed by an anonymous engraver under the direction of Brant.


Sebastian Brant (1458-1521) was a humanist scholar of many competencies. Trained in classics and law at the University of Basel, Brant later lectured in jurisprudence there and practiced law in his native city of Strasbourg. While his satirical poem Das Narrenschiff won him considerable standing as a writer, his role in the transmission of Virgil to the Renaissance was at least as important. In 1502 he and Strasbourg printer Johannes Grüninger produced a major edition of Virgil’s works, along with Donatus’ Life and the commentaries of Servius, Landino, and Calderini, with more than two hundred woodcut illustrations. (Annabel Patterson)

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