Brant: Misenus

Aeneas, accompanied by Achates, asks the Sibyl for help in reaching the underworld to visit his father (103-23). The Sibyl advises Aeneas of the steps he must take if he wishes to visit the underworld (124-55). She gestures toward a grove, at the right edge of the image, that contains a golden bough sacred to Proserpina, which a worthy man must break off to present to her when he reaches the underworld (136-48). To the left, the body of Misenus is carried in a ship toward the beach by a few of Aeneas's men (156-74). Aeneas must bury Misenus before he may descend to the underworld (149-53). (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. 257v, 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)

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
University of Heidelberg