Brant: Achates, Aeneas, Evander and Pallas in a row

Evander, wearing a simple tunic and sandals (457-60), accompanied by Pallas and two dogs, meets Aeneas and Achates in an open space in the middle of Pallanteum (461-68). Evander explains to Aeneas the nature of his aid in the war: he will appoint Aeneas leader of an army of Etruscans who have all come together to wage war on Turnus (470-519). In the upper left corner, storm clouds represent a massive thunderclap unleashed by Venus as a sign to Aeneas (523-9). A full set of arms hangs from the cloud (528-9), held in the image by a hand that perhaps belongs to Venus. The four men all react to the omen; while Evander looks worried, Aeneas appears to be explaining that this is a good omen (530-40). (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. 322r, 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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