Brant: Aeneas and Turnus Prepare for the Duel

    On the right, Turnus runs into the midst of the battle at the wall of Laurentum and declares himself ready to properly start the duel (676-96). Aeneas agrees to the challenge (697-703) and soldiers on both sides begin to take off their armor (704-7). Surprisingly, the city is not depicted on fire or at all structurally impaired, though the fire was one of the things that convinced Turnus to face Aeneas.

    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. 405r, 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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