Brant: Aeneas in Conversation with Ascanius

    In the lower left, Aeneas talks to Ascanius, an intimate moment with his son before he goes to battle (432-40). To the right, Aeneas fights against Messapus and some Rutulian soldiers (486-99). In the upper right corner, Juturna takes control of Turnus's chariot and drives him away from Aeneas (468-85). Aeneas's body language and facial expression indicate that he sees Turnus but cannot chase him (480-90).

    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. 401r, 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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