Brant: Amata and Turnus Stand before Laurentum

    Amata, Turnus, Latinus and Lavinia stand before the city of Laurentum. Latinus, seated on a horse, looks toward Turnus with what appears to be a concerned expression. Through wear or erasure the upper portion of the horse and a bit of Latinus are gone. Turnus points toward Latinus and Lavinia, but appears to direct his attention toward Amata. Latinus has attempted to convince Turnus to abandon his foolish pride, explaining that, even if he defeats Aeneas, he still would not be able to marry Lavinia (18-44). When Turnus is still determined to kill Aeneas in a fight to the death (45-53), Queen Amata tearfully asks him to stop fighting the Trojans; she believes that if Aeneas kills Turnus, he will kill her, as well, or take her as a captive (54-63). Lavinia, who has been listening silently to the conversation, weeps and blushes at her mother's speech (64-9). Turnus is moved, but not persuaded to change his mind (70-80).

    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. 391r, 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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