Brant: Ascanius and the Deer of Silvia

Ascanius, shown with his bow, has shot a stag (496-9), who was raised by Tyrrhus and his sons and kept as a pet by their sister Silvia (482-92). The stag, with an arrow lodged in his neck, returns home to his owner (500-2). Tyrrhus and his sons, at the bottom of the image, arm to fight the one who killed the stag. Allecto, sitting on top of the barn roof, sounds a curved horn, rousing the country-folk from the surrounding area to attack Ascanius (511-22). Some are armed with farming implements, while others carry weapons of war. Almo [Almon], the eldest son of Tyrrhus, is killed by an arrow, and Galaesus [Galesus] lies next to him (531-9). (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. 300v, 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