Brant: Nisus and Euryalus Massacre the Rutulian Camp

Nisus and Euryalus kill several men in the Rutulian camp, which is positioned near the city of Troy. In the top left corner, Nisus kills the augur Rhamnes, who sleeps in a luxurious bed (324-8). Next to him, Euryalus kills a man who has hid behind a wine crater; this man must be Rhoetus (345-6). In the lower left, Nisus kills three men, who are either the attendants of Remus (329-30) or Lamyrus, Lamus and Serranus (334-5). In the lower right, Euryalus approaches two sleeping men, though Vergil lists four, including Rhoetus, and it is unclear which two these are (342-5).

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. 336v, 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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