Brant: Turnus Stabs Pallas

On the shore of Troy, Turnus has started a battle against Aeneas (308-425). The battle is gruesome, as represented by the brutally beheaded figure in the foreground. In the upper middle of the image, Pallas and Lausus fight briefly without incident on either side (431-8). Juturna, Turnus's nymph sister, brings Turnus to aid Lausus (439-40). Turnus stabs Pallas in the chest with his spear (479-87). In the text, Pallas manages to wound Turnus with his spear before Turnus kills Pallas (474).

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. 358v, 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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