Question 1 Talking Points

1. “Fatum”, or fate, was a large component of Aeneas leadership in Virgil’s Aeneid.

Additionally, the gods had a strong hand in the expanding scope of Aeneas’ power.

Compare and contrast the role of “fatum” and the role of the gods in leadership for

Aeneas and the other leaders from our readings.


The Aeneid

  • Aeneas’ journey was guided by Jupiter, Juno, Apollo, Jupiter, Venus, Iris and more. Book 4: Aeneas even leaves Dido, his lover and “wife”, because fate calls him to move his journey to found Rome elsewhere.
  • Book 6: the Sibyl, overcome by Apollo, prophecies wars, a new Achilles (great Greek soldier, enemy of Troy), a city built by Greeks.
  • Book 6: Anchises shows Aeneas the future greats of Rome (like Caesar Augustus) and tells Aeneas how strong Rome will be in war.
  • Book 7: Juno understands that the fates work in the advantage of Aeneas and the Trojans. But tries to defy fate:

“It will not be permitted me—so be it—

To keep the man from rule in Italy;

By changeless fate Lavinia waits, his bride.

And yet to drag it out, to pile delay

Upon delay in these great matters—that

I can do: to destroy both countries’ people,

That I can do” (Book 7, 427–433).


  • Book 7: Juno gets Allecto to stir up Amata and Turnus in order to prevent the marriage of Aeneas and Lavinia. This delays the Trojans and causes great strife, and eventual war between the Trojans and Latins.
  • Book 8: The shield that Vulcan makes for Aeneas foreshadows the strength and beauty of future Rome. Aeneas is, literally and metaphorically, carrying the fate of Rome.
  • Book 10: Jupiter declares no more divine intervention in the issues of the mortals.


“How each man weaves his web will bring him to glory or to grief.

King Jupiter is the king to all alike.

The Fates will find the way” (Book 10, 134-137).


  • Book 11: the power of Aeneas and Turnus as individuals without the help of the gods is revealed. Although, it seems like the fate of the Trojans and future-Rome has already been decided long ago.
  • Book 12: reveals Juno conceding to the fate of Aeneas. Her giving in seems to give way to happiness and success, finally, for Aeneas and his people.


Always, I am Caesar:

  • The Romans believed in the divine intervention of the gods. They believed mostly in pleasing the gods to avoid negative intervention. The Romans did all of the work, but the fear was that if they did something wrong the gods would intervene against them (as Juno did to Aeneas).
  •  “The Romans feared the gods, or at the very least they suffered enormous anxieties about discovering the best methods for keeping them content” (Tatum, 62).
  • Romans were superstitious


The Education of Cyrus:

  • Xenophon seems focused on Cyrus’ innate nature and skill as a leader as the reason for his greatness and success. This is contrary to Aeneas, who seems to be riding the wave of fate and divine intervention from the gods in his success for the majority of The Aeneid.
  • Focuses greatly on the rearing and education of Cyrus in cultivating his great leadership skills.

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