Dido of Carthage: A love story gone wrong Oct. 29, 2020

from The Forum· ·

A Phoenician princess, who fled into exile to escape the cruel king of Tyre, sailed across the Mediterranean Sea to North Africa, where she founded the great city of Carthage in the ninth century BC. Well, that is one story about Dido, or Elissa, as she is known in today's Lebanon and Tunisia. Another, from the Roman poet Virgil, puts her at the centre of a tragic love story: first entranced, then abandoned by the wandering Trojan hero Aeneas, Dido curses him and takes her own life. So who was the real Dido? Was she a powerful independent queen, or …



A Phoenician princess, who fled into exile to escape the cruel king of Tyre, sailed across the Mediterranean Sea to North Africa, where she founded the great city of Carthage in the ninth century BC. Well, that is one story about Dido, or Elissa, as she is known in today's Lebanon and Tunisia. Another, from the Roman poet Virgil, puts her at the centre of a tragic love story: first entranced, then abandoned by the wandering Trojan hero Aeneas, Dido curses him and takes her own life. So who was the real Dido? Was she a powerful independent queen, or a victim - a spurned lover? And did she exist at all? Bridget Kendall is joined by Josephine Quinn, professor of Ancient History at Oxford University, and the author of the book In Search of the Phoenicians; Helene Sader, professor of Archaeology at the American University of Beirut, and the author of The History and Archaeology of Phoenicia; Roald Docter, professor of Archaeology at Ghent University and the editor of Carthage Studies; and Boutheina Maraoui Telmini, professor of Punic History and Archaeology at the University of Tunis. (Image: A drawing of Dido and Aeneas hunting deer. Credit: Bettmann/Getty Images)