Scene from Virgil's Aeneid

Alternately titled: Parce pias scelerare manus Nam Polydorus ego

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1834-1836


◦ Fredeman, A Rossetti Cabinet, 15 (plate 100d).

Scholarly Commentary


The alternate title for this image comes from Fredeman's Rossetti Cabinet in which the scene's caption was mistranscribed. The corrected transcription is “Parce pias scelerare manus, Nam Polydorus ego.”


This image depicts a scene from Book III of Virgil's Aeneid, in which Aeneas discovers the grave of Priam's youngest son, Polydorus. Having set up camp on the shores of Thrace after escaping the burning of Troy, Aeneas is startled by a plant that bleeds when its roots and branches are disturbed. The tree then speaks to the hero, revealing its identity as the slain Trojan prince, sent away by his father for protection, but murdered by the duplicitous Thracian king. DGR's vignette shows Aeneas grasping the tree's branches and is subtitled with an excerpt from Polydorus' speech in which the spirit asks that his grave no longer be disturbed.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: f100d.raw.xml