Aeneas

Aeneas was a Trojan prince, son of the prince Anchises and the goddess Aphrodite. He is more extensively mentioned in Roman Mythology, and is seen as an ancestor of Remus and Romulus, founders of Rome.

Parents: Anchises and Aphrodite
Consort: Creusa
Children: Ascanius/Iulus

Aeneas flees burning Troy by Federico Barocci, 1598. Galleria Borghese, Rome, Italy.

Birth

Aphrodite has caused Zeus to fall in love with mortal women. In retaliation, Zeus puts desire in her heart for Anchises, who is tending his cattle among the hills near Mount Ida. When Aphrodite sees him she is smitten. She adorns herself as if for a wedding among the gods and appears before him. He is overcome by her beauty, believing that she is a goddess, but Aphrodite identifies herself as a Phrygian princess. After they make love, Aphrodite reveals her true identity to him and Anchises fears what might happen to him as a result of their liaison. Aphrodite assures him that he will be protected, and tells him that she will bear him a son to be called Aeneas. However, she warns him that he must never tell anyone that he has been with a goddess. When Aeneas is born, Aphrodite takes him to the nymphs of Mount Ida. She directs them to raise the child to age five, then take him to Anchises.

Aphordite and Anchises by William Blake Richmond, c. 1890.

Trojan War

In the Iliad, Aeneas was the leader of the Trojan Dardanians, and the main lieutenant of Hector. Aphrodite protected him throughout the war and he was also helped by Apollo, and even Poseidon who normally favoured the Greeks. In Roman literature, mainly the Aeneid written by Virgil, he was one of the few Trojans not killed during the Trojan War. He travelled to Italy, where he settled in the region where Rome would later be built by his descendants, Romulus and Remus.

Aeneas fleeing from Troy by Pompeo Batoni, c. 1750.