Lavinia, al margine: strategia matrimoniale e insediamento troiano nel Lazio

Chiara Felici


Analyzing the character of Lavinia and her function in the tradition before Virgil is the first step toward understanding why, despite her central role in the plot, she always stands in the background. By interweaving textual analysis with an anthropologically oriented approach, the character of Lavinia can be shown to be unrelated to a specific geographical location, but instead to be deployed in different contexts where she nevertheless serves the same function - namely, allowing a foreigner to settle or leave significant evidence of his own passage, by way of her marriage to him. Only in the light of this consideration can Virgil’s innovation be appreciated: he makes a flexible but already well defined character one of the main elements of his work, transforming Lavinia – formerly nothing more than the generic empty role of a filia with no characteristic features – into a virgo by supplying her with all the particular features required by the specific context of Roman society. Doing so, he turns Lavinia into a true cultural paradigm.

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