From1652 on, Hollar, a native of Prague, worked on various large projects for the English publisher John Ogilby the antiquary Sir William Dugdale.

The scene illustrates Virgil’s Aeneid (19 CE), a narrative of the founding of Rome written as an epic, including the key moment when Aeneas realized that he had reached the land in which he would establish a new city, in which Trojans would prosper in the future. The chosen moment is when Aeneas and companions bivouac in a forest clearing in Latium, where they dine on skimpy provisions. But when Aeneas’ son Ascanius says, “See, we devour the plates (large slices of bread made from wheat) which we fed,” Aeneas realizes that a prophecy is being fulfilled, and Aeneas knows that this is where he will build a city worthy of his Trojan ancestry; what remains is to conquer Latium.

Featured Image:  The Trojans’ First Meal in Latium (1654), engraving. In Virgil’s Work, translation by John Ogilvy. London, 1654.

See Univ. of Toronto Hollar digital library;