This paper provides an analysis of Aeneas' visit to the "parva Troia" in Epirus (Vergil, "Aeneid" 3.294ff.), centered on the theme of "substitutes" and "doubles," and beginning with Andromache, the heroine of this encounter. With Helenus as a substitute for her deceased husband, Hector, Andromache is involved in a sort of levirate marriage. Moreover, she reacts to Aeneas and his companions as if they too were "substitutes," living persons who immediately evoke images of the dead, "doubles" for her lost loved ones (Hector first and foremost, and also Creusa and Astyanax). This makes Andromache perfectly at home in "parva Troia", which is itself a "double," a "substitute" for the city destroyed by the Greeks. Except that, like all "doubles," "parva Troia" is an insubstantial illusion, the effigy of something that no longer exists. This city and its landscape can only be "seen," not actually "inhabited." These Trojan exiles are thus victims of a syndrome very similar to "nostalgia" (a Greek word unknown to the ancient Greeks, dating to the early eighteenth century, and beautifully described in a remarkable passage by Chateaubriand). Helenus and his companions are "too faithful" to their vanished city; their destiny, like that of the dead, has been hopelessly fulfilled. Aeneas, however, is not allowed to become a prisoner of the past. Against his will, he must be "unfaithful" to his former city: he will not rebuild Troy. The companions of Helenus and Andromache suffer from an "excess of identity" (one way to define nostalgia). Aeneas, on the other hand, submits to the almost total loss of his own identity: except for the Penates, a highly significant, sacred part of the lost patria, which will contribute to the formation of his identity in a way similar to Helenus and Andromache's own nostalgic cult of the image of Troy.
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Maurizio Bettini; Ghosts of Exile: Doubles and Nostalgia in Vergil's "Parva Troia" ("Aeneid" 3.294ff.). Classical Antiquity 1 April 1997; 16 (1): 8–33. doi: https://doi.org/10.2307/25011052
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