Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: The Dinner Party: Heritage Floor: Dido

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Death of Dido. From Virgil, The Aeneid. Vergilius Vaticanus, Vatican Library, Rome

Dido
Legendary, reputed to have lived circa 814 B.C., Carthage (modern-day Tunisia)

Dido is the name used by ancient Roman historians for Elissa, the legendary founder and first queen of Carthage. There are many versions of her legend, but the basic idea is that she fled her homeland after her brother Pygmalion killed her husband, Acerbas, out of jealousy of his wealth. Dido and her followers ended up in North Africa, where she founded Carthage by tricking the native people out of a large piece of land. A local king demanded Dido's hand in marriage so she built a funeral pyre for Acerbas, saying she had to properly honor him before marrying again, then suddenly climbed onto the pyre to commit suicide rather than be married against her will.

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