Circe e le belve spettacolari. Nota a Virgilio, Eneide VII 8-24


  • Cristiana Franco



At the beginning of the book VII of the Aeneid the Trojans sail at night by Circeii, the Circe's dwelling place on the Italic shores. Circe lives there in her magnificent palace, sourrounded by the men whom she once turned into savage beasts. Unlike the animals described by Homer in the Odyssey's episode, these formae ferarum appear to be rebellious against the goddess' power: they rage, chafe at their bonds, furiously howling and rattling at their cages. The virgilian framing of the scene may reflect the Roman acquaintance with the wild beasts carried to the town for the venationes and kept in cages or chains before the performance in the arena. In this respect virgilian Circe recalls a circus' domitrix more than the Potnia theron of the Greek tradition.