Commentators since antiquity have seen connections between Virgil's Dido and the philosophy of the Garden, and several recent studies have drawn attention to the echoes of Lucretius in the first and fourth books of the Aeneid. This essay proposes that there is an even richer and more extensive Epicurean presence intertwined with the Dido episode. Although Virgilian quotations of Lucretius provide the most obvious references to Epicureanism, too narrow a focus on the traces of the De Rerum Natura obscures important resonances with Virgil's more obvious models: the Odyssey and Apollonius' Argonautica. Reversion to Homer and Apollonius, however, does not dim the Epicurean aura around Dido. Rather: echoes of Nausikaa and other Phaeacian traditions reinforce Dido's links with the Garden. At play here is a widespread ancient tradition of disparaging Epicurus by calling him "the Phaeacian philosopher." But by evoking this tradition, Virgil is not necessarily engaging in a standard polemic against the Epicureans. Instead of foreclosing any particular reading, the intertextual modes of the Aeneid turn various possibilities of interpretation over to the reader.
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