Apollo Makes A Toy Aeneas

Iliad, 5.449-453

αὐτὰρ ὃ εἴδωλον τεῦξ’ ἀργυρότοξος ᾿Απόλλων
αὐτῷ τ’ Αἰνείᾳ ἴκελον καὶ τεύχεσι τοῖον,
ἀμφὶ δ’ ἄρ’ εἰδώλῳ Τρῶες καὶ δῖοι ᾿Αχαιοὶ
δῄουν ἀλλήλων ἀμφὶ στήθεσσι βοείας
ἀσπίδας εὐκύκλους λαισήϊά τε πτερόεντα.

“Then silver-bowed Apollo made an eidolon
Which was similar to Aeneas and armed in that way,
And the Trojans and shining Achaeans were struggling
Over the eidolon, striking around their chests
Their oxhide well-rounded shields and their winged light ones*.”

Schol. Ad Il. 5.449-50b

[“but he made an eidolon] On the one hand, the eidolon represents the entire framework of the cosmos which is the model of everything as it truly is when crafted by the generative gods, but beforehand by Helios, who is the lord of all that is born and seen.

The eidolon is nothing less than Aeneas, the son of Aphrodite and Trôos, which was the first native beauty. For all beauty comes from Aphrodite, around which the fundamental material of the soul does not depart when it is pressed.”

[but he made an eidolon]: [he did this] in order that the Trojans might fight more bravely because they want to save the body.”

ex. αὐτὰρ ὁ εἴδωλον<—τοῖον>: εἴδωλον μὲν ἄκουε πᾶν τὸ δημιούργημα τοῦ κόσμου, ὅπερ τύπος ὂν τοῦ ὄντως ὄντος ὑπὸ πάντων μὲν τῶν ἐγκοσμίων θεῶν κοσμεῖται, προηγουμένως δὲ ὑπὸ τοῦ ῾Ηλίου, ὅς ἐστιν ἡγεμὼν παντὸς γεννητοῦ τε καὶ ὁρατοῦ. οὐδὲν δὲ ἧττον Αἰνείου ἐστὶ τὸ εἴδωλον, υἱοῦ ᾿Αφροδίτης καὶ Τρωός, ὅ ἐστι τὸ ἐγχώριον κάλλος· πᾶν γὰρ ἐξ ᾿Αφροδίτης κάλλος ἐστι, περὶ ὃ αἱ ὑλικώτεραι τῶν ψυχῶν οὐκ ἀπαλλάσσονται συντριβόμεναι. b(BCE3E4)T

ex. αὐτὰρ ὁ εἴδωλον τεῦξε<—τοῖον>: ἵνα φιλοτιμοτέρως μάχωνται Τρῶες τὸ πτῶμα σῶσαι θέλοντες. b(BCE3E4)T

Strangeness here:  (1) What in the world is going on in the first scholion? I think it is an allegorical reading of the passage, but still.
(2) Is the scholion providing a different father for Aeneas?


There was also an eidolon for Helen.


Storage Jar with Aeneas and Anchises  Greek, Athens, about 510 B.C.   Terracotta

3 thoughts on “Apollo Makes A Toy Aeneas

  1. The eidolon as described by the scholiast must have been something akin to a Tibetan mandala, which in turn can be a simulacrum of the world or of the body: “Some very advanced tantric meditations even have visualizations of parts of their body as parts of the palace, or various figures of the palace situated inside their own body. This is called a “body mandala,” and is difficult because it requires excellent concentration and a thorough understanding of Buddhist philosophy.” (Source: https://studybuddhism.com/en/tibetan-buddhism/tantra/buddhist-tantra/what-is-a-mandala)

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