In the tradition set by Virgil I. is the only son of Aeneas and
Creusa of Troy, progenitor of the Roman gens Iulia; in Troy he is
called Ilus, later Ascanius (Aen. 1,267f.). The name Ascanius for a
(usually the eldest) son of Aeneas first appears after Homer (in Homer
two confederates of the Trojans have this name, Hom. Il. 2,862 from
Ascania in Phrygia; 13,790), both in founding legends (Hellanicus FGrH
4 F 31; Dion. Hal. Ant. Rom. 1,54,2), which rule out his arrival in
Italy, as in the account of Aeneas' flight from Troy (Tabula Iliaca;
Str. 13,1,53, perhaps after Sophocles, but cf. fr. 373). Because there
are no supporting documents, the name of the child depicted as
accompanying Aeneas with his father Anchises on Attic vases of the 6th
cent. and later is not clear. Usually Aeneas and Ascanius arrive in
Italy together, as also in Fabius Pictor [1. 394f.], but Ascanius may
also reach Italy alone (Dion. Hal. Ant. Rom. 1,53,4). There he is the
successor of Aeneas as ruler of Lavinium and founder of Alba Longa
(according to Dion. Hal. Ant. Rom. 1,65,1 he was first called
Euryleon; Liv. 1,1,11 makes him the son of Aeneas and Lavinia).
The name I. appears only in Cato (Orig. fr. 9), where this
(significant) name is conferred on him after the killing of Mezentius
(as a kind of initiation) and in Liv. 1,3,2, where the possibility is
mentioned of distinguishing the older Ascanius, the son of Creusa of
Troy, who is also called I., from a younger one, the son of Lavinia;
after this the gens Iulia definitely took on the Trojan myth. In Roman
epic tradition before Virgil Aeneas had either a son Romulus (Naev.
fr. 25) or a daughter Silvia (Enn. in Serv. Aen. 6,777).
Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH) Bibliography
1 G. Manganaro, Una biblioteca storica nel ginnasio di Tauromenion e
il P. Oxy. 1241, in: PdP 158-159, 1979.
E. Flores, s.v. Ascanio, EV 1, 353-366
E. Paribeni, s.v. Askanios, LIMC 2, 860-863
M. Petrini, The Child and the Hero. Coming of Age in Catullus and
Vergil, 1997, 87-110.