The Queen of the Carthaginians in Vergil's Aeneid; she came from somewhere around Tyre or Sidon, probably modern Lebanon. The goddess Juno liked her (and the Carthaginians) a whole lot.

Dido fell in love with Aeneas, controversial and tragic things transpired, Aeneas sailed away, and she killed herself dramatically atop a funeral pyre.

The recording artist, Dido, has recently become quite popular with sampling of her song Thank You featured in Eminem's Stan, and the opening theme for The WB's Roswell, Here With Me. It's true, she has a very sweet and hypnotic voice, and the music that goes along with it tends to add to that effect. She was featured on Saturday Night Live's 2000 season premier with Eminem, but I personally feel that she's what makes Stan what it is.

The following biography is taken from :

Dido was five when she stole her first recorder. This didn't lead to prison, but rather to her entrance one year later to the Guildhall School of Music in London. A bit of a child prodigy, by the time she was 10 she played piano, violin, and the aforementioned recorder.

Her teenage years were an interesting mixture of stealing her brother's record collection (from the Clash to Gregory Isaacs to Duran Duran) and touring the UK with her classical music ensemble. And the, at 16, she finally fell in love... with Ella Fitzgerald.

So began a passion that eventually led Dido from listener to participator: she started singing with various bands in and around London, and despite the fact that her brother, Rollo, told her not to give up her day job, she eventually appeared on the debut album of a band that Rollo formed in 1995.

This band was Faithless, and they went on to sell five million records. Over the next two years, Dido toured with Faithless (a very different experience from her classical days) and, whenever she was back in London, also recorded demos of her own songs. On Faithless' current release, SUNDAY 8PM, Dido appears on two songs, one of which incorporates her own My Lover's Gone.

So began the recording of Dido's debut album, No Angel. The album was produced by Dido, her brother, Rollo (obviously now deciding she should give up her day job), Rick Nowels and Youth and what a beautiful album it is. Unified by both Dido's stunning voice and lyrical acuteness, the album travels through various and diverse styles ranging from the impassioned magnificence of Here With Me, the gentle soulfulness of Thank You (featured in the recent Gwyneth Paltrow movie Sliding Doors), the deep dubbiness of Honestly OK, to the lyrical perversity of Don't Think of Me. Combining Dido's love for warm acoustic sounds and her brother's fascination for beats and all things electronic, the album is both new and classic at the same time. Above all, it is the quality of the songs that will make this album both durable and successful.

To create the character of Dido, paramour of Aeneas in books 1-4 of his epic Aeneid, Vergil drew upon historical accounts of a Phoenician exile by the same name. The story of this "historical" Dido was recorded by the Greek historian Timaneus of Tauromenium. Marilynn Desmond provides a good summary of it in the academic text Reading Dido:

Dido fled to Libya with a group of followers after her brother, Pygmalion, had killed her husband. When a Libyan king wished to marry her, she refused him; when she was compelled by her people to accept him, she pretended to stage a ceremony in order to release herself from a sacred promise to her husband. She built and lit a large funeral pyre next to her dwelling, and she threw herself into it from her house.
There is another account in Justin's Epitoma, drawn from the work of the Roman historian Trogus, which goes into greater detail, especially in its characterization of this "historical" Dido's wit and resourcefulness.

While Vergil was aware of the tale of this Phoenician when he wrote the Aeneid, the two women cannot be one and the same; there is no way, chronologically, that the date in which the "historical" Dido would have founded Carthage could fit in between the date for the destruction of Troy (where Aeneas came from) was destroyed and the date for the founding of Lavinium (where Aeneas went; according to the Roman historian Livius, Aeneas founded Lavinium, his son Ascanius founded Alba Longa, and at Alba Longa Romulus and Remus were born). If the two had encountered each other, Aeneas would have been centuries old. To reference one of my favorite British sci-fi shows, even if he were still alive, the age difference would have been insurmountable. Therefore, this "historical" Dido never actually met Aeneas-- assuming that he existed at all, and is not merely a mythological construct. By bringing her into his story, Vergil was simply having fun with history, sort of like the anachronisms any good Classics scholar will find in Stanley Kubrick's Spartacus (and don't even get me started on Gladiator!).

My principal source for this writeup was pages 24-6 of Reading Dido: Gender, Textuality and the Medieval AENEID by Marilynn Desmond, published by the University of Minnesota Press in 1994.

The singer was nicknamed Dido after the Queen of Carthage in Virgil's Aeneid. The name on her birth certificate is Florian Cloud De Bounevialle Armstrong. She said a in recent interview in The Observer, "Florian is a German man's name. That's just mean.",4273,4189069,00.html

Di"do (?), n.; pl. Didos ().

A shrewd trick; an antic; a caper.

To cut a dido, to play a trick; to cut a caper; -- perhaps so called from the trick of Dido, who having bought so much land as a hide would cover, is said to have cut it into thin strips long enough to inclose a spot for a citadel.


© Webster 1913.

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