This paper examines the episode of Dido in Ercilla´s La Araucana. Recalled in America but referring to the Mediterranean context, Galperin claims that this episode should be read together with other metropolitan digressions within the poem equally critical of the Spanish empire such as the visions of Bellona and Fitón, which bring to the text the battles of Saint Quentin and Lepanto. Moreover, she argues that through the figure of Dido Ercilla not only assimilates Dido to the Araucanians, as it has already been noticed, but also to the “infidels” in the Mediterranean world: the Arabs and the Ottomans. The geography underlying this episode through Dido´s journey, and especially the place in which a virtuous alternative imperial model is located (Carthage; that is, Tunis), covers a territory problematically related to contemporary Spanish conflicts in Europe. Cyprus, Tunis and North Africa locate this new empire –based on virtue, justice and the rejection of greed- in territories under Muslim control, recently taken from Christian hands. Thus, within the frame of the third book of the Araucana–the most pessimistic about the Spanish project and the one which alternates American and European episodes the most- the implicit alliance suggested between Dido and Philip II´s European enemies, highlights the fragility of the Habsburg domination both in the American and Mediterranean fronts. By doing this, Ercilla seems to be subtly distancing himself from the political project of his own monarch.


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pp. 31-67
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