Il padre sulle spalle (e il figlio per mano): l’Eneide in Italia ai tempi del Covid-19
One of the most famous episodes of the Aeneid is when, in Book 2, Aeneas escapes from Troy with his father on his shoulders and with his son by the hand. This episode, which has had an impressive afterlife in all periods of art history, in contemporary world literature and even in cinema and TV series (to be briefly mentioned in this paper), inspired many reflections in Italy, between March 2020 and March 2021, when Covid was first at its worst. Beginning with the excruciatingly difficult question for doctors of choosing between the old and the young, this paper looks at the importance of taking care of the elderly (Marchetti) and analyses some reactions (Camon, Berruto) to the English Prime Minister’s statement in which he said “many more families are going to lose loved ones before their time”. Pope Francis and Liliana Segre respectively addressed their words to the elderly and the young facing the pandemic. The need to consider the future of the young was also sometimes emphasised (Renzi, Scurati). Almost all the texts cited are from mass media and all refer to Aeneas, drawing on the lesson of pietas towards loved ones or a bond between three generations.