A Child’s Compendium of Illustrated Dido Suicides

December 5, 2011 § 8 Comments

Finals week is here and, like it always does, everything is falling apart. My weekend was equal parts awesome and flat-out horrible (more on this later. Though I will say it involved sobbing on the phone while wearing a paper crown in the rain).

Doing “research” for my Medieval Studies papers, I came across a collection of illustrations from the Romance of the Rose. Naturally, I looked for my favorite subject: Queen Dido. Dido, for those of you whose education is not as useless as mine, is the ruler of Carthage who offed herself when her boyfriend Aeneas left to found Rome. Life’s tough. And right now, I so get Dido. I mean, no one’s abandoning me to go marry a Latinine Princess, but the misery part is kind of there. Let’s empathize, shall we?

Wait, Dido, that's a sword!

This one doesn’t get the concept of proportion exceptionally well. Dido’s crown is approximately twice the size of her head, and the sword is a full 2/3 the size of her body. Also, why are those guys just waving their ginormous hands around instead of stopping her?

Whee! Falling on swords is SO MUCH FUN

Another gigundo sword, combined with Dido’s jaunty wave, as if to say, “Hey Reader! Just spearing myself through the kidneys over here!” Also: great hairstyle.


This Dido gets a more reasonably-sized crown, and a nicer dress, despite being cursed with the face of Winston Churchill. She’s also just kind of poking herself in the boob, rather than doing a full-on kabob-ing. I can’t say I blame her; I’d hate to ruin that dress too.

This term paper is NEVER going to be finished

The facial expression. JUST LOOK AT IT. This is the look of a girl who has six more pages on Jean de Meun’s translation of the letters of Abelard and Heloise to write while her car is stuck in Schaumburg. Who are all the randos? I couldn’t say, though I like the baby’s raised eyebrow as if to say, “Seriously, girlfriend? Stabbing yourself over him?

Swipped on a banana peel, methinks

Another groovy dress, but with more dramatic projectile bleeding. Dido’s face makes it look like she just tripped and fell on the sword and is now yelling “OH SHI-” And again with the passive onlookers. Their eyes are practically glazed over. Were medieval people so jaded that even suicide was a boring spectator sport?

Just hangin' out in my play castle, u no

“Comment Dido se tue” indeed. This Dido apparently needed to climb into her childhood Play-Castle and light it on spidery orange fire before enswording herself. Also: neck length.


Again with the hanging. Here we actually get a sense of some narrative drama, what with the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria about to carry Aeneas off to Pride Rock in the background there. But again: that castle is the same height as a full-grown woman? WHO IS BUILDING THESE THINGS

Obviously, there’s a moral here. As Dydo (the medieval version) said herself: “Mal fait amer hom Troyan.” Trojan guys are dicks, no pun intended. As modern women, let’s be glad that the only problems we have are getting our term papers done and finishing our Old French finals and oh God I just spent an hour looking up manuscripts for NO REASON


§ 8 Responses to A Child’s Compendium of Illustrated Dido Suicides

  • Anemone says:

    Also, note that in the last image, Dydo is performing the dreaded “suicide by armpit-impalement” maneuver. Given the state of Bronze Age medical science, and the fact that who knows where that sword has been, it’ll probably work, but man, it’s going to be slooooooowwww. (Bonus – more time for soliloquies.)

  • This blog is much too good to be anonymous.

  • abwarwick says:

    This is wonderful! Thanks for posting — it really made my day.

  • I agree with David W. Had to share this on FB πŸ™‚

  • Annie Anderson says:

    Got here via another person’s FaceBook post. Priceless! Cheered my up on a dark December afternoon. Thanks, and I agree with David W. and Lauren.

  • Vremya says:

    I am so happy to hear that people are still finishing their Old French Finals!
    Come on, dear, you have to know that you are looking at a time-chaning frame … the woman as tall as the tower is way back behind there, really.

    Love your questions about the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria.

    I also think we should question the non-matching shoes of Dido. What the heck kind of model was she! to wear blue shoes with that rose and gold outfit?

    Plus — who put that fiery tail on her?

  • Deborah says:

    This is fantastic and a great relief from grading papers. The tone is just about perfect! I see a brilliant future — “Dido for Dummies” anyone?

  • Susan Samitz says:

    Got here via Annie’s Facebook (Hi, Annie!).

    Frickin’ funny!
    Winstona Churchill poking herself in the boob! Priceless!

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