Book VIII, in which Aeneas consolidates his position by gaining the support of Evander and the Etruscans, offers a tranquil interlude between the irreversible steps leading up to war, detailed in the preceding book, and the outbreak of hostilities depicted in Book IX. Because we first view Evander as he is performing rites for Hercules and other gods, our impression of him is favorable; he embodies deep, sincere religious piety comparable to Aeneas. Likewise, we favor the Etruscans when we learn that they have deposed their evil king, Mezentius, who resembles Turnus in his savage arrogance and unbridled fury. Like the Trojans, Evander and his people are foreigners in Italy, and their presence is also opposed by Turnus. Furthermore, Evander is related to Aeneas through their common descent from Atlas. Aeneas's visit to Pallanteum affords Virgil the opportunity to link the city of his own present, Rome, to
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