A driving force in Vergil’s Aeneid is the hostility of Juno to the Trojans as they approach, and finally arrive in Italy. The epic in some ways mirrors the opposition encountered by Augustus as the new ruler of Rome. Juno’s opposition to the Trojans has its origin not only in Greek mythology, but in the history of the local peoples of Italy with whom early Romans had to contend. From the outset of the poem she becomes the personification of these opposing forces. Once the Trojans finally reach mainland Italy, she sets in motion a long war, although the one depicted in the Aeneid was not as long as the real wars Romans waged with the Latin League and with the many of the tribes of Italy, including the Veii. The reality of the wars Rome had to contend with are here compared to the relatively brief one depicted in the Aeneid, and the pacification of Juno reflects the merging of the different peoples of Rome with their subjugator.
The figure to the right of the Madonna on Albrecht Altdorfer's small painting in the Vienna Art History Museum could never be convincingly named. Whereas the older bald man on the left expands the group into a “Holy Family”, the youthful figure with blonde curls had been called an angel or John the Evangelist only with considerable reservation. Designation of this figure as the early Christian martyr Agapitus of Praeneste, however, makes it possible to explain all his characteristics (his youthful appearance, the bowl of glowing coals with which he was martyred, the deacon's clothing). This identification as St. Agapitus, who is venerated in only a few places, makes it possible to establish a connection between the painting and the Upper Austrian Benedictine monastery at Kremsmünster, where the major share of the saint's relics are located. A tradition of representing the saint as a deacon had developed there, as shown by examples from book illumination and sculpture. Abbot Johannes I Schreiner, a confidant of Emperor Maximilian, could either have ordered or been the recipient of the painting, which is dated 1515. The exquisite design of the Altdorfer painting, with the almost capricious treatment of the northern Italian picture type of the close-up half-length figure beneath lush hanging fruit, could have been made especially to suit the abbot's humanist taste. The painting differs in this respect from other Madonna paintings by Altdorfer which were conceived as devotional images