Ascanius is the most prominent child hero in Virgil's Aeneid. He accompanies his father from Troy to Italy and is present from the first book of the epic to the last; he is destined to found the city of Alba Longa and the Julian family to which Caesar and Augustus both belonged; and he hunts, fights, makes speeches, and even makes a joke. In this first book-length study of Virgil's Ascanius, Anne Rogerson demonstrates the importance of this character not just to the Augustan family tree but to the texture and the meaning of the Aeneid. As a figure of prophecy and a symbol both of hopes for the future and of present uncertainties, Ascanius is a fusion of epic and dynastic desires. Compelling close readings of the representation and reception of this understudied character throughout the Aeneid expose the unexpectedly childish qualities of Virgil's heroic epic.