Up until relatively recently, creating original characters from scratch wasn't a major part of an author's job description. When Virgil wrote The Aeneid, he didn't invent Aeneas; Aeneas was a minor character in Homer's Odyssey whose unauthorized further adventures Virgil decided to chronicle. Shakespeare didn't invent Hamlet and King Lear; he plucked them from historical and literary sources. Writers weren't the originators of the stories they told; they were just the temporary curators of them. Real creation was something the gods did. All that has changed. Today the way we think of creativity is dominated by Romantic notions of individual genius and originality, and late-capitalist concepts of intellectual property, under which artists are businesspeople whose creations are the commodities they have for sale.
The stories of the first refugees that I ever came across in literature - that lots of people ever came across - were in 'The Iliad': the escape of Aeneas with his father on his back, the Trojans, from their burning city, and the defeat of their kingdom and what they had to do to try and find safety.
Whatever the poets pretend, it is plain they give immortality to none but themselves; it is Homer and Virgil we reverence and admire, not Achilles or Aeneas. With historians it is quite the contrary; our thoughts are taken up with the actions, persons, and events we read, and we little regard the authors.
It was the most beautiful moment that was so perfect you felt like you could just die. It was like the first time you ever heard Dido and Aeneas' 'When I am laid in earth.' A moment so pure you feel like you're dreaming and begin to question your own mortality that could be capable of and rival such innocent beauty.
Aeneas comes to her court a suppliant, impoverished and momentarily timid. He is a good-looking man. If anything, his scars emphasize that. The aura of his divine failure wraps around him like a cloak. Dido feels the tender contempt of the strong for the unlucky, but this is mixed with something else, a hunger that worms through her bones and leaves them hollow, to be filled with fire.
Aeneas' mother is a star?" "No; a goddess." I said cautiously, "Venus is the power that we invoke in spring, in the garden, when things begin growing. And we call the evening star Venus." He thought it over. Perhaps having grown up in the country, among pagans like me, helped him understand my bewilderment. "So do we, he said. "But Venus also became more... With the help of the Greeks. They call her Aphrodite... There was a great poet who praised her in Latin. Delight of men and gods, he called her, dear nurturer. Under the sliding star signs she fills the ship-laden sea and the fruitful earth with her being; through her the generations are conceived and rise up to see the sun; from her the storm clouds flee; to her the earth, the skillful maker, offers flowers. The wide levels of the sea smile at her, and all the quiet sky shines and streams with light... " It was the Venus I had prayed to, it was my prayer, though I had no such words. They filled my eyes with tears and my heart with inexpressible joy.
Ursula K. Le Guin