At the heart of the Aeneid the hero descends to the world of the dead and in its innermost recess is reunited with his father. Anchises, Aeneas’s link to his destroyed Trojan past, reveals to his son the future of his race in the form of a procession of the souls of Roman heroes as yet unborn. In this place where time past, present, and future is held together, the Aeneid also comes to a heightened consciousness of its own literary genealogy, as literary memory is overlaid on family and racial memory. The whole of the Underworld episode is modelled on Odysseus’ visit to the land of the dead in Odyssey 11: Aeneas’ meeting with his father reworks Odysseus’ meeting with his mother Anticleia (Od. 11.152–224), which is immediately followed by the Catalogue of Heroines (Od. 11.225–332), the formal model for Virgil’s very masculine Parade of Heroes. But the tears and words with which Anchises greets his son (6.684–9) allude to the Roman epic of Ennius and specifically to the scene at the opening of the Annals in which Ennius established his own place within the epic tradition, by narrating a dream in which the phantom of Homer explained to the sleeping poet how, through a Pythagorean metempsychosis, the true soul of Homer was reincarnated in the breast of Ennius himself. In restaging this scene of succession in the dreamlike setting of the Underworld Virgil hints at his own relationship to the dead epic poets to whose company he seeks admittance. The encounter of Aeneas and Anchises occurs within a set-piece of Homeric imitation; Anchises’ running commentary on the Parade of Heroes functions as a summary of the matter of Ennius’ historical epic, which it ‘completes’ by extending the story to Augustus’ achievement of world-empire and restoration of a Golden Age (6.791–800). Ennian historical epic is thus framed in a Homeric mythological episode; in the first part of his speech (6.724–51) Anchises encapsulates another branch of the hexameter tradition, with a philosophico-theological account of the nature of the world and of the soul that is indebted both to Anticleia’s explanation to Odysseus of what happens to humans after death (Od. 11.216–24) and to the Ennian Homer’s more philosophical account of these matters, but couched in markedly Lucretian language: a miniature didactic ‘de rerum natura’ to set beside the miniature Annals that is to follow.