Dido, or Elissa, the traditional founder and first queen of Carthage. She was the sister of Pygmalion, king of Tyre. When Pygmalion discovered that Dido's husband had much hidden wealth, he murdered him for it. Dido then fled, accompanied by a number of Tyrians unhappy with Pygmalion's rule. They sailed to Cyprus and from there to the Libyan coast. There Dido bought—according to one account, from larbas, king of Libya—as much land as a bull's hide would span. She had the hide cut into narrow strips; tied end to end, these strips enclosed the land on which she built the citadel of Byrsa.
The city of Carthage grew up around the citadel and prospered, and soon Iarbas asked Dido to marry him, threatening to attack if she did not. Dido agreed, but secretly had a funeral pyre built and stabbed herself to death upon it.
The Roman poet Virgil, in the Aeneid, has her fall in love with Aeneas, who stops at carthage in his wanderings after the fall of Troy. When he obeys the gods' command to Resume his journey, Dido, broken-hearted, kills herself. This version has become one of the most famous romantic stories in all literature. It is retold by Chaucer in Legend of Good Women, by Tasso in Jerusalem Delivered, and by others.