Messapus, a character in Virgil's Aeneid, appears in Books VII and IX of the Latin epic poem. He was a famous tamer of horses and king of Etruria, known for being one "whom no one can fell by fire or steel" (Mandelbaum, VII.911-912); perhaps because he is a son of Neptune. Although accustomed to peace, in Book VII Messapus joins forces with Turnus in his battle against Aeneas and the Trojans. In Book IX, which recounts the nighttime raid by Nisus and Euryalus on the Rutulian camp, the battle helmet of Messapus is taken by Euryalus. Light reflected off the stolen helmet, betraying Euryalus to his enemies and leading not only to his own death, but also that of Nisus.
- Mandelbaum, Allen (translator). The Aeneid of Virgil. New York: Bantam Books, 1971. ISBN 0-553-21041-6.
- . Google Books. Retrieved 27 April 2011.