Dido ( DY-doh; Ancient Greek: Διδώ Greek pronunciation: [diː.dɔ̌ː], Latin pronunciation: [ˈdiːdoː]), also known as Elissa ( ə-LISS-ə, Ἔλισσα), was the legendary founder and first queen of the Phoenician city-state of Carthage (located in modern Tunisia), in 814 BC.
In most accounts, she was the queen of the Phoenician city-state of Tyre (today in Lebanon) who fled tyranny to found her own city in northwest Africa.
Known only through ancient Greek and Roman sources, all of which were written well after Carthage's founding, her historicity remains uncertain. The oldest references to Dido are attributed to Timaeus, who was active around 300 BC, or about five centuries after the date given for the foundation of Carthage.
Details about Dido's character, life, and role in the founding of Carthage are best known from the account given in Virgil's epic poem, the Aeneid, written around 20 BC, which tells the legendary story of the Trojan hero Aeneas. Dido is described as a clever and enterprising woman who flees her ruthless and autocratic brother, Pygmalion, after discovering that he was responsible for her husband's death. Through her wisdom and leadership, the city of Carthage is founded and made prosperous.
Dido remains an enduring figure in Western culture and arts since the early Renaissance and into the 21st century.
In the early 20th century, she was also chosen as a national symbol in Tunisian nationalism, so that e.g. Tunisian women can be poetically referred to "Daughters of Dido"; Dido (Elissa) has also been represented on Tunisian currency in 2006.