Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Virgil – PART 1

Known as Virgil, his full name was Publius Vergilius Maro. A Roman poet and author of the Aeneid, he was born in 70 BC at Andes, near Mantua, in Cisalpine Gaul. His education, begun in Cremona, continued in Mediolanum, and was completed in Rome. He planned to practice law, but after one unimpressive appearance in court, the modest, timid young man returned to his farm and began to write, only to be evicted. In 41 BC, Antony’s veterans, home from the Philippi campaign, were rewarded with the customary allotment of land.

In 19 BC he went to Athens with the idea of completing his final revision of the Aeneid. When Augustus appeared in the city and urged him to return to Rome, he gathered up his still unfinished manuscript and joined the imperial party. Before the ship reached Italy he fell ill and he died at Brundisium.

A furious argument has raged for many years over a group of poems collectively called Appendix Vetgiliana and ascribed to Virgil. It is highly probable that some of his early poetic efforts are to be found in this collection. However, he certainly did not write all of the pieces. In 37 BC he published his Bucolics or Eclogues. His model was Theocritus, whose Idylls were composed about 270 BC. The most interesting of the Bucolics is the fourth, which proclaims the coming of a golden age, to be heralded by the birth of a divine child. For many centuries Virgil was believed to have prophesied, in this lovely poem, the birth of Jesus.

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