(Vergil, Publius Vergilius Maro)

70–19 BC

Virgil is probably the most famous of the Latin poets, chiefly due to his masterpiece, the Aeneid, which was written during the last twelve years of his life. He was born and raised on a farm in Cisapline Gaul, and educated in Milan and Rome. As a young man he then returned to work on his father's farm until the farm was confiscated by the state due to the civil war. Returning to Rome, he was soon accepted into the literary circle headed by Maecenas, which included Horace and Propertius. Virgil's first published poems were the Bucolics, which were primarily poems about rural life and work on a farm. The Georgics, his next work, was on similar themes. At the request of his patrons, Virgil then undertook to write a great national epic of Rome, which was the Aeneid. The model of the Aeneid was Homer's Iliad, and in fact, the starting point was the adventure of Aeneas during the sack of Troy. Aeneas was said to be an ancestor of Romulus, and the Aeneid traces his wanderings in search of a new homeland, after escaping from Troy. It includes many prophetic witnesses to events in Roman history and foretells of great prosperity to come. The Aeneid is considered a masterpiece of Latin verse and is held in the highest regard by scholars, but Virgil himself was never satisfied and worked on the poem until he died in 19 B.C.

Key events during the life of Virgil:

  Educated at Cremona, then Milan, Naples, and Rome.
31 BC
After completing education, returns to work on father's farm in Cisalpine Gaul.
41 BC
Farm of Virgil's father is confiscated by state. Virgil goes to Rome and befriends Maecenas.
37 BC
Bucolics published. (Verses about rural life.)
30 BC
Georgics published.
  Worked on The Aeneid  for the remainder of his life.
19 BC

Book Links
Aeneid for Boys and Girls  by  Alfred J. Church

Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
Maecenas and His Friends  in  Pictures from Roman Life and Story  by  Alfred J. Church
Augustan Age  in  The Story of the Romans  by  H. A. Guerber
Virgil in  Back Matter  by  books/horne/artists/_back.html
Augustus and the Augustan Age  in  Old World Hero Stories  by  Eva March Tappan

Image Links

Roman Empire at the Death of Augustus
 in  Augustus—His Life and Work

In the time of Augustus, Hildensperger
 in Famous Men of Rome

Virgil reading at the house of Maecenas, Jalabert
 in Famous Men of Rome

The Augustan Age
 in Greatest Nations - Rome

Virgil (Enlarged from a Gem.)
 in Old World Hero Stories

Short Biography
Maecenas Advisor and ambassador of Augustus. Patron of art and literature.
Augustus Caesar First emperor. Reigned for over fifty years. Established the Imperial system.
Horace Great lyric poet and satirist of the Augustan age.