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P. VIRGILII MARONIS
By Dr. William Freund,
AUTHOR OF "LATIN LEXICON," &c. &c.
T. NELSON AND SONS, PATERNOSTER ROW;
LIFE OF VIRGIL.'
P. VIRGILIUS MARO was born on the Ides or 15th of October, B. c. 70, A. u. c. 684, at Andes, (now, it is supposed, Pietola) a village near Mantua in Upper Italy. This proximity identifies Virgil with Mantua
1 The chief extant source of Virgil's life is a memoir assigned to Tiberius Claudius Donatus, a grammarian of uncertain date, who must not be confounded with the more famous Elius Donatus, "the real father of Latin grammar." (Niebuhr.) The statements contained in this memoir suffer in character and credit from being found in company with the most ludicrous fictions— the monkish interpolations, it is supposed, of a later age. All that is valuable in it may possibly have been gathered from a work on Virgil, which, it would seem, (Aulus Gellius, Noct. Att. xvii. 10), came from the pen of the famous poets Varius and Tucca, the bosom friends and literary executors of Virgil. Suetonius (de illustr. poetis) may also have contributed his quota to this compilation by Donatus. Other lives, whether in manuscript of Virgil or elsewhere, are too insignificant to deserve notice.
2 It is not till the later centuries of the middle ages that manuscripts substitute Virgilius for Vergilius, the old reading confirmed by the most ancient MSS., by coins and other inscriptions. The alteration probably arose from an absurd derivation of the name current in the middle ages-namely, from virga, a magic wand.
3 Hence Martial xii. 68, "Octobres Maro consecravit idus."