Virgil lived through the fall of the Roman Republic and the establishment of the Empire. In his poems we see a series of attempts, increasingly ambitious in scale and conception, to combine technical brilliance and beauty with profound meditation on the nature of imperialism and the relation of the individual to the State. From short pastoral poems on love and song he progressed to the heroic myth of the founding of Rome. "The Aeneid", immediately recognised as the greatest masterpiece of Latin literature, has had incalculable influence on European literature in the two thousand years since it was first published.
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But ancient scholars who had seen his will tell us that he left the very large sum of ten million sesterces , with substantial legacies to Maecenas and Augustus . No doubt this represented the return of some of the money to its source .
Ancient taste did not share the Romantic liking for the fragmentary and the suggestive but expected works of art to be as perfect as possible . That the Aeneid was published and admired despite being visibly unfinished is a remarkable ...
He claimed to follow ancient precedents , revived or invented ancient rituals , disclaimed untraditional honours . That cast of mind naturally fitted well with the antiquarian aspects of the Aeneid . The Eclogues were written in a ...
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Rome and Arcadia
the Muse in hobnails
The Aeneid and the myth of Rome
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