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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The Hesiodic element is much less pervasively present than that of Theocritus in the Eclogues but it is among the devices by which the poet can , at will , distance himself from the present , and even from Italy .
But there is something else – the desire to present in the Eclogues a world which cannot be pinned down , one harmonious whole which is not quite in Sicily , or in North Italy , or in Greece . Theocritus ' sharp eye for real places is ...
This passage of delicious fantasy , the centre of the poem , gives place to the provocative threat that he will bestow on a girl the pastoral presents , a Pan - pipe and two baby goats , which he is keeping for Alexis .
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Rome and Arcadia
the Muse in hobnails
The Aeneid and the myth of Rome
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