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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Shepherds do have leisure and they often sing : from King David to the Old English Caedmon there is in fact a connection between shepherds and song . But Theocritus makes his rustics sing in a style very different from that of anything ...
He tells of the drunken Silenus , a minor deity in the retinue of Bacchus , singing a song which begins with the creation of the world out of atoms swirling through the void – an echo , in content and in form , of the great poem of ...
That is enough of pastoral song : the shades of evening are failing , it is time to drive home the flocks after a day of bucolic singing . The understated conclusion rounds off the collection with a dying fall , like that of Milton's ...
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Rome and Arcadia
the Muse in hobnails
The Aeneid and the myth of Rome
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