Virgil was regarded by the Romans as their greatest poet, an estimation that subsequent generations have upheld. It is known that one of his teachers was the Epicurean Siro. On the voyage he caught a fever and then returned to Italy but died soon after arrival. His reputation as a poet endures not only for the music and diction of his verse and for his skill in constructing an intricate work on the grand scale but also because he embodied in his poetry aspects of experience and behaviour of permanent significance. Virgil was born of peasant stock, and his love of the Italian countryside and of the people who cultivated it colours all his poetry. He was educated at Cremona , at Milan , and finally at Rome, acquiring a thorough knowledge of Greek and Roman authors, especially of the poets, and receiving a detailed training in rhetoric and philosophy. It is known that one of his teachers was the Epicurean Siro, and the Epicurean philosophy is substantially reflected in his early poetry but gradually gives way to attitudes more akin to Stoicism. The civil war between Marius and Sulla had been succeeded by conflict between Pompey and Julius Caesar for supreme power. Hatred and fear of civil war is powerfully expressed by both Virgil and his contemporary Horace. The key to a proper understanding of the Augustan Age and its poets lies, indeed, in a proper understanding of the turmoil that had preceded the Augustan peace.
Poetry as Propaganda
He wrote three of the most famous poems in Latin literature : the Eclogues or Bucolics , the Georgics , and the epic Aeneid. A number of minor poems, collected in the Appendix Vergiliana , are sometimes attributed to him as well. Virgil is traditionally ranked as one of Rome's greatest poets. His Aeneid has been considered the national epic of ancient Rome since the time of its composition. Modeled after Homer 's Iliad and Odyssey , the Aeneid follows the Trojan refugee Aeneas as he struggles to fulfill his destiny and reach Italy, where his descendants Romulus and Remus were to found the city of Rome. Virgil's work has had wide and deep influence on Western literature , most notably Dante 's Divine Comedy , in which Virgil appears as the author's guide through Hell and Purgatory.
By This Poet
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Publius Vergilius Maro was a classical Roman poet, best known for three major works—the Bucolics or Eclogues , the Georgics , and the Aeneid —although several minor poems are also attributed to him. The son of a farmer in northern Italy, Virgil came to be regarded as one of Rome's greatest poets; his Aeneid as Rome's national epic. Vergil with an e is the classical Roman spelling, normal in Germany, and thence adopted by some in the United Kingdom and the United States, contrary to traditional literary usage. These ancient biographies include much material that has been believed only because it was applied to Virgil. Romans and Italians after his death attributed many myths to Virgil's tomb, for example, which is located near Naples, contending that the cave in which he was buried was carved out from the supernatural power of Virgil's gaze. Now biographers try to piece together Virgil's life from his own writings and the writings of his contemporaries.