Virgil was a poet who lived during the civil wars in Rome
and then in the time of the Roman Emperor Augustus,
just before the birth of Jesus
Christ. Virgil (VER-jill) was a friend of Maecenas (my-SEEN-ass), who
was a friend of Augustus, and Virgil wrote poetry in order to support
Augustus' government. Virgil wrote a bunch of poems, called the Georgics, which are
about how wonderful Italy is, and
how nice it is to have peace (thanks to Augustus), and how good it is to
live a simple, traditional life.
But the work Virgil is most remembered for is the epic
poem called the Aeneid. This is a long poem in twelve books, like the Iliad
or the Odyssey. The hero
is Aeneas (i-KNEE-ass), who was a Trojan who was supposed to have escaped
from Troy when the Greeks captured it during the Trojan War. It is the story
of how Aeneas and his men (like Odysseus
and his men) travelled from Troy to Italy to found the city of Rome. This
makes the Trojans the ancestors of the Romans.
Virgil was not happy with the Aeneid. It was not published
while he was alive, and when he died in 19 BC he left instructions that
it should be destroyed. But his heirs published it anyway.
here to read Virgil on the web
Bibliography and further reading about Virgil:
Approaches to Teaching Vergil's Aeneid (Approaches to Teaching
World Literature, No 74)
by William S. Anderson
Karen Eva Carr, PhD.
Assoc. Professor Emerita, History
Portland State University
Professor Carr holds a B.A. with high honors from Cornell University in classics and archaeology, and her M.A. and PhD. from the University of Michigan in Classical Art and Archaeology. She has excavated in Scotland, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, and Tunisia, and she has been teaching history to university students for a very long time.
More about Professor Carr's work on the Portland State University website
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