Publius Vergilius Maro (Virgil) (70 - 19 BC)
Publius Vergilius Maro is the mostly highly regarded Roman poet. Born in Cisalpine Gaul to a farmer, he received the finest education possible to a family of moderate means. He studied first in Cremona, then Milan, Naples and eventually Rome. His rural farm life had a significant impact on his work and his first published pieces, the Eclogues or Bucolics, were a testament to rural life. He was an influential member of the Roman literary circle of the Augustan age, and was a contemporary of Maecenas and Augustus himself.
After the Eclogues, Virgil's writing continued with rural influences but took on a new personality of realism and moral virtue. Georgics, his next work, was an interpretive piece reflecting on the virtues of farm life and its attraction. After 30 BC, Virgil's career was dedicated to writing one of the most epic pieces in the history of literature. The Aeneid, regarded as a classical masterpiece, influenced writers well into the Middle Ages, and stands out as the single most highly regarded Latin poem. It tells the story of Aeneas and the founding of Rome. Woven in with mythological legend and Roman history, the work is covered in 12 total books, written simply but powerful.
Unfortunately, Virgil's death in 19 BC left the Aeneid unfinished, but it still stands as a masterpiece of ancient literature.
Did you know...
Gallia Cisalpina meant "This side of the Alps" from Rome's point of view, as opposed to Transalpine Gallia.