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date: 29 January 2020

Virgil [Vergil; Publius Vergilius Maro]locked

  • Warren Anderson,
  • Thomas J. Mathiesen
  •  and Robert Anderson

Extract

[Vergil; Publius Vergilius Maro]

(b Andes [?now Pietole], nr Mantua, Oct 15, 70 bce; d Brundisium [now Brindisi], Sept 21, 19 bce). Latin poet. After schooling at Cremona and Milan, he went to Rome as a student. By devoting himself to poetry, he won the favour of Octavian’s powerful counsellor Maecenas and later that of the emperor himself.

Warren Anderson, revised by Thomas J. Mathiesen

The Eclogues (c45–37 bce), Virgil’s first major work, differs from the Idylls of Theocritus and other Alexandrian prototypes in the earnestness of the poet’s response to a harrowing and unpoetic age. His references to wind instruments are not merely ornamental, like those of the Idylls; they form an essential part of his thought. He frequently mentioned the fistula or panpipe, often under the name of calami ( see Syrinx ). The primitive stipula, in contrast (iii.27), was probably an oat or wheat stalk with one end flattened as a vibrator. For Virgil it symbolized a lack of poetic skill....

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