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"O relics, dear / while fate and god allowed, receive my spirit / and free me from these cares; for I have lived / and journeyed through the course assigned by fortune" (Dido speaking, Virgil, Aeneid, 4.898-901).

The Aeneid



70 BCE – 19 BCE

Publius Vergilius Maro (or Vergil) is the greatest of the ancient Latin poets, and the author of Rome’s national epic, the Aeneid. His name can also be spelled ‘Virgil’ in English, a corruption of the Latin name invented in the Middle Ages to suit beliefs about the magical properties of his texts (virga means a magical wand in Latin). The ancient tradition about Vergil elaborated a large number of myths about his life that symbolically reflect the tenor and themes of his works; scholars must therefore proceed very carefully in order to establish firm biographical information.


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