The Georgics is didactic verse, purportedly instructing readers on matters relating to agriculture. As such, it nominally springs from the tradition established by Hesiod in the seventh century b.c.e. Though its subject provides a rural setting, the Georgics is assuredly not pastoral poetry. Similarly, though its structure is more complex than that of the Eclogues, there is no exalted theme, nor indeed is there any sustained narrative at all. What the Georgics essentially represents is evidence of a mature creative mind, one capable of writing about humble subjects in an elegant way that particularly reflects Augustan Rome.
Though not a narrative, the Georgics is a coherent work, one essentially independent of literary predecessors. On one level, the poem is Vergil’s response to his patron Maecenas’s request for a work that heralds the dignity of Roman agriculture. On another level, however, the Georgics reflects Vergil’s own wish for the rehabilitation of rural Italy from the anarchy, decay, and neglect that followed the civil wars. Obviously, it is only superficially a guide to farming; there is little in it that a farmer would not have already learned from experience, and it is difficult to imagine even the most cosmopolitan Augustan farmer consulting it as a manual.
Essentially, the Georgics is a virtuosic work of art arranged in four books...
(The entire section is 549 words.)