Virgil Additional Biography


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

0111201601-Vergil.jpg Vergil (Library of Congress) Published by Salem Press, Inc.

Publius Vergilius Maro, known as Vergil (VUR-juhl), author of one of the most familiar epics in all literature, was born in the village of Andes, in what is today northern Italy, on October 15, 70 b.c.e., only a few decades before the end of the Golden Age of the Roman Republic. It is claimed that his father was a potter who, through hard work and an advantageous marriage, had become a landowner prosperous enough to give his son a superior education. The youth studied under eminent teachers at Cremona and Milan and under the Greek poet and grammarian Parthenius at Naples. At the age of twenty-three Vergil went to Rome to study not only poetry and philosophy but also mathematics and physics under Siro the Epicurean, whose philosophy affected Vergil and his writings throughout his life.{$S[A]Maro, Publius Vergilius;Vergil}{$S[A]Publius Vergilius Maro;Vergil}

Although he was a shy, rustic, and slow-spoken youth, his personal charm and the literary ability evident in his early poems won Vergil the friendship of some of the most cultivated and powerful men in Rome, among them Octavian, Maecenas, Pollio, Horace, and Cornelius Gallus. His popularity was such that in 41 b.c.e., when his farm was threatened with seizure, along with surrounding territories to be divided among the victorious soldiers of the triumvirs returning from the battle of Philippi, his friends were able to intercede at Rome to have it saved. Despite his popularity in the capital, however, Vergil spent much time in retirement on his beloved farm, studying Greek and Roman history and literature.

With the encouragement of his friend Asinius Pollio, Vergil continued work on the Eclogues, which were begun around 43 (some scholars say 45) and finally completed about 37 b.c.e. These idyllic pastoral poems were based on the Idylls of the third century b.c.e. Sicilian poet Theocritus. The setting, structure, and language of the Eclogues are highly imitative, but their greater complexity and...

(The entire section is 866 words.)


(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Vergil (his name is commonly spelled "Virgil" in English, but "Vergil" is the proper Latin form) was the greatest of Latin poets of the...

(The entire section is 1075 words.)


(Epics for Students)

Virgil, full name Publius Vergilius Maro, was born near the village of Andes not far from Mantua in northern Italy on October 15, 70 BC. He...

(The entire section is 417 words.)