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Author Bio

Full Name: Publius Vergilius Maro

Pen Name: Virgil or Vergil

Date of Birth: 70 BC

Place of Birth: Andes Cisalpine Gaul, Roman Republic (near modern day Mantua, Northern Italy)

Date of Death: 19 BC

Brief Life Story: No biography of Virgil from his time survives, but scholars have pieced together his probable life story from commentaries on his works. He was probably from a well-off, landowning family, because they had the money to send him to study throughout Italy. He studied primarily philosophy. At around age 28, he began writing his first major work, the Eclogues, a collection of ten pastoral poems. On the surface, these poems are about singing shepherds and countryside life, but they already contain the themes of love, heartbreak, and loss of homeland that run throughout so much of Virgil's work. His second major work, the Georgics, follows the form of earlier didactic Greek works, supposedly teaching lessons about farming. Again, though, the Georgics are more complex than they first seem, as the work shifts between praising the ease and joy of farming, and highlighting the tragedies of disease and natural disasters. Virgil worked on the Aeneid from approximately age 39 to his death at 50. He cared so much about its perfection that he reportedly only wrote a few lines a day. He died of an illness he caught on a trip to Greece before he'd finished revisions.

Key Facts

Full Title: The Aeneid

Genre: Epic poem

Setting: Troy, Carthage, Italy, and the Mediterranean Sea, in 12th century BC

Climax: The defeat of Turnus

Antagonist: Juno, Turnus

Point of View: Third person omniscient

Historical and Literary Context

When Written: 29-19 BC

Where Written: The Roman Empire

When Published: After 19 BC

Literary Period: Classical (Augustan)

Related Literary Works: The Iliad and the Odyssey (Greek oral legends…

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