image Virgil (October 15, 70 BC – September 21, 19 BC) was an ancient Roman poet. His three great works were the Eclogues, the Georgics, and the epic Aeneid.

The Aeneid, modelled on Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey gives a sweeping view of ancient Rome from its early beginnings to the time of Virgil.



 “Amor vincit omnia, et nos cedamus amori.
Love conquers all things, so we too shall yield to love.”

- Virgil

While the exact birthdate of Virgil is not absolute, it is said to be October 15, 70 B.C. in the environs of Mantua in northern Italy. After he wrote his Eclogues (on which, at least in part, Dante’s own Eclogues are based), Virgil joined the circle of artists and poets supported by the wealthy patron Maecenas, which gave him the economic freedom to spend most of the rest of his life writing. And write he did: by 29 B.C. he had written his Georgics, several didactic books about farming. In fact, one poem in Virgil’s 4th book of the Eclogues which proclaims the coming a great messiah-like child has caught the eye of many scholars, Dante included. The Aeneid

Amongst other minor works, Virgil’s most famous and significant contribution to the classical canon is undoubtedly his Aeneid. Indeed, this is the work of Virgil’s most influential to the Divine Comedy, as well. Building directly on the tradition of epic poetry begun by Homer, the Aeneid is a twelve-book story about the foundation of Rome. In dactylic hexameter in Latin, it tells the story of the hero Aeneas and the travel, adventure, and hardship he endured to reach Italy and start the city of Rome.

Virgil in his studio (Henry Fuseli) The poem was immensely popular in Rome, especially because it popularized and retold many of the common myths and stories of the day. It alluded to the most well-known mythology and folklore, and it even had a theme relevant to its age. Since Virgil was writing under a patron who was close to the emperor, his stories had an element of political propaganda to them. In the Aeneid, he tied the lineage of Aeneas to that of Caesar, legitimizing the position of the monarch (as a successor to the former Roman Republic), and pleasing the emperor.


The Aeneid