The Ancient Library

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filling a magistratus in their own cities. The Roman civitas was not given to the Transpadani till b. c. 49. Virgil therefore was not a Roman citizen by birth, and he was above twenty years of age before the civitas was extended to Gallia Transpadana.

It is merely a conjecture, though it is probable that Virgilius retired to his paternal farm, and here he may have written some of the small pieces, which are attributed to him. the Culex, Ciris, Moretum, and others. The defeat of Brutus and Cassius by M. Antonius and Octavianus Caesar at Philippi B. c. 42, gave the supreme power to the two victorious generals, and when Octavianus re­turned to Italy, he began to assign to his soldiers lands which had been promised them for their services (Dion Cass. xlviii. 5, &c.). But the soldiers could only be provided with land by turning out many of the occupiers, and the neighbourhood of Cremona and Mantua was one of the districts in which the soldiers were planted, and from which the former possessors were dislodged. (Appian, Bell. Civ. v. 12, &c.) There is little evidence as to the circumstances under which Virgil was deprived of his property. It is said that it was seized by a veteran named Claudius or Clodius, and that Asi-nius Pollio, who was then governor of Gallia Transpadana, advised Virgil to apply to Octa­vianus at Rome for the restitution of his land, and that Octavianus granted his request. It is sup­posed that Virgilius wrote the Eclogue which stands first in our editions, to commemorate his gratitude to Octavianus Caesar. Whether the poet was subsequently disturbed in his possession and again restored, and whether he was not firmly secured in his patrimonial farm till after the peace of Brundusium b. c. 40 between Octavianus Caesar and M. Antonius, is a matter which no extant authority is sufficient to determine.

Virgil became acquainted with Maecenas before Horace was, and Horace (Sat. i. 5, and 6. 55, &c.) was introduced to Maecenas by Virgil. Whether this introduction was in the year b. c. 41 or a little later is uncertain ; but we may perhaps con­clude from the name of Maecenas not being men­tioned in the Eclogues of Virgil, that he himself was not on those intimate terms with Maecenas which ripened into friendship, until after they were written. Horace, in one of his Satires (Sat. i. 5), in which he describes the journey from Rome to Brundusium, mentions Virgil as one of the party, and in language which shows that they were then in the closest intimacy. The time to which this journey relates is a matter of some difficulty, but there are perhaps only two times to which it can be referred, either the events recorded in Appian (Bell. Civ. v. 64), which preceded the peace of Brundusium b. c. 40, or to the events recorded by Appian (BelL Civ. v. 78), which belong to the year b. c. 38. But it is not easy to decide to which of these two years, B. c. 40 or b. c. 38, the journey of Horace refers. It can hardly refer to the events mentioned in Appian (Bell. Civ. v. 93, £c.) which belong to the year b. c. 37, though even this opinion has been maintained. [HoRA-tius flaccus.]

The most finished work of Virgil, his Georgica, an agricultural poem, was undertaken at the sug­gestion of Maecenas (Georg. iii. 41), and it was probably not commenced earlier than b. c. 37. The supposition that it was written to revive the


languishing condition of agriculture in Italj- afyei the civil war, and to point out the best method, may take its place with other exploded notions. The idea of reviving the industry of a country by an ela­borate poem, which few farmers would read and still fewer would understand, requires no refutation. Agriculture is not quickened by a book, still less by a poem. It requires security of property, light taxation, and freedom of commerce. Maecenas may have wished Virgil to try his strength on something better than his Eclogues ; and though the subject does not appear inviting, the poet has contrived to give it such embellishment that his fame rests in a great degree on this work. The concluding lines of the Georgica were written at Naples (Georg. iv. 559), but we can hardly infer that the whole poem was written there, though this is the literal meaning of the words,

" Haec super arvorum cultu pecorumque canebam."

We may however conclude that it was completed after the battle of Actium b. c. 31, while Caesar was in the East. (Compare Georg. iv. 560, and ii. 171, and the remarks of the critics.) His Eclogues had all been completed, and probably be­fore the Georgica were begun (Georg. iv. 565).

The epic poem of Virgil, the Aeneid, was pro­bably long contemplated by the poet. While Augustus was in Spain b. c. 21/, he wrote to Virgil to express his wish to have some monument of his poetical talent; perhaps he desired that the poet should dedicate his labours to his glory as he had done to that of Maecenas. A short reply of Virgil is preserved (Macrob. Sat. i. 24), in which he says, " with respect to my Aeneas, if it were in a fit shape for your reading, I would gladly send the poem ; but the thing is only just begun ; and in­deed it seems something like folly to have under­taken so great a work, especially when, as you know, I am applying to it other studies, and those of much greater importance." The inference that may be derived from a passage of Propertius (Eleg. ii. 34, v. 61), in which he speaks of the Iliad as begun and in progress, and from the recent death of Gallus, also mentioned in the same elegy, is that Virgil was engaged on his work in b. c. 24 (Clinton, Fast. b. c. 24). An allusion to the victory of Actium in the same elegy, compared with the pas­sage in Virgil (Aeneid, viii. 675 and 704) seems to show that Propertius was acquainted with the poem of Virgil in its progress ; and he may have heard parts of it read. In b. c. 23 died Marcellus, the son of Octavia, Caesar's sister, by her first husband ; and as Virgil lost no opportunity of gratifying his patron, he introduced into his sixth book of the Aeneid (v. 883) the well-known al­lusion to the virtues of this youth, who was cut off by a premature death,

" Heu migerande puer, si qua fata aspera rumpas, Tu Marcellus eris."

Octavia is said to have been present when the poet was reciting this allusion to her son and to have fainted from her emotions. She rewarded the poet munificently for his excusable flattery. As Marcellus did not die till b. c. 23, these lines were of course written after his death, but that does not prove that the whole of the sixth book was written so late. Indeed the attempts which mo­dern critics make to settle many points in ancient literary history, are not always managed with due

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