Italian, 70 - 19 B.C.
Vergilius Maro, Publius
Publius Vergilius Maro (70–19 BC) was the greatest poet of the Latin golden age and author of the Aeneid, which tells the story of the founding of Rome, after long trials, by the Trojan prince Aeneas. Tradition holds that the epic was commissioned by Augustus. It includes Augustan imagery and prophetic lines about the brilliance of Rome’s future under its first emperor. Other works include the Eclogues and the Georgics. Virgil was popular in the Middle Ages; many Christians found him more sympathetic than other ancient writers.
Dante made Virgil his guide in the Hell and Purgatory sections of his Divine Comedy.
-Oxford University Press and the National Gallery of Art