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date: 25 March 2023



  • Fiachra Mac Góráin,
  • Don P. Fowler
  •  and Peta G. Fowler


Virgil (Publius Vergilius Maro) (70–19 bce) was a Latin poet, already celebrated in his own lifetime, who wrote during the triumviral period and the principate of Augustus. All his poems reflect on contemporary history while engaging with a range of literary traditions from the archaic to the contemporary neoteric. Virgil achieved renown as a poet c. 39–38 bce with the publication of the Eclogues (or Bucolics), which take after Theocritus’s Idylls. He went on to write the Georgics, a didactic poem ostensibly about farming (29 bce), and the Aeneid, a heroic epic in the Homeric manner about the Trojan refugee Aeneas’s flight from Troy and his struggles to found a city that would be the origin of Rome. Several minor poems collected in the Appendix Vergiliana are attributed to Virgil, but were probably not written by him. His work set the standard for Latinity and inspired many later imitators and artistic and critical responses.


  • Latin Literature

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Article revised and expanded on to reflect current scholarship. Digital materials added.

Virgil (Publius Vergilius Maro) (70–19 bce) was a Roman poet. The contemporary spelling of Virgil’s name was with an e: the first occurrence with an i is in an honorific inscription to Claudian in Greek (CIL 6.1710 = ILS 1.2949). The spelling “Virgil” is traditional in English, but the slightly historicizing “Vergil” is preferred by some modern critics. Virgil and his friends in any case punned on virgo (“virgin”) in reference to his name (G. 4.564, perhaps 1.430; Donatus (1)’s Life of Virgil 11). Varius Rufus is said to have written on Virgil (Quint. Inst. 10.3.8) and there were other accounts by friends and acquaintances (see Gell. NA 17.10.2): the extant biographies go back in part to Suetonius’s De poetis. Much (but not all) of the information in them derives from interpretation of the poems (including the spurious ones in the Appendix Vergiliana), and few details can be regarded as certain.1

Virgil is said to have been born on October 15, 70 bce in Andes, a village near Mantua. Macrobius (Sat. 5.2.1) says that he was “born of country parents in the Veneto and brought up amongst the woods and shrubs,” and his father is variously described as a potter and a courier who married the boss’s daughter (Donat. Vit. Virg. 1), but the real status of the family is uncertain. His mother was from the gens Magia, a plebeian family (see gens). Virgil is said to have been educated in Cremona and Milan (Mediolanum) before coming to Rome (Donat. Vit. Virg. 7), and the family would clearly have had to be sufficiently well-off for such an education to be feasible. At some stage, Virgil was associated with the Epicurean community in Naples (Neapolis); Catalepton 5 and 8, of uncertain biographical value, have him fleeing from the normal rhetorical education of a Roman to Epicurean retirement (cf. G. 4.563–564, where he is enjoying otium, leisure, in Naples).2

After the defeat of the tyrannicides in 42 bce, Octavian attempted to settle members of his army on confiscated land (see proscription), a controversial move which led to the Perusine War; full-scale war between Antony and Octavian was only narrowly (and temporarily) avoided by the treaty of Brundisium in 40 bce. Virgil’s first collection of poems, the Eclogues, probably appeared in the midst of the turmoil, around 39–38 bce.3 The confiscations are a central topic in Eclogues 1 and 9.4 In the first poem, a slave, Tityrus, says that he has a young man to thank for his freedom and security (1.42): in the context of the times, this can only be Octavian. Other poems mention a Varus (6.7, 9.27), presumably the jurist P. Alfenus Varus, suffect consul in 39 bce; C. Asinius Pollio (4.12, and probably the addressee of 8), consul in 40 bce, one of Antony’s most important supporters, and an architect of the Peace of Brundisium; and the important eques and poet C. Cornelius Gallus (6.64–73, 10 passim).5 These three men are said to have been involved in the distribution of land, though the arrangements are uncertain and the Virgilian commentators our only source.6 Donatus’s Life says that Virgil’s father’s land was confiscated, and some personal experience of loss is suggested by Ecl. 9.27–29, “Mantua, all too near to unhappy Cremona,” and G. 2.198, “the land unfortunate Mantua lost,” but it is impossible to know how many of the details in the biographical tradition are extrapolated from an allegorical reading of the poems.

At some time after the publication of the Eclogues, Virgil entered the circle of Maecenas and thus that of Octavian, the future Augustus. Virgil is mentioned several times in the first book of Horace’s Satires, published at the end of the 30s bce: at 1.6.55 he is said to have introduced Horace to Maecenas, and in 1.5 (lines 40 and 48) he is described as joining the “journey to Brundisium” which is the poem’s subject. The dramatic date of the latter poem is 38 or 37 bce, depending on which of two possible diplomatic missions it is associated with.7 In the concluding satire of the book (1.10.45, cf. line 81), Virgil is one of the poets whose achievements Horace contrasts with his own: “to Virgil the Muses who delight in the countryside have granted tenderness and charm” (molle atque facetum, trans. P. M. Brown). The sixteenth of Horace’s Epodes (Iambi), also published at the end of the 30s bce, parodies Ecl. 4 in a context which highlights the violent alternation of hope and despair which characterized the decade.

The publication of Virgil’s second major work, the Georgics, is usually dated to 29 bce; the battle of Actium (31 bce) is referred to in Georgics 3 (lines 28–29) and, according to Donatus’s Life, Virgil read the poem to Octavian “after his return from the victory at Actium” (Donat. Vit. Virg. 27); whether or not the story is true, Actium and the notion of Augustus as addressee are essential reference points in the interpretation of the poem.8 Octavian reached Italy in the summer of 29 bce and celebrated a great “triple triumph” in August of that year, though the description of his achievements as depicted on the metaphorical temple at the opening of Georgics Book 3 (lines 26–39) can plausibly be dated either before or after this triumph. There was a story that the Georgics had originally ended with praise of Cornelius Gallus which was removed after his fall and suicide in 26 bce (Servius on Ecl. 10.1 and G. 4.1), but this is unlikely to be true.9

Like the Eclogues, the Georgics are referred to frequently in the poetry of the 20s bce. By the time that the final poem of Propertius’s second(?) book of elegies was published some time after Gallus’s death (2.34.91–92), “something greater than the Iliad is being brought to birth” (2.34.66)—that is, the Aeneid. Macrobius (Sat. 1.24.10–12) quotes a letter from Virgil to Augustus declining to send any samples of the poem on the grounds that more work is needed. This may be a reply to the letter of Augustus quoted by Donatus (Vit. Virg. 31) asking for a sketch or fragment. (This latter document is to be dated to 27–25 bce, since Augustus is described as being away from Rome in Spain.) The genuineness of these letters, however, is uncertain.10 In the Odes, Horace (1.3) addresses a ship carrying a Vergilius to Greece; if this is taken to be Virgil, then the bold enterprise of the ship’s journey may also be read metapoetically as a reference to the vast undertaking of the Aeneid. The tradition claims that Books 2 (or 3), 4, and 6 of the Aeneid were recited to Augustus, the reference to the young M. Claudius Marcellus (5) in Book 6 causing Octavia (2) to faint (Donat. Vit. Virg. 32; Servius on Aen. 4.323 and 6.861); this episode, whether true or not, must be set after the death of Marcellus in 23 bce.11 Virgil himself, however, died in 19 bce with the poem still apparently felt to be unfinished. According to Donatus

in the fifty-second year of his life, intending to finish the Aeneid, he decided to go off to Greece and Asia Minor, and to spend three straight years simply in correcting the poem, to leave the rest of his life free for philosophy. But when he had set out on his trip, he met Augustus in Athens returning to Rome from the east, and decided not to go off, and even to return with Augustus. He visited a small town near Megara in very hot sun and caught a fever; this was made worse by his continued journey, to the extent that he was somewhat sicker when he put into Brundisium, where he died on September 20. (Vit. Virg. 35)

Virgil was buried at Naples “within the second milestone on the road to Puteoli” (Donat. Vit. Virg. 36).12 Virgil is said to have composed his own epitaph on his deathbed:

Mantua me genuit, Calabri rapuere, tenet nunc

Parthenope; cecini pascua rura duces.

Mantua bore me, Calabria snatched me away, now Parthenope (Naples) holds me; I sang of pastures, fields, and kings.

Varius Rufus and Plotius Tucca are said to have “emended” the Aeneid after Virgil’s death, but without making any additions. The tradition also preserves the famous story that Virgil wished to burn the Aeneid on his deathbed. Again, these anecdotes are of uncertain historical value.

Upon the publication of the Aeneid, Propertius’s prophecy came to pass: Virgil became the Roman Homer, the Aeneid in particular serving as the great Roman classic against which later epic poets and indeed all Latin poets had to situate themselves.13 Schoolboys studied it, even in Roman Egypt, and its opening words became a common graffito on the walls of Pompeii.14 Already in his lifetime Virgil is said to have been famous (Tac. Dial. 13.3) and his friendships with the great brought him considerable wealth: according to the biography by Valerius Probus (15–16) he was given ten million sesterces by Augustus (cf. Hor. Epist. 2.1.245–247, with Helenius Acro’s commentary). As with Homer’s poems, all human learning came to be seen as condensed in the Aeneid, a view which finds full expression in Macrobius’s Saturnalia. The ancient biographical tradition already shows a tendency to see Virgil as a theios anēr, a divine genius, and this tendency became pronounced in the Middle Ages with the legends of Virgil the Magician; the text of the Aeneid was consulted as an oracle in the sortes Vergilianae.15

A number of portraits of Virgil are known.16 There is no reason to believe that any are based on a genuine likeness, but the biographical tradition describes him as a valetudinarian who never married and preferred sex with boys (variously identified amongst the characters of the poems). All of this, naturally, tells us more about Roman constructions of gender and culture than about the actual Virgil.

The Literary Works

The Eclogues

If any of the poems in the Appendix Vergiliana are genuine (which is unlikely), then they may have been juvenilia. Virgil enters the canon of world literature with his first major collection, the Eclogues, which probably appeared around 39–38 bce. The Eclogues are ten short hexameter poems (the longest is 111 lines long) in the pastoral genre. The original title was Bucolica, “cowherd songs.”17 Eclogae means “selections” (from a larger corpus) and it is unfortunate that a version of this later title has become usual in English. Bucolica as a title signals a clear allusion to pastoral poetry (in Greek, ta boukolika) and to Theocritus in particular (note the refrain “begin the bucolic song” in Idyll 1; in Moschus 3.11, the pastoral poet Bion is called a cowherd, boukolos). The collection makes frequent reference to Theocritus’s Idylls: commentators note four separate echoes in the first line alone. But the intertextuality with earlier Roman poetry is equally dense: the opening lines are also significantly Lucretian (see Lucretius), and the “Song of Silenus” in the sixth poem seems to interact with a broad selection of contemporary poetry, though we are now able to pick up only a few hints of this interaction.18

This combination of the Greek and the Roman, the ancient and the contemporary, and the rustic and the sophisticated is typical of the collection as a whole. Although we do not know exactly in what form the poems of Theocritus and the other bucolic poets circulated in Rome, it is likely that any edition included not only the strictly pastoral poems like Theocritus’ first idyll but also urban mimes like Idyll 15 and the encomiastic poems Idylls 16 and 17. In one sense, Virgil carries this mixture further: just as Theocritus addresses his friend Nicias in the frame of Idyll 11, Virgil addresses Varus in Eclogue 6 (though in that poem Virgil himself is called “Tityrus” by Apollo) and Pollio (possibly) in Eclogue 8; but his contemporaries also make an appearance within the bucolic setting (3.84–91, 6.64–73, 9.47, 10 passim). Idyll 7, the nearest equivalent in Theocritus to such a practice, is much less explicit. In another sense, however, Virgil is more consistently pastoral than Theocritus: the encomiastic birth poem Eclogue 4—explicitly paulo maiora, “a little greater” (in theme)—still contains more rural themes than Idylls 16 and 17 (cf. Ecl. 4.3, 21–2, 42–45, 55–59).

The ten poems in the collection are intricately arranged around the central poem, Eclogue 5. The first and ninth poems deal with the subject of the land confiscations; the second and third contain long laments by star-crossed lovers; the third and seventh are both “amoebean,” with exchanges of song; and the fourth and sixth are the most obviously “elevated” of the collection. Eclogue 5, another amoebean exchange, describes the apotheosis of Daphnis, and Eclogue 10 concludes the collection with Cornelius Gallus taking on the role of dying lover played by Daphnis in Theocritus’s first idyll. Some scholars have additionally identified numerological correspondences, of varying degrees of persuasiveness, within the collection.19 Certainly Eclogue 4, which is sixty-three (nine times seven) lines long, is structured around the magical number seven, but this may have special point in view of the poem’s oracular tone and subject-matter.

Despite the paired arrangement of poems within the Eclogues, the collection responds equally well to a serial reading. There is a clear movement from the first poem, in which Tityrus describes how his land was saved, to the ninth, in which Moeris says that he was not so fortunate: “our poems, Lycidas, have as much power amongst the weapons of Mars as they say the Chaonian doves have when the eagle comes” (9.11–13, with an allusion to the eagle of the legionary standard; for the doves, see Dodona and cf. Chaones). Eclogue 6 opens with a “proem in the middle” which echoes the opening of Callimachus (3)’s Aetia and establishes the pastoral deductum carmen (“fine-spun song”) as the equivalent to Callimachus’s “slender muse” (Ecl. 6.5; cf. 6.8).20 At the end of the collection, Gallus gives in to love (10.69), the poet rises from his pastoral ease in the shade (10.75–76), and the goats are told to go home, having now been fed to satiety (10.77).

As all this suggests, the Eclogues are highly “artificial” and self-conscious. The relation between the world of song and the world outside is a central concern.21 Virgil toys with a variety of partial identifications in the poems: at 5.86–87 Menalcas claims to have written Eclogues 2 and 3, and at 9.10 Lycidas says that the same character “saved all with his poems,” but Apollo calls the narrator Tityrus at 6.4 and it is not hard to see him in the idle singer of an empty day in the first poem (cf. G. 4.565–566). In a broader sense, he is also the helpless Corydon of Eclogue 2 and the magical Silenus (see satyrs and silens) of Eclogue 6. Interwoven with, and inseparable from, the literary texture are the celebrated descriptive passages that so appealed to Romantic enthusiasts like Samuel Palmer: the buzzing bees and cool springs of the pastoral world (cf., e.g., 1.51–58). The union of the two was an inheritance from Theocritus which Virgil passed on to the West, particularly through Renaissance imitators like Mantuan and especially Sannazaro; although Arcadia is mentioned only rarely in the poems (7.4, 26, 10.31, 33; cf. 4.58–59, 10.26) and its significance is disputed, the Eclogues came to define Arcady as a place where poetry and love meet with or avoid the worlds of politics, cities, and empires.22

One of the Eclogues came to have particular significance for later readers: Eclogue 4, with its description of the birth of a child whose lifetime will see the world’s return to the golden age. Even for contemporary readers, there were several possible candidates for the identification of the child (the modern favourite is an anticipated son of M. Antonius (2) and Octavia, a hope already dashed by the time of the Eclogues’ publication), but the poem can equally be read as a broader allegory of renewal; Christian readers naturally saw reference to the birth of Jesus (Constantine, Oratio ad sanctum coetum 19–21; PL, 8.454–466).23 The influence of Jewish messianic writing on the poem is nowhere a required hypothesis, but is not in itself unlikely.24

(See also pastoral poetry, Greek and pastoral poetry, Latin.)

The Georgics

Virgil’s call to himself to “rise” at the end of the Eclogues (10.75, surgamus) was answered by a rise in generic level with his next work, the Georgics, a didactic poem in four books on farming (Book 1 deals with crops, Book 2 with trees and shrubs, Book 3 with livestock, and Book 4 with bees). Again there are Hellenistic Greek models. Little can be said of the lost Georgica of Nicander, but it is clear from the surviving fragments of Callimachus’s Aetia that it was an important model: like Virgil’s Georgics, it had a four-book structure involving important links between the proem of the third book and conclusion of the fourth.25 Aratus (1)’s Phaenomena was both a central Hellenistic text (translated by Cicero and P. Terentius Varro Atacinus) and of particular relevance to the discussion of weather in Book 1 of the Georgics (cf. also the translation of a passage from Eratosthenes at G 1.233–251). But there was also an important archaic model in Hesiod’s Works and Days (cf. 2.176, Ascraeum . . . carmen, “Hesiodic song”), and the relationship to Lucretius’s De rerum natura is so central that the Georgics may be seen as the work of an “anti-Lucretius.”26 In the Georgics, Lucretius’s confident exposition of the power of reason is “remythologized” into a more sceptical and yet more accepting attitude towards the natural world and its traditional divinities (2.490–494).

Just as Aratus’s Phaenomena had been based on a prose treatise of Eudoxus (1), and Lucretius’s De rerum natura on various Epicurean texts, so the Georgics also has important prose models, though none is as central as in those other texts. Virgil’s sources for agricultural lore were various, but the most significant was Varro’s Res rusticae, published in 37 bce.27 Varro’s influence is felt especially in Books 3 and 4 (but note also the parallels between Rust. 1.1.4–7 and the opening invocation of the gods in G. 1.8–23, and between Rust. 1.69.2–3 and the end of Book 1). The didactic narrator is portrayed as a saviour-sage taking pity on “the farmers . . . ignorant of the path” (1.41), but the poem’s practical advice avoids technical precision (in contrast to the fragments of Nicander) and the addressee is the markedly non-rustic Maecenas (1.2, 2.41, 3.41, 4.2), who is addressed with Lucretian overtones.28 As with the De rerum natura, the central concern is rather the place in the world of human beings and their possibilities of happiness.

In the established manner of much didactic poetry, passages of direct instruction are interspersed with apparent digressions, descriptive or reflective passages with a more figured relationship to the main theme such as Jupiter’s paternal disruption of the golden age (1.121–159) and the “praises of Italy” (2.136–177). On the Lucretian model, the concluding section of each book in particular stands out: the troubles of Italy in Book 1 (464–514), the virtues of the country life in Book 2 (475–540), the Noric plague in Book 3 (478–566, imitating the end of the De rerum natura), and especially the “epyllion” of Aristaeus and Orpheus that ends Book 4 (315–558).29 This last section dramatizes (but also in part deconstructs) the opposition between the successful conquest of nature through hard work (Aristaeus) and the pathos of loss and failure (Orpheus), a theme which can be traced throughout the Georgics and which has led to a debate over the “optimism” or “pessimism” of the work (for similar disputes over the Aeneid, see below).30 The contemporary relevance of this opposition is reinforced by a constant comparison between the bee society of Book 4 and Virgil’s Rome.31

The poem concludes with an epilogue (modelled in part on the conclusion to Callimachus’s Aetia) in which Virgil contrasts Augustus’s “thundering” on the Euphrates with his own easeful retirement in Naples (4.559–564) and looks back to the Eclogues, here depicted as the playful work of his youth (4.565–566).32 At the opening of Book 3, Virgil had promised to write a political epic (3.46–48), a familiar enough move in a poetic recusatio (refusal to handle a topic), but just as Callimachus at the end of the Aetia prophesies a move “down” to the Iambi (fr. 112), so at the end of the Georgics we are left feeling that for Virgil the next move would be “upwards” in the hierarchy of genres.33

The Aeneid

Virgil’s final work was the Aeneid (in Latin Aeneis), an account in twelve books of hexameter verse of the flight of Aeneas from Troy and his battles in Italy against Turnus (1) to found a new home which would be the origin of Rome. As an epic, the Aeneid occupies the summit of ancient generic classification. Epic was the sustained narration of great events (“kings and heroes,” according to Callimachus, Aetia fr. 1) by an inspired and omniscient but distanced narrator (see vates); it was also the genre in which the anxiety of influence was greatest, since any epic was inevitably read against Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, by common consent the greatest poems of antiquity. In the Aeneid, intertextuality with these two poems is intense: the standard study takes sixty pages just to list the most obvious parallels.34 The fundamental framework is that of the Odyssey (note also the focus on the hero in the poem’s title).35 The first half of each epic describes the wanderings of the hero, the second half his fight for victory in his (adopted) home, and Aeneas is harried by Juno as Odysseus is by Poseidon. The anger of Juno (Aen. 1.4, 11) also corresponds to the anger of Achilles (and Apollo) in the Iliad, however, and the end of the poem is more like the battle between Achilles and Hector in Iliad 22 than the killing of the suitors in Odyssey 22.36 One may also characterize the first six books of the Aeneid as “Odyssean,” in contrast with the poem’s second, “Iliadic” half.37 But the correspondences with both epics go much further and much deeper.38 The relationship is signalled in the famous opening words of the poem: arma virumque cano, “arms and the man I sing,” where “arms” points to the Iliad, “man” to the Odyssey (and “I sing” perhaps to so-called cyclic epic: cf. Ilias parva fr. 1).

Two other epics are also of importance for the Aeneid: the Argonautica of Apollonius Rhodius, on the one hand, and Ennius’s Annales, on the other.39 The relationship with Ennius, who chronicled Rome’s foundation and imperial expansion up until his own day, is of great ideological significance.40 But the range of material whose traces may be detected in the Aeneid is vast: it includes other earlier epics such as Greek cyclic epic (see Epic Cycle) and Naevius’s Punica, Greek and Roman tragedy, Hellenistic poetry, lyric and elegy, and many other genres, including prose genres such as historiography and antiquarian writing.41 The Aeneid thus both preserves epic’s narrower generic norms and expands epic in the direction of the generic variety that critics such as M. Bakhtin have seen as peculiar to the modern novel (a tendency extended even further by Ovid). Each included genre brings with it its own resonances ranging from the “private” focus of elegy to the moral seriousness of historiography.42

Although the particular version of the Aeneas legend presented in the Aeneid has become canonical, the versions of the myth in the preceding tradition were many and varied, and reconstructing the tangle of alternative narratives against which the Aeneid situates itself has always been a standard critical procedure.43 It is clear that many of the details offered by Virgil were by no means the standard ones in his day, that his sources were multiple, and that he experienced no compunction about free invention. As in the Odyssey, Virgil carries his reader into the middle of events (in medias res) at the outset of the poem: Aeneas, on his way to Italy, is blown off course to North Africa by a storm instigated by Juno (Book 1). There he meets Dido and tells her the story of the fall of Troy (Book 2) and of his subsequent wanderings (Book 3). He and Dido become lovers, and he forgets his mission; Mercury is sent to remind him, and his departure leads to Dido’s tragic suicide (Book 4). In Book 5, the threat of another storm forces Aeneas to land in Sicily, where funeral games for his dead father Anchises are celebrated. After Juno instigates the Trojan women to burn the ships, some of the group are left behind in Sicily and Anchises appears in a dream to urge Aeneas to visit the Sibyl of Cumae (near Naples). The first half of the epic concludes with Aeneas’s consultation of the Sibyl and his visit with her to the underworld, where he meets his father and receives a vision of the future of Rome (Book 6), the so-called “parade of heroes.”

The events of the poem’s second half are described by Virgil as a “greater work” (7.44, maius opus). Landing in Latium, Aeneas sends a successful embassy to the Latin king Latinus, but Juno uses the Fury Allecto (see Erinyes) to incite the young Rutulian king Turnus and Latinus’s wife Amata to encourage war. Aeneas’s son Iulus kills a pet stag while hunting, and from that small spark a full-blown war develops. Before battle commences we are given a catalogue of Italian forces (Book 7). In Book 8, Aeneas, advised in a dream by the river Tiber, visits the Arcadian king Evander, who is living on the future site of Rome. Evander’s young son Pallas joins the Trojan forces, and Aeneas receives a gift of armour from his mother Venus, including a shield which (like the parade of heroes in Book 6) depicts future events in the history of Rome, most notably the battle of Actium (Book 8). The succeeding books describe the fighting between the Trojans and Latins, with emphasis being given to the tragic cost of the war. The young lovers Nisus (2) and Euryalus die in a night expedition (Book 9); Turnus kills Pallas; Aeneas kills both the equally tragic youth Lausus and his father the evil Mezentius (Book 10); and the female warrior Camilla, Turnus’s ally, is killed by a spear through her breast (Book 11). Finally, in Book 12, Aeneas and Turnus meet in single combat despite Juno’s attempts to delay the duel. Aeneas is victorious, and hesitates over whether to spare Turnus until he sees the sword-belt that Turnus had taken from the dead Pallas. In a paroxysm of love and anger, he then slaughters Turnus.

Throughout the Aeneid, as this summary suggests, there is a strong narrative teleology, reaching beyond the events of the story to the future Rome. Fate is a central concept; it coincides with the will of Jupiter, though the exact relationship between Jupiter and Fate is kept vague.44 Juno, pained and angry at past events (1.25–28), attempts always to retard the progress of the action, acting as a sort of “counter-fate” (7.294, 313–316). She is always doomed to failure: at the end of the epic she is reconciled to the fate of Aeneas (12.808–828) but we know that this is only temporary (10.11–15).45 Onto the opposition between the king and queen of heaven (1.9) may be projected many other binary oppositions in the poem: heaven and hell, order and disorder, reason and emotion, success and failure, future and past, epic and tragedy. The treatment of these binary oppositions has been the central issue in criticism on the Aeneid. Although in general they coincide with one another, the correspondence is never absolute: if Juno naturally turns to Allecto and the underworld (7.312), Jupiter, god of the bright sky (1.253), also uses the infernal Dirae (see Erinyes) as the instruments of his wrath (12.849–852). If Aeneas, like Hercules (cf. 8.299; cf, 2.314), represents reason and self-control, he also concludes the epic with an act of passion when furious anger overcomes him and he slays Turnus (12.946–947). It is possible to see such apparent inconsistencies as “energizing contradictions” which reflect a complex worldview.46 Alternatively, as in the “two voices” school of criticism that came to prominence at Harvard in the 1960s, they may be seen as undermining or subverting claims to dominance on the part of Roman order and the “Herculean” model.47 One may also, with the deconstructionists, see the instability of the aforementioned oppositions as a manifestation of the inherent instability of all polarities. Naturally, simple appeal to the text or its historical setting cannot settle which of these approaches is to be adopted.

Three particular aspects of the debate among these schools of thought should be mentioned. First, the opposition between Jupiter and Juno is a gendered one, and many of the other oppositions identified in the poem—reason versus emotion, for example—relate to ancient (and modern) conceptions of typically male or female characteristics. Women in the Aeneid feature predominantly as suffering victims who stand in opposition to the progress of history (Juno, Dido, Amata, Camilla, Juturna), and this feature of the poem may be read either as an affront to the values of martial epic or as reinforcing them (since such women are always ultimately brushed aside). Accordingly, Virgil’s treatment of gender is distinctive and central to the interpretation of the poem, whether the focus is on heroic ethics or on family relations.48

Second, the political aspects of the oppositions are not merely implicit. The hero of the epic is pius Aeneas (1.378; see pietas and religion, Roman, terms relating to), a man marked out by attachment to communal values who after the fall of Troy turns away from individual heroism to save his father, and who in Carthage rejects personal happiness for the sake of his son’s future and the destiny of Rome (4.267–276). This subordination of the individual to the collective is often seen as a primary component of Roman ideology, and its embodiment in Aeneas is a central feature of the epic. At the same time, as in Virgil’s earlier work, the pain and loss suffered by individuals are at least equally prominent in the poem.49 The issue of the relationship between individual and community is raised in a different form by the question of the poem’s relationship to the new autocratic rule of Augustus. In antiquity, it was commonly believed (Servius, Aen. pref.) that the Aeneid was written in order to praise Augustus, who receives explicit panegyric from Jupiter (1.286–296, though Caesar at 1.286 is ambiguous), from Anchises (6.791–805), and in the narrator’s description of the shield which Vulcan makes for Aeneas (8.671–728). Much of the imagery of the Aeneid can be related to Augustan symbolic discourse, and there are many typological links between Augustus and Aeneas and other figures such as Hercules.50 On the other hand, many have seen the poem’s tragic elements as incompatible with a celebration of power. It is impossible to separate the question of the Aeneid’s political tendency—in its crudest form, whether we are to understand it as pro- or anti-Augustan—from the wider ideological issues mentioned above, and, once again, the debate cannot be resolved by an appeal to text or history.51 (See propaganda.)

Finally, these same issues have also surfaced in relation to the philosophical aspects of the Aeneid. Just as the Georgics may be read as a reply to the De rerum natura, so the Aeneid may be seen as again “remythologizing” Lucretian rationalism.52 As Aeneas rejects retirement in Carthage or Sicily in favour of his fate in Italy, so the Aeneid turns from “ignoble ease” (G. 4.564) to severe civic and imperial commitment (compare 6.851 with Lucr. 5.1130, though there is more than one way of reading the intertextuality). Several passages of the Aeneid are explicitly philosophical in their language, most notably Anchises’ account of the soul in 6.724–751; this passage contains both Stoic and Platonic elements, and such eclecticism is typical and unsurprising in a period during which the two schools drew closer to one another thanks to figures such as Antiochus (11) and Posidonius (2). But debates over the philosophy of the Aeneid have concentrated on ethics and the theory of the passions, especially anger. Is the Aeneid essentially a Stoic text, which deprecates emotion? Or is it rather Peripatetic, and does it therefore endorse a proper measure of anger?53 Others have looked to Cynicism, still others to the Epicurean theory of anger as presented in Philodemus’s De ira.54 Any decision on these matters must involve a consideration of the poem’s imagery, as well as of explicit statements by the characters and narrator, and yet evaluating these images is not a simple matter. The poem’s depiction of the gods is similarly complex: although they may at times function as metaphors for psychological activity on the human plane, they cannot simply be reduced to allegory.55

The classic status of the Aeneid is immediately apparent in the parody of its opening line (and 7.41) in the first of Ovid’s Amores (date uncertain, but perhaps before 7 bce), where it is treated as epitomizing epic openings generally.56 Intertextuality with the Aeneid is the chief means by which Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Lucan’s De bello civili, and—especially—the works of the Flavian epicists generate meaning: in these works, the Aeneid is figured as the official voice of the empire, to be subverted or recuperated.57 But just as all Greek literature situates itself against Homer, so traces of the Aeneid can be seen in every genre of Latin verse and prose, Christian as well as pagan.58 Inevitably, this role as a machine for generating meaning in others, a stable backdrop for new dramas, may lead to a simplification of the possibilities of the original text, but the links established by imitations between various parts of the Aeneid also often offer the possibility of new critical insights into the Aeneid itself.59


All Virgil’s works, but especially the Aeneid, retained their classic status throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance as prime examples of pastoral, didactic, and, most obviously, epic (the epic influence runs from Dante to Milton).60 Many aspects of Virgil’s reception in the various vernaculars were studied in the publications connected with the bimillennary commemorations of the poet’s death in 1981–1982.61 Although the Augustan period is the most obvious aetas Vergiliana, Virgil has played a surprisingly important role in modern literature from Eliot to Hermann Broch, and even if no major modern work stands in relation to the Aeneid as Joyce’s Ulysses does to the Odyssey, the tactics employed by Joyce’s novel in its adaptation of its Homeric model are entirely Virgilian.62 For T. S. Eliot, as for Milton and Dryden, Virgil was the classic; if his centrality has been challenged, first by the great names of vernacular literature (Shakespeare, Dante) and then by a more general scepticism towards the canon, he continues to possess the alternative canonic virtue of continual reinterpretation and cultural reuse.63

Primary Texts

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  • Fairclough, H. Rushton. Loeb Classical Library. 1934–1935. Revised edition by George P. Goold, 1999.
  • Fallon, P. Georgics. 2009.
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  • Ferry, D. Georgics. 2006.
  • Ferry, D. Aeneid. 2017.
  • Lee, G. Eclogues. 1980.
  • Ruden, S. Aeneid: Revised and Expanded Edition. 2021. With introduction and notes by S. Braund.
    • Conington, J., and H. Nettleship. The Works of Virgil. 3rd ed. Oxford, 1881–1893.
    • Heyne, C. G., and G. P. E. Wagner. P. Virgili Maronis Opera, varietate lectionis et perpetua adnotatione. 4th ed. Leipzig, 1830–1841. Latin.
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    • Coleman, R. Virgil: Eclogues. Cambridge, UK, 1977.
    • Clausen, W. V. Virgil: Eclogues. Oxford, 1994.
    • Cucchiarelli, Andrea. Publio Virgilio Marone. Le Bucoliche. Translated by Alfonso Traina. Rome, 2012.
    • Biotti, A. Georgiche libro IV. Bologna, 1994.
    • Erren, M. Georgica. 2 vols. Heidelberg, 1985–2003.
    • Mynors, R. A. B. Virgil. Georgics. Oxford, 1990.
    • Thomas, R. F. Virgil. Georgics. 2 vols. Cambridge, UK, 1988.
    • Austin, R. G. P. Vergili Maronis Aeneidos liber secundus. Oxford, 1966.
    • Austin, R. G. P. Vergili Maronis Aeneidos liber quartus. Oxford, 1955.
    • Austin, R. G. P. Vergili Maronis Aeneidos liber primus. Oxford, 1971.
    • Austin, R. G. P. Vergili Maronis Aeneidos liber sextus. Oxford, 1977.
    • Casali, S. Virgilio, Eneide 2: Introduzione, traduzione, e commento. Pisa, 2017.
    • Dingel, J. Kommentar zum 9. Buch der Aeneis Vergils. Heidelberg, 1997.
    • Eden, P. T. A Commentary on Virgil, Aeneid VIII. Leiden, 1975.
    • Fordyce, C. J. P. Vergili Maronis Aeneidos, libri VII–VIII. Oxford, 1977.
    • Fratantuono, L. M., and R. A. Smith. Virgil, Aeneid 5. Leiden and Boston, 2015.
    • Fratantuono, L. M., and R. A. Smith. Virgil, Aeneid 8. Leiden and Boston, 2018.
    • Gransden, K. W. Aeneid: Book VIII. Cambridge, UK, 1976.
    • Hardie, P. R. Aeneid: Book IX. Cambridge, UK, 1994.
    • Harrison, S. J. Vergil, Aeneid 10. Oxford, 1991.
    • Heyworth, S. J., and J. H. W. Morwood. A Commentary on Vergil, Aeneid 3. Oxford, 2017.
    • Horsfall, N. M. Virgil, Aeneid 7: A Commentary. Leiden and Boston, 2000.
    • Horsfall, N. M. Virgil, Aeneid 11: A Commentary. Leiden and Boston, 2003.
    • Horsfall, N. M. Virgil, Aeneid 3: A Commentary. Leiden and Boston, 2006.
    • Horsfall, N. M. Virgil, Aeneid 6: A Commentary. Berlin and New York, 2013.
    • McGill, S. Virgil, Aeneid, Book XI. Cambridge, UK, 2020.
    • Norden, E. P. Vergilius Maro, Aeneis Buch VI, 7th ed. Stuttgart and Leipzig, 1981, German.
    • Pease, A. S. Publi Vergili Maronis Aeneidos liber quartus. Cambridge, MA, 1935.
    • Tarrant, R. Aeneid. Book XII. Cambridge, UK, 2012.
    • Williams, R. D. Virgil. Aeneid. 2 vols. London, 1972–1973.

    See also Appendix Vergiliana for the spurious works attributed to Virgil.


  • Briggs, W. W. “A Bibliography of Virgil’s Eclogues (1927–1977).” Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt. Part 2. 31, no. 2 (1981): 1267–1357.
  • Enciclopedia Virgiliana. 5 vols. Rome: Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, 1984–1991. The last volume (vol. 5, in two parts) includes texts, an Italian translation, biographical material, etc.
  • Morano Rando, M. T. Bibliografia Virgiliana. Genoa, Italy: La Quercia, 1987.
  • Suerbaum, W. “Hundert Jahre Vergil-Forschung: Eine systematische Arbeitsbibliographie mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der Aeneis” [1875–1975]. Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt. Part 2. 31, no. 1 (1980): 3–358.
  • Suerbaum, W. “Spezialbibliographie zu Vergils Georgica.” Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt. Part 2. 31, no. 1 (1980): 395–499.
  • Thomas, R. F., and J. M. Ziolkowski, ed. The Virgil Encyclopedia. 3 vols. Malden and Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2014.
    Introductions, Surveys, Handbooks
    • Hardie, P. Virgil. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.
    • Horsfall, N. M. A Companion to the Study of Virgil. 2nd ed. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2000.
    • Holzberg, N. Vergil: der Dichter und sein Werk. Munich: Beck, 2006.
    • Keith, A. Virgil. London: Bloomsbury, 2019.
    • Klingner, Friedrich. Virgil. Zurich and Munich: Artemis Verlag, 1967. German.
    Collections of Essays
    • Farrell, J., and M. C. J. Putnam, eds. A Companion to Vergil’s Aeneid and Its Tradition. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.
    • Günther, H.-C. ed. Virgilian Studies: A Miscellany Dedicated to the Memory of Mario Geymonat. Nordhausen, Germany: Verlag Traugott Bautz, 2015.
    • Harrison, S. J. Oxford Readings in Vergil’s Aeneid. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990.
    • Hardie, P. R. Critical Assessments of Classical Authors: Virgil. 4 vols. London: Routledge, 1999.
    • Horsfall, N. Fifty Years at the Sibyl’s Heels: Selected Papers on Virgil and Rome. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020.
    • Mac Góráin, F., and C. Martindale, eds. The Cambridge Companion to Virgil. 2nd ed. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2019.
    • Robertson, F. Meminisse iuvabit: Selections from the Proceedings of the Virgil Society. Bristol: Bristol Classical Press, 1988.
    • Volk, K. Oxford Readings in Vergil’s Eclogues. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.
    • Volk, K. Oxford Readings in Vergil’s Georgics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.
    • Xinyue, B., and N. Freer, eds. Reflections and New Perspectives on Virgil’s Georgics. London: Bloomsbury, 2019.
    • Alpers, P. J. The Singer of the Eclogues. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1979.
    • Breed, B. W. Pastoral Inscriptions. London: Duckworth, 2006.
    • Davis, G. Parthenope: The Interplay of Ideas in Vergilian Bucolic. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2012.
    • Kania, R. Virgil’s Eclogues and the Art of Fiction: A Study of the Poetic Imagination. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017.
    • Leach, E. W. Vergil’s Eclogues: Landscapes of Experience. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1974.
    • Putnam, M. C. J. Virgil’s Pastoral Art. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1970.
    • Van Sickle, J. B. The Design of Virgil’s Bucolics. Rome: Edizioni dell’Ateneo & Bizzarri, 1978.
    • Farrell, J. Vergil’s Georgics and the Traditions of Ancient Epic. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.
    • Gale, M. R. Virgil on the Nature of Things. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.
    • Jenkyns, R. Virgil’s Experience. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.
    • Johnston, P. A. Vergil’s Agricultural Golden Age. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1980.
    • Miles, G. B. Virgil’s Georgics: A New Interpretation. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1980.
    • Morgan, L. Patterns of Redemption in Virgil’s “Georgics.” Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.
    • Nappa, C. Reading after Actium: Vergil’s Georgics, Octavian, and Rome. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2005.
    • Perkell, C. G. The Poet’s Truth. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1989.
    • Putnam, M. C. J. Virgil’s Poem of the Earth. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1979.
    • Ross, D. O. Virgil’s Elements. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1987.
    • Thibodeau, P. Playing the Farmer: Representations of Rural Life in Vergil’s Georgics. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2011.
    • Wilkinson, L. P. The Georgics of Virgil. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969.
    • Buchheit, V. Vergil über die Sendung Roms. Heidelberg, Germany: Vinzenz, 1963.
    • Cairns, F. Virgil’s Augustan Epic. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1989.
    • Camps, W. A. Introduction to Virgil’s Aeneid. London: Oxford University Press, 1969.
    • Conte, G. B. The Poetry of Pathos. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.
    • Dainotti, P. Word Order and Expressiveness in the Aeneid. Berlin and New York: De Gruyter, 2015.
    • Feeney, D. C. The Gods in Epic. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991.
    • Fletcher, K. F B. Finding Italy: Travel, Nation, and Colonization in Vergil’s Aeneid. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2014.
    • Giusti, E. Carthage in Virgil’s Aeneid: Staging the Enemy under Augustus. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2018.
    • Goldschmidt, N. Shaggy Crowns: Ennius’ Annales and Virgil’s Aeneid. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.
    • Gorey, M. M. Atomism in the Aeneid: Physics, Politics, and Cosmological Disorder. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021.
    • Hardie, P. R. Virgil’s Aeneid: Cosmos and Imperium. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986.
    • Heinze, R. Virgil’s Epic Technique. Translated by H. Harvey, D. Harvey, and F. Robertson. London: Bristol Classical Press, 1993.
    • Horsfall, N. The Epic Distilled: Studies in the Composition of the Aeneid. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.
    • Johnson, W. R. Darkness Visible. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1976.
    • Lyne, R. O. A. M. Further Voices in Vergil’s Aeneid. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987.
    • Lyne, R. O. A. M. Words and the Poet. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.
    • Pöschl, V. The Art of Virgil. Translated by G. Seligson. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1962.
    • Pöschl, V. Die Dichtkunst Virgils: Bild und Symbol in der Aeneis. Berlin and New York: De Gruyter, 1977.
    • Putnam, M. C. J. The Poetry of the Aeneid. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1965.
    • Quinn, K. Virgil’s Aeneid: A Critical Introduction. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1968.
    • Reed, J. D. Virgil’s Gaze: Nation and Poetry in the Aeneid. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007.
    • Seider, A. M. Memory in Virgil’s Aeneid: Creating the Past. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2013.
    • Stahl, H.-P., ed. Vergil’s Aeneid. Augustan Epic and Political Context. Swansea, UK: Classical Press of Wales, 1998.
    • Williams, G. Technique and Ideas in the Aeneid. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1983.
    • Worstbrock, F. J. Elemente einer Poetik der Aeneis. Münster, Germany: Achendorff, 1963.
    • Braund, S., and Z. M. Torlone, eds. Virgil and His Translators. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018.
    • Burkard, T., M. Schauer, and C. Wiener, eds. Vestigia Vergiliana: Vergil-Rezeption in der Neuzeit. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2010.
    • Cox, F. Sibylline Sisters: Virgil’s Presence in Contemporary Women’s Writing. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.
    • Farrell, J., and M. C. J. Putnam, eds. A Companion to Vergil’s Aeneid and Its Tradition. Malden, MA, and Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.
    • Hardie, P. R. The Last Trojan Hero: A Cultural History of Virgil’s Aeneid. London and New York: I. B. Tauris, 2014.
    • Kallendorf, C. The Protean Virgil. Material Form and the Reception of the Classics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.
    • Pellicer, J. C. Preposterous Virgil: Reading through Stoppard, Auden, Wordsworth, Heaney. London: Bloomsbury, 2022.
    • Ziolkowski, J. M., and M. C. J. Putnam, eds. The Virgilian Tradition: The First Fifteen Hundred Years. New Haven, CT, and London: Yale University Press, 2008.


  • 1. For the “Lives” and how they relate to Virgil’s poetry, see P. Hardie and A. Powell, eds., The Ancient Lives of Virgil (Swansea, UK: Classical Press of Wales, 2017).

  • 2. His name appears in a papyrus from Herculaneum with Plotius Tucca, Varius Rufus, and P. Quinctilius Varus: see M. Gigante and M. Capasso, “Il ritorno di Virgilio a Ercolano,” Studi Italiani di Filologia Classica 7 (1989): 3–6.

  • 3. Controversial: see R. J. Tarrant, “The Addressee of Virgil’s Eighth Eclogue,” Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 82 (1978): 197–199 and G. W. Bowersock, “The Addressee of Virgil’s Eighth Eclogue: A Response,” Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 82 (1978): 201–202; and A. Cucchiarelli, Le Bucoliche (Rome: Carocci, 2012), 15–16.

  • 4. See J. Osgood, Caesar’s Legacy (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 108–151.

  • 5. For the controversy over whether Pollio is the addressee of the eighth Eclogue, see R. J. Tarrant, “The Addressee of Virgil’s Eighth Eclogue,” Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 82 (1978): 197–199 and G. W. Bowersock, “The Addressee of Virgil’s Eighth Eclogue: A Response,” Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 82 (1978): 201–202.

  • 6. Cf. T. R. S. Broughton, The Magistrates of the Roman Republic 2 (1952): 377–378.

  • 7. Cf. I. M. Le M. DuQuesnay, “Horace and Maecenas: the propaganda value of Sermones I,” in Poetry and Politics in the Age of Augustus, ed. T. Woodman and D. West (Cambridge, UK and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1984), 39–43; and E. Gowers, Horace. Satires 1 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 183.

  • 8. See C. Nappa, Reading After Actium (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2005).

  • 9. J. Griffin, Latin Poets and Roman Life (London: Duckworth, 1985), 180–182; and P. Hardie, Virgil (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), 45.

  • 10. See J. M. Ziolkowski and M. C. J. Putnam, The Virgilian Tradition: The First Fifteen Hundred Years (New Haven, CT, and London: Yale University Press, 2008), 4; and M. Deufert, “Vergilische Prosa?,” Hermes 141 (2013): 331–350.

  • 11. See I. Ziogas, “Singing for Octavia. Vergil’s Life and Marcellus’ Death,” Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 109 (2017): 429–481.

  • 12. A popular tradition locates the tomb of Virgil at Piedigrotta in Mergellina outside Naples; this monument has become the focus for critical assessments of the persistence of Virgil in the classical tradition and popular memory: see Chapters 12–15 of B. Graziosi and N. Goldschmidt, eds., Tombs of the Ancient Poets: Between Literary Reception and Material Culture (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018).

  • 13. Cf., e.g., Pliny Ep. 3.7.8, on Silius’s veneration; and P. Hardie, The Epic Successors of Virgil (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1993).

  • 14. R. Cavenaile, Corpus Papyrorum Latinarum (Wiesbaden: O. Harrassowitz, 1958), 7–70; R. P. Hoogma, Der Einfluss Vergils auf die Carmina Latina Epigraphica (Amsterdam: North-Holland, 1952); and K. Milnor, Graffiti and the Literary Landscape in Roman Pompeii (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 233–262.

  • 15. D. Comparetti, Vergil in the Middle Ages (Princeton, NJ: University of Princeton Press, 1997; Italian original, 1885), with new introduction by J. M. Ziolkowski; and Ziolkowski and Putnam, The Virgilian Tradition, 825–902; cf. SHA Hadr. 2.8; and Ziolkowski and Putnam, The Virgilian Tradition, 820–830.

  • 16. See “Iconografia medievale e moderna,” Enciclopedia Virgiliana (Rome: Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, 1984–1991), 5.2:103–104.

  • 17. See A. Cucchiarelli, Le Bucoliche (Rome: Carocci, 2012), 27–28; and N. Horsfall, “Some Problems of Titulature in Roman Literary History,” Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies of the University of London 28 (1981): 108.

  • 18. Cf. G. Castelli, “Echi lucreziani nelle Ecloghe virgiliane,” Rivista di Studi Classici 14 (1966): 313–342, and “Echi lucreziani nelle Ecloghe virgiliane,” Rivista di Studi Classici 15 (1967): 14–39; Cf. P. E. Knox, Ovid’s Metamorphoses and the Traditions of Augustan Poetry (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1986), 11–26; and Cucchiarelli, Le Bucoliche, 322–323.

  • 19. Cf. J. B. Van Sickle, The Design of Virgil’s Bucolics (Rome: Bizzarri, 1978); and Cucchiarelli, Le Bucoliche, 31.

  • 20. Cf. G. B. Conte, “Proems in the Middle,” Yale Classical Studies 29 (1992): 147–159.

  • 21. See R. Kania, Virgil’s Eclogues and the Art of Fiction: A Study of the Poetic Imagination (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2016).

  • 22. B. Snell, The Discovery of the Mind, trans. T. G. Rosenmeyer (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1953), 281–308; E. A. Schmidt, “Arcadia, Modern Occident and Classical Antiquity,” in Oxford Readings in Virgil’s Eclogues, ed. K. Volk (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 16–47; D. Kennedy, “Arcades ambo: Virgil, Gallus and Arcadia,” Hermathena 143 (1984): 47–59; and R. Jenkyns, “Virgil and Arcadia,” Journal of Roman Studies 89 (1989): 26–39.

  • 23. Cf. E. Coleiro, An Introduction to Vergil’s Bucolics with an Edition of the Text (Amsterdam: Grüner, 1979), 222–233; and D. Hadas, “Christians, Sibyls and Eclogue 4,” Recherches Augustiniennes et Patristiques 37 (2013): 51–129.

  • 24. Cf. R. G. M. Nisbet, “Virgil’s Fourth Eclogue: Easterners and Westerners,” Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies of the University of London 25 (1978): 59–78.

  • 25. The fragments are in A. S. F. Gow and A. F. Scholfield, Nicander. Poems and Poetical Fragments (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1953), 145–161; R. F. Thomas, “Callimachus, the Victoria Berenices, and Roman Poetry,” Classical Quarterly 33 (1983): 92–113.

  • 26. Cf. P. R. Hardie, Virgil’s Aeneid: Cosmos and Imperium (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986), 157–167; M. R. Gale, Virgil on the Nature of Things (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000); and, in general, J. Farrell, Vergil’s Georgics and the Traditions of Ancient Epic (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991).

  • 27. L. A. Jermyn, “Virgil’s Agricultural Lore,” Greece & Rome 18 (1949): 50.

  • 28. See Hardie, Virgil’s Aeneid: Cosmos and Imperium, 158; cf. also L. P. Wilkinson, The Georgics of Virgil (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1969), 52–55; M. S. Spurr, “Agriculture and the Georgics,” Greece & Rome 33 (1986): 171–175.

  • 29. For Book 3 as a microcosm of Lucretius’ De rerum natura, cf. M. R. Gale, “Man and Beast in Lucretius and the Georgics,” Classical Quarterly 41 (1991): 414–426.

  • 30. Cf. D. O. Ross, Virgil’s Elements (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1987); C. G. Perkell, The Poet’s Truth (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989); T. Habinek, “Sacrifice, Society, and Vergil’s Ox-Born Bees,” in Cabinet of the Muses, ed. M. Griffith and D. J. Mastronarde (Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1990), 209–223; and R. F. Thomas, “The ‘Sacrifice’ at the End of the Georgics, Aristaeus, and Vergilian Closure,” Classical Philology 86 (1991): 211–218.

  • 31. Cf. J. Griffin, Latin Poets and Roman Life (London: Duckworth, 1985), 163–182.

  • 32. Cf. R. F. Thomas and R. Scodel, “Virgil and the Euphrates,” American Journal of Philology 105 (1984): 339; and J. Clauss, “Vergil and the Euphrates Revisited,” American Journal of Philology 109 (1988): 309–320.

  • 33. Cf. J. Farrell, Vergil’s Georgics and the Traditions of Ancient Epic (New York: Oxford University Press); Ll. Morgan, Patterns of Redemption in Virgil’s Georgics (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 20–49.

  • 34. G. N. Knauer, Die Aeneis und Homer (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1964), 371–431.

  • 35. For the Odyssey’s unifying focus on the titular hero, cf. Aristotle, Poetics 1451a20.

  • 36. Contra F. Cairns, Virgil’s Augustan Epic (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 177–214.

  • 37. Cf. K. W. Gransden, Virgil’s Second Iliad (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1984). For a different version of this opposition, see D. Quint, Epic and Empire (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993).

  • 38. Cf. Knauer, Die Aeneis und Homer; and id. “Vergil and Homer,” Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt 2 31, no. 2 (1981): 870–918; R. R. Schlunk, The Homeric Scholia and the Aeneid (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1974); E. Dekel, Virgil’s Homeric Lens (New York and London: Routledge, 2012); and A. Barchiesi, Homeric Effects in Vergil’s Narrative, trans. I. Marchesi and M. Fox (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2015).

  • 39. Cf. D. P. Nelis, The Aeneid and the Argonautica of Apollonius Rhodius (Leeds: Francis Cairns, 2001); N. Goldschmidt, Shaggy Crowns: Ennius’ Annales and Virgil’s Aeneid (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013).

  • 40. Cf. G. B. Conte, The Rhetoric of Imitation (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1986), 141–184; and N. Goldschmidt, Shaggy Crowns.

  • 41. E. Christian Kopff, “Virgil and the Cyclic Epics,” Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt 2 31, no. 2 (1981): 919–947; and U. Gärtner, “Virgil and the Epic Cycle,” in The Greek Epic Cycle and Its Ancient Reception: A Companion, ed. M. Fantuzzi and C. Tsagalis (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 543–564; M. Barchiesi, Nevio Epico (Padua: Cedam, 1962), 50–51; and passim; P. Hardie, “Virgil and Tragedy,” in The Cambridge Companion to Virgil, ed. F. Mac Góráin and C. Martindale (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2019), 326–357; and V. Panoussi, Greek Tragedy in Vergil’s Aeneid (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009); W. V. Clausen, Virgil’s Aeneid: Decorum, Allusion, and Ideology (Munich and Leipzig: Saur, 2002); and R. F. Thomas, Reading Virgil and His Texts (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1999); F. Cairns, Virgil’s Augustan Epic (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 129–176; Cf. A. Rossi, Contexts of War. Manipulation of Genre in Virgilian Battle Narrative (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2004); N. Horsfall, The Epic Distilled (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016); and F. Mac Góráin, “Virgil’s Divine Antiquities: Varro in the Aeneid,” Aevum Antiquum, n.s., 20 (2020): 235–258.

  • 42. On the ethical implications of Virgil’s shifting models, see J. Farrell, “Virgil’s Intertextual Personae,” in The Cambridge Companion to Virgil, ed. Mac Góráin and Martindale (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2019), 299–325.

  • 43. N. M. Horsfall, “The Aeneas-Legend from Homer to Virgil,” in Roman Myth and Mythography, by J. N. Bremmer and N. M. Horsfall, Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies of the University of London Supplements 52 (London: Oxford University Press, 1987), 12–24; and S. Casali, “The Development of the Aeneas Legend,” in A Companion to Vergil’s Aeneid and Its Tradition, ed. J. Farrell and M. C. J. Putnam (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2001), 37–51; cf. esp. R. Heinze, Virgil’s Epic Technique, trans. H. Harvey, D. Harvey, and F. Robertson (London: Bristol Classical Press, 1993); and N. Horsfall, Virgilio: L’epopea in alambicco (Naples: Liguori, 1991) and The Epic Distilled.

  • 44. C. Bailey, Religion in Vergil (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1935), 204–240.

  • 45. D. Feeney, “The Reconciliations of Juno,” Classical Quarterly 34 (1984): 179–194.

  • 46. C. Martindale, Redeeming the Text (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 51.

  • 47. For an overview see J. Hejduk, “Happy Golden Anniversary, Harvard School!,” special issue, Classical World 111, no. 1 (2017).

  • 48. See A. Keith, Engendering Rome: Women in Latin Epic (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000); M. McAuley, Reproducing Rome: Motherhood in Virgil, Ovid, Seneca and Statius (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016); and E. Giusti and V. Rimell, eds., “Vergil and the Feminine,” special issue, Vergilius 67 (2021).

  • 49. J. Griffin, Latin Poets and Roman Life (London: Duckworth, 1985), 163–182.

  • 50. Hardie, Virgil’s Aeneid: Cosmos and Imperium; P. Zanker, The Power of Images in the Age of Augustus (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1988); and N. B. Pandey, The Poetics of Power in Augustan Rome (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2018); cf. G. Binder, Aeneas und Augustus (Meisenheim am Glan: A. Hain, 1971); K. W. Gransden, “Typology, Symbolism and Allegory in the Aeneid,” Proceedings of the Virgil Society 13 (1973–1974): 14–27; and J. Griffin, Latin Poets and Roman Life (London: Duckworth, 1985), 183–197.

  • 51. Cf. D. Kennedy, “‘Augustan’ and ‘Anti-Augustan’: Reflections on Terms of Reference,” in Roman Poetry and Propaganda in the Age of Augustus, ed. A. Powell (London: Bristol Classical Press, 1992), 26–58.

  • 52. Hardie, Virgil’s Aeneid: Cosmos and Imperium, passim; M. M. Gorey, Atomism in the Aeneid (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021).

  • 53. A. Thornton, The Living Universe (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1976), esp. 159–163.

  • 54. F. Cairns, Virgil’s Augustan Epic (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 33–38; cf. G. K. Galinsky, “The Anger of Aeneas,” American Journal of Philology 109 (1988): 321–348; M. Erler, “Der Zorn des Helden: Philodems ‘De Ira’ und Vergils Konzept des Zorns in der ‘Aeneis,’” Grazer Beiträge 18 (1992): 103–26.

  • 55. G. W. Williams, Technique and Ideas in the Aeneid (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1983); D. Feeney, The Gods in Epic (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991), 129–187.

  • 56. Cf. J. C. McKeown, Ovid, Amores: Text, Prolegomena, and Commentary in Four Volumes. Vol. II, A Commentary on Book One (Leeds: F. Cairns, 1989), on Am. 1.1.1–2.

  • 57. Cf. P. Hardie, The Epic Successors of Virgil (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1998) and P. Hardie, Rumour and Renown (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2012).

  • 58. Cf. W. Suerbaum, “Allgemeinere Darstellungen zum Nachleben Vergils (bes. in der Antike),” Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt 2 31, no. 1 (1980): 308–337; W. F. Jackson Knight, Roman Virgil (London: Faber and Faber, 1966), 362–398.

  • 59. Cf. P. Hardie, The Epic Successors of Virgil (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press) and P. Hardie, The Last Trojan Hero (London: I. B. Tauris, 2014).

  • 60. Cf. A. M. Patterson, Pastoral and Ideology (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987); and S. Chaudhuri, Renaissance Pastoral and Its English Developments (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989); cf. J. Chalker, The English Georgic (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1969); cf. T. M. Green, The Light in Troy (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1982); and Quint, Epic and Empire (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993).

  • 61. Lists in A. Wlosok, “Bimillenarium Vergilianum,” Gnomon 57 (1985): 127–134, and “Celebrazioni centenarie,” in Enciclopedia Virgiliana, 5.2:114–118; cf. C. Martindale, Virgil and his Influence (Bristol: Bristol Classical Press, 1984) and Redeeming the Text (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1993).

  • 62. T. Ziolkowski, Virgil and the Moderns (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993).

  • 63. Cf. W. Suerbaum, Vergils Aeneis: Beiträge zu ihrer Rezeption in Gegenwart und Geschichte (Bamberg: Auxilia 3, 1981).