Publius Vergilius Maro
He was born on October 15, 70 B.C. in the small
northern village of Andes, between Mantua and
the Po river.
His father, a potter and cattle farmer, married his
landlord’s daughter, worked at beekeeping, and
invested in lumber.
Virgil had two brothers—Silo, who died in
childhood, and Flaccus, who lived to young
Virgil was tall,
Virgil's ambitious father wanted to provide
his son with an aristocratic education.
Virgil was sent to study at Cremona and
Milan. He showed early promise of
In 53 B.C., he went to Rome to study law
A fateful meeting
In Rome, Virgil studied at Epidius’ academy,
where he met a boy seven years his junior
named Octavian, who was a nephew of
Octavian would later become Caesar
Augustus, the first “emperor” of Rome.
Julius Caesar at war with Pompey
Virgil served in the military briefly round 47
B.C. It was an experience he loathed.
Virgil then went to Naples to study
philosophy under Siro.
When Siro died in 42 B.C., he left Virgil his
estate outside Naples. This was Virgil’s
Virgil lived quietly in Naples
Virgil enjoyed country life.
He lived at the villa with his
mother and brother.
He may have been purposely
avoiding the murky political
situation in Rome which
followed the assassination of
Julius Caesar in 44 B.C.
His father’s estate was confiscated in 42
Many estates and farms were confiscated
by the state and given to military veterans.
This event saddened Virgil, and influenced
the writing of his major early work the
Bucolics (Rural Poems) also known as the
Bucolics was finished in 37 B.C.
Virgil intended this
poem to be read aloud,
as was the Roman
The poem is set in
northern Italy, in the
Eclogue 4 remained famous
It contains a mystical prophecy about a
Golden Age of peace and goodwill, ushered
in by the birth of a divine child.
Marc Antony? Augustus? Christ?
From 37 to 30 B.C., Virgil composed a
poetic manual, both technical and
philosophical, on farming.
Focusing on planting, care of orchards and
vineyards, stock management and
beekeeping, it also emphasized the work
emperor in 27 B.C.
Octavian Caesar Augustus
Antony and Cleopatra
Augustus called Virgil to court, and
commissioned a national epic that
would glorify Rome
This epic poem is known as the Aeneid
Virgil reads draft to Augustus and
on the Aeneid
from 30 B.C.
until his death
in 19 B.C.
Twelve books long and written in hexameter
verse, the epic poem was modeled on the
works of Homer.
Virgil linked a Trojan hero, Aeneas, to the
founding of Rome and the family of the
Virgil had always suffered from ill health
Before his death, he
wrote his own
to be with him at his
Virgil’s epitaph ends with the line: “I sang of
pastures, farms, and rulers.”
Thus, he and his three great works, the
Bucolics, the Georgics, and the Aeneid,
Unhappy with the fact that he had no time to revise
and polish his great epic poem, Virgil left
instructions in his will that it be destroyed.
The emperor overrode the will, and asked two
friends of Virgil’s to edit the manuscript for
Completed in 18 B.C., it was immediately popular
and became the definitive Roman epic.