A Roman poet who lived from 70-19 BC. Born from a wealthy family of humble origins, he lost some of his family estate in the confiscations of land for Augustus' soldiers. Still, he seems to have borne the emperor no grudge. He was the foremost poet of the Augustan circle under Maecenas. His best known works are the Eclogues, Georgics, and Aeneid.
The unfinished Aeneid was his last work great work, which occupied him for the last ten years of his life until his death. He fell ill while touring some of the islands described in the epic tale. The Aeneid traces the Roman race to the Trojan Aeneas. Aided by his mother Venus, his voyage from Troy to Latium mirrors much of Homer's Odyssey. The entire poem serves to celebrate the lineage of Augustus as well as the Roman Empire in general.
Oxford Concise Companion to Classical Literature. ed. Howatson and Chilvers. Oxford. New York, 1993.