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Virgil was born Publius Vergilius Maro in Andes, a village in northern Italy near Mantua. His father was a farmer. Virgil was thoroughly educated in Greek and Roman literature, rhetoric, and philosophy. The patronage of Roman statesman Gaius Maecenas relieved him of financial cares and allowed him to devote himself fully to literary pursuits and to study. He spent the greater part of his life at or near Naples and Nola. His most intimate friends were his patron Maecenas; Octavian, who became Emperor Augustus during Virgil's lifetime; and many prominent poets. Among these were Gaius Cornelius Gallus, Horace, and Lucius Varius Rufus. In 19 BC, Virgil set out on a trip to Greece and Asia with the intention of revising his masterpiece, the Aeneid, already substantially completed, and then of devoting the remainder of his life to philosophical study. He met Augustus in Athens, Greece, and returned with him to Italy. Virgil was taken ill before leaving Athens and died shortly after his arrival at Brundisium. On his deathbed, Virgil gave instructions that the Aeneid should be destroyed but, by Augustus's order, the poem was edited and published after Virgil's death by Roman poets Varius Rufus and Plotius Tucca.
The Appendix Agiliana, a collection of minor poems, was attributed in antiquity to Virgil. The collection includes short epics, elegies, a didactic poem on volcanism, and a group of short poems called the Catalepton, or Poems in a Trifling Vein. The poems are written in the erudite, or learned, innovative style that is characteristic of the poets of the Hellenistic Age. The authenticity of the collection, however, is disputed by modern scholars. Some of the poems, especially a few of the Catalepton that deal with the life of Virgil, may be youthful works of his. The Aetna is generally dated in the 1st century AD. In 37 BC, Virgil completed his first major work, the ten Eclogues, or Bucolics, which were pastoral poems modeled on the Idy...

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