Virgil composed three of the most famous poems in Latin literature: the Eclogues, the Georgics, and the epic Aeneid.
23 Facts About Virgil
Virgil's work has had wide and deep influence on Western literature, most notably Dante's Divine Comedy, in which Virgil appears as the author's guide through Hell and Purgatory.
Virgil has been traditionally ranked as one of Rome's greatest poets.
Virgil's Aeneid is considered a national epic of ancient Rome, a title held since composition.
Macrobius says that Virgil's father was of a humble background, though scholars generally believe that Virgil was from an equestrian landowning family who could afford to give him an education.
From Virgil's admiring references to the neoteric writers Pollio and Cinna, it has been inferred that he was, for a time, associated with Catullus's neoteric circle.
Virgil seems to have suffered bad health throughout his life and in some ways lived the life of an invalid.
In Eclogues 1 and 9, Virgil indeed dramatizes the contrasting feelings caused by the brutality of the land expropriations through pastoral idiom but offers no indisputable evidence of the supposed biographic incident.
Sometime after the publication of the Eclogues, Virgil became part of the circle of Maecenas, Octavian's capable agent d'affaires who sought to counter sympathy for Antony among the leading families by rallying Roman literary figures to Octavian's side.
Virgil came to know many of the other leading literary figures of the time, including Horace, in whose poetry he is often mentioned, and Varius Rufus, who later helped finish the Aeneid.
At Maecenas's insistence Virgil spent the ensuing years on the long dactylic hexameter poem called the Georgics, which he dedicated to Maecenas.
In handling this theme, Virgil follows in the didactic tradition of the Greek poet Hesiod's Works and Days and several works of the later Hellenistic poets.
Virgil's intentions are to reach Italy, where his descendants Romulus and Remus are to found the city of Rome.
Virgil made use of several models in the composition of his epic; Homer, the pre-eminent author of classical epic, is everywhere present, but Virgil makes special use of the Latin poet Ennius and the Hellenistic poet Apollonius of Rhodes among the various other writers to which he alludes.
Ancient commentators noted that Virgil seems to divide the Aeneid into two sections based on the poetry of Homer; the first six books were viewed as employing the Odyssey as a model while the last six were connected to the Iliad.
Some scholars have argued that Virgil deliberately left these metrically incomplete lines for dramatic effect.
Poets following Virgil often refer intertextually to his works to generate meaning in their own poetry.
Statius misinterprets Dante's laughter for disdain, and Virgil comes forth to reveal himself.
Virgil played him along and agreed to an assignation at her house, which he was to sneak into at night by climbing into a large basket let down from a window.
In consequence, Virgil came to be seen on a similar level to the Hebrew prophets of the Bible as one who had heralded Christianity.
Possibly as early as the second century AD, Virgil's works were seen as having magical properties and were used for divination.
The structure known as "Virgil's tomb" is found at the entrance of an ancient Roman tunnel in Piedigrotta, a district 3 kilometres from the centre of Naples, near the Mergellina harbor, on the road heading north along the coast to Pozzuoli.
Today, the anglicisations Vergil and Virgil are both considered acceptable.