Virgil was the most celebrated of Latin poets and wrote in a circle of poets under the patronage of Maecenas who was himself closely associated with the emperor Augustus. Born in a Roman province in 70BC just south of the Alps, his upbringing was rustic except for his academic education in Cremona and Milan. This was the context and inspiration for his earlier works, the Eclogues and the Georgics, which focus on country living. His move to Rome and the Bay of Naples and his association with Maecenas brought the commission from Augustus for an epic poem to rival those of Homer, celebrating the domination of Rome and the genealogy and position of the emperor, who traced his ancestry to Aeneas, the hero of the Trojan War. He spent the last eleven years of his life on the Aeneid, before he fell ill and died, and although the poem was largely complete, it was not complete enough for the poet who asked for the manuscript to be burned, only to be saved from the flames by Augustus. The influence of this poem is remarkable, even on Christian writers, such as Dante who portrayed Virgil’s spirit as the guide to Paradise.

The Eclogues | The Georgics
The Aeneid


Aeneid 1.1-33 | The opening lines of the most famous Roman epic poem
Contributed by Stephen Jenkin

Aeneid 1.198-207 | Keep yourselves safe for better times
Contributed by Jane Mason

Aeneid 2.40-56, 203-19 | Laocoon and the serpents
Contributed by Anne Dicks

Aeneid 2.708-40 | Aeneas’ Flight from Troy
Contributed by Carla Jennings

Aeneid 4.120-127 and 160-172 | “Scene – A Cave
Contributed by Professor Llewelyn Morgan*

Aeneid 6.847-53 | Virgil’s vision of Roman greatness put into the mouth of Anchises
Contributed by Jane Mason

Aeneid 9.314-50 | Nisus and Euryalus
Contributed by Caroline Lawrence

Aeneid 9.420-49 | Nisus and Euryalus
Contributed by Jane Mason and GCSE Latin students (aged 15)

Aeneid 9.433-37 | Poppies in Classical Poetry
Contributed by Jane Mason and David Bevan


The Golden Age in Pastoral| Eclogues 4.15-45
Contributed by Joshua Anthony


Georgics 4.67-87 | Mankind and Bees
Contributed by Ian Peel