The Roman Minute: The Story of Virgil

 
 

Get better acquainted with the man behind one of the world's most famous poems.

TRANSCRIPT

Salvete omnes! I'm Lindsey Scholl, and welcome again to The Roman Minute, where you can sample a little bit of Rome in around a minute. Today we're talking about the man behind the poem. This is Virgil, the author of  Rome's great epic story, the Aeneid. The Aeneid is the story of  Aeneas fleeing his homeland of Troy to found another, greater city, that of Rome. Virgil wrote his great poem at the request of Rome's first Emperor, Augustus Caesar. The Aeneid gave Rome a legendary history--because Romans loved Homer's story about the fall of Troy, what better way to give Rome gravitas than to say that she was really descended from the magnificent ancient city? Yet Virgil was unhappy with his work. He requested on his deathbed that it be burned--but Augustus disregarded his wish, thus we have the Aeneid today.

Virgil was popular not only for ancient Romans, but also for medieval readers. One scholar, Dante Alighieri, loved the Aeneid so much that he made Virgil his fictional guide in his own classic, The Divine Comedy. Side note: Virgil gets to lead Dante through Hell and Purgatory, but, not having been a Christian himself, he does not get to lead Dante into Heaven. There's a recap of Virgil's great journey from Augustus' court to the gates of Paradise.

I'm Dr. Lindsey Scholl, bringing you the Roman Minute and wishing you Pax Christi.