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Virgil—Publius Vergilius Maro—was born at Andes near Mantua, in the year 70 B.C. His life was uneventful, though he lived in stirring times, and he passed by far the greater part of it in reading his books and writing his poems, undisturbed by the fierce civil strife which continued to rage throughout the Roman Empire, until Octavian, who afterwards became the Emperor Augustus, defeated Antony at the battle of Actium.
Though his father was a man of humble origin, Virgil received an excellent education, first at Cremona and Milan, and afterwards at Rome. He was intimate with all the distinguished men of his time, and a personal friend of the Emperor. After the publication of his second work, the Georgics, he was recognized as being the greatest poet of his age, and the most striking figure in the brilliant circle of literary men, which was centred at the Court.
He died at Brindisi in the spring of 19 B.C. whilst returning from a journey to Greece, leaving his greatest work, the Aeneid, written but unrevised. It was published on the direct orders of Emperor Augustus by his executors, and immediately took its place as the great national Epic of the Roman people.
Virgil seems to have been a man of simple, pure, and loveable character, and the references to him in the works of Horace clearly show the affection with which he was regarded by his friends.
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