All Roads Lead To Rome, And Rome To Virgil And Ovid: A Comparative Essay Of Two Great Roman Poets.

2618 words - 10 pages

Love and loss, duty and romance, the foundation of a country and the myths that changed it, there are two great poets that come to mind when one thinks of Rome, each as similar as they were different: Virgil and Ovid. Virgil was more serious in his works and creator of Rome's epic. Ovid seemed more joking in his words, and was much a comic as a romantic. The two were different, yet found inspiration in the myths that clouded Rome's culture and in the Greeks that came before them. Their most important commonality, however, lies not in their personalities and inspirations but rather in the fact that they most often considered the greatest poets of Rome. How they came to this treasured title may lie in their histories, their styles, even their most famous works, or perhaps a conglomeration of the three.On the fifteenth of October, 70BC, a boy was born in the Andes district, near Mantua, Italy. His name was Publius Vergilius Maro. Later on in life, he would become known as Virgil. At the time, though, he was just the son of a humble middle class family, fathered by a man whose occupation itself isn't even well known, although some believe he was a potter, or perhaps an assistant to someone by the name of Magus (Rolfe). Of course, in the words of Suetonius Tranquillus, a Roman biographer, "by their industry acquired some territorial possessions, which descended to their son." In other words, it didn't matter what the family did for a living, because in the end they acquired both land and status, possibly from the Magus mentioned above (Rolfe).Virgil's early years are not well researched and little solid information is known about them, except that with their new possessions his family could afford to give him an education usually reserved for people born into a much higher class. This education began with his studies in ancient Milan. From there Virgil moved on to Naples, where he researched Greek and Roman writing and poetry in depth, and found himself enamored with physical and mathematical sciences as well (Tranquillus).Over the course of his education, Virgil's family lands were seized as new territory after a civil war. This most probably seems like a stroke of ill fortune, but it was rather a "blessing in disguise" as it introduced Virgil to a few powerful friends, including two of his future patrons: Maecenas and Asinius Pollio (Virgil or; Virgil). With the help of these influential benefactors, especially that of Pollio, Caesar's deputy in the area, Virgil's rightful land was later returned to him (Tranquillus).It was after this event that Virgil wrote his first major works, the Bucolics. They are believed to have been written at age 29 and taken three years of his life. After the Bucolics came the Georgics, then the work that Virgil was most famous for, the great epic he died while editing: The Aeneid. Upon finishing Rome's epic, Virgil was intent upon retiring the Greece for three years to edit and finalize the vast poem for publication....

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