He is born in the Andes, close to Mantoue, as a Gaulle Cisalpine, under the consulate of Crassus and of Pumped, in a family of lower middle class. Crassus and Pompée was again consuls when, sixteen years later, in -54, the very same day, one says, where Lucrèce disappeared, the young man covered the Toga virilis. A whole symbol, undoubtedly, although the print of the author of the De Natura Rerum on the work of Virgile is probably less strong than that of Catulle, its neighbor of Vérone, whose it is necessary any to suppose that it knew it personally, as well as other poets in sight, that he greets in the Bucoliques , such as Aemilius Macer (is Mélibée of the Bucoliques ?), C. Helvius Cinna, of the circle of Catulle, L. Varius Rufus, future editor of the Enéide , and of course Q. Horatius Flaccus (Lycidas in the Buc. 9?), this Horace which will become its close friend at the point to entitle it animae dimidium meae , “half of my heart”. In the same way it very early bound friendship with Quintilius Varus, the critical large future (see Hor. Odes , I, 24), and Cornelius Gallus, which was going to found Roman elegiac poetry. It made in-depth studies in the most various fields, letters, philosophy, right, medicine, mathematics in particular, initially in Crémone, then in Milan, then in Rome, and finally in Naples, near prestigious Masters like Siron and Philodème, one and the other of sensitivity épicurienne.
It is undoubtedly during the civil war (it burst when it was twenty years old) which it entered in relation to Asinius Pollion, man of letters which belonged to the circle of Catulle and the “poets neoteric”, but also important political figure and military chief who had taken party for Marc Antoine in the competition which opposed this one to Octave, great nephew and heir to Jules César, after Ides of march. Pollion ordered several legions in Cisalpine when Octave, the shortly after the victory of Philips (- 42), undertook to dispossess in mass the Italian peasants in order to reward the legionaries césariens. The war made rage again, but the party of the despoilers had the top, and Pollion, in inferiority, had to be folded up. It seems that the paternal field of Virgile was confiscated, and its legitimate owners failed to leave the life ( Buc even there. IX). However interpretations of the Bucoliques vary.
Virgile died into -19 in Brindes. It is said that he had wanted that one burned his Enéide after his death.
The reader of the biographies of Virgile should never lose sight of the fact that the emperor had the upper hand on the publication and the diffusion of the writings, and that no one thus was better placed only him to rewrite the history with its taste.
The collection published in -37 was composed of the first nine bucoliques harmoniously had in two groups of four around the fifth part like as much planets revolving around a star. This star, it is Daphnis, often compared to Jules César coldly assassinated, which is to underestimate subtlety virgilienne seriously. In fact, the fifth bucolique one could present two well to us “Daphnis”, one dark, that of Mopse (mask of Octavien), and which indeed appears the fire dictator, the other luminous one, that of Ménalque (mask of Virgile), which represents Catulle, secretly eliminated by the first.
One can only admire the impeccable proportions of this small “temple pythagorician”, to take again the metaphor of P. Maury which was the first to highlight them in 1944. The most visible architecture, which thus balance the first four parts (83, 73,111 and 63 worms = 330) by the four last (86, 70,110,67 worms = 333) around the central pivot (90 worms), is redoubled of another, the more secret, which couples them by concentric circles (I + IX; II + VIII; III + VII; IV + VI), which correspond to topics (misfortunes of the expropriés peasants; torments of the love; poetic tournaments; rise at the universal and cosmic level) as much as with forms (alternation of dialogs and songs continuous), and obey the same numerical proportions that in the first architecture, that is to say: I + IX + II + IV (333 worms), vis-a-vis III + VII + IV + VI (330 worms).
This poem (- 28 av. J-C) didactic is divided into four books (514, 542,566,566 worms), successively approaching the culture of the fields, arboriculture (especially the vine), the breeding and the bee-keeping.
Book I - corn and season of the plowman
- Book II - vine and olive-tree
- Book III - breeding the cattle
- Book IV - the apiary
Being inspired especially by Hésiode, Lucrèce and Aratos, but also by Théophraste, Varron, Caton the Old one, even by Aristote, Virgile traces its own way while infusing inside the properly didactic matter, often arid and ungrateful in oneself, which one could call “the heart virgilienne”, made of an extraordinary empathy with regard to all the beings, which animates the inanimate one, includes/understands interior plants and animals, takes an active part in at the same time arduous and exciting work of the peasant. The Géorgiques are much less one treaty of agriculture (as they do not aim to exhaustiveness) as a poem on agriculture; they address at least as much to the man cities that with the man of the fields. They offer to the amateur poetry an unceasingly renewed pleasure, as much by their subject even which resource Muses in the freshness and the authenticity of the nature, which by the breath which raises them from beginning to end, and by the extraordinary variety of their style. Virgile can decorate its subject of varied episodes and true purple passages which are as much of “breathings” in the poem. One can quote the Forecasts of the civil war, the Anthem in Spring, the Praise of Italy, the Praise of the pastoral life, the Epizooty of Norique, the Old man of Tarente, Aristée and his bees, Orphée and Eurydice.
To offer to Rome a national epopee able to compete in prestige with the Iliade and the Odyssée , such is the first challenge that Virgile had to raise by undertaking the Enéide during the 11 last years of its life. Successful mission, since, work hardly published, its author was commonly greeted like a alter Homerus , the only able one to dispute with Homère its preeminence in the Parnassus.
Besides Virgile hides by no means its ambition. At the architectural level most visible (because the Enéide makes play several “geometries simultaneously”), the poem is composed of a Odyssée (songs I to VI: wanderings of Enée, survivor of Troy, to reach Latium) followed by a Iliade (songs VII to XII: the war carried out by Enée to be established in Latium).
But the emulation with Homère especially appears by the considerable number of the textual imitations, whose criticisms got busy very early to draw up the list, that sometimes in a malignant intention, and to show Virgile of plagiarism. With what this one retorted that it was easier to conceal its Hercules bludgeon than to borrow worms from Homère. And in fact, far it is servile or arbitrary, the imitation virgilienne always obeys with an intention specifies and continues a project that it is up to the reader to discover through the variation, sometimes tiny, which separates it from its model, Homère or one of many the other writers, as well Greek as Latin, to which Virgile measures all in their paying homage. This almost unlimited play intertextuel is not the least source of fascination than always exerted the Enéide on the well-read men.
The second challenge consisted in filtering the topicality of Rome through the prism of the legend. Two wire are interlaced constantly to form the screen of the Enéide , that of the Trojan origins of Rome and that of Rome augustéenne. More than one millenium separates these two wire. To cross such a temporal abyss, and to cancel to some extent time, the poet, in addition to the systematic use that it makes of the allegory, does not avoid possibly resorting to prophecy, and even can, in the beautiful center of work, going down until the hells in order to bring back of it a panoramic vision, sub specie aeternitatis, Roman size seen like front still occurring.
It had to be shown how, from almost nothing, Rome had risen until the empire of the world; it was necessary to emphasize the providential intention which had governed this irresistible rise; especially, it had to be shown how, through the crowned person of Auguste, the History came to find its completion and its crowning in a universal peace and a happiness. It is at least until Auguste waited, or rather what it required of him.
Jacques Perret, in his foreword of Enéide, writes “the poem (…) was to say that precisely: birth of peace, (…) after horrible wars (…) This result would be the work of a wise, pious man (…) But (…) a decisive substitution had intervened. The protagonist of the poem would not be Octave Auguste but Enée. ” The character of Enée thus dissimulates a second identity, that of the Princeps one. Consequently, all descriptions of the Venus son were supposed being of the odes with Auguste. But to safeguard its freedom of expression, Virgile had recourse to a system of double writing, cacozelia latens, of which, according to Mr. Vipsanius Agrippa (Suét. - Gift. Life from Virgile , 185-188), he was the inventor.
The glory of Virgile rests firmly on these three pillars which are the Bucoliques , the Géorgiques and the Enéide . In Antiquity, one also allotted a certain number of other poems to him, that Scaliger, in its edition of 1573, joins together under the title of Appendix Vergiliana .
This collection includes/understands:
- the Culex (" Moucheron" , " Moustique") : this " Moucheron" or " Moustique" alarm a shepherd by pricking it, saves the life to him; the dead insect sees itself honoured with a tomb by the shepherd;
- the Dirae : these " Malédictions" are pronounced by a lover against the ground which it had to give up (driven out by veterans of the Roman army), by giving up its beloved; this one, Lydia , is honoured by a poem with love bearing its name (in appendix with the Dirae ), with a praise of the countryside where she saw;
- lAetna , devoted to the Etna volcano;
- the Ciris : evocation of the metamorphosis in bird (Ciris) of Scylla, girl of king de Mégare;
- the Catalepton : collection of short poems, of which some seem to be authentic early works of Virgile.
In a posterior phase, one still added to the collection:
- the Copa : poem bearing the name of a Syrian cabaretière who invites a traveller with the pleasure while dancing in front of her establishment;
- the Elegiae in Maecentatem : part obituary bringing back the last words of Patron, benefactor of Virgile, with the emperor Auguste;
- the Moretum : gastronomical poem describing in detail the preparation of a local dish of Cisalpine.
" The chance smiles to the audacieux." , Virgile
" Felix which potuit rerum cognoscere caused Atque metus omnes and inexorabile destiny Subjecit pedibus, strepitumque Acherontis avari! " “Happy that which could penetrate the secret causes of the things, and which, pressing with the feet very feared, mistakes the inexorable destiny and the threats of covetous Achéron!” Virgile
- Dante In the hell and the Purgatory, Virgile guides Dante, and explains the mysteries of these places to him. - The Divine comedy, Dante-
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