Publius Vergilius Maro (October 70 BC – September 19 BC)


Bust of Vergil, the Latin Poet

Lesson Series

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1. The Eclogues

2. The Georgics

3. The Aeneid

The Eclogues 

Vergil’s Eclogues are 10 poems, very short in length, of pastoral interest. Based on the Sicilian Greek poet Theocritus, these tell of the songs and loves of rustic shepherds, but occasionally interweave important historical, philosophical, and possibly theological themes (especially Eclogue 4).

Leomudde / CC BY-SA (
Page Vergil’s Eclogues in the 5th-century Vergilius Romanus

The Georgics

Vergil’s Georgics are four poems of agricultural description. The poet began composing these around 38 BC and released at the collection in 29. Each poem, written in the dactylic hexameter (like all of Vergil’s surviving works) describes a different aspect of country life. 

Book 1 is the care of the fields; Book 2, of animals; Book 3, of orchards; Book 4 deals with apiary, as well as famously concluding the myth of Orpheus.


Leomudde / CC BY-SA (
Late 17th-century illustration of a passage from the Georgics by Jerzy Siemiginowski-Eleuter

The Aeneid

Vergil’s Aeneid has been called “the best poem by the best poet”. The 12 books of epic heroism were written, we are told, to rival Homer and praise Augustus all the way back to his ancestors. 

Along the way Vergil dazzles us with his mythological learning, depth of feeling and emotion, and rhetorical fireworks. It is a profound work of unmeasured influence.

Leomudde / CC BY-SA (
A 1st-century terracotta expressing the pietas of Aeneas,

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