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The Virgilian Tradition

The Virgilian Tradition: The First Fifteen Hundred Years

JAN M. ZIOLKOWSKI
MICHAEL C. J. PUTNAM
Copyright Date: 2008
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 1128
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1np8cn
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  • Book Info
    The Virgilian Tradition
    Book Description:

    This indispensable anthology gathers texts and translations that cover major aspects of the Virgilian tradition from the Roman poet's own lifetime to the year 1500. Unprecedented in scope, the book presents a vast compendium of materials that illuminate how poets, teachers, students, and common folk responded to Virgil and his poetry. The volume offers a brief commentary on each text, many of which are translated into English for the first time.The book begins with a chronological survey of Virgil's influence upon writers from Augustan Rome to Renaissance Italy. There follow detailed reviews of biographies of Virgil, of how his writings were received and used, and of how the poet was envisaged and explained through the centuries. The final section focuses on the tradition of legends associated with Virgil.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-14831-2
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-xix)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. xx-xx)
  4. PREFACE
    (pp. xxi-xxvi)
  5. RULES OF THE EDITION
    (pp. xxvii-xxviii)
  6. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xxix-xxxii)
  7. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. xxxiii-xxxvi)

    It would be impossible to document exhaustively Virgil’s extraordinary legacy to Western letters. WhatThe Virgilian Traditionoffers is a series of starting points, or angles of vision, for the study of Rome’s greatest poet and of the heritage he conveyed, from his contemporary world until the fifteenth century of the common era.

    The book is divided into five major segments. The first part, devoted to Virgil the poet, is a chronological survey, necessarily selective, of the way Virgil has appeared to, and has exerted influence upon, writers of the nearly one and a half millennia stretching from Augustan Rome...

  8. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xxxvii-xl)
  9. I VIRGIL THE POET
    (pp. 1-178)

    Evidence for the power exerted by, and the importance of, Virgil’s poetry is available already from his contemporary world and, in the case of theAeneid,even before its publication at his death in 19 B.C.E. From his lifetime on, the impact of Virgil’s influence on writers and thinkers has been immense. What we offer here is a chronological survey of that inheritance, a survey that is of necessity selective on two counts. First, from the hundreds upon hundreds of authors and works on whom Virgil had a profound effect, we have culled about fifty to serve as exemplars for...

  10. II BIOGRAPHY IMAGES OF VIRGIL
    (pp. 179-468)

    As a figure who was elevated even during his lifetime to be the canonical author of Latin literature, Virgil became the focus of much biographical interest. The number of biographical materials produced in late antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the humanistic era is vast, and their interrelationships and evolutions tend to be complex.

    The biographical writings on Virgil often impose upon his life schemes that relate strongly to the tripartite division of his principal works, theEclogues, Georgics,andAeneid.The course of his life was seen to have been threefold, as is evident in the epitaph cited already in...

  11. III VIRGIL’S TEXTS AND THEIR USES
    (pp. 469-622)

    As the products of Rome’s most esteemed poet, Virgil’s works inspired many subsequent creative efforts. One of the most extraordinary responses is the so-called Virgilian cento, a poem stitched together from complete or partial lines or phrases to form a sort of literary patchwork that is at once original and completely borrowed. Our surviving examples, which range widely in subject matter, reach their acme in the fourth century in both secular and Christian literature. The former is represented by Ausonius’s brilliant, obsceneCento nuptialis(Nuptial Cento), the latter by Faltonia Betitia Proba’sCento Vergilianus de laudibus Christi(Virgilian Cento on...

  12. IV COMMENTARY TRADITION
    (pp. 623-824)

    Quintus Caecilius Epirota, a freedman of Cicero’s friend Atticus, is reported by Suetonius to have begun lecturing on Virgil already by about 25 B.C.E. Likewise, Hyginus, a freedman of Augustus, is said to have written criticism of Virgil’s poetry. These two exemplify the intense interest that Romans showed in commenting upon Virgil’s works almost as soon as they became available to a reading public.

    In surviving texts, commentary on Virgil sometimes appears in the midst of notes on various authors and topics. Such is the case with theNoctes Atticae(Attic Nights) of Aulus Gellius (born between 125 and 128...

  13. V VIRGILIAN LEGENDS
    (pp. 825-1024)

    In the first half millennium of the Christian era, Virgil became the cornerstone of the Latin-based educational program that enabled the Roman empire and the Christian Church to function administratively in the West. In a world in whichauctoritas(authority) rested upon the ability to parse and cite the words ofauctores(authors) who were important in the school curriculum, he was preeminent. The triad of theEclogues,theGeorgics,and especially theAeneidwas revered as an encyclopedia of knowledge about the verbal arts and physical sciences, and the first six books of theAeneidin particular were regarded...

  14. List of Contributors
    (pp. 1025-1028)
  15. TEXT CREDITS
    (pp. 1029-1032)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 1033-1082)