Publius Vergilius Maro (born 70 BC) died on September 21st , 19 BC (Before Christ)
This Latin poet is the author of the Aeneid, the national epic of ancient Rome, modelled after Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey
The Aeneid is widely considered Virgil’s finest work and one of the most important poems in the history of western literature. His influence is seen in Dante’s Divine Comedy, where Virgil appears as Dante’s guide through Hell and Purgatory.
Virgil worked on the Aeneid during the last eleven years of his life (29–19 BC). The epic poem, commissioned by Augustus, consists of 12 books in verse which describe the journey of Aeneas from the sack of Troy to Rome, and his great efforts to fulfill his destiny.
According to the tradition, Virgil travelled to Greece to revise the poem. After meeting Augustus in Athens and deciding to return home, Virgil caught a fever . After crossing to Italy by ship, weakened with disease, Virgil died in Brundisium harbor on September 21, 19 BC. Augustus ordered Virgil’s literary executors, to disregard Virgil’s own wish that the poem be burned.
In the Late Empire and Middle Ages Vergilius was spelled Virgilius, in association either with the Latin word virgo (“maiden”) due to Virgil’s excessive, maiden-like modesty, or with the Latin virga (“wand”) due to the magical or prophetic powers attributed to Virgil in the Middle Ages . However, the latter explanation is found in only few manuscripts, and was probably not widespread