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Synopsis

Born in 70 BC, in a small village near Mantua, Publius Vergilius Maro - Virgil - grew up to be hailed as the greatest Roman poet. And although his work has influenced Western literature for two millennia, little is known about the man himself. Who was the man who created the Aeneid - one of the most important poems in Western literature - and such universal phrases as ‘love conquers all’ and ‘fortune favours the bold’? Peter Levi here reconstructs the poet’s life, from a childhood largely shrouded in mystery to great literary genius and revolutionary poet, by examining archaeological and historical evidence from Augustan Rome, as well as through close readings of the poet’s own work. ‘Virgil is an intensely personal poet, yet he is anonymous.... My aim is not so ambitious as to try and restore his prestige single-handed. It has simply been to try to understand him in his original context.’ In this highly acclaimed, now classic biography Peter Levi discards the myths and brilliantly reveals the life of Virgil and the extraordinary times during which he lived.

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