Vergil (Virgil): You say Virgil, and I say Vergil, but we are both talking about the same premier poet of ancient Rome. Although more people are familiar with his quasi-historical Aeneid, which includes the founding myths of Rome, his Eclogues (Bucolics) and Georgics are just as elegant. None other than Augustus was Vergil's patron, and, when Vergil died with the Aeneid still incomplete, Augustus ordered the work to be preserved, contrary to Vergil's wish that it be burned.

While Cicero's style of declamatory oratory held sway, it was Vergil who provided the model for all written Latin -- and much more -- that followed. Dante chose Vergil as his guide in the Purgatorio and the Inferno. Petrarch, Boccaccio, Chaucer, Keats, Hugo, Arnold and Tennyson copied his style and his material. The Aeneid, and, to a lesser extent, the Eclogues and Georgics are among the most translated works ever written (right up there with the Bible and Das Kapital) but good translations into Italian are scarce -- Italians have mostly read Vergil's works in Latin.

There is very much of Vergil on the Internet, in English as well as in the original Latin. Among the best sources, with many additional links are:

For more links to Vergil and many other Classical Authors:

PS -- His name was Vergilius, so why is it sometimes spelled "Virgil"? It started in his own time as a double pun on his name, perpetrated by his friends (the Romans dearly loved puns and word games, just as Italians do today). A "virgil" was a twig or a magic wand, and Vergil's father, Stimichon, was a Celtic magus (magician) and astrologer. The nickname Vergil could be used for a son (twig) of a magical father (branch) -- especially if the son himself was reputed to have magical powers. The second part of the Virgil pun was trickier: unlike most Roman men of his day, Virgil was not promiscuous. His friends called him "Virgil" because he could (magically!) keep his wand under control. Go to for "Virgil's" magical legends.