Lives of Illustrious Men

Vita Vergili

1 P. Vergilius Maro Mantuanus parentibus modicis fuit ac praecipue patre, quem quidam opificem figulum, plures Magi cuiusdam viatoris initio mercennarium, mox ob industriam generum tradiderunt, egregieque substantiae 2 silvis coemendis et apibus curandis auxisse reculam. Natus est Cn. Pompeio Magno M. Licinio Crasso primum coss. Iduum Octobrium die in pago qui Andes dicitur et abest a 3 Mantua non procul. Praegnans eo mater somniavit enixam se laureum ramum, quem contactu terrae coaluisse et excrevisse ilico in speciem maturae arboris refertaeque variis pomis et floribus, ac sequenti luce cum marito rus propinquum petens ex itinere devertit atque in subiecta fossa 4 partu levata est. Ferunt infantem ut sit editus neque vagisse et adeo miti vultu fuisse, ut haud dubiam spem 5 prosperioris geniturae iam tum daret. Et accessit aliud praesagium, siquidem virga populea more regionis in puerperiis eodem statim loco depacta ita brevi evaluit tempore, ut multo ante satas populos adaequavisset, quae arbor Vergilii ex eo dicta atque etiam consecrata est summa gravidarum ac fetarum religione suscipientium ibi et solventium vota.

6 Initia aetatis Cremonae egit usque ad virilem togam, quam XV.29 anno natali suo accepit iisdem illis consulibus

  • 29XVII, BP; VII, G.
  • 15Oct. 15, 70 b.c.
  • 16In 55 b.c.


The Life of Virgil

Publius Vergilius Maro, a native of Mantua, had parents of humble origin, especially his father, who according to some was a potter, although the general opinion is that he was at first the hired man of a certain Magus, an attendant on the magistrates, later became his son-in-law because of his diligence, and greatly increased his little property by buying up woodlands and raising bees. He was born in the first consulship of Gnaeus Pompeius the Great and Marcus Licinius Crassus, on the Ides of October,15 in a district called Andes, not far distant from Mantua. While he was in his mother’s womb, she dreamt that she gave birth to a laurel-branch, which on touching the earth took root and grew at once to the size of a full-grown tree, covered with fruits and flowers of various kinds; and on the following day, when she was on the way to a neighbouring part of the country with her husband, she turned aside and gave birth to her child in a ditch beside the road. They say that the infant did not cry at its birth, and had such a gentle expression as even then to give assurance of an unusually happy destiny. There was added another omen; for a poplar branch, which, as was usual in that region on such occasions, was at once planted where the birth occurred, grew so fast in a short time that it equalled in size poplars planted long before. It was called from him “Virgil’s tree” and was besides worshipped with great veneration by pregnant and newly delivered women, who made and paid vows beneath it.

Virgil spent his early life at Cremona until he assumed the gown of manhood, upon his fifteenth birthday, in the consulship16 of the same two men who had been consuls

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.suetonius-lives_illustrious_men_poets_virgil.1914