Saturday, October 15, 2005

Virgil: larger than life

70 BCE Virgil (Publius Vergilius Maro; d. September 21, 19 BCE), Latin poet (Eclogues; The Aeneid) who was a real man who became like a deity. To the medieval mind he was a necromancer rather than a poet.

Many fables were told about this Roman poet whose persona grew to mythological proportions by the time of the Middle Ages.

His birth was announced by an earthquake in Rome, and he grew to be skilled in the magical arts, or so it is said. Virgil made a lamp that lit every street in Rome; he was said to have founded the city of Naples upon eggs, as a magical charm for protection. On one of Naples's gateways he erected two statues: one had a happy face, the other a deformed and miserable one. If one was to enter the town near the happy statue, that person would prosper; if near the sad statue, the person would have a contrary fate. On another gate he erected a statue of a fly, the presence of which kept out flies from Naples for eight years ...

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