Culture and Recreation


Is Virgil’s Aeneid an unfinished work?

Yes, the Aeneid was technically unfinished by its author, Virgil (70–19 B.C.), who is considered the greatest Roman poet. Virgil spent the last ten years of his life working on the Aeneid, and he planned to devote three more years making revisions to this epic when, during his travels to gather new material for the poem, he became ill with fever and died. On his deathbed, Virgil requested that his companions burn the Aeneid. However, Augustus (63 B.C.–A.D. 14), the emperor of Rome, countermanded the request, asking Virgil’s friends to edit the manuscript. Augustus did specify that the writers not add, delete, or alter the text significantly. The Aeneid, Virgil’s great epic about the role of Rome in world history, was first published in 17 B.C. The work consists of 12 books, each between 700 and 1,000 lines long.


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