Virgil (70-19 B.C.)Virgil (70-19 B.C.) - Roman poet (real name Publius Vergilius Maro) who wrote The Aeneid, which came to be considered Rome's national poem. It was born out of a desire by Romans to create an epic history of their origin on the level of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. The Romans admired Greek culture and felt somewhat inferior by comparison. The Aeneid raised the stature of Roman culture and gave it the legitimacy of a great and ancient society Romans sought. It tells the story of Aeneas, a prince of Troy who survived the Trojan War and wandered about the Mediterranean for seven years (much as Odysseus did for ten), until he settled in Central Italy and was an ancestor of Romulus and Remus, the traditional founders of Rome. The poem was unfinished when Virgil died in 19 B.C., after eleven years of writing. It was his intention to have the work destroyed since it was unfinished, but Emperor Augustus forbade this wish (lucky for everyone). He appointed two of Virgil's friends, Lucius Varius Rufus and Plotius Tucca (poets themselves) to complete the poem on his behalf. Their orders were to remove any superfluous parts, but under no circumstances, add to it. In addition to The Aeneid, Virgil wrote the Eclogues or Bucolics (Pastoral Poems) and Georgics (On Agriculture).