Date of Submission

Spring 2012

Academic Program

Foreign Languages, Cultures, and Literature; Classical Studies

Project Advisor 1

William Mullen

Abstract/Artist's Statement

The farmer emerges as the focal point around which the poetry and its meaning revolve. The farmer is the hero of the Georgics. The tone rises and falls around his victories and defeats. The identity of the farmer, his way of life and his values, unify and direct the poem; he is the main character in an agricultural narrative. This character is unique, however, in that he typifies an entire group of imagined individuals. He is an ideal model of the Italian farmer, a paradigm of morality and work ethic. The paradigmatic nature of Virgil’s farmer fixes him temporally, and allows him to embody the past, present and future. His world is that of the Golden Age, but also the Iron Age, seamlessly conflated into one characterized by both virtue and productivity. This new age, with the farmer at its center, surfaces in the Georgics as a rural reality and is perpetuated as the future of Rome. The Georgics is decisively defined by the period of tumult in which Virgil composed it. He looks towards the Augustan restoration and offers the farmer as a rustic exemplar for the new age.

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