Roman Virgil, thou that singest
                             Ilion's lofty temples robed in fire,
                         Ilion falling, Rome arising,
                             wars, and filial faith, and Dido's pyre. there's more...



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Clitumnus. The source of the River Clitumnus in Umbria, shaded by trees, was renowned for its crystal-clear waters. Virgil celebrates it for the famous white oxen bred in the vicinity.

hinc albi, Clitumne, greges et maxima taurus
victima, saepe tuo perfusus flumine sacro,
Romanos ad templa deorum duxere triumphos. - Geor. 2.146-48
Clitumnus
Clitumnus and swan

Cumae. The Greek colony of Cumae was where Aeneas visited the Temple of Apollo and the Cave of the Sibyl.
Cumae & Lake Fusaro from Monte di Procida
Cumae. Temple of Cybele from Temple of Apollo
Cumae. Cave of Sibyl. Entrance
Cumae. Cave of Sibyl. Innermost chamber
Cumae. Inside Cave of Sibyl, towards entrance
Cumae. Area between acropolis, Roman Crypt, and cave.
Cumae. Acropolis and cave
Cumae. Acropolis and cave. Wide-angle view
Cumae. From acropolis towards Baiae

Gaeta. Virgil identifies the promontory of Gaeta with the burial mound of Aeneas' nurse Caieta, who dies after he leaves Cumae (Aen. 6.900 and 7.1-4). It is about 60 mi. North of Cumae. Gaeta (like Caieta) is pronounced with three syllables.
Gaeta
Gaeta region: from Gaeta towards Formiae
Gaeta region: Torre Viola

Lake Avernus. About 1 mi. from Cumae, Lake Avernus is the entrance to the underworld. For Misenum, see below.
Lake Avernus and Misenum 1
Lake Avernus and Misenum 2
Lake Avernus

Mantua. Virgil was born in Andes, a village in the territory of Mantua. The Virgil Monument in Mantua was built in 1927 during Fascism under Mussolini, whose policies may be reflected in the choice of inscriptions. The statue in the background of the first two slides is, of course, of Virgil himself.

The inscription on the left side:

tu regere imperio populos, Romane, memento
(hae tibi erunt artes), pacique imponere morem,
parcere subiectis et debellare superbos. - Aen. 6.851-53

The inscriptions on the right side:

tale tuum carmen nobis, divina poeta,
quale sopor fessis in gramine, quale per aestum
dulcis aquae saliente sitim restinguere rivo. - Ec. 5.45-47

salve, magna parens frugum, Saturnia tellus,
magna virum... - Geor. 2.173-74
Mantua. Virgil Monument. L. side
Mantua. Virgil Monument. R. side
Mantua. Andes. Bar Virgilio

Mincius. The River Mincius in Virgil's home territory of Mantua surrounds the city on three sides.

hic viridis tenera praetexit harundine ripas
Mincius, eque sacra resonant examina quercu. - Ec. 7.12-13. Cf. also Geor. 3.15 and Aen. 10.206.
Mincius River, 26 km S of Lago di Garda 1
Mincius River, 26 km S of Lago di Garda 2
Mincius River, from Peschiera

Misenum. Virgil identifies the promontory of Misenum (ca. 5 mi. south of Cumae) with the burial mound of his trumpeter Misenus. With its flat top the 548-foot mountain does resemble a tumulus.

at pius Aeneas ingenti mole sepulcrum
imponit suaque arma viro remumque tubamque
monte sub aërio, qui nunc Misenus ab illo
dicitur aeternumque tenet per saecula nomen. - Aen. 6.232-35
Misenum. From Porto Miseno
Misenum. From W. of Bacoli
Misenum. From Monte Procida
Misenum. From Solfatara

Monte Circeo. After leaving Gaeta, Aeneas passes by the island of Circe (Aen. 7.10ff.), halfway between Cumae and the mouth of the Tiber. The promonory of Monte Circeo was in fact once an island.
Monte Circeo. From Lake Sabaudia
Monte Circeo. From NW

Naples. "Tomb of Virgil". This is not any individual person's tomb but a columbarium, i.e., a vault with niches for the ashes of many of the dead.
Naples. "Tomb of Virgil"

The Solfatara of Pozzuoli. The Phlegraean Fields was the name the ancients gave to the volcanic area between Cumae and Naples. It included the Sibyl's cave, Lake Avernus, Misenum, the Solfatara, and the town of Pozzuoli . The Solfatara is a large crater marked by numerous fumaroles or holes through which hot smoke and gasses emerge from underground; the ground has a hollow sound when you stamp on it. It is an appropriately eerie place.
Solfatara 1
Solfatara 2
Solfatara 3
Solfatara 4
Solfatara 5
Solfatara 6


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The quotation at the top of this page is the first stanza of Alfred Lord Tennyson's "To Virgil," first published in 1882. The full text is printed below. Nowadays the poem is perhaps best appreciated by reciting it loudly at a march tempo. Memorize it, or at least the first and last stanzas, and march along chanting it with a strong emphasis on the metrical beat. A drum accompaniment would be a nice touch.

The meter is simple. In each stanza, the first and third lines consist of 4 trochees each. The second and fourth lines consist of 4 trochees plus an additional syllable each. A few 3-syllable words have to be pronounced as 2 syllables, i.e., as trochees.

"Mantovano" in the last stanza alludes to Virgil's Mantuan origins.

                                            To Virgil

Written At The Request Of The Mantuans For The Nineteenth Centenary Of Virgil's Death

Roman Virgil, thou that singest
Ilion's lofty temples robed in fire,
Ilion falling, Rome arising,
wars, and filial faith, and Dido's pyre;

Landscape-lover, lord of language
more than he that sang the "Works and Days,"
All the chosen coin of fancy
flashing out from many a golden phrase;

Thou that singest wheat and woodland,
tilth and vineyard, hive and horse and herd;
All the charm of all the Muses
often flowering in a lonely word;

Poet of the happy Tityrus
piping underneath his beechen bowers;
Poet of the poet-satyr
whom the laughing shepherd bound with flowers;

Chanter of the Pollio, glorying
in the blissful years again to be,
Summers of the snakeless meadow,
unlaborious earth and oarless sea;

Thou that see'st Universal
Nature moved by Universal Mind;
Thou majestic in thy sadness
at the doubtful doom of human kind;

Light among the vanish'd ages;
star that gildest yet this phantom shore;
Golden branch amid the shadows,
kings and realms that pass to rise no more;

Now thy Forum roars no longer,
fallen every purple Caesar's dome--
Tho' thine ocean-roll of rhythm
sound forever of Imperial Rome--

Now the Rome of slaves hath perish'd,
and the Rome of freemen holds her place,
I, from out the Northern Island
sunder'd once from all the human race,

I salute thee, Mantovano,
I that loved thee since my day began,
Wielder of the stateliest measure
ever moulded by the lips of man.


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