Andrew Wallace

in Virgil's Schoolboys

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199591244
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595561 | DOI:

Series: Classical Presences


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The conclusion emphasizes that in the schools Virgil's poems were celebrated not just as objects to be imitated, but as spectacular images of mastery in subservience to mastery (chiefly, subservience to the example of Homer). The conclusion emphasizes once again how fully the poet had become a creature of the schoolroom during the centuries since Quintus Caecilius Epirota introduced his works to the pedagogical scene at Rome. As grammarians and schoolmasters from ancient Rome to Renaissance England wrapped their lessons around Virgil's hexameters, and as English schoolboys struggled with the octavo Virgils they held in their hands, they were studying poems that were already studying the schoolmaster's ambitions. In grammar schools all across Renaissance England ‘the book of Maro’ was a gateway to upper-form studies of the auctores. Even more significantly, it was a gateway to some of humanist pedagogy's most self-conscious meditations on the promise and fragility of the educational project.

Keywords: Anchises; Ascanius; Creusa; fidelity; grammar school; Homer; imitation; Kempe; Lisle; Spenser; translation; Vergil

Chapter.  1802 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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