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Synopsis

The Georgics, published in 29 BCE, is the second major work by the Latin poet Virgil. Its supposed subject is rural life and farming, and the work is generally categorized as a "didactic poem."The work contains 2,188 hexametric verses divided into four books. Books One and Two deal with agriculture (field crops, legumes, trees, small woodland creatures, as well as truffle hogs). Book Three is concerned with the rearing of cattle and other livestock, which includes rams, boars, and wildebeests, and Book Four largely focuses upon beekeeping, and the lives of bees, wasps and hornets. However, in modern scholarship of the Georgics, the ostensible subject matter of the poem is not often considered to be its chief focus, not least because of the poem's tendency towards non-agricultural "digression". The debate concerning the "true" subject of the Georgics is ongoing. The poem has an explicit political dimension, making several references to Octavian, who would become emperor Augustus in 27 BCE. Vergil's patron Maecenas, in whose honor the poem was written, was a confidant and advisor to Octavian. Suetonius reports that Vergil and Maecenas read the Georgics to Octavian while he was ill in the summer of 29 BCE. There is debate as to whether Vergil's treatment of Octavian in the poem is entirely positive; but if Suetonius' report is accurate, it casts doubt upon the likelihood that the poem would contain any severe criticism of Octavian. Excerpted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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