Maecenas in Roman Biography

Maecenas, me-see'nas, [It. Mecknate, ma-cha-na'tl, orMECENATO; Fr. Mecenk, ma'sjn',] (Caius Cii.nius,) a celebrated patron of literature at Rome, was born probably about 70 li.c. He was descended from an ancient and royal Etruscan family, and belonged to the equestrian order. (Horace, Carm. I. 1-20.) He was the friend of Octavius before his accession as the emperor Augustus. His fidelity and talents having been approved in many important negotiations, Octavius intrusted to him the administration of Rome during his absence in 36 B.C. when he went to war against Sextus Pompeius. After the battle of Actium (31 A.D.) had rendered Octavius master of Rome, he is said to have followed the counsel of Maecenas in founding an empire instead of restoring the republic. Agrippa and Maecenas were the favourites and chief ministers of Augustus for many years. The political career of the latter ended about 16 B.C. Ma=- cenas was versed in Greek and Roman literature, and rendered his name memorable by his liberal patronage of Horace, Virgil, and other poets, who were his intimate friends. His name had become proverbial as a patron of letters as early as the time of Martial. It is said that Virgil's " Georgics" was written at the request of Maecenas. In the councils of state he advocated mild and liberal measures and the free expression of opinions. He wrote several mediocre works, of which only small fragments are extant. Died in 8 B.C. See A. Rivisr*. " Ilisscnationes II. de Majcenate," t64g-e2; Henri Richer. "Vie de MeCenas," 1746; R. Schomberg, "Life of M-eceiias," London, i;ho; C. Capokai.1, "Vila di Mecenate," 1604; 8. Viola, "Storia di C. C. Mecenato," 18:6: Frandsen. "C, cenas," etc, 1S43; MKtiiOMirs, " De C. C. Msecenatis Vita," 1653: Bellman, " MleceiUM Literatorum Patronus," Upsal, 1705; Tacitus, "Annates," books i., iii., vi., and " xiv. ; Dion Cassius, History of Rome."

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