This volume, the second of two companion volumes which provide a detailed commentary, with text, on the whole of Virgil's Georgics, is devoted to Books III and IV of the poem. Professor Thomas describes the Georgics as 'perhaps the most difficult, certainly the most controversial, poem in Roman literature'. He presents the Georgics as the finished poem of Virgil's mature years, approaching it not merely as a part of the tradition of didactic poetry, but rather as a work which confronts, behind its generic appearance, issues not essentially different from those which inform the Eclogues and Aeneid. His introduction (in Volume 1 only) and Commentary argue that Virgil's agricultural world, with its successes, failures and ultimate limitations, represents the arena for man's struggle with the realities of existence. Professor Thomas pays particular attention to Virgil's allusion to and reshaping of prior Greek and Latin poetry. The Introduction also covers stylistic, metrical and structural questions. A subject index and indexes of important Greek and Latin words conclude each volume, the indexes in this volume covering the whole work. This edition is aimed primarily at students at university and in the upper forms of schools, but the range of its scholarship means that it will be valuable to all classical scholars. The Introduction contains material for non-classicists interested in Latin literature.
Virgil, born in 70 B.C., is best remembered for his masterpiece, The Aeneid. He earned great favor by portraying Augustus as a descendant of the half-god, half-man Aeneas. Although Virgil swore on his deathbed that The Aeneid was incomplete and unworthy, it has been considered one of the greatest works of Western literature for more than two thousand years.