“Virgile,” Sainte-Beuve wrote between fifty and sixty years ago in words which have become classical, “depuis l'heure où il parut a été le poète de la Latinité toute entière.” The saying has long been noted as marking what may be called the reinstatement of Virgil as a poet, after a period in which he had suffered some partial eclipse under the ignorant and impatient attacks of the romantic school. But to us now it may bear a further and a larger significance. The position of Virgil as a poet stands at the present day in need of no defence, but it is only during the last generation that his importance has come to be realised as an interpreter and recorder of Roman history and of the Latin civilisation. Classical study has during that generation been revolutionised. Our knowledge and understanding of the ancient world have become not only immensely greater in amount, but different in kind; year by year, almost day by day, we are getting more into touch with that world as something alive and solid. The studies of this Society, defined by us as those dealing with the history, art, and archaeology of Rome, Italy, and the Roman Empire, bear directly on our appreciation of the most learned and most comprehensive of Roman or Italian poets; and conversely Virgil's poetry yields up to the new methods and new enthusiasm of historians, artists, and archaeologists material which is so far from being exhausted that we seem still only beginning to sort it out, co-ordinate it, and use it.