Published online by Cambridge University Press: 24 September 2020
Virgil’s fourth Eclogue was written in or around 40 BC. It honors the birth of a miraculous child and prophesies the salvation of Rome in his lifetime. In the fall of that year Rome was celebrating concordia between the triumvirs Octavian and Mark Antony, a hopeful moment in the midst of the larger civil crisis that would eventually see Octavian victorious over Antony and able to consolidate power in himself as Augustus, the first Roman emperor. Such was Rome’s future. Before there was an Augustus, before what Augustus would represent for Rome could be appreciated, Eclogue 4 is nevertheless a key Augustan text, important for the development of Augustan ideology. That is to say, Eclogue 4 influenced how people might think about who Augustus was and how they could interpret messages the princeps broadcast about himself.