September 21 marks the anniversary of the death of Virgil, the great Roman poet. In 19 BC, in fact, Virgil had traveled to Greece in order to further research and edit the Aeneid, his masterpiece, just before its publication: on his way back, however, it is said that the poet suffered from a sudden illness near the town of Brundisium (modern Brindisi, in Apulia). On his deathbed, Virgil asked his companions Varius Rufus and Plotius Tucca to burn the manuscript of the Aeneid, for he still had not had the time to revise it. Emperor Augustus, however, decided to ignore Virgil's last wish and ordered for the epic poem to be released - as soon as possible and with no revision whatsoever -, thus leading to its great influence on the history of literature and art.
"Virgil writing on a pasture", illumination from Virgil's “Georgics” illustrated by the Master of Robert Gaguin, ms. 0493, f. 037v, fine del XV secolo, Bibliothèque municipale, Dijon.