Marcus Vinicius (1)

One of a new class of imperial favorites who owed their political careers to the new emperor, Marcus Vinicius repaid the faith placed in him with loyalty and competence. In 25 B.C.E. he was sent to the Alps to help quell the local tribes. Over the next few years he campaigned in Pannonia, serving with Marcus Agrippa in 13 B.C.E. and later with Tiberius.

He may also have been the legate of Illyricum mentioned in inscriptions as the conductor of operations over the Danube, sometime between 6 B.C.E. and 4 C.E. His actions hemmed in the chieftain Maroboduus and extended Roman influence north of the Danubian frontier. Vinicius then replaced Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus (c. 1 C.E.) as legate in Germany.

Marcus Vinicius (2)

A successful Equestrian (Equites) and Consul in 30 C.E., Velleius Paterculus dedicated his history to him during his consulship and, in 33, Emperor Tiberius chose him to marry Julia (6), daughter of Germanicus. Their marriage was not a happy one; she was banished by Gaius Caligula in 39 but recalled by Claudius in 41, only to be put to death at the instigation of Empress Messallina.

Consul for a second time, in 45, Vinicius was an object of lust to Messallina. He was executed because he refused to have an affair with the empress. He was described as gentle, a graceful speaker, and one who minded his own business in the hope of staying alive.

Titus Vinius

Political ally of Emperor Otho. A former officer of the Spanish provincial government and a greedy fortune hunter who journeyed to Rome in 68–69 C.E. with Emperor Galba, becoming one of his leading advisers, along with Cornelius Laco and the freedman Icelus. Described by the historian Tacitus as the vilest of men, he became a stubborn supporter of Otho for the position of Galba’ s heir and sought to wed his daughter to Otho, who was unmarried.

He lost to Laco, who wanted Piso Licinianus. His backing of Otho was not enough to prevent his own murder in the assassination plot of Otho against Galba on January 15, 69. Vinius was cut down by the Praetorian Guards outside of the Temple of Divus Julius.

Virgil (Publius Vergilius Maro) - greatest of all Roman poets

Virgil was a master of the finest Roman poetical forms, including the pastoral, didactic, and epic. He was born in Andes, a small town near Mantua, on October 15, 70 B.C.E. to a family of moderate means that nevertheless provided him with the finest possible education, in Cremona (58), in Milan (55) and then in Rome (after 53).

At first he probably studied oratory but moved on to philosophy, learning from the noted Epicurean Siro; also in his field of scholarship were mathematics and medicine. When he returned home is unclear, but in the years 41–40, he was included in the confiscations of land in Italy, begun at that time by the government.

Virgil’s family estate was seized, but, because of friends such as Asinius Pollio and Cornelius Gallus, Octavian (Augustus) was apparently convinced to intercede on his behalf. At the end of the Perusi War, however, Virgil was nearly killed when his home was again taken. With his father, he took up residence in an old house belonging to Siro.

His friends recommended that he go to Rome, where, through the popularity of his Bucolics, he came under the patronage of the powerful Maecenas. Not only were his possessions eventually returned, but he was also admitted to the literary circle of Maecenas (along with Horace) .

Temple of Virilis

A shrine dedicated to the goddess Fortuna but used only by men.