Sunday, October 19, 2014

Bradley J. Birzer: "Virgil: Forgotten American Founder"

Check it out here. A taste:
The American Founders ... were as much in line with Cicero, for example, as they were of John Locke or Baron Montesquieu. Sadly, though, while historians and scholars have readily found innumerable (or sort of) references to the thinkers living rather near (relatively speaking) to the founders, they have forgotten those who seem more at a distance. It is comparatively easy to show paraphrases from Locke. It is far more difficult to determine exactly where Horsa fits into it all.


John Adams once wrote that the “Aeneid is like a well-ordered Garden, where it is impossible to find any Part unadorned or to cast our Eyes upon a single Spot that does not produce some beautiful Plant or Flower” [Source: Meyer Reinhold, Classica Americana: The Greek and Roman Heritage in the United States (1984), 232].

Virgil’s influence went well beyond his story, The Aeneid. His Georgics as well as his Eclogues influenced the founders as well.


One direct and obvious example of Virgil’s influence can be found on the 1782 Seal of the United States,...

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