- See also Wikipedia's article about "Virgil".
Publius Vergelius Maro, commonly known as Virgil (spelled Vergil by some asinine Latin purists) was a Roman poet. Essentially a whore for money and power, his extensive epic poem, the Aeneid, is essentially a long paean to Octavian, later Augustus, the first emperor of Rome. For this feat of spectacular ass-kissing, Virgil's name now spangles the front of Butler Library.
Nevertheless, Virgil was actually considered a luminary long before Columbia carved his name into its walls. Dante made him one of the principal narrators of his Inferno, guiding the reader through the depths of hell. Despite these grim surrounds, Dante was kind enough to put godless Virgil's permanent residence in a purgatory reserved for all classical heathens, including Plato. It should be noted that Dante does pay some legitimate homage to Virgil - while the latter popularized Latin over Greek as a literary language, the former vindicated vulgate Italian in the same way.