Virgil: The Eclogues

(3171 words)
  • Brian Breed (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)

Virgil’s Eclogues are a collection of ten short poems that represent the beginning of the European tradition of pastoral poetry. Pastoral poetry is, first of all, poetry about herdsmen (pastores in Latin), and the Eclogues feature a cast of characters made up largely of herdsmen, along with other occupants of rural Mediterranean landscapes. The work which in English is most commonly known as the Eclogues was called by Virgil Bucolica, “the bucolic poems”. The term “eclogue” derives from the Greek ek-loge, meaning “selection”, and was conceived in antiquity to describe one poem in a collection of poems. The ten poems that …

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Breed, Brian. "The Eclogues". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 June 2006
[, accessed 25 September 2016.]