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Gaius Maecenas

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Villa of Maecenas in Tivoli, Italy, Jacob Philipp Hackert, 1783.

Gaius or Cilnius Maecenas (70 - 8 BC) was a confidant and political advisor to Augustus Caesar, as well as an important sponsor of young poets. His name became a byword for a well-connected and wealthy patron.

Tacitus (Ann. 6. 11) refers to him as "Cilnius Maecenas"; it is possible that "Cilnius" was his mother's nomen.

As a close friend and advisor he acted even as deputy for Augustus when he was abroad. In later years their relationship grew colder, probably in part because Augustus had an affair with his wife Terentia. When he died, he appointed Augustus as his sole heir.

Maecenas is probably most famous for his support of young poets, hence his name has become a synonym to "patron of arts" in many languages. He is reputed to have discovered Horace and he supported Virgil as well, who wrote the Georgics in his honor. Horace was given an estate in the Sabine mountains by Maecenas. Propertius and the minor poets Varius Rufus, Plotius Tucca, Valgius Rufus and Domitius Marsus also were his protégés.

Maecenas also wrote literature himself. Of his work some twenty fragments survive. His works are said to have included dialogs like Symposium and a poem In Octaviam ("Against Octavia") of which the content is unclear.de:Maecenas fr:Mécène it:Gaio Cilnio Mecenate nl:Gaius Cilnius Maecenas nn:Mæsenas

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