Maecenas

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Maecenas

(Caius Maecenas) (mĭsē`nəs, mē–), d. 8 B.C., Roman statesman and patron of letters. He was born (between 74 B.C. and 64 B.C.) into a wealthy family and was a trusted adviser of Octavian (AugustusAugustus
, 63 B.C.–A.D. 14, first Roman emperor, a grandson of the sister of Julius Caesar. Named at first Caius Octavius, he became on adoption by the Julian gens (44 B.C.) Caius Julius Caesar Octavianus (Octavian); Augustus was a title of honor granted (27 B.C.
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), who employed Maecenas as his personal representative for various political missions. Later he retired and devoted all his time to his famous literary circle, which included Horace, Vergil, and Propertius. Although his friendship with Octavian became strained in later years, he bequeathed all his property to the emperor. To the great poets of his day he proved a friend and a munificent patron. His name is the symbol of the wealthy, generous patron of the arts.
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Maecenas

to poets, esp. Virgil, as a patron. [Rom. Hist.: Espy, 123]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Maecenas

1. Gaius . ?70--8 bc, Roman statesman; adviser to Augustus and patron of Horace and Virgil
2. a wealthy patron of the arts
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