Gaius Cilnius Maecenas

Gaius Cilnius Maecenas: an ancient promoter

Caius Cilnius Maecenas, Latin Gaius Cilnius Maecenas, was born in Arezzo on the very distant April 13, 68 BC.

Maecenas, a writer, was an important Roman politician and an influential adviser to Emperor Augustus. His name has become so famous that it has become an adjective in the Italian language : he was in fact the promoter and financier of numerous artists.

A man who did not aim for power himself

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Thanks to Gaius Maecenas the new generation of Augustan poets was able to emerge and today we know Oratius, Varius Rufus and Virgilius. The Roman politician was de facto minister of culture of Rome in the Augustan age, but despite his high economic position he chose never to sit on a seat in the Roman Senate. Despite having a status that would have provided for him, he decided to remain an equestrian – or knight for life.

Gaius Cilnius Maecenas: patron of the Arts

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Maecenas did so much to support young poets that his name has become synonymous with “protector or financier of artists.” Virgil himself wrote the work “Georgics” in his honor, and it was the celebrated author who introduced Gaius Cilnius to Horace, who was impressed by his poetry. Horace was thus able to begin composing his Odes with the direction of his new patron. This in fact gave him full financial support as well as an intestate estate in the Sabine Mountains. Maecenas also placed Propertius and , among some of the minor poets, Lucius Varus Rufus, Cornelius Gallus, Quintilius Varus, Caius Melissus and Aemilius Macro under his wing.

Maecenas became the reference of so many and thus had the gratitude of his protected writers and the literati of later eras: without him they could not have appreciated the great works available to them.

Politician of the avant-garde

However, the first patron of artists did not act in a spirit of vanity or out of literary dilettantism. In fact, Gaius had definite aims of political promotion, and he turned new authors to the intent of honoring the new order of his time. Gaius Cilnius Maecenas was therefore not only a promoter of the arts, but also a brilliant politician ahead of his time who understood how important communication-which can become propaganda-is in maintaining or gathering consensus.

Gaio Cilnio Maecenas in Contemporary Arezzo

To Maecenas is today dedicated the beautiful national archaeological museum in Arezzo, the museum , of the same name, “Gaio Cilnio Maecenas.” In the museum it is possible to admire many artifacts from Roman and Etruscan times, pieces of the ancient history of our city. Visitors who wish to enter the museum will also be able to admire the monumental remains of Arezzo’s beautiful Roman amphitheater, a place to get lost imagining what spectacles that stone may have seen, including gladiatorial games and theatrical performances.

 

 

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