Gaius Maecenas

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Gaius Cilnius Maecenas (13 April 68 BC – 8 BC) was a friend and political advisor to Octavian (who later reigned as emperor Augustus). He was also an important patron for the new generation of Augustan poets, including both Horace and Virgil. During the reign of Augustus, Maecenas served as a quasi-culture minister to the Roman emperor but in spite of his wealth and power he chose not to enter the Senate, remaining of equestrian rank.


  • Lucentes, mea vita, nec smaragdos,
    beryllos neque, Flacce mi, nitentes
    <nec> percandida margarita quaero
    nec quos Tunnica[1] lima perpolivit
    anellos[2] nec[3] iaspios lapillos.
  • Ipsa enim altitudo attonat summa.
    • There's thunder even on the loftiest peaks.
    • Quoted by Seneca, Epistulae, XIX, 9 (tr. R. M. Gummere)
  • Nec tumulum curo. Sepelit natura relictos.
    • I want no tomb; for Nature doth provide
      For outcast bodies burial.
    • Quoted by Seneca, Epistulae, XCII, 35 (tr. R. M. Gummere)
    • Cp. Webster, "Cornelia's Song" in The White Devil (1612), V, iv
  • Debilem facito manu, debilem pede, coxo,[4]
    tuber adstrue gibberum, lubricos quate dentis:
    vita dum superest, bene est.
    • Fashion me with a palsied hand,
      Weak of foot, and a cripple;
      Build upon me a crook-backed hump;
      Shake my teeth till they rattle;
      All is well, if my life remains.
      Save, oh, save it, I pray you,
      Though I sit on the piercing cross!
    • Quoted by Seneca, Epistulae, CI, 10 (tr. R. M. Gummere)


  • Maecenas atavis edite regibus,
    o et praesidium et dulce decus meum.
    • Maecenas, sprung from royal stock, my bulwark and my glory dearly cherished.
    • Horace, Odes, I, i, 1–2 (tr. C. E. Bennett)


  1. or: thunica
  2. or: anulos
  3. or: neque
  4. or: coxa
Wikipedia has an article about:
  • W. M. Lindsay, ed. Isidori: Etymologiarum sive Originum, Vol. 2 (Oxford, 1911)