Virgil: a prophet?

Edward Gibbon, 1737-1794

Edward Gibbon, 1737-1794

“Forty years before the birth of Christ, the Mantuan bard [Virgil], as if inspired by the celestial muse of Isaiah, had celebrated, with all the pomp or oriental metaphor, the return of the Virgin, the fall of the serpent, the approaching birth of a godlike child, the offspring of the great Jupiter, who should expiate the guilt of humankind and govern the peaceful universe with the virtues of his father; the rise and appearance of an heavenly race, a primitive nation throughout the world; and the gradual restoration of the innocence and felicity of the golden age.  The poet was perhaps unconscious of the secret sense and object of these predictions, which have been so unworthily applied to the infant son of a consul, or a triumvir: but if a more splendid, and indeed specious, interpretation of the fourth eclogue contributed to the conversion of the first Christian emperor, Virgil may deserve to be ranked among the most successful missionaries of the Gospel.” ― The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon, Volume I, 180 A. D. ― 395 A. D., Page 652, The Modern Library, New York, Random House.

About Michael

Retired military officer; retired Air Force civil servant; retired executive, DS Information Systems Corporation; writer; researcher; reader and avid yachtsman.
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