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Virgil Murder



A material evidence : M. Durmius' Aureus

The very year of Virgil's death, M. Durmius struck an aureus figuring at its reverse a crab in the act of catching a winged insect, half-butterfly and half-culex. The connection with Virgil's decease, established in 1930 (H. Mattingly, « The Date of Virgil's Death  : A Numismatic Contribution », The Classical Review 44 , p. 57-59), was recently reasserted by J.-L. Desnier (« Tenet nunc Parthenope », Latomus 54 [1995], p. 298-304), but it is curious that the aggressive character of the image does not deter them from interpreting it as an homage. A representation of this coin can be seen on the covert of La mort de Virgile, 2d ed. However, we would be reduced to sheer conjecture without the existence of a well-known poem precisely entitled Culex, and traditionally assigned to the young Vergil, but in fact composed by Augustus himself, venting his anger against the poet whom he had just killed (cf. Bibliog. item n°23).

2010.06.23: See now the commentary written by A. Alekbarova : http://golden-age.over-blog.com/5-index.html