During the reign of Augustus many commentators proclaimed the arrival of a new Golden Age as Romans returned to traditional values. These values included religion, family, and an appreciation of the Italian countryside and its agrarian roots. Writers and artists from all parts of Italy came to Rome, where generous patronage helped to encourage extraordinary achievements. The Augustan peace and the prosperity that accompanied it brought about the revival of patriotic literature that hailed the triumphs of Rome, its people, and its new leader. Livy who was born in the city of Padua in 59 BC wrote a history of Rome that spanned the period from mythic times to his own day. An artist more than a scholar Livy was a marvelous storyteller. His stirring accounts of Rome's early struggle for freedom inspired painters, poets and political leaders through the centuries. Augustus gave the southern Italian poet Horace sufficient property to allow him the leisure to write. Horace's most famous poetic works, the Odes (23 BC) often drew on Greek verse in praising love, wine, and the simple life of the countryside. He turned common ideas into great lyric poetry by expressing them with exquisite form and verbal elegance. Virgil, the greatest of all Roman poets, modeled his masterpiece, the Aeneid (30-19 BC) on the ancient Greek epics the Iliad and the Odyssey, written by Homer. Virgil's work also portrayed the battles that the hero of Roman mythology Aeneas fought at Troy and his search for an Italian homeland. Aeneas sacrificed love and human compassion in the name of duty and conquest, and the poet portrayed the power of destiny and the poignancy of loss.
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