Charles W. Hedrick
This article takes a look at the social functions of literature in Rome. It begins with a discussion of Vergil, who has been considered as the chief poet of Rome. It then looks at the conditions of literary production and circulation, and contrasts the social functions of literature in antiquity with its functions in the modern, nationalist environment. The last section of the article presents a summary appraisal of the social context of the consumption of literature in the ancient Roman Empire.