Virgil and the Myth of Venice Books and Readers in the Italian Renaissance
Additional support came from the Departments of English and of Modern and Classical Languages, and fromthe College of Liberal Arts, at Texas A&M University, and support of another but equally valuable nature came from the Interlibrary Loan Service at the University's Sterling B. Preliminary versions of some material have been published in the Journal of the History ofIdeas, Miscellanea Marciana, and the Acta of the Ninth International Congress of theInternational Association for Neo-Latin Studies, and I am grateful to the editors of these publications for permission to draw on previous work in the present study.
Indeed, since he knew that the Romanswould not accept a work of literature that did not offer something to the understanding of morality and the preservation of the state, Virgil used the sixth book of the Aeneid toestablish punishment for the guilty and rewards for the just, to show that service to the state also brings benefits to the individualan intention he shares with every good author 14 (haec communis est omnibus bona et bene scribentis intentio). The underworld is located in the centre of the earth, asChristianity teaches, since dominus dixit quod filius hominis esset futurus in corde terrae tribus diebus et tribus noctibus, centrum enim ita novimus esse in medio terrae, ut cor estin medio corporis ('God said that the Son of Man would be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights, for we know that the centre is in the middle of the earth, asr 49the heart is in the middle of the body'; fo.