Virgilius Maro Grammaticus’s origins and date have often been discussed: the setting he imagined for his works has not. How Virgilius imagined himself and his ‘authorities’ reveals a fascinating mélange of names, characters, and religious ideas plucked from history, all brought together to emphasise the antiquity and variety within the Latin language. Modelled on the atmosphere of familiar Late Antique and early medieval grammars, Virgilius’s setting was probably created to allow veiled comment on the future of Latin in changing intellectual circumstances. There is considerable manuscript and citation evidence that the name Virgilius Maro Grammaticus was not used in the medieval period, and the Epitomae
are ascribed only to Virgilius Maro. The ambiguity this name created was strengthened by the presence of Aeneas and other classical-sounding authorities, and created much confusion amongst medieval readers and copyists trying to distinguish the grammarian from the poet.