Definition of Maecenas
: a generous patron especially of literature or art
Maecenas was our Word of the Day on 11/06/2007. Hear the podcast!
Did You Know?
Although the ancient Roman Gaius Maecenas was a well-known diplomat and counselor to Emperor Augustus, it was his munificent patronage of literature that immortalized his name as a word for "a generous patron." A writer himself, Maecenas knew of the power of poetry and viewed it as a way to glorify Augustus's regime. Among the poets he patronized were the celebrated Virgil and Horace - both of whom he befriended. Maecenas has also been credited with encouraging both writers to focus more on topics of public interest, such as affairs of state.
Origin and Etymology of maecenas
Latin, from Gaius Maecenas †8 b.c. Roman statesman & patron of literature
First Known Use: 1542
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