The ostensible purpose of Virgil’s Aeneid is to express Rome’s national greatness and destiny by means of a story concerning “her” legendary origin. Virgil worked at it from 30 bce until his death in 19 bce, and the epic was virtually complete, with some lines left unfinished, when he decided to spend three more years on revision. He set out on a voyage to Greece in order to experience local color for his textual modifications. He contracted a fever immediately, returned to Italy, and died, leaving instructions that the Aeneid should be burnt. But Augustus countermanded this and the work was published posthumously.