Maecēnas: Caius Cilnius Maecenas, for a long time the Emperor Augustus' chief adviser, and a distinguished patron of literature. Not only Horace but Vergil, Propertius, and others profited by his patronage. Some of his ancestors were said to have been lucumōnes (chiefs) of Arretium, hence the use of regibus here. The Augustan poets are fond of dwelling in this way on the contrast between Maecenas' half-royal descent and his modesty in remaining a knight and declining promotion to the Senate. Cf. 3. 29. 1; Sat. 1. 6. 1; Propert. 4. 8. 1; El. in Maec. 13, Regis eras Etrusce genus, tu Caesaris almi | dextera, Romanae tu vigil urbis eras; Martial, 12. 4. 2, Maecenas, atavis regibus ortus eques. For Maecenas as typical patron of letters, cf. Laus Pisonis, 235 sqq.; Martial, 1. 107. 3-4; 8. 56. 5, sint Maecenates; non deerunt, Flacce, Marones; 12. 4. 1-4.—atavis . . . regibus: from royal ancestors. Literally, regibus is in apposition with atavis.

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