Caius Cilnius Maecenas, a Roman statesman, born between 73 and 63, died in Rome in 8 B. C. Though his family was only of the equestrian order, it was yet of high antiquity. M;ecenas received an excellent education, and was well acquainted with Greek and Roman literature. He was the principal counsellor of Octavius, negotiated his marriage with Scribo-nia, sister-in-law of Sextus Pompey, and represented him at the conference of Brundusium (40), where peace was made with Antony. During the war with the latter Maecenas remained at Rome, and administered the civil government of Italy; and after the return of Octavius from the East, it was he who is said to have counselled him to retain the supreme power and establish the empire. The influence of Maecenas over Augustus, and his participation in the government, still continued for several years; when a coolness sprang up between them, he retired to a palace on the Esquiline hill which he had built, and which had long been the principal resort of all the wits and literati of Rome. His fame rests upon, his liberal patronage of. literature. Horace was indebted to him for his country estate, and Virgil for the restoration of his property near Mantua, which had been seized by the Octavian soldiery.
Maecenas wrote poems, dramas, and memoirs, all of which have perished save the fragments collected by Lion in Mcecenatiana (Gottingen, 1824).