Archaic Definition of the Week – Vates

ADOTWvates: Latin: “prophet.” From earliest times, the poet has often been considered a seer or vates, divinely inspired, and his pronouncements have been accorded the status of prophecy.  Vergil, for example, was believed to have predicted the future literally in his Fourth Ecologue, which celebrated the birth of a child who was to bring back the Age of Gold.  For hundreds of years the poem was read as a pagan prophecy of the birth of Christ and Vergil held to be a vates.

Literary Terms: A Dictionary by Karl Beckson and Arthur Ganz.

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