Pastoral poetry was probably the creation of the Hellenistic poet Theocritus, and he was certainly its most distinguished exponent in Greek. Vergil not only transposed the spirit of Greek pastoral into an Italian setting, blending details from the life of his native countryside into the subsequent history of the genre. On publication the Eclogues won immediate acclaim and Vergil's reputation as a major poet was established. In this edition Robert Coleman describes the earlier pastoral tradition, sets Vergil's poems in historical perspective and evaluates the poet's distinctive contribution to the genre. In the commentary difficulties of interpretation are elucidated. Theocritean influences are examined in detail and points of interest in the language, style and subject-matter discussed. This is the fullest edition of the Eclogues to have appeared in any language and the first in English since the end of the nineteenth century. It is intended primarily for university students and sixth-formers but will be valuable to anyone interested in Latin poetry and the development of the pastoral genre.