Virgil's biographical tradition[ambiguous] is thought to depend on a lost biography by Varius, Virgil's editor, which was incorporated into the biography by Suetonius and the commentaries of Servius and Donatus, the two great commentators on Virgil's poetry. Although the commentaries no doubt record much factual information about Virgil, some of their evidence can be shown to rely on inferences made from his poetry and allegorizing; thus, Virgil's biographical tradition remains problematic.[3] The tradition says that Virgil was born in the village of Andes, near Mantua[4] in Cisalpine Gaul.[5] Scholars suggest Etruscan, Umbrian or even Celtic descent by examining the linguistic or ethnic markers of the region. Analysis of his name has led to beliefs that he descended from earlier Roman colonists. Modern speculation ultimately is not supported by narrative evidence either from his own writings or his later biographers. Etymological fancy has noted that his cognomen Maro shares its letters anagrammatically with the twin themes of his epic: amor (love) and Roma (Rome). Macrobius says that Virgil's father was of a humble background; however, scholars generally believe that Virgil was from an equestrian landowning family which could afford to give him an education.

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