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In the Western literary tradition the concept of the Golden Age and its identification with a special location is as old as the earliest poetic compositions, for it features prominently in the 8th c. BCE didactic epic Works and Days by the Greek poet Hesiod. Filtered through the sophisticated and poetically-determined poetry of the Alexandrians (Theocritus, Aratus), the Golden Age, now linked to an idyllic pastoral landscape, becomes the centerpiece, the common point of reference of all ten poems that comprise Vergil’s earliest work, the Eclogues. In Vergil’s pastoral art the Golden Age is identified with Arcadia, a location allegedly evoking the Greek area at the center of the Peloponnese, proverbial for its rusticity and shunning of civilization, and as a result, free of all pretention. The fashioning, significance and transformation of the Arcadia theme in literature, both ancient and later, and the evolution of the Augustan model, is the topic of the present volume, the structure and objectives of which are detailed in this introductory chapter.