The Augustan period is named for the Roman emperor Augustus Caesar, who ruled from 27 B.C.E. to 14 C.E. During his reign, Rome saw what many consider its greatest literary and cultural achievements: Augustan poets include Virgil (famous for his epic poem the Aeneid), Ovid (famous for his mythological poem The Metamorphoses and his erotic poetry), and Horace (famous for his odes).

Sometimes the term Augustan is applied to the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries in England (and sometimes, more controversially, even to the entire eighteenth century) — the period sometimes called Neoclassical. The most important English writers of the period are Dryden, Swift, Pope, and Defoe.

From the Guide to Literary Terms by Jack Lynch.
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