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From Middle French mecenas, and its source, Latin Maecēnās (literary patron), from the name of Gaius Maecenas, Roman statesman and patron of Horace and Virgil.



Maecenas (plural Maecenases)

  1. A generous benefactor; specifically, a patron of literature or art.
    • 2002, Colin Jones, The Great Nation, Penguin 2003, p. 329:
      The government [...] maintained one of the largest armies in Europe; it developed what became, by the 1780s, a navy as big as the British; and it played the role of cultural Maecenas.
    • 1920, Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy vol. III, page 19:
      [...] thou art his dear and loving friend, good and gracious Lord and Master, his Maecenas.