The Lives of the

C. Suetonius Tranquillus

Lives of the Grammarians and the Historians

I. The science of grammar was in ancient times far from being in vogue at Rome; indeed, it was of little use in a rude state of society, when the people were engaged in constant wars, and had not much time to bestow on the cultivation of the liberal arts. At the outset, its pretensions were very slender, for the earliest men of learning, who were both poets and orators, may be considered as half-Greek: I speak of Livius [Livius, cognomen Andronicus, was born of Greek parents. He began to teach at Rome in the consulship of Claudius Cento, A.U.C. 514] and Ennius [Ennius was a native of Calabria], who are acknowledged to have taught both languages as well at Rome as in foreign parts [Porcius Cato found Ennius in Sardinia, when he conquered that island during his praetorship, and brought him to Rome on his return]. But they only translated from the Greek, and if they composed anything of their own in Latin, it was only from what they had before read. For although there are those who say that this Ennius published two books, one on "Letters and Syllables," and the other on "Metres," Lucius Cotta has satisfactorily proved that they are not the works of the poet Ennius, but of another writer of the same name, to whom also the treatise on the "Rules of Augury" is attributed.

II. Crates of Mallos [Mallos was near Tarsus, in Cilicia. Crates was the son of Timocrates, a Stoic philosopher], then, was, in our opinion, the first who introduced the study of grammar at Rome. He was cotemporary with Aristarchus [Aristarchus flourished at Alexandria, in the reign of Ptolemy Philometer, whose son he educated], and having been sent by king Attalus as envoy to the senate in the interval between the second and third Punic wars, soon after the death of Ennius [Cicero (De Clar. Orat. c. xx., De Senect. c. v. 1) places the death of Ennius A.U.C. 584], he had the misfortune to fall into an open sewer in the Palatine quarter of the city, and broke his leg. After which, during the whole period of his embassy and convalescence, he gave frequent lectures, taking much pains to instruct his hearers, and he has left us an example well worthy of imitation. It was so far followed, that poems hitherto little known, the works either of deceased friends or other approved writers, were brought to light, and being read and commented on, were explained to others.

Thus, Caius Octavius Lampadio edited the Punic War of Naevius [The History of the first Punic War by Naevius is mentioned by Cicero, De Senect, c. 14], which having been written in one volume without any break in the manuscript, he divided into seven books. After that, Quintus Vargonteius undertook the Annals of Ennius, which he read on certain fixed days to crowded audiences. So Laelius Archelaus, and Vectius Philocomus, read and commented on the Satires of their friend Lucilius [Lucilius, the poet, was born about A.U.C. 605], which Lenaeus Pompeius, a freedman, tells us he studied under Archelaus; and Valerius Cato, under Philocomus. Two others also taught and promoted grammar in various branches, namely, Lucius Aelius Lanuvinus, the son-in-law of Quintus Aelius, and Servius Claudius, both of whom were Roman knights, and men who rendered great services both to learning and the republic.

III. Lucius Aelius had a double cognomen, for he was called Praeconius, because his father was a herald; Stilo, because he was in the habit of composing orations for most of the speakers of highest rank; indeed, he was so strong a partisan of the nobles, that he accompanied Quintus Metellus Numidicus in his exile. [Q. Metellus obtained the surname of Numidicus, on his triumph over Jugurtha, A.U.C. 644. Aelius, who was Varro's tutor, accompanied him to Rhodes or Smyrna, when he was unjustly banished, A.U.C. 653.] Servius [Servius Claudius (also called Clodius) is commended by Cicero, Fam. Epist. ix. 16, and his singular death mentioned by Pliny, xxv. 4] having clandestinely obtained his father-in-law's book before it was published, was disowned for the fraud, which he took so much to heart, that, overwhelmed with shame and distress, he retired from Rome; and being seized with a fit of the gout, in his impatience, he applied a poisonous ointment to his feet, which half-killed him, so that his lower limbs mortified while he was still alive.

After this, more attention was paid to the science of letters, and it grew in public estimation, insomuch, that men of the highest rank did not hesitate in undertaking to write something on the subject; and it is related that sometimes there were no less than twenty celebrated scholars in Rome. So high was the value, and so great were the rewards, of grammarians, that Lutatius Daphnides, jocularly called "Pan's herd" [Daphnis, a shepherd, the son of Mercury, was said to have been brought up by Pan] by Lenaeus Melissus, was purchased by Quintus Catullus for two hundred thousand sesterces, and shortly afterwards made a freedman; and that Lucius Apuleius, who was taken into the pay of Epicius Calvinus, a wealthy Roman knight, at the annual salary of ten thousand crowns, had many scholars.

Grammar also penetrated into the provinces, and some of the most eminent amongst the learned taught it in foreign parts, particularly in Gallia Togata. In the number of these, we may reckon Octavius Teucer, Siscennius Jacchus, and Oppius Cares [Oppius Cares is said by Macrobius to have written a book on Forest Trees], who persisted in teaching to a most advanced period of his life, at a time when he was not only unable to walk, but his sight failed.

IV. The appellation of grammarian was borrowed from the Greeks; but at first, the Latins called such persons literati. Cornelius Nepos, also, in his book, where he draws a distinction between a literate and a philologist, says that in common phrase, those are properly called literati who are skilled in speaking or writing with care or accuracy, and those more especially deserve the name who translated the poets, and were called grammarians by the Greeks. It appears that they were named literators by Messala Corvinus, in one of his letters, when he says, "that it does not refer to Furius Bibaculus [Quintilian enumerates Bibaculus among the Roman poets in the same line with Catullus and Horace, Institut. x. 1], nor even to Sigida, nor to Cato, the literator," meaning, doubtless, that Valerius Cato was both a poet and an eminent grammarian.

Some there are who draw a distinction between a literati and a literator, as the Greeks do between a grammarian and a grammatist, applying the former term to men of real erudition, the latter to those whose pretensions to learning are moderate; and this opinion Orbilius supports by examples. For he says that in old times, when a company of slaves was offered for sale by any person, it was not customary, without good reason, to describe either of them in the catalogue as a literati, but only as a literator, meaning that he was not a proficient in letters, but had a smattering of knowledge.

The early grammarians taught rhetoric also, and we have many of their treatises which include both sciences; whence it arose, I think, that in later times, although the two professions had then become distinct, the old custom was retained, or the grammarians introduced into their teaching some of the elements required for public speaking, such as the problem, the periphrasis, the choice of words, description of character, and the like; in order that they might not transfer their pupils to the rhetoricians no better than ill-taught boys. But I perceive that these lessons are now given up in some cases, on account of the want of application, or the tender years, of the scholar, for I do not believe that it arises from any dislike in the master.

I recollect that when I was a boy it was the custom of one of these, whose name was Princeps, to take alternate days for declaiming and disputing; and sometimes he would lecture in the morning, and declaim in the afternoon, when he had his pulpit removed. I heard, also, that even within the memories of our own fathers, some of the pupils of the grammarians passed directly from the schools to the courts, and at once took a high place in the ranks of the most distinguished advocates. The professors at that time were, indeed, men of great eminence, of some of whom I may be able to give an account in the following chapters.

V. SAEVIUS NICANOR [probably Suevius, of whom Macrobius informs us that he was the learned author of an Idyll, which had the title of the Mulberry Grove] first acquired fame and reputation by his teaching: and, besides, he made commentaries, the greater part of which, however, are said to have been borrowed. He also wrote a satire, in which he informs us that he was a freedman, and had a double cognomen, in the following verses;

Saevius Nicanor Marci libertus negabit,
Saevius Posthumius idem, sed Marcus, docebit.
What Saevius Nicanor, the freedman of Marcus, will deny,
The same Saevius, called also Posthumius Marcus, will assert.

It is reported, that in consequence of some infamy attached to his character, he retired to Sardinia, and there ended his days.

VI. AURELIUS OPILIUS [Aurelius Opilius is mentioned by Symmachus and Gellius. His contemporary and friend, Rutilius Rufus, having been a military tribune under Scipio in the Numantine war, wrote a history of it. He was consul A.U.C. 648, and unjustly banished, to the general grief of the people, A.U.C. 659], the freedman of some Epicurean, first taught philosophy, then rhetoric, and last of all, grammar. Having closed his school, he followed Rutilius Rufus, when he was banished to Asia, and there the two friends grew old together. He also wrote several volumes on a variety of learned topics, nine books of which he distinguished by the number and names of the nine Muses; as he says, not without reason, they being the patrons of authors and poets. I observe that its title is given in several indexes by a single letter, but he uses two in the heading of a book called Pinax.

VII. MARCUS ANTONIUS GNIPHO [Quintilian mentions Gnipho, Instit. i. 6. Cicero was among his pupils], a free-born native of Gaul, was exposed in his infancy, and afterwards received his freedom from his foster-father; and, as some say, was educated at Alexandria, where Dionysius Scytobrachion [this strange cognomen is supposed to have been derived from a cork arm, which supplied the place of one Dionysius had lost. He was a poet of Mitylene] was his fellow pupil. This, however, I am not very ready to believe, as the times at which they flourished scarcely agree. He is said to have been a man of great genius, of singular memory, well read in Greek as well as Latin, and of a most obliging and agreeable temper, who never haggled about remuneration, but generally left it to the liberality of his scholars.

He first taught in the house of Julius Caesar, when the latter was yet but a boy, and, afterwards, in his own private house. He gave instruction in rhetoric also, teaching the rules of eloquence every day, but declaiming only on festivals. It is said that some very celebrated men frequented his school,— and, among others, Marcus Cicero, during the time he held the praetorship [A.U.C. 687]. He wrote a number of works, although he did not live beyond his fiftieth year; but Atteius, the philologist, says, that he left only two volumes, "De Latino Sermone"; and, that the other works ascribed to him, were composed by his disciples, and were not his, although his name is sometimes to be found in them.

VIII. M. POMPILIUS ANDRONICUS, a native of Syria, while he professed to be a grammarian, was considered an idle follower of the Epicurean sect, and little qualified to be a master of a school. Finding, therefore, that, at Rome, not only Antonius Gnipho, but even other teachers of less note were preferred to him, he retired to Cumae, where he lived at his ease; and, though he wrote several books, he was so needy, and reduced to such straits, as to be compelled to sell that excellent little work of his, "The Index to the Annals," for sixteen thousand sesterces. Orbilius has informed us, that he redeemed this work from the oblivion into which it had fallen, and took care to have it published with the author's name.

IX. ORBILIUS PUPILLUS, of Beneventum, being left an orphan, by the death of his parents, who both fell a sacrifice to the plots of their enemies on the same day, acted, at first, as apparitor to the magistrates. He then joined the troops in Macedonia, when he was first decorated with the plumed helmet, and, afterwards, promoted to serve on horseback. Having completed his military service, he resumed his studies, which he had pursued with no small diligence from his youth upwards; and, having been a professor for a long period in his own country, at last, during the consulship of Cicero, made his way to Rome, where he taught with more reputation than profit.

For in one of his works he says, that "he was then very old, and lived in a garret." He also published a book with the title of Perialogos; containing complaints of the injurious treatment to which professors submitted, without seeking redress at the hands of parents. His sour temper betrayed itself, not only in his disputes with the sophists opposed to him, whom he lashed on every occasion, but also towards his scholars, as Horace tells us, who calls him "a flogger"; [Horace speaks feelingly on the subject: "Memini quae plagosum mihi parvo Orbilium tractare." Epist. xi. i. 70; "I remember well when I was young, How old Orbilius thwacked me at my tasks."] and Domitius Marsus [Domitius Marsus wrote epigrams; he is mentioned by Ovid and Martial], who says of him:

Si quos Orbilius ferula scuticaque cecidit.
If those Orbilius with rod or ferule thrashed.

And not even men of rank escaped his sarcasms; for, before he became noticed, happening to be examined as a witness in a crowded court, Varro, the advocate on the other side, put the question to him, "What he did and by what profession he gained his livelihood?" He replied, "That he lived by removing hunchbacks from the sunshine into the shade," alluding to Muraena's deformity. He lived till he was near a hundred years old; but he had long lost his memory, as the verse of Bibaculus informs us:

Orbilius ubinam est, literarum oblivio?

Where is Orbilius now, that wreck of learning lost?

His statue is shown in the Capitol at Beneventum. It stands on the left hand, and is sculptured in marble [this is not the only instance mentioned by Suetonius of statues erected to learned men in the place of their birth or celebrity. Orbilius, as a schoolmaster, was represented in a sitting posture, and with the gown of the Greek philosophers], representing him in a sitting posture, wearing the pallium, with two writing-cases in his hand. He left a son, named also Orbilius, who, like his father, was a professor of grammar.

X. ATTEIUS, THE PHILOLOGIST, a freedman, was born at Athens. Of him, Capito Atteius [Tacitus (Annal. cxi. 75) gives the character of Atteius Capito. He was consul A.U.C. 758], the well-known jurisconsult, says that he was a rhetorician among the grammarians, and a grammarian among the rhetoricians. Asinius Pollio, in the book in which he finds fault with the writings of Sallust for his great affectation of obsolete words, speaks thus: "In this work his chief assistant was a certain Atteius, a man of rank, a splendid Latin grammarian, the aider and preceptor of those who studied the practice of declamation; in short, one who claimed for himself the cognomen of Philologus." Writing to Lucius Hermas, he says, "that he had made great proficiency in Greek literature, and some in Latin; that he had been a hearer of Antonius Gnipho, and his Hermas, and afterwards began to teach others. Moreover, that he had for pupils many illustrious youths, among whom were the two brothers, Appius and Pulcher Claudius; and that he even accompanied them to their province."

He appears to have assumed the name of Philologus, because, like Eratosthenes [Eratosthenes, an Athenian philosopher, flourished in Egypt, under three of the Ptolemies successively], who first adopted that cognomen, he was in high repute for his rich and varied stores of learning; which, indeed, is evident from his commentaries, though but few of them are extant. Another letter, however, to the same Hermas, shows that they were very numerous: "Remember," it says, "to recommend generally our Extracts, which we have collected, as you know, of all kinds, into eight hundred books." He afterwards formed an intimate acquaintance with Caius Sallustius, and, on his death, with Asinius Pollio; and when they undertook to write a history, he supplied the one with short annals of all Roman affairs, from which he could select at pleasure; and the other, with rules on the art of composition.

I am, therefore, surprised that Asinius Pollio should have supposed that he was in the habit of collecting old words and figures of speech for Sallust, when he must have known that his own advice was, that none but well known, and common and appropriate expressions should be made use of; and that, above all things, the obscurity of the style of Sallust, and his bold freedom in translations, should be avoided.

XI. VALERIUS CATO was, as some have informed us, the freedman of one Bursenus, a native of Gaul. He himself tells us, in his little work called "Indignatio," that he was born free, and being left an orphan, was exposed to be easily stripped of his patrimony during the licence of Sylla's administrations. He had a great number of distinguished pupils, and was highly esteemed as a preceptor suited to those who had a poetical turn, as appears from these short lines:

Cato grammaticus, Latina Siren,
Qui solus legit ac facit poetas.
Cato, the Latin Siren, grammar taught and verse,
To form the poet skilled, and poetry rehearse.

Besides his Treatise on Grammar, he composed some poems, of which, his Lydia and Diana are most admired. Ticida mentions his "Lydia."

Lydia, doctorum maxima cura liber.
"Lydia," a work to men of learning dear.

Cinna [Cornelius Helvius Cinna was an epigrammatic poet, of the same age as Catullus. Ovid mentions him, Tristia, xi. 435] thus notices the "Diana."

Secula permaneat nostri Diana Catonis.

Immortal be our Cato's song of Dian.

He lived to extreme old age, but in the lowest state of penury, and almost in actual want; having retired to a small cottage when he gave up his Tusculan villa to his creditors; as Bibaculus tells us:

Si quis forte mei domum Catonis,
Depictas minio assulas, et illos
Custodis vidit hortulos Priapi,
Miratur, quibus ille disciplinis,
Tantam sit sapientiam assecutus,
Quam tres cauliculi et selibra farris;
Racemi duo, tegula sub una,
Ad summam prope nutriant senectam.
"If, perchance, any one has seen the house of my Cato, with marble slabs
of the richest hues, and his gardens worthy of having Priapus [worshipped as the protector of gardens] for
their guardian, he may well wonder by what philosophy he has gained so
much wisdom, that a daily allowance of three coleworts, half-a-pound of
meal, and two bunches of grapes, under a narrow roof, should serve for
his subsistence to extreme old age."

And he says in another place:

Catonis modo, Galle, Tusculanum
Tota creditor urbe venditahat.
Mirati sumus unicum magistrum,
Summum grammaticum, optimum poetam,
Omnes solvere posse quaestiones,
Unum difficile expedire nomen.
En cor Zenodoti, en jecur Cratetis!
"We lately saw, my Gallus, Cato's Tusculan villa exposed to public sale
by his creditors; and wondered that such an unrivalled master of
the schools, most eminent grammarian, and accomplished poet, could solve
all propositions and yet found one question too difficult for him to
settle,—how to pay his debts. We find in him the genius of Zenodotus
[the grammarian and librarian to the first Ptolemy at Alexandria, and tutor to his sons],
the wisdom of Crates."ot;

XII. CORNELIUS EPICADIUS, a freedman of Lucius Cornelius Sylla, the dictator, was his apparitor in the Augural priesthood, and much beloved by his son Faustus; so that he was proud to call himself the freedman of both. He completed the last book of Sylla's Commentaries, which his patron had left unfinished. [We find from Plutarch that Sylla was employed two days before his death, in completing the twenty-second book of his Commentaries; and, foreseeing his fate, entrusted them to the care of Lucullus, who, with the assistance of Epicadius, corrected and arranged them.]

XIII. LABERIUS HIERA was bought by his master out of a slave-dealer's cage, and obtained his freedom on account of his devotion to learning. It is reported that his disinterestedness was such, that he gave gratuitous instruction to the children of those who were proscribed in the time of Sylla.

XIV. CURTIUS NICIA was the intimate friend of Cneius Pompeius and Caius Memmius; but having carried notes from Memmius to Pompey's wife [Plutarch, in his Life of Caesar, speaks of the loose conduct of Mucia, Pompey's wife, during her husband's absence], when she was debauched by Memmius, Pompey was indignant, and forbad him his house. He was also on familiar terms with Marcus Cicero, who thus speaks of him in his epistle to Dolabella [Fam. Epist. 9]: "I have more need of receiving letters from you, than you have of desiring them from me. For there is nothing going on at Rome in which I think you would take any interest, except, perhaps, that you may like to know that I am appointed umpire between our friends Nicias and Vidius. The one, it appears, alleges in two short verses that Nicias owes him money; the other, like an Aristarchus, cavils at them. I, like an old critic, am to decide whether they are Nicias's or spurious."

Again, in a letter to Atticus [Cicero ad Att. xii. 36], he says: "As to what you write about Nicias, nothing could give me greater pleasure than to have him with me, if I was in a position to enjoy his society; but my province is to me a place of retirement and solitude. Sicca easily reconciled himself to this state of things, and, therefore, I would prefer having him. Besides, you are well aware of the feebleness, and the nice and luxurious habits, of our friend Nicias. Why should I be the means of making him uncomfortable, when he can afford me no pleasure? At the same time, I value his goodwill."

XV. LENAEUS was a freedman of Pompey the Great, and attended him in most of his expeditions. On the death of his patron and his sons, he supported himself by teaching in a school which he opened near the temple of Tellus, in the Carium, in the quarter of the city where the house of the Pompeys stood. Such was his regard for his patron's memory, that when Sallust described him as having a brazen face, and a shameless mind, he lashed the historian in a most bitter satire], as "a bull's-pizzle, a gormandizer, a braggart, and a tippler, a man whose life and writings were equally monstrous"; besides charging him with being "a most unskillful plagiarist, who borrowed the language of Cato and other old writers." [Lenaeus was not singular in his censure of Sallust. Lactantius, 11. 12, gives him an infamous character; and Horace says of him, "Libertinarum dico; Sallustius in quas Non minus insanit; quam qui moechatur."--Sat. i. 2. 48] It is related, that, in his youth, having escaped from slavery by the contrivance of some of his friends, he took refuge in his own country; and, that after he had applied himself to the liberal arts, he brought the price of his freedom to his former master, who, however, struck by his talents and learning, gave him manumission gratuitously.

XVI. QUINTUS CAECILIUS, an Epirot by descent, but born at Tusculum, was a freedman of Atticus Satrius, a Roman knight, to whom Cicero addressed his Epistles [the name of the well known Roman knight, to whom Cicero addressed his Epistles, was Titus Pomponius Atticus]. He became the tutor of his patron's daughter [Pomponia], who was contracted to Marcus Agrippa, but being suspected of an illicit intercourse with her, and sent away on that account, he betook himself to Cornelius Gallus, and lived with him on terms of the greatest intimacy, which, indeed, was imputed to Gallus as one of his heaviest offences, by Augustus. Then, after the condemnation and death of Gallus, he opened a school, but had few pupils, and those very young, nor any belonging to the higher orders, excepting the children of those he could not refuse to admit. He was the first, it is said, who held disputations in Latin, and who began to lecture on Virgil and the other modern poets; which the verse of Domitius Marcus points out.

Epirota tenellorum nutricula vatum.
The Epirot who,
With tender care, our unfledged poets nursed.

XVII. VERRIUS FLACCUS [Verrius Flaccus is mentioned by St. Jerome, in conjunction with Athenodorus of Tarsus, a Stoic philosopher, to have flourished A.U.C. 759; A.D. 9], a freedman, distinguished himself by a new mode of teaching; for it was his practice to exercise the wits of his scholars, by encouraging emulation among them; not only proposing the subjects on which they were to write, but offering rewards for those who were successful in the contest. These consisted of some ancient, handsome, or rare book. Being, in consequence, selected by Augustus, as preceptor to his grandsons, he transferred his entire school to the Palatium, but with the understanding that he should admit no fresh scholars. The hall in Catiline's house, which had then been added to the palace, was assigned him for his school, with a yearly allowance of one hundred thousand sesterces. He died of old age, in the reign of Tiberius. There is a statue of him at Praeneste, in the semi-circle at the lower side of the forum, where he had set up calendars arranged by himself, and inscribed on slabs of marble.

XVIII. LUCIUS CRASSITIUS, a native of Tarentum, and in rank a freedman, had the cognomen of Pasides, which he afterwards changed for Pansa. His first employment was connected with the stage, and his business was to assist the writers of farces. After that, he took to giving lessons in a gallery attached to a house, until his commentary on "The Smyrna" [Cinna wrote a poem, which he called "Smyrna," and was nine years in composing, as Catullus informs us, 93. 1] so brought him into notice, that the following lines were written on him:

Uni Crassitio se credere Smyrna probavit.
Desinite indocti, conjugio hanc petere.
Soli Crassitio se dixit nubere velle:
Intima cui soli nota sua exstiterint.
Crassitius only counts on Smyrna's love,
Fruitless the wooings of the unlettered prove;
Crassitius she receives with loving arms,
For he alone unveiled her hidden charms.

However, after having taught many scholars, some of whom were of high rank, and amongst others, Julius Antonius, the triumvir's son, so that he might be even compared with Verrius Flaccus; he suddenly closed his school, and joined the sect of Quintus Septimius, the philosopher.

XIX. SCRIBONIUS APHRODISIUS, the slave and disciple of Orbilius, who was afterwards redeemed and presented with his freedom by Scribonia, the daughter of Libo who had been the wife of Augustus, taught in the time of Verrius; whose books on Orthography he also revised, not without some severe remarks on his pursuits and conduct.

XX. C. JULIUS HYGINUS, a freedman of Augustus, was a native of Spain, (although some say he was born at Alexandria,) and that when that city was taken, Caesar brought him, then a boy, to Rome. He closely and carefully imitated Cornelius Alexander [who was born at Miletus, and being taken prisoner, and bought by Cornelius, was brought to Rome, and becoming his teacher, had his freedom given him, with the name of his patron], a Greek grammarian, who, for his antiquarian knowledge, was called by many Polyhistor, and by some History. He had the charge of the Palatine library, but that did not prevent him from having many scholars; and he was one of the most intimate friends of the poet Ovid, and of Caius Licinius, the historian, a man of consular rank, who has related that Hyginus died very poor, and was supported by his liberality as long as he lived. Julius Modestus [in whom the name of the Julian family was still preserved; mentioned with approbation by Gellius, Martial, Quintilian, and others], who was a freedman of Hyginus, followed the footsteps of his patron in his studies and learning.

XXI. CAIUS MELISSUS [mentioned by Ovid, De Pontif. iv 16-30], a native of Spoletum, was free-born, but having been exposed by his parents in consequence of quarrels between them, he received a good education from his foster-father, by whose care and industry he was brought up, and was made a present of to Mecaenas, as a grammarian. Finding himself valued and treated as a friend, he preferred to continue in his state of servitude, although he was claimed by his mother, choosing rather his present condition than that which his real origin entitled him to. In consequence, his freedom was speedily given him, and he even became a favorite with Augustus. By his appointment he was made curator of the library in the portico of Octavia; and, as he himself informs us, undertook to compose, when he was a sexagenarian, his books of "Witticisms," which are now called "The Book of Jests." Of these he accomplished one hundred and fifty, to which he afterwards added several more. He also composed a new kind of story about those who wore the toga, and called it "Trabeat" [the trabea was a white robe, with a purple border, of a different fashion from the toga].

XXII. MARCUS POMPONIUS MARCELLUS, a very severe critic of the Latin tongue, who sometimes pleaded causes, in a certain address on the plaintiff's behalf, persisted in charging his adversary with making a solecism, until Cassius Severus appealed to the judges to grant an adjournment until his client should produce another grammarian, as he was not prepared to enter into a controversy respecting a solecism, instead of defending his client's rights. On another occasion, when he had found fault with some expression in a speech made by Tiberius, Atteius Capito affirmed, "that if it was not Latin, at least it would be so in time to come"; "Capito is wrong," cried Marcellus; "it is certainly in your power, Caesar, to confer the freedom of the city on whom you please, but you cannot make words for us." Asinius Gallus tells us that he was formerly a pugilist, in the following epigram.

Qui caput ad laevam deicit, glossemata nobis
Praecipit; os nullum, vel potius pugilis.
Who ducked his head, to shun another's fist,
Though he expound old saws,—yet, well I wist,
With pummelled nose and face, he's but a pugilist.

XXIII. REMMIUS PALAEMON [contemporary with Pliny and Quintilian, who speak highly of him], of Vicentia [now Vicenza], the offspring of a bond-woman, acquired the rudiments of learning, first as the companion of a weaver's, and then of his master's, son, at school. Being afterwards made free, he taught at Rome, where he stood highest in the rank of the grammarians; but he was so infamous for every sort of vice, that Tiberius and his successor Claudius publicly denounced him as an improper person to have the education of boys and young men entrusted to him. Still, his powers of narrative and agreeable style of speaking made him very popular; besides which, he had the gift of making extempore verses. He also wrote a great many in various and uncommon metres. His insolence was such, that he called Marcus Varro "a hog"; and bragged that "letters were born and would perish with him"; and that "his name was not introduced inadvertently in the Bucolics, as Virgil divined that a Palaemon would some day be the judge of all poets and poems." He also boasted, that having once fallen into the hands of robbers, they spared him on account of the celebrity his name had acquired.

He was so luxurious, that he took the bath many times in a day; nor did his means suffice for his extravagance, although his school brought him in forty thousand sesterces yearly, and he received not much less from his private estate, which he managed with great care. He also kept a broker's shop for the sale of old clothes; and it is well known that a vine he planted himself, yielded three hundred and fifty bottles of wine. But the greatest of all his vices was his unbridled licentiousness in his commerce with women, which he carried to the utmost pitch of foul indecency ["Usque ad infamiam oris."]. They tell a droll story of some one who met him in a crowd, and upon his offering to kiss him, could not escape the salute, "Master," said he, "do you want to mouth every one you meet with in a hurry?"

XXIV. MARCUS VALERIUS PROBUS, of Berytus [Now Beirut, on the coast of Syria. It was one of the colonies founded by Julius Caesar when he transported 80,000 Roman citizens to foreign parts], after long aspiring to the rank of centurion, being at last tired of waiting, devoted himself to study. He had met with some old authors at a bookseller's shop in the provinces, where the memory of ancient times still lingers, and is not quite forgotten, as it is at Rome. Being anxious carefully to re-peruse these, and afterwards to make acquaintance with other works of the same kind, he found himself an object of contempt, and was laughed at for his lectures, instead of their gaining him fame or profit.

Still, however, he persisted in his purpose, and employed himself in correcting, illustrating, and adding notes to many works which he had collected, his labors being confined to the province of a grammarian, and nothing more. He had, properly speaking, no scholars, but some few followers. For he never taught in such a way as to maintain the character of a master; but was in the habit of admitting one or two, perhaps at most three or four, disciples in the afternoon; and while he lay at ease and chatted freely on ordinary topics, he occasionally read some book to them, but that did not often happen. He published a few slight treatises on some subtle questions, besides which, he left a large collection of observations on the language of the ancients.

Lives of Eminent Rhetoricians

I. Rhetoric, also, as well as Grammar, was not introduced amongst us till a late period, and with still more difficulty, inasmuch as we find that, at times, the practice of it was even prohibited. In order to leave no doubt of this, I will subjoin an ancient decree of the senate, as well as an edict of the censors:—"In the consulship of Caius Fannius Strabo, and Marcus Palerius Messala [this senatus consultum was made A.U.C. 592]: the praetor Marcus Pomponius moved the senate, that an act be passed respecting Philosophers and Rhetoricians. In this matter, they have decreed as follows: 'It shall be lawful for M. Pomponius, the praetor, to take such measures, and make such provisions, as the good of the Republic, and the duty of his office, require, that no Philosophers or Rhetoricians be suffered at Rome.'"

After some interval, the censor Cnaeus Domitius Aenobarbus and Lucius Licinius Crassus issued the following edict upon the same subject: "It is reported to us that certain persons have instituted a new kind of discipline; that our youth resort to their schools; that they have assumed the title of Latin Rhetoricians; and that young men waste their time there for whole days together. Our ancestors have ordained what instruction it is fitting their children should receive, and what schools they should attend. These novelties, contrary to the customs and instructions of our ancestors, we neither approve, nor do they appear to us good. Wherefore it appears to be our duty that we should notify our judgment both to those who keep such schools, and those who are in the practice of frequenting them, that they meet our disapprobation."

However, by slow degrees, rhetoric manifested itself to be a useful and honorable study, and many persons devoted themselves to it, both as a means of defense and of acquiring reputation. Cicero declaimed in Greek until his praetorship, but afterwards, as he grew older, in Latin also; and even in the consulship of Hirtius and Pansa [consuls A.U.C. 710], whom he calls "his great and noble disciples." Some historians state that Cneius Pompey resumed the practice of declaiming even during the civil war, in order to be better prepared to argue against Caius Curio, a young man of great talents, to whom the defense of Caesar was entrusted. They say, likewise, that it was not forgotten by Mark Antony, nor by Augustus, even during the war of Modena. Nero also declaimed even after he became emperor, in the first year of his reign, which he had done before in public but twice. Many speeches of orators were also published. In consequence, public favor was so much attracted to the study of rhetoric, that a vast number of professors and learned men devoted themselves to it; and it flourished to such a degree, that some of them raised themselves by it to the rank of senators and the highest offices.

But the same mode of teaching was not adopted by all, nor, indeed, did individuals always confine themselves to the same system, but each varied his plan of teaching according to circumstances. For they were accustomed, in stating their argument with the utmost clearness, to use figures and apologies, to put cases, as circumstances required, and to relate facts, sometimes briefly and succinctly, and, at other times, more at large and with greater feeling. Nor did they omit, on occasion, to resort to translations from the Greek, and to expatiate in the praise, or to launch their censures on the faults, of illustrious men. They also dealt with matters connected with every-day life, pointing out such as are useful and necessary, and such as are hurtful and needless. They had occasion often to support the authority of fabulous accounts, and to detract from that of historical narratives, which sort the Greeks call "Propositions," "Refutations" and "Corroboration," until by a gradual process they have exhausted these topics, and arrive at the gist of the argument.

Among the ancients, subjects of controversy were drawn either from history, as indeed some are even now, or from actual facts, of recent occurrence. It was, therefore, the custom to state them precisely, with details of the names of places. We certainly so find them collected and published, and it may be well to give one or two of them literally, by way of example:

"A company of young men from the city, having made an excursion to Ostia in the summer season, and going down to the beach, fell in with some fishermen who were casting their nets in the sea. Having bargained with them for the haul, whatever it might turn out to be, for a certain sum, they paid down the money. They waited a long time while the nets were being drawn, and when at last they were dragged on shore, there was no fish in them, but some gold sewn up in a basket. The buyers claim the haul as theirs, the fishermen assert that it belongs to them."

Again: "Some dealers having to land from a ship at Brundusium a cargo of slaves, among which there was a handsome boy of great value, they, in order to deceive the collectors of the customs, smuggled him ashore in the dress of a freeborn youth, with the bullum hung about his neck. The fraud easily escaped detection. They proceed to Rome; the affair becomes the subject of judicial inquiry; it is alleged that the boy was entitled to his freedom, because his master had voluntarily treated him as free."

Formerly, they called these by a Greek term, syntaxeis, but of late "controversies"; but they may be either fictitious cases, or those which come under trial in the courts. Of the eminent professors of this science, of whom any memorials are extant, it would not be easy to find many others than those of whom I shall now proceed to give an account.

II. LUCIUS PLOTIUS GALLUS. Of him Marcus Tullius Cicero thus writes to Marcus Titinnius: "I remember well that when we were boys, one Lucius Plotius first began to teach Latin; and as great numbers flocked to his school, so that all who were most devoted to study were eager to take lessons from him, it was a great trouble to me that I too was not allowed to do so. I was prevented, however, by the decided opinion of men of the greatest learning, who considered that it was best to cultivate the genius by the study of Greek." This same Gallus, for he lived to a great age, was pointed at by M. Caelius, in a speech which he was forced to make in his own cause, as having supplied his accuser, Atracinus [see Cicero's Oration, pro Caelio, where Atracinus is frequently mentioned, especially cc. i. and iii], with materials for his charge. Suppressing his name, he says that such a rhetorician was like barley bread ["hordearium rhetorem."] compared to a wheaten loaf,—windy, chaffy, and coarse.

III. LUCIUS OCTACILIUS PILITUS is said to have been a slave, and, according to the old custom, chained to the door like a watch-dog; until, having been presented with his freedom for his genius and devotion to learning, he drew up for his patron the act of accusation in a cause he was prosecuting. After that, becoming a professor of rhetoric, he gave instructions to Cneius Pompey the Great, and composed an account of his actions, as well as of those of his father, being the first freedman, according to the opinion of Cornelius Nepos, who ventured to write history, which before his time had not been done by any one who was not of the highest ranks in society.

IV. About this time, EPIDIUS [Pliny mentions with approbation C. Epidius, who wrote some treatises in which trees are represented as speaking; Plin. xvii. 25] having fallen into disgrace for bringing a false accusation, opened a school of instruction, in which he taught, among others, Mark Antony and Augustus. On one occasion Caius Canutius jeered them for presuming to belong to the party of the consul Isauricus [consul with Julius Caesar II., A.U.C. 705, and again with L. Antony, A.U.C. 712] in his administration of the republic; upon which he replied, that he would rather be the disciple of Isauricus, than of Epidius, the false accuser. This Epidius claimed to be descended from Epidius Nuncio, who, as ancient traditions assert, fell into the fountain of the river Sarnus [a river in the ancient Campania, now called the Sarno, which discharges itself into the bay of Naples] when the streams were overflown, and not being afterwards found, was reckoned among the number of the gods.

V. SEXTUS CLODIUS, a native of Sicily, a professor both of Greek and Latin eloquence, had bad eyes and a facetious tongue. It was a saying of his, that he lost a pair of eyes from his intimacy with Mark Antony, the triumvir. Of his wife, Fulvia, when there was a swelling in one of her cheeks, he said that "she tempted the point of his style"; [the direct allusion is to the "style" or probe used by surgeons in opening tumors] nor did Antony think any the worse of him for the joke, but quite enjoyed it; and soon afterwards, when Antony was consul [Mark Antony was consul with Julius Caesar, A.U.C. 709], he even made him a large grant of land, which Cicero charges him with in his Philippics [Philipp. xi. 17].

"You patronize," he said, "a master of the schools for the sake of his buffoonery, and make a rhetorician one of your pot-companions; allowing him to cut his jokes on any one he pleased; a witty man, no doubt, but it was an easy matter to say smart things of such as you and your companions. But listen, Conscript Fathers, while I tell you what reward was given to this rhetorician, and let the wounds of the republic be laid bare to view. You assigned two thousand acres of the Leontine territory [Leontium, now called Lentini, was a town in Sicily. Polybius describes the Leontine fields as the most fertile part of Sicily. Polyb. vii. 1. And see Cicero, contra Verrem, iii. 46, 47] to Sextus Clodius, the rhetorician, and not content with that, exonerated the estate from all taxes. Hear this, and learn from the extravagance of the grant, how little wisdom is displayed in your acts."

VI. CAIUS ALBUTIUS SILUS, of Novara [a town of the Milanese], while, in the execution of the office of aedile in his native place, he was sitting for the administration of justice, was dragged by the feet from the tribunal by some persons against whom he was pronouncing a decree. In great indignation at this usage, he made straight for the gate of the town, and proceeded to Rome. There he was admitted to fellowship, and lodged, with Plancus the orator [St. Jerome in Chron. Euseb. describes Lucius Munatius Plancus as the disciple of Cicero, and a celebrated orator. He founded Lyons during the time he governed that part of the Roman provinces in Gaul], whose practice it was, before he made a speech in public, to set up some one to take the contrary side in the argument. The office was undertaken by Albutius with such success, that he silenced Plancus, who did not venture to put himself in competition with him. This bringing him into notice, he collected an audience of his own, and it was his custom to open the question proposed for debate, sitting; but as he warmed with the subject, he stood up, and made his peroration in that posture.

His declamations were of different kinds; sometimes brilliant and polished, at others, that they might not be thought to savor too much of the schools, he curtailed them of all ornament, and used only familiar phrases. He also pleaded causes, but rarely, being employed in such as were of the highest importance, and in every case undertaking the peroration only.

In the end, he gave up practicing in the forum, partly from shame, partly from fear. For, in a certain trial before the court of the One Hundred, having lashed the defendant as a man void of natural affection for his parents, he called upon him by a bold figure of speech, "to swear by the ashes of his father and mother which lay unburied"; his adversary taking him up for the suggestion, and the judges frowning upon it, he lost his cause, and was much blamed.

At another time, on a trial for murder at Milan, before Lucius Piso, the proconsul, having to defend the culprit, he worked himself up to such a pitch of vehemence, that in a crowded court, who loudly applauded him, notwithstanding all the efforts of the lictor to maintain order, he broke out into a lamentation on the miserable state of Italy [Cisalpine Gaul, which, though geographically a part of Italy, did not till a late period enjoy the privileges of the other territories united to Rome], then in danger of being again reduced, he said, into the form of a province, and turning to the statue of Marcus Brutus, which stood in the Forum, he invoked him as "the founder and vindicator of the liberties of the people." For this he narrowly escaped a prosecution. Suffering, at an advanced period of life, from an ulcerated tumor, he returned to Novara, and calling the people together in a public assembly, addressed them in a set speech, of considerable length, explaining the reasons which induced him to put an end to existence: and this he did by abstaining from food.

Lives of the Poets


The Life of Terence

Publius Terentius Afer, a native of Carthage, was a slave, at Rome, of the senator Terentius Lucanus, who, struck by his abilities and handsome person, gave him not only a liberal education in his youth, but his freedom when he arrived at years of maturity. Some say that he was a captive taken in war, but this, as Fenestella [Lucius Fenestella, an historical writer, is mentioned by Lactantius, Seneca, and Pliny] informs us, could by no means have been the case, since both his birth and death took place in the interval between the termination of the second Punic war and the commencement of the third [the second Punic war ended A.U.C. 552, and the third began A.U.C. 605. Terence was probably born about 560]; nor, even supposing that he had been taken prisoner by the Numidian or Getulian tribes, could he have fallen into the hands of a Roman general, as there was no commercial intercourse between the Italians and Africans until after the fall of Carthage [Carthage was laid in ruins A.U.C. 606 or 607, six hundred and sixty seven years after its foundation].

Terence lived in great familiarity with many persons of high station, and especially with Scipio Africanus, and Caius Delius, whose favor he is even supposed to have purchased by the foulest means. But Fenestella reverses the charge, contending that Terence was older than either of them. Cornelius Nepos, however, informs us that they were all of nearly equal age; and Porcias intimates a suspicion of this criminal commerce in the following passage:—

"While Terence plays the wanton with the great, and recommends himself to
them by the meretricious ornaments of his person; while, with greedy
ears, he drinks in the divine melody of Africanus's voice; while he
thinks of being a constant guest at the table of Furius, and the handsome
Laelius; while he thinks that he is fondly loved by them, and often
invited to Albanum for his youthful beauty, he finds himself stripped of
his property, and reduced to the lowest state of indigence. Then,
withdrawing from the world, he betook himself to Greece, where he met his
end, dying at Strymphalos, a town in Arcadia. What availed him the
friendship of Scipio, of Laelius, or of Furius, three of the most
affluent nobles of that age? They did not even minister to his
necessities so much as to provide him a hired house, to which his slave
might return with the intelligence of his master's death."

He wrote comedies, the earliest of which, The Andria, having to be performed at the public spectacles given by the aediles [these entertainments were given by the aediles M. Fulvius Nobilior and M. Acilius Glabrio, A.U.C. 587], he was commanded to read it first before Caecilius [St. Jerome also states that Terence read the "Andria" to Caecilius who was a comic poet at Rome; but it is clearly an anachronism, as he died two years before this period]. Having been introduced while Caecilius was at supper, and being meanly dressed, he is reported to have read the beginning of the play seated on a low stool near the great man's couch. But after reciting a few verses, he was invited to take his place at table, and, having supped with his host, went through the rest to his great delight. This play and five others were received by the public with similar applause, although Volcatius, in his enumeration of them, says that "The Hecyra ['The Mother-in-law,' one of Terence's plays] must not be reckoned among these."

The Eunuch was even acted twice the same day [the "Eunuch" was not brought out till five years after the Andria, A.U.C. 592], and earned more money than any comedy, whoever was the writer, had ever done before, namely, eight thousand sesterces; besides which, a certain sum accrued to the author for the title. But Varro prefers the opening of The Adelphi [first acted A.U.C. 593] to that of Menander. It is very commonly reported that Terence was assisted in his works by Laelius and Scipio [this report is mentioned by Cicero (Ad Attic, vii. 3), who applies it to the younger Laelius. The Scipio here mentioned is Scipio Africanus, who was at this time about twenty-one years of age], with whom he lived in such great intimacy. He gave some currency to this report himself, nor did he ever attempt to defend himself against it, except in a light way; as in the prologue to The Adelphi:

Nam quod isti dicunt malevoli, homines nohiles
Hunc adjutare, assidueque una scribere;
Quod illi maledictun vehemens existimant,
Eam laudem hic ducit maximam: cum illis placet,
Qui vobis universis et populo placent;
Quorum opera in bello, in otio, in negotio,
Suo quisque tempore usus est sine superbia.
--------For this,
Which malice tells that certain noble persons
Assist the bard, and write in concert with him,
That which they deem a heavy slander, he
Esteems his greatest praise: that he can please
Those who in war, in peace, as counsellors,
Have rendered you the dearest services,
And ever borne their faculties so meekly.

He appears to have protested against this imputation with less earnestness, because the notion was far from being disagreeable to Laelius and Scipio. It therefore gained ground, and prevailed in after-times.

Quintus Memmius, in his speech in his own defense, says "Publius Africanus, who borrowed from Terence a character which he had acted in private, brought it on the stage in his name." Nepos tells us he found in some book that C. Laelius, when he was on some occasion at Puteoli, on the calends [the first] of March [the calends of March was the festival of married women], being requested by his wife to rise early, begged her not to suffer him to be disturbed, as he had gone to bed late, having been engaged in writing with more than usual success. On her asking him to tell her what he had been writing, he repeated the verses which are found in the Heautontimoroumenos:

Satis pol proterve me Syri promessa—Heauton. IV. iv. 1.

I'faith! the rogue Syrus's impudent pretences—

Santra [Santra, who wrote biographies of celebrated characters, is mentioned as "a man of learning," by St. Jerom, in his preface to the book on the Ecclesiastical Writers] is of opinion that if Terence required any assistance in his compositions [the idea seems to have prevailed that Terence, originally an African slave, could not have attained that purity of style in Latin composition which is found in his plays, without some assistance], he would not have had recourse to Scipio and Laelius, who were then very young men, but rather to Sulpicius Gallus [Cicero (de Clar. Orat. c. 207) gives Sulpicius Gallus a high character as a finished orator and elegant scholar. He was consul when the Andria was first produced], an accomplished scholar, who had been the first to introduce his plays at the games given by the consuls; or to Q. Fabius Labeo, or Marcus Popilius [Q. Fabius Labeo was consul with M. Claudius Marcellus, A.U.C. 570 and Popilius with L. Postumius Albinus, A.U.C. 580], both men of consular rank, as well as poets. It was for this reason that, in alluding to the assistance he had received, he did not speak of his coadjutors as very young men, but as persons of whose services the people had full experience in peace, in war, and in the administration of affairs.

After he had given his comedies to the world, at a time when he had not passed his thirty-fifth year, in order to avoid suspicion, as he found others publishing their works under his name, or else to make himself acquainted with the modes of life and habits of the Greeks, for the purpose of exhibiting them in his plays, he withdrew from home, to which he never returned. Volcatius gives this account of his death:

Sed ut Afer sei populo dedit comoedias,
Iter hic in Asiam fecit. Navem cum semel
Conscendit, visus nunquam est. Sic vita vacat.
When Afer had produced six plays for the entertainment of the people,
He embarked for Asia; but from the time he went on board ship
He was never seen again. Thus he ended his life.

Q. Consentius reports that he perished at sea on his voyage back from Greece, and that one hundred and eight plays, of which he had made a version from Menander, were lost with him. Others say that he died at Stymphalos, in Arcadia, or in Leucadia, during the consulship of Cn. Cornelius Dolabella and Marcus Fulvius Nobilior [consuls A.U.C. 594. Terence was, therefore, thirty-four years old at the time of his death], worn out with a severe illness, and with grief and regret for the loss of his baggage, which he had sent forward in a ship that was wrecked, and contained the last new plays he had written.

In person, Terence is reported to have been rather short and slender, with a dark complexion. He had an only daughter, who was afterwards married to a Roman knight; and he left also twenty acres of garden ground [hortulorum, in the plural number; this term, often found in Roman authors, not inaptly describes the vast number of little enclosures, consisting of vineyards, orchards of fig-trees, peaches, etc., with patches of tillage], on the Appian Way, at the Villa of Mars. I, therefore, wonder the more how Porcius could have written the verses,

--------nihil Publius
Scipio profuit, nihil et Laelius, nihil Furius,
Tres per idem tempus qui agitabant nobiles facillime.
Eorum ille opera ne domum quidem habuit conductitiam
Saltem ut esset, quo referret obitum domini servulus.

Afranius places him at the head of all the comic writers, declaring, in his Compitalia,

Terentio non similem dices quempiam.

Terence's equal cannot soon be found.

On the other hand, Volcatius reckons him inferior not only to Naevius, Plautus, and Caecilius, but also to Licinius. Cicero pays him this high compliment, in his Limo—

Tu quoque, qui solus lecto sermone, Terenti,
Conversum expressumque Latina voce Menandrum
In medio populi sedatis vocibus offers,
Quidquid come loquens, ac omnia dulcia dicens.
"You, only, Terence, translated into Latin, and clothed in choice
language the plays of Menander, and brought them before the public, who,
in crowded audiences, hung upon hushed applause—

Grace marked each line, and every period charmed."

So also Caius Caesar:

Tu quoque tu in summis, O dimidiate Menander,
Poneris, et merito, puri sermonis amator,
Lenibus atque utinam scriptis adjuncta foret vis
Comica, ut aequato virtus polleret honore
Cum Graecis, neque in hoc despectus parte jaceres!
Unum hoc maceror, et doleo tibi deesse, Terenti.
"You, too, who divide your honors with Menander, will take your place
among poets of the highest order, and justly too, such is the purity of
your style. Would only that to your graceful diction was added more
comic force, that your works might equal in merit the Greek masterpieces,
and your inferiority in this particular should not expose you to censure.
This is my only regret; in this, Terence, I grieve to say you are wanting."

The Life of Juvenal

D. JUNIUS JUVENALIS, who was either the son [Juvenal was born at Aquinum, a town of the Volscians, as is intimated by himself. Sat. iii. 319] of a wealthy freedman, or brought up by him, it is not known which, declaimed till the middle of life [he must have been therefore nearly forty years old at this time, as he lived to be eighty], more from the bent of his inclination, than from any desire to prepare himself either for the schools or the forum. But having composed a short satire [the seventh of Juvenal's Satires], which was clever enough, on Paris, the actor of pantomimes, and also on the poet of Claudius Nero, who was puffed up by having held some inferior military rank for six months only; he afterwards devoted himself with much zeal to that style of writing. For a while indeed, he had not the courage to read them even to a small circle of auditors, but it was not long before he recited his satires to crowded audiences, and with entire success; and this he did twice or thrice, inserting new lines among those which he had originally composed.

Quod non dant proceres, dabit histrio, tu Camerinos,
Et Bareas, tu nobilium magna atria curas.
Praefectos Pelopea facit, Philomela tribunos.
Behold an actor's patronage affords
A surer means of rising than a lord's!
And wilt thou still the Camerino's [Sulpicius Camerinus had been proconsul in Africa; Bareas
Soranus in Asia. Tacit. Annal. xiii. 52; xvi. 23]
Or to the halls of Bareas resort,
When tribunes Pelopea can create
And Philomela praefects, who shall rule the state?

[The "Pelopea," was a tragedy founded on the story of the daughter of Thyestes; the "Philomela," a tragedy on the fate of Itys, whose remains were served to his father at a banquet by Philomela and her sister Procne.]

At that time the player was in high favor at court, and many of those who fawned upon him were daily raised to posts of honor. Juvenal therefore incurred the suspicion of having covertly satirized occurrences which were then passing, and, although eighty years old at that time [Juvenal, who wrote first in the reigns of Domitian and Trajan, composed his last Satire but one in the third year of Adrian, A.U.C. 872], he was immediately removed from the city, being sent into honorable banishment as praefect of a cohort, which was under orders to proceed to a station at the extreme frontier of Egypt [Syene, the frontier station of the imperial troops in that quarter of the world]. That sort of punishment was selected, as it appeared severe enough for an offence which was venial, and a mere piece of drollery. However, he died very soon afterwards, worn down by grief, and weary of his life.

The Life of Persius

AULUS PERSIUS FLACCUS was born the day before the Nones of December [4th Dec.] [A.U.C. 786, A.D. 34], in the consulship of Fabius Persicus and L. Vitellius. He died on the eighth of the calends of December [24th Nov.] [A.U.C. 814, A.D. 62] in the consulship of Rubrius Marius and Asinius Gallus. Though born at Volterra, in Etruria, he was a Roman knight, allied both by blood and marriage to persons of the highest rank [Persius was one of the few men of rank and affluence among the Romans, who acquired distinction as writers; the greater part of them having been freedmen, as appears not only from these lives of the poets, but from our author's notices of the grammarians and rhetoricians]. He ended his days at an estate he had at the eighth milestone on the Appian Way. His father, Flaccus, who died when he was barely six years old, left him under the care of guardians, and his mother, Fulvia Silenna, who afterwards married Fusius, a Roman knight, buried him also in a very few years.

Persius Flaccus pursued his studies at Volterra till he was twelve years old, and then continued them at Rome, under Remmius Palaemon, the grammarian, and Verginius Flaccus, the rhetorician. Arriving at the age of twenty-one, he formed a friendship with Annaeus Cornutus [Persius addressed his fifth satire to Annaeus Cornutus. He was a native of Leptis, in Africa, and lived at Rome in the time of Nero, by whom he was banished], which lasted through life; and from him he learned the rudiments of philosophy. Among his earliest friends were Caesius Bassus [a lyric poet who flourished during the reigns of Nero and Galba. Persius dedicated his sixth Satire to him], and Calpurnius Statura; the latter of whom died while Persius himself was yet in his youth. Servilius Numanus, he reverenced as a father. Through Cornutus he was introduced to Annaeus, as well as to Lucan, who was of his own age, and also a disciple of Cornutus. At that time Cornutus was a tragic writer; he belonged to the sect of the Stoics, and left behind him some philosophical works.

Lucan was so delighted with the writings of Persius Flaccus, that he could scarcely refrain from giving loud tokens of applause while the author was reciting them, and declared that they had the true spirit of poetry. It was late before Persius made the acquaintance of Seneca, and then he was not much struck with his natural endowments. At the house of Cornutus he enjoyed the society of two very learned and excellent men, who were then zealously devoting themselves to philosophical enquiries, namely, Claudius Agaternus, a physician from Lacedaemon, and Petronius Aristocrates, of Magnesia, men whom he held in the highest esteem, and with whom he vied in their studies, as they were of his own age, being younger than Cornutus. During nearly the last ten years of his life he was much beloved by Thraseas, so that he sometimes travelled abroad in his company; and his cousin Arria was married to him.

Persius was remarkable for gentle manners, for a modesty amounting to bashfulness, a handsome form, and an attachment to his mother, sister, and aunt, which was most exemplary. He was frugal and chaste. He left his mother and sister twenty thousand sesterces, requesting his mother, in a written codicil, to present to Cornutus, as some say, one hundred sesterces, or as others, twenty pounds of wrought silver, besides about seven hundred books, which, indeed, included his whole library. Cornutus, however, would only take the books, and gave up the legacy to the sisters, whom his brother had constituted his heirs.

He wrote seldom, and not very fast; even the work we possess he left incomplete. Some verses are wanting at the end of the book, but Cornutus thoughtlessly recited it, as if  it was finished; and on Caesius Bassus requesting to be allowed to publish it, he delivered it to him for that purpose., In his younger days, Persius had written a play, as well as an Itinerary, with several copies of verses on Thraseas' father-in-law, and Arria's [there were two Arrias, mother and daughter, Tacit. Annal. xvi. 34. 3] mother, who had made away with herself before her husband. But Cornutus used his whole influence with the mother of Persius to prevail upon her to destroy these compositions. As soon as his book of Satires was published, all the world began to admire it, and were eager to buy it up. He died of a disease in the stomach, in the thirtieth year of his age. But no sooner had he left school and his masters, than he set to work with great vehemence to compose satires, from having read the tenth book of Lucilius; and made the beginning of that book his model; presently launching his invectives all around with so little scruple, that he did not spare cotemporary poets and orators, and even lashed Nero himself, who was then the reigning prince. The verse ran as follows:

Auriculas asini Mida rex habet;

King Midas has an ass's ears;

but Cornutus altered it thus;

Auriculas asini quis non habet?

Who has not an ass's ears?

in order that it might not be supposed that it was meant to apply to Nero.

The Life of Horace.

HORATIUS FLACCUS was a native of Venusium [Venusium stood on the confines of the Apulian, Lucanian, and Samnite territories], his father having been, by his own account [Sat. i. 6. 45], a freedman and collector of taxes, but, as it is generally believed, a dealer in salted provisions; for some one with whom Horace had a quarrel, jeered him, by saying; "How often have I seen your father wiping his nose with his fist?" In the battle of Philippi, he served as a military tribune [Horace mentions his being in this battle, and does not scruple to admit that he made rather a precipitate retreat, "relicta non bene parmula."--Ode xi. 7-9], which post he filled at the instance of Marcus Brutus, the general; and having obtained a pardon, on the overthrow of his party, he purchased the office of scribe to a quaestor. Afterwards insinuating himself first, into the good graces of Mecaenas, and then of Augustus, he secured no small share in the regard of both. And first, how much Mecaenas loved him may be seen by the epigram in which he says:

Ni te visceribus meis, Horati,
Plus jam diligo, Titium sodalem,
Ginno tu videas strigosiorem.

["If I love you not, Horace, to my very heart's core,
may you see the priest of the college of Titus
leaner than his mule."]

But it was more strongly exhibited by Augustus, in a short sentence uttered in his last moments: "Be as mindful of Horatius Flaccus as you are of me!" Augustus offered to appoint him his secretary, signifying his wishes to Mecaenas in a letter to the following effect: "Hitherto I have been able to write my own epistles to friends; but now I am too much occupied, and in an infirm state of health. I wish, therefore, to deprive you of our Horace: let him leave, therefore, your luxurious table and come to the palace, and he shall assist me in writing my letters." And upon his refusing to accept the office, he neither exhibited the smallest displeasure, nor ceased to heap upon him tokens of his regard.

Letters of his are extant, from which I will make some short extracts to establish this: "Use your influence over me with the same freedom as you would do if we were living together as friends. In so doing you will be perfectly right, and guilty of no impropriety; for I could wish that our intercourse should be on that footing, if your health admitted of it." And again: "How I hold you in memory you may learn from our friend Septimius, for I happened to mention you when he was present. And if you are so proud as to scorn my friendship, that is no reason why I should lightly esteem yours, in return." Besides this, among other drolleries, he often called him, "his most immaculate penis," and "his charming little man," and loaded him from time to time with proofs of his munificence.

He admired his works so much, and was so convinced of their enduring fame, that he directed him to compose the Secular Poem, as well as that on the victory of his stepsons Tiberius and Drusus over the Vindelici; and for this purpose urged him to add, after a long interval, a fourth book of Odes to the former three. After reading his "Sermones," in which he found no mention of himself, he complained in these terms: "You must know that I am very angry with you, because in most of your works of this description you do not choose to address yourself to me. Are you afraid that, in times to come, your reputation will suffer; in case it should appear that you lived on terms of intimate friendship with me?" And he wrung from him the eulogy which begins with,

Cum tot sustineas, et tanta negotia solus:
Res Italas armis tuteris, moribus ornes,
Legibus emendes: in publica commoda peccem,
Si longo sermone morer tua tempora, Caesar.—Epist. ii. i.
While you alone sustain the important weight
Of Rome's affairs, so various and so great;
While you the public weal with arms defend,
Adorn with morals, and with laws amend;
Shall not the tedious letter prove a crime,
That steals one moment of our Caesar's time.—Francis.

In person, Horace was short and fat, as he is described by himself in his Satires, and by Augustus in the following letter: "Dionysius has brought me your small volume, which, little as it is, not to blame you for that, I shall judge favorably. You seem to me, however, to be afraid lest your volumes should be bigger than yourself. But if you are short in stature, you are corpulent enough. You may, therefore, if you will, write in a quart, when the size of your volume is as large round as your paunch."

It is reported that he was immoderately addicted to venery. [For he is said to have had obscene pictures so disposed in a bedchamber lined with mirrors, that, whichever way he looked, lascivious images might present themselves to his view.] He lived for the most part in the retirement of his farm [the works of Horace abound with references to his Sabine farm], on the confines of the Sabine and Tiburtine territories, and his house is shown in the neighborhood of a little wood not far from Tibur. Some Elegies ascribed to him, and a prose Epistle apparently written to commend himself to Mecaenas, have been handed down to us; but I believe that neither of them are genuine works of his; for the Elegies are commonplace, and the Epistle is wanting in perspicuity, a fault which cannot be imputed to his style.

He was born on the sixth of the ides of December [27th December], in the consulship of Lucius Cotta [Aurelius Cotta and L. Manlius Torquatus were consuls A.U.C. 688] and Lucius Torquatus; and died on the fifth of the calends of December [27th November], in the consulship of Caius Marcius Censorinus and Caius Asinius Gallus [A.U.C. 745]; having completed his fifty-ninth year. He made a nuncupatory will, declaring Augustus his heir, not being able, from the violence of his disorder, to sign one in due form. He was interred and lies buried on the skirts of the Esquiline Hill, near the tomb of Mecaenas. [Horace died under the hospitable roof of his patron Mecaenas, whose villa and gardens stood on the Esquiline hill.]

M. ANNAEUS LUCANUS, a native of Corduba [Cordova. Lucan was the son of Annaeus Mella, Seneca's brother], first tried the powers of his genius in an encomium on Nero, at the Quinquennial games. He afterwards recited his poem on the Civil War carried on between Pompey and Caesar. His vanity was so immense, and he gave such liberty to his tongue, that in some preface, comparing his age and his first efforts with those of Virgil, he had the assurance to say: "And what now remains for me is to deal with a gnat." In his early youth, after being long informed of the sort of life his father led in the country, in consequence of an unhappy marriage, he was recalled from Athens by Nero, who admitted him into the circle of his friends, and even gave him the honor of the quaestorship; but he did not long remain in favor.

Smarting at this, and having publicly stated that Nero had withdrawn, all of a sudden, without communicating with the senate, and without any other motive than his own recreation, after this he did not cease to assail the emperor both with foul words and with acts which are still notorious. So that on one occasion, when easing his bowels in the common privy, there being a louder explosion than usual, he gave vent to the nemistych of Nero: "One would suppose it was thundering under ground," in the hearing of those who were sitting there for the same purpose, and who took to their heels in much consternation. In a poem also, which was in every one's hands, he severely lashed both the emperor and his most powerful adherents.

At length, he became nearly the most active leader in Piso's conspiracy; and while he dwelt without reserve in many quarters on the glory of those who dipped their hands in the blood of tyrants, he launched out into open threats of violence, and carried them so far as to boast that he would cast the emperor's head at the feet of his neighbors. When, however, the plot was discovered, he did not exhibit any firmness of mind. A confession was wrung from him without much difficulty; and, humbling himself to the most abject entreaties, he even named his innocent mother as one of the conspirators; hoping that his want of natural affection would give him favor in the eyes of a parricidal prince. Having obtained permission to choose his mode of death [St. Jerom (Chron. Euseb.) places Lucan's death in the tenth year of Nero's reign, corresponding with A.U.C. 817], he wrote notes to his father, containing corrections of some of his verses, and, having made a full meal, allowed a physician to open the veins in his arm [Lucan expired while pronouncing some verses from his own Pharsalia: for which we have the
authority of Tacitus, Annal. xv. 20. 1]
. I have also heard it said that his poems were offered for sale, and commented upon, not only with care and diligence, but also in a trifling way.

The Life of Pliny

PLINIUS SECUNDUS, a native of New Como, having served in the wars with strict attention to his duties, in the rank of a knight, distinguished himself, also, by the great integrity with which he administered the high functions of procurator for a long period in the several provinces entrusted to his charge. But still he devoted so much attention to literary pursuits, that it would not have been an easy matter for a person who enjoyed entire leisure to have written more than he did. He comprised, in twenty volumes, an account of all the various wars carried on in successive periods with the German tribes. Besides this, he wrote a Natural History, which extended to seven books.

He fell a victim to the calamitous event which occurred in Campania. For, having the command of the fleet at Misenum, when Vesuvius was throwing up a fiery eruption, he put to sea with his gallies for the purpose of exploring the causes of the phenomenon close on the spot [Mount Vesuvius erupted A.U.C. 831, A.D. 79]. But being prevented by contrary winds from sailing back, he was suffocated in the dense cloud of dust and ashes. Some, however, think that he was killed by his slave, having implored him to put an end to his sufferings, when he was reduced to the last extremity by the fervent heat.

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