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Ciris

(245 words)

Author(s): Schmidt, Peter L. (Constance)
[German version] Latin epic in 541 hexameters about  Scylla betraying her native city Megara to the Cretan king Minos and being transformed into a bird. The plot assumes knowledge of the mythical tradition and neglects narrative continuity and logic for the sake of individual scenes and profiling the heroine's emotions. This is characteristic of the epyllium in the elegiac tradition. Contrary to an ascription from late antiquity, Virgil (cf. Donat. Vita Verg. 17) has been ruled out as the author. …

Pacuvius

(912 words)

Author(s): Schmidt, Peter L. (Constance)
Roman writer of tragedies in the Republican period, of Oscan-Messapian origin, nephew of Ennius (Plin. HN 35,19). [German version] A. Biography Born in 220 BC (cf. Cic. Brut. 229) in Brundisium (Jer. Chron. p. 142 H.), died shortly before 130 BC in Tarentum. Apart from this chronology, which comes from Accius' Didascalica and Varro’s De poetis [18. 48f., 53, 62] and has been preserved in works from Sueton’s De poetis [17. 36] to Jerome, there are traces of another tradition, which was perhaps shaped by Cornelius Nepos’ [2] Chronica. [2. 8, 5], which P.took up a generation later (…

Obsequens, Iulius

(381 words)

Author(s): Schmidt, Peter L. (Constance)
[German version] Author of a liber prodigiorum, which for the years 190-11 BC, i.e. at the end of Livy's [III 2] Roman history, arranges accounts of portents ( Prodigium ) of salient historical events by and alongside their dates. The title of the edition princeps of the work [4] shows that it was begun in 249 BC (for the significance of the starting date cf. [5. 76f.; 10. 158ff.], and that therefore the portents for 249-191 have been lost. O. evidently relates Rome's success to its observance of divine signs, whose expiation averts thre…

Pollius Felix

(158 words)

Author(s): Schmidt, Peter L. (Constance)
[German version] From Puteoli (modern Pozzuoli), magistrate and patron of Puteoli and Neapolis [2], landowner in Tibur (modern Tivoli), Puteoli (cf. ILS 5798) and Tarentum (Taras). His wife was called Polla; their daughter was the wife of Iulius Menecrates; he is congratulated on the birth of his third grandchild by Statius (Silv. 4,8; for a son of P. cf. Stat. Silv. 4,8,12). P., himself a poet, was en Campanie, le protecteur attitré ([1. 3235]) of the poet Statius, who described his villa at Surrentum (Silv. 2,2) and a statue of Hercules dedicated on its shores (S…

Kaisergeschichte

(239 words)

Author(s): Schmidt, Peter L. (Constance)
[German version] A portrayal of the Roman Imperial period in short biographies, to be dated between AD 337 and 361, the date of the first user (Aurelius Victor), and extending to the death of Constantinus. The establishment of its date by A. Enmann [1], who explains the relationship (linguistic and structural properties, factual errors) of Victor, Eutropius, the Historia Augusta and the Epitome de Caesaribus (Aurelius Victor) has, in contrast to the Epitome of Livy, withstood the test of time. The literary standard appears to have been higher than that of t…

Opillus, D. (?) Aurelius

(188 words)

Author(s): Schmidt, Peter L. (Constance)
[German version] Scholar from the Republican period, Italic, freedman of an Epicurean and hence a teacher of philosophy at first, and later of rhetoric and grammar. In 92/91 BC he followed the exile Rutilius Rufus to Smyrna where he lived to a ripe old age; for his life as a whole, see Suet. Gram. 6 (cf. in this respect [5]), who calls him an antiquarian Buntschriftsteller. Of his works ( Musae/'Muses'; Pinax/'Tablet'), only grammatical fragments (explanations of words, etymologies) have attained a position in the glossographic tradition via the filter of Varro. O.…

Public recital

(1,354 words)

Author(s): Schmidt, Peter L. (Constance)
[German version] I. Origins and development The PR of literature (Latin recitatio), especially of poetry, represented one of the most important media of transient oral literature in the Roman Imperial Period, contributing enormously to a colourful cultural life. PR existed alongside, and in competition with, declamation (Rhetoric, Declamationes) and theatre (Tragedy, Comedy), of which the texts, not always published and sometimes fluid (improvised e.g. in the artful speeches and the dialogues of the mime), attained in performance the type of publication typ…

Praetexta

(372 words)

Author(s): Schmidt, Peter L. (Constance)
[German version] Ancient term (particularly Diom. 3, GL 1,489,14 ff.; on the pattern of the termini cf. [2]) designating the historical drama of the Romans in the Republican Period. Like the historical epic, the genre was introduced in Rome by Naevius [I 1]. A more rarely realized type - cf. Naevius' Lupus (vel Romulus?) - portrayed exemplary figures of early Roman history, while most of the pieces (Naevius' Clastidium, Ennius' Ambracia, Pacuvius' Paulus) were intended to honour patrons posthumously by praising their victories, i.e. they were probably performed at their ludi funebre…

Favorinus

(523 words)

Author(s): Schmidt, Peter L. (Constance)
[German version] Rhetorician with philosophical interests, author of  Buntschriftstellerei, a representative of the  Second Sophistic, born about AD 80-90 in Arelate. His life is recounted in Philostr. VS 1,8 and the Suda (also s.Gell. NA 16,3,1 et passim). He was described as a hermaphrodite (Philostr.: ἀνδρόθηλυς, εὐνοῦχος; andróthēlys, eunoûchos; Polemon in Förster Scriptores physiognomonici 1,160,10: sine testiculis natus, cf. [6]). He was trained in Massalia, heard Dio Chrysostom speak in Rome (?) and became an acclaimed speaker. In Ephesus he wa…

Differentiarum scriptores

(270 words)

Author(s): Schmidt, Peter L. (Constance)
[German version] In antiquity the interest in identifying more closely the specific meaning ( proprietas ac differentia; Quint. Inst. 1 pr. 16) of synonyms that are related in their root or different in form but semantically very close ( polliceri/promittere, nullus/nemo, intus/intro, [1. 47]) extends back to Greek philosophy of language (Plato and the Sophists, the Stoa, later Cicero, Nigidius Figulus). In Rome it finds its place in oratory (Cato), rhetoric (Quint. Inst. 9,3,45ff.), jurisprudence and especially among the grammarians …

Iuvencus, C. Vettius Aquilinus

(264 words)

Author(s): Schmidt, Peter L. (Constance)
[German version] Spanish presbyter of aristocratic origin whose Latin epic Evangeliorum libri was written under Constantinus [1] probably after 325 (cf. the epilogue 4,802-812 and Jer. Chron. 232 H. re AD 329; Vir. ill. 84,2; Epist. 70,5); a second, likewise hexametric work regarding the Ordo sacramentorum (Jer. Vir. ill. 84,1) is lost. - The biblical epic to the New Testament, framed by a prologue and an epilogue, describes the story of Christ's life in 4 bks. of Virgilian scope (i.e. an average of about 800 vv.) in the style of a Gospel …

Aemilius Asper

(169 words)

Author(s): Schmidt, Peter L. (Constance)
[German version] The grammarian A., most likely from the late 2nd cent. AD, sums up the tension between archaistic and classical tendencies of the school canon in the 2nd cent. with his explanations of  Terentius,  Vergilius and  Sallustius. In his exegesis, the interest in historical-linguistic detailed phenomena takes second place to textual criticism, stylistics and the comparison with Greek classics. In late antiquity, he together with  Probus and  Terentius Scaurus constitutes a triad of gram…

Pervigilium Veneris

(315 words)

Author(s): Schmidt, Peter L. (Constance)
[German version] Anonymous Latin poem in 93 trochaic tetrameters, purporting to be a processional song sung on the eve of a Venus festival in Hybla, Sicily. A refrain appearing at the beginning and end of the poem and at irregular intervals within it isolates a series of short sections, which add up to three major parts: 1. praise of spring and announcement of the festival (vv. 2-26); 2. vizualisation of the festival, place of the action (28-56); 3. praise of the power of Venus (59-79); the final part (81-92) culminates in a melancholy reflection by the poet. The poem, which raises a numbe…

Carmina triumphalia

(181 words)

Author(s): Schmidt, Peter L. (Constance)
[German version] Song of the soldiers, whose parade concluded a triumphal procession. There is evidence to show that in the carmina triumphalia, the triumphant general received both praise (Liv. 4,20,2) and mockery. The reported antiphony may particularly refer to the latter (Liv. 4,53,11). Obscene ridicule and satire in this context were generally compared with the satirical poetry at weddings (Fescennine verses); they were seen as apotropaic, or rather seen as a further admonishment along with the hominem te esse memento of the bearer of the corona triumphalis. The evidence is …

Excerpta Barbari

(198 words)

Author(s): Schmidt, Peter L. (Constance)
[German version] A medieval Latin MS. (Parisinus Latinus 4884) contains the translation ( c. AD 700) of the Alexandrian version of a Christian world chronicle, which, because of its Vulgar Latin language, has been known as the ‘E.B.’ since J. J. Scaliger; it is based on a Greek version from the 5th cent. AD. The extant text, which ends in 387, is divided into three sections: a world chronicle from Adam to Cleopatra (p. 184-280 Frick); a list of rulers from the Assyrians to the Roman emperors (until Anastasiu…

Quintipor Clodius

(43 words)

Author(s): Schmidt, Peter L. (Constance)
[German version] Author of palliata from the late Republican era, known only from the polemics of Varro (in Non. p. 168,719 L.). Schmidt, Peter L. (Constance) Bibliography Lit.: M. Brožek, De Quintipore Clodio meliori famae restituendo, in: Eos 56, 1966, 115-118.

Gorgoneion

(371 words)

Author(s): Schmidt, Peter L. (Constance)
[German version] According to the myth, the G. is the head of the  Gorgo [1] Medusa killed by Perseus which could still turn people into stone after Medusa's death. Perseus finally handed it to Athena, who attached it to her   aegis . The significance of the G. as an object of representation, however, far exceeds the myth of Perseus and has complex older foundations. It belongs to the group of grotesque masks whose polyvalent functions go far beyond those of causing terror and deterring evil. Even though there are cer…

Porphyrio, Pomponius

(258 words)

Author(s): Schmidt, Peter L. (Constance)
[German version] Early 3rd-cent. author of a commentary on Horace for use in schools (in the form of marginal glosses), perhaps from Africa (before Iulius [IV 19] Romanus, cf. Charisius p. 285,10 ff. Barwick); a short biography precedes the text. The function of the work forced P. to dispense with textual variants; the source citations may have been mediated by Helenius Acron's scholarly commentary. P. himself was not very interested in archaisms; instead he emphasized the contemporary distance fr…

Iuvenalis, D. Iunius

(929 words)

Author(s): Schmidt, Peter L. (Constance)
[German version] Juvenal, the last outstanding satirical poet of Rome, probably from Campanian Aquinum (cf. Juv. Sat. 3,318ff. and ILS 2926 = CIL 10,5382), contemporary of Tacitus; from Sat. 13,16f. and 15,27f., [1] deduces that he was born in AD 67. The silence of his poems concerning autobiographical detail - in contrast to  Horatius - and the fictitious nature of the vitae (no. 1 Jahn), which were not compiled until late antiquity, make any reconstruction of the details of his life circumstances impossible. The statement that I. was active as a reciter…

Excerpta Valesiana

(140 words)

Author(s): Schmidt, Peter L. (Constance)
[German version] Two different historiographic texts dating from late antiquity, which H. Valesius first edited in 1636 from what is today called the Cod. Berol. Phill. 1885 (9th cent.). The first excerpt (a), entitled Origo Constantini imperatoris, comes from a collection of biographies of emperors (mid 4th cent.) and outlines the life of emperor Constantine [1] I from the year 305. The second (b), an excerpt ex libris chronicorum (6th cent.), covers the era from 474 to 526, in particular the rule of Theoderic; the tradition of the text is contributed to by t…
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