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Article

The most influential grammarian of the 4th cent. ce, whose pupils included the future St *Jerome. His two artes (‘treatises’) (ed. L. Holtz (1981), superseding H. Keil, Gramm. Lat. 4. 355–402) attracted many commentators (e.g. *Servius, *Cledonius, *Pompeius) and dominated grammatical learning in Europe until the reemergence of Priscianus in the 12th cent. The Ars minor, intended for beginners, deals with the eight parts of speech in question-and-answer format; the Ars maior is more comprehensive and includes sections on the ‘flaws’ and ‘virtues’ of speech. Donatus also wrote commentaries on *Terence and *Virgil. The extant Terence commentary is only a much abridged version (lacking Heautontimoroumenos) compiled at an unknown date from (probably) two sets of marginal scholia in manuscripts of Terence (ed. P. Wessner, 2 vols. (1902–5): a new edition is needed, see M. D. Reeve, CPhil. 1979, 310 ff.); the original commentary cannot be reconstructed. From the Virgil commentary there survive only the dedicatory epistle, the ‘Life’ of Virgil (drawn from *Suetonius), and the introduction to the Eclogues (ed.

Article

Tiberius Claudius Donatus (2) (late 4th–early 5th cent. ce ?), wrote a long, line-by-line ‘interpretation’ of the Aeneid, dedicated to his son (Interpretationes Vergilianae, ed. H. Georgii, 2 vols. (1905–6)). Virtually nothing is known of Donatus himself save that he disapproved of the methods of the schools (see education, Roman, § 3), and his work in fact is largely independent of the scholastic tradition of commentary on Virgil. Devoted to appreciative paraphrase of the narrative and to judgements (sometimes striking) on the characters' ‘psychology’, Donatus knew little of the poem's historical background yet was quite certain that its every element was designed to praise *Aeneas and *Augustus: contentedly reductive and reflexively traditionalist, his work embodies the sensibility of an ancient reader ‘cut adrift from history’.

Article

Author of a brief Latin grammar (ed. Keil, Gramm. Lat. 7. 376–436; J. Tolkiehn (1913)). His name is Greek, and one of the three manuscripts gives him the unadorned title magister (‘master’); no more is known of him. Yet the grammar is interesting because most of it survives with a literal Greek translation, not necessarily by Dositheus, but fitting other indications that the grammar was designed and used for teaching Latin as a foreign language, to Greek-speakers.

Article

Peter G. M. Brown

A stock character of *Atellana, a glutton, thought by some to have been a hunchback because of a supposed derivation of his name from dorsum, ‘back’.

Article

Helen Kaufmann

Blossius Aemilius Dracontius was one of the most remarkable Latin poets in Vandal North Africa. He lived in Carthage around 500 ce, and combined poetry with a career in law. His major Christian work De laudibus dei (‘Praises of God’) combines biblical narrative with exegesis, doctrine, and autobiography. He also wrote a ‘Plea’ (Satisfactio) to the Vandal king Gunthamund, who had imprisoned him, as well as four short mythological epics (on Hylas, Helen, Medea, and Orestes respectively), two epithalamia, two prefaces, three rhetorical pieces, two epigrams, and two now lost panegyrics. Dracontius’ work stands out for its originality in combining sources, for its creative use of literary forms and rhetoric, and for its character descriptions.Blossius Aemilius Dracontius lived in Carthage around 500ce. Only one event in his life, his imprisonment under Gunthamund, can be dated approximately: the Vandal king ruled from 484 to 496.1 Dracontius’ tripartite name, as well as inscriptional evidence for a (different) Dracontius and further Blossii in North Africa, suggests a North African Roman origin; the title .

Article

ecloga  

Stephen J. Harrison

Ecloga (ἐκλογή), ‘selection’, used for a choice extract from a work (Varro, cited by Charisius, gram. 120. 28 Keil; Cic. Att. 16. 2. 6), or (by extension) for any short poem or poem within a poetry-book (Stat. Silv. 3 pref. 20, 4 pref. 18; Plin. Ep. 4. 14. 9; Suet. Vita Hor., Auson. Griph pref. 10, Cup. pref. 10; Schol. Cruq. Hor. Sat. 2. 1). *Ausonius' Eclogae (14 Green) is a brief collection of short poems in hexameters and elegiacs. The term is commonly used to refer to *Virgil's Bucolics; ancient evidence calls the individual poems of Virgil's collection eclogae (Donat. Vit. Verg. 9, 43), but entitles the whole collection Bucolica (so all the capital MSS and Macrob. 5. 17. 20); this is likely to have been the author's title (matching Georgica). The use of Eclogae for the later pastorals of *Calpurnius Siculus and *Nemesianus ensured its continued application to Latin pastorals in Carolingian and Renaissance poetry.

Article

J. V. Muir

There is very little reliable evidence bearing upon formal education in the early period. Education was then certainly centred on the family and was probably based upon apprenticeship supervised by the father—in poorer homes an apprenticeship to agriculture or trade, in more aristocratic circles to military service and public life (what later became known as the tirocinium militiae and the tirocinium fori). The authority of the father, legalized as *patria potestas, was absolute and could only in theory be questioned by the censors. The Roman mother had a more restricted, domestic role but she too was traditionally expected to take a personal, central responsibility and to set a strong moral example (see motherhood, Roman). It is not certain when reading and writing became a serious part of Roman education: the 7th-cent. bce ivory writing-tablet with inscribed alphabet found at Marsiliana d'Albegna and 6th-cent. bucchero (pottery) models of wooden writing-tablets (tabulae ansatae) from Etruria may imply that *literacy was then already making some headway.

Article

Lindsay Watson

Two incomplete Latin pastorals (see pastoral poetry, latin) comprising 87 hexameters, first published in 1869, and named after the Swiss monastery where they were discovered. They are the work of an unidentified author writing under *Nero: just possibly the two poems are by different hands. In the first, dating probably to ce 64 or 65, two competing shepherds praise the emperor—whose Troica is said to eclipse *Virgil's Aeneid—in terms so extravagant that critics are undecided whether to regard the poem as botched panegyric, or as ironic and derisive. In the second, the shepherd Mystes celebrates the return of the *golden age, but, paradoxically, asserts that ‘satiety’ and ‘cares’ corrode his enjoyment of it. He also rebuts indignantly the denial by the ‘doltish herd’ that the Neronian era is a new golden age, thereby conceding implicitly the existence of opposition to the emperor. Again it is difficult to determine the author's attitude towards Nero: the difficulty is compounded by the corrupt state of the text, and by the incompetence and obscurity of the writing.

Article

The imperial-age Greek Progymnasmata in which the term ekphrasis first appears show that the rhetoricians of the Greco-Roman world identified “descriptive speech” as an important component of rhetorical narrative and other elements of an oration insofar as it created “vividness” (ἐνάργεια) and “clarity” (ͅσαφήνεια) so as to bring persons, places, events, objects, etc. “before the eyes” (ὑπ’ ὅψιν) of listeners. The Roman rhetoricians draw upon Greek concepts and terminology to express the value in oratory of vividness (evidentia, illustratio, repraesentatio) imparted through description (descriptio, sub oculos subiectio, etc.). Many examples of such techniques can be found in Roman oratory as well as the Roman historians, who, like most Roman authors, share with the orators a strong familiarity with rhetoric. But if, in general, neither oratory nor historiography exhibits a high degree of self-consciousness about differences between ekphraseis/descriptiones in Greek and Latin, one type of ekphrasis—that of art objects in Roman poetry and the Roman novel—does. This constitutes one reason why it merits separate attention, in spite of the fact that the Progymnasmata suggest that in Antiquity it was viewed as a subcategory of the larger phenomenon.

Article

Edward John Kenney and Stephen Hinds

*Ennius introduced the elegiac couplet into Latin (Isid. 1. 39. 15); four epigrams, epitaphic in form, survive under his name (var. 15–24 Vahlen; 43–6 Courtney). *Lucilius (1) (bks. 22–5) used the metre for epitaphs and other short poems descriptive of slaves. An anecdote in Aulus *Gellius (19. 9) offers an early glimpse of elegiac epigram on erotic themes, Hellenistic in flavour (*Valerius Aedituus, *Porcius Licinus, and Q. *Lutatius Catulus (1), c.150–100 bce); a Pompeian wall bears witness to the popular diffusion of such work in the second quarter of the 1st century bce (Ross (see bibliog. below), 147–9). The careers of *Catullus (1) and *Ovid bound the elegiac genre's most concentrated and distinctive period of Roman development. In particular, by early Augustan times elegy emerges as the medium for cycles of first-person (‘subjective’) poems describing the tribulations, mostly erotic, of a male poet who figuratively enslaves himself to a single (pseudonymous) mistress, distances himself from the duties associated with public life, and varies his urban mise en scène with escapist appeals to other worlds, mythological (*Propertius, Ovid) or rural (*Tibullus).

Article

Tom Geue

The Elegiae in Maecenatem are two (originally conjoined) poems on the death of Maecenas. Previous scholarship has focused on the questions of author and date, reaching a minimal consensus that the poems postdate Seneca. Traditionally earning a lukewarm literary reception, the poems have been mined (and questioned) as historical sources for Maecenas. Ever since Irene Peirano’s identification of them as chronological “fakes” (i.e., rhetorical fictions cut to fit a given historical moment), the door has been open to more appreciative literary and structural analysis.

The Elegiae in Maecenatem started life in the bundle of the Appendix Vergiliana as a single poem, built of elegiac couplets, about the life, death, and memory of Maecenas. Scaliger was the first to spot that “it” was probably not one poem, but that they were two. The first poem is a wide-ranging defence of Maecenas’s dissolute ways, a wish that he had lived longer, and a prayer for minimally burdensome earth to be piled over him in death, packaged as a sort of funeral poem. The second poem is a dramatic monologue, the dying words of Maecenas as he reminds the great Caesar of their intimate friendship, which diverts the poet’s frustrated wish for Maecenas’s long life in the first poem onto Caesar himself. Most recent scholarship takes the two-poem structure for granted but some have argued for the unity of the poem and posited a lacuna in transmission as a possible explanation for the discontinuity.

Article

Leofranc Holford-Strevens

Inauthentic but once fashionable name for the style of *Cornelius Fronto, Aulus *Gellius, and *Apuleius extracted from Fronto's comment on a speech by Marcus *Aurelius, nonnihil interdum elocutione novella parum signatum (151. 3–4 van den Hout2), through the misinterpretation ‘occasional passages were insufficiently stamped with the New Style’: the true sense is ‘insufficiently clear by reason of extravagant expression’, a vice the emperor was prone to (Fronto 159–60: Cass. Dio 71. 5. 3).

Article

Christopher Pelling

Quintus Elogius (the name is very uncertain), Augustan writer of memoirs cited as an authority on the Vitellian family by *Suetonius (Vit. 1).

Article

Leofranc Holford-Strevens

Self-description of entertainer who gave a well-received public reading of *Ennius at Puteoli (Gell. NA 18. 5); if modelled on performances by Homeristae, it included action. The story attests Ennius' widespread popularity in the 2nd cent. ce.

Article

Ennius was the most prolific poet in the early period of Latin literature and is particularly known for his epic and his dramas. He composed plays for public festivals down to the year of his death, a major narrative epic, a large amount of non-dramatic verse, and at least one work in prose. While Ennius’ entire output only survives in fragments, his life and writings are better documented than those of most other early Republican writers, which is partly the result and an indication of his esteem among the Romans.

Ennius was born in 239bce (Cic. Brut. 72; Tusc. 1.3; Gell. NA 17.21.43; Hieron. Ab Abr. 1777 [p. 133a Helm]) in the Calabrian town of Rudiae (Cic. Arch. 22; Hor. Carm. 4.8.20 with Schol. ad loc.; Strab. 6.3.5 [p. 281 C.]; Ov. Ars am. 3.409–410; Mela 2.66) and claimed descent from the legendary king Messapus (Serv. ad Verg. Aen.

Article

epic  

Philip Hardie

At the summit of the ancient hierarchy of genres, epic narrates in hexameter verse the deeds of gods, heroes, and men The authority of Homer, the name given to the composer of the Iliad and the Odyssey, ensures that the forms and conventions of the Homeric poems are determinative for the whole of the Greco-Roman tradition of epic. From an early date, the production and reading of epic poems was accompanied by intensive scholarly and critical activity. Over the centuries, numerous epics were written on both legendary and historical subjects, as the genre responded to changing aesthetic and ideological conditions. In Rome, Virgil’s Aeneid successfully established for itself an authority comparable to that of the Homeric poems, and all later Latin epics place themselves within a Virgilian tradition. Epic in Greek and Latin continues to flourish in late antiquity, when Christian writers appropriate its forms to propagate their own messages and praise their own heroes.

Article

Mario Citroni

The use of metrical inscriptions in Latin is attested from the second half of the 3rd cent. bce. The two most ancient elogia in the tomb of the Scipios (CIL 12. 9, probably from around 230 bce, and CIL 12. 7 cut around 200 bce) are in *Saturnians, and limit themselves to a sober indication of the name, career, achievements, and civic virtues of the subject, in accordance with traditional Roman models for the praise of the great (cf. also the inscription in Saturnians from the 3rd cent. bce quoted in Cic. Fin. 2. 116). There is greater elaboration in the two Scipionic inscriptions in Saturnians datable to around the middle of the 2nd cent. bce which lament figures whose early deaths prevented their attaining glory (CIL 12. 10 and 11). There is little trace of Greek culture or stylistic sensibility in these early epitaphs or in the rare dedicatory inscriptions in Saturnians from the same period, but the Latin taste for verbal effects such as alliteration, tricola, and antithesis is much in evidence. Saturnians continued to be used for commemorative inscriptions, in homage to Roman tradition, up to at least 133 bce (Schol.

Article

Joyce Reynolds

The study of Latin texts inscribed on durable objects, usually of stone or bronze. It is concerned both with the form of the inscriptions and with their content, and so impinges on many other fields, e.g. art history, palaeography, philology, history, law, religion. It excludes, but cannot ignore, texts on coins and gems; it has a strong interest in Greek inscriptions of the Roman period; it includes some texts written with paint or pen and ink (see e.g. amphorae and amphora stamps, roman).

2. The epigraphist must first decipher all that can be read on the inscribed object, however much damaged it is and then, where possible, propose restorations of what is illegible or lost: processes for which modern techniques, such as computer-enhanced photographs and computerized indices of formulae, are currently supplementing long-standing aids, such as photographs taken in raking lights and squeezes (impressions made with absorbent paper or latex). The resulting text can then be interpreted as a historical document.

Article

R. A. Kaster

Convenient and informative compendia based on the writings of others were being produced at Rome by the end of the republic, especially in history: M. *Iunius Brutus (1), for example, epitomized *Polybius (1) and (perhaps) one or two of the Latin annalists, and *Ateius Philologus composed a brief summary (breviarium) of all Roman history for *Sallust; by the late 1st cent. ce*Martial knew an epitome of *Livy. Short histories, however derivative, could be stylish (see florus (1)), but schematic summaries predominated: thus Livy's *Periochae, and *Justin's epitome of *Pompeius Trogus. There was no loss while the original works remained, on papyrus, but the taste for epitome limited their chances of survival during the change to the parchment codex: though senatorial traditionalism in the 4th cent. ce helped to save some of Livy, Trogus was lost. Concise writing set its fashion. Late historians used the epitome to introduce their accounts of contemporary events (see eutropius (1); festus; cf.

Article

Edward Courtney and Gail Trimble

Epyllion (diminutive of epos), term applied in modern (not ancient) times to some ‘short epics’, hexameter poems of mythological narrative in not more than one book. The texts most frequently called ‘epyllion’ are Hellenistic (especially the Hecale of *Callimachus (3), certain poems of *Theocritus, and Moschus’ Europa) and Roman (the sixty-fourth poem of *Catullus (1), lost works by other *neoterics, and the *Ciris).

Characteristics often considered typical of epyllion include: unfamiliar mythical subject-matter, often erotic; a subjective, emotional style; an uneven narrative scale, with some events elaborated and others quickly passed over; the inclusion of a second theme within the main narrative by means of a speech or *ekphrasis.

However, many of these features are shared with other Hellenistic or neoteric poetry, with earlier poems in the post-Homeric epic tradition, or with shorter poetic narratives in other metres (especially lyric), while some poems usually identified as ‘epyllia’ exhibit only one or two of them. The meaningfulness of the term has therefore been questioned, although its convenience is generally agreed.