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ACCIUS, OR ATTIUS
Form: Lucius.

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A Roman poet, who was born 170 B.C. of a freedman and freedwoman, at Pisaurum in Umbria, and died about 90 B.C. He was the most prolific and, under the Republic, the most highy esteemed of tragic poets, especially for his lofty, impassioned' style and powerful descriptions. His talents seem to have secured him a respectable position in Roman society, which he maintained with full consciousness of his merits. His poetical career can be traced through a period of thirty-six years, from B.C. 140, when he exhibited a drama under the same aedfles as the octogenarian Pacuvius, to B.C. 104. Of his tragedies, the titles and fragments of some fifty are preserved. Two of these treat of national subjects (see PRAeTEXTA), viz., the Brutus and the Decius The former dealt with the expulsion of the Tarquins; the latter with the heroic death of Decius at Sentinum, B.C. 295. The rest, composed after Greek models, embrace almost all cycles of legend, especially the Trojan, which is treated in a great variety of aspects. Accius likewise handled questions of grammar, literary history, and antiquities in the Alexandrine manner and the fashion of his own time and in many different metres. These works (the Didascalica in at least nine books; the Pragmatica on dramatic poetry and acting, etc.) have also perished.
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