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Cornelius Nepos. A Roman historian, a native of Upper Italy, who lived between 94 and 24 B.C. He was a contemporary of Cicero, Atticus, and Catullus, with whom he lived in friendly intercourse at Rome. The most comprehensive of his many writings was a collection of biographies of celebrated men (De Viris Illustribus) in at least sixteen books. This was dedicated to Atticus, and must therefore have been published before B.C. 32, the year of his death. The biographies were arranged in departments, and in each department the Greek and Roman celebrities were treated separately. Thus the still surviving book upon distinguished foreign generals (De Excellentibus Ducibus Exterarum Gentium) is followed by one on Roman generals, while a book devoted to the Greek historians had one on the Roman historians corresponding to it, from which the lives of the elder Cato and of Atticus are preserved. The lives of celebrated generals were in former times (in consequence of an ancient error in the MSS.) erroneously ascribed to a certain Aemilius Probus of the 4th century A.D. Nepos' manner is easy and pleasant, but suffers from many weaknesses of matter and form. A superficial use of his authorities has led him into many errors, and the style is not seldom careless and incorrect.
Type: Standard
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