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Form: Marcus.
A Roman freedman, "who obtained renown chiefly by his method of teaching. To exercise the wits of his pupils, says Suetonius, he used to pit against each other those of the same age, give them a subject to write upon, and reward the winner with a prize, generally in the shape of a fine or rare copy of some ancient author" (Prof. Nettleship's Essays, p. 203). He educated the grandsons of Augustus and died under Tiberius. He devoted himself to literary and antiquarian studies resembling those of the learned Varro. Thus, he wrote books De Orthographia and Rerum Memoria Dignarum; but his most important work was entitled De Verborum Significatu. This may claim to be the first Latin lexicon ever written. It was arranged alphabetically; it gave interpretations of obsolete words, and explained the meaning of the oldest institutions of the State, including its religious customs, etc. We only possess fragments of an abridgment made by Festus (q.v.), and a further abridgment of the latter, dedicated to Charlemagne, by Paulus. A calendar of Roman festivals drawn up by him was set up in marble at Praeneste, near Rome; of this there are some fragments still preserved containing the months of January to April inclusive and December. These fragments are known as the Fasti Proenestini [Corpus Inscr. Lat. i, p. 311]. [In the library of Trinity College, Cambridge, there is a slab of stone bearing the name VERRIVS FLACCVS, probably the lexicographer's epitaph. See also Prof. Nettleship's Lectures and Essays, pp. 201-247.]
Type: Standard
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