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PERSIUS FLACCUS
Form: Aulus.
A Roman satirist; born 34 A.D. at Volaterrae, in Etruria, of a good equestrian family. Losing his father when six years old, at the age of twelve he went to Rome, and enjoyed the instructions of the most eminent teachers, more especially of one for whom he had the greatest reverence, Annaeus Cornutus, who initiated him in the Stoic philosophy, and introduced him to the acquaintance of Lucan. After the first poetic attempts of his youth, which be himself burnt, his energies were directed to satiric verse, under the influence of Lucilius and Horace. On his early death, in 62, the six satires which he left, after some slight revision by Cornutus, were published by his friend, the poet Caesius Bassus. In these Persius deals with the moral corruption of his age, from the standpoint of a Stoic preacher of ethics. Both in thought and expression a tendency to echo Horace is constantly apparent. He composed slowly, and was himself conscious that he had no true poetic faculty.[1] His mode of expression is frequently difficult and involved to the verge of obscurity. The need of explanations was accordingly felt in comparatively early times; but the collection of scholia bearing the name of Cornutus shows hardly any traces of ancient learning.
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