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SILIUS ITALICUS
Form: Gaius.
A Roman poet, born A.D. 25, probably at Italica [near Seville], in Spain. After having been consul in 68, and proconsul in Asia, he retired from public life, and went to his estates in the south of Italy, to spend the rest of his life in learned studies and in the composition of poetry. He paid almost divine honours to the memory of his favourite poet Vergil, whom he selected as his model [Martial, xi 48, 49; vii 63], but whom he rarely equalled. He died in 102 by starving himself to death [Pliny, Ep. iii 7; vii 63]. We possess a poem of his on the second Punic War in seventeen books (Punica); it is founded on careful historical studies, but is far from brilliant, and, in spite of all its ornamental details, contains little that is truly poetic. He appears to have been soon forgotten. [Quintilian's silence in his enumeration of the epic poets of Rome has been rightly ascribed to the fact that the poet was still alive, and had not yet published his poem. The poet's younger and abler contemporary Statius, in Silvoe iv 7, 14, alludes to Silius' Punica i 233.]
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