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Greece. In the Homeric poems the Greeks are not represented as a people with a spontaneous inclination to commerce. Indeed, the position of the oldest Greek cities, far away from the sea, sufficiently shows that their founders can have had no idea of trade as a means of getting wealth. Greek navigation in ancient times was almost exclusively subservient to war and piracy, to which, for a long time, no stigma was attached in public opinion. And the trade carried on with Greece by the Asiatics, especially the Phoenicians, who then ruled the Greek seas, can hardly have been very active. The Greeks, having no agricultural or industrial produce to offer, could not have tempted many foreigners to deal with them. But in the centuries succeeding the Homeric age, the commerce of Greece was revolutionized. The islands, especially Aegina and Euboea, were foremost in commercial undertakings; the only continental town which was at all successful in this way being Corinth, which was favoured by its incomparable position. It was the foundation of the Hellenic colonies in Asia Minor that first occasioned the free development of Greek trade. The exertions of the Ionians were mainly instrumental in creating two things indispensable to its success, namely, commercial activity, excited by contact with the ancient industries of the East, and a maritime power in the proper sense, which made it possible to oust the Phoenicians from the naval supremacy which they had so long maintained. This new commercial activity necessitated a larger use of the precious metals, and the establishment of a gold and silver coinage, which the Ionians were the first among the Greeks to adopt. This proved a powerful stimulus to the development of commerce, or rather it was the very condition of its existence. Miletus took the first place among the trading colonies. The influence of these cities upon their mother country was so strong that even the Dorians gradually lost their national and characteristic dislike of trade and commerce, and threw themselves actively into their pursuit. Down to the 6th century B.C., Greek commerce had extended itself to the coasts of the Mediterranean and the inland seas connected with it, especially towards the East. It was not until a later time that Athens joined the circle of commercial cities. Even in Solon's time the Athenians had lived mainly by agriculture and cattle-breeding, and it was only with the growth of the democratic constitution that their commercial intercourse with the other cities became at all considerable. The Persian wars, and her position as head of the naval confederacy, raised Athens to the position of the first maritime power in Greece. Under the administration of Pericles she became the centre of all Hellenic activity, not only in art and science, but in trade. It was only Corinth and Corcyra whose western trade enabled them to maintain a prominent position by the side of Athens. The Greeks of Asia Minor completely lost their commercial position after their conquest by the Persians. The naval supremacy of Athens, and with it its commerce, was completely annihilated by the Peloponnesian war. It was a long time before the Athenians succeeded in breaking down the maritime power of Sparta which that war had established. Having done so, they recovered, but only for a short time, a position of prominence not at all equal to their former supremacy by sea. The victory of the Macedonian power entirely destroyed the political and commercial importance of Athens, whose trade now fell behind that of other cities. The place of Athens, as the first maritime and commercial power, was taken by the city of Rhodes, founded in 408 B.C. By the second half of the 4th century B.C. the trade of Rhodes had extended itself over the whole known world, and its maritime law was universally observed until a much later period. After the destruction of Corinth in the middle of the 2nd century B.C. the island of Delos enjoyed a brief but brilliant period of prosperity. Among the commercial cities of the Graeco-Macedonian empire, Alexandria in Egypt took the first place, and rose indeed to be the centre of European and Eastern trade. It was mainly through Alexandria that intercourse was kept up between Greece and the Eastern countries opened up by the campaigns of Alexander the Great. One of the most important routes followed by Grecian traffic was that leading to the Black Sea, the coasts of which were fringed with Greek colonies. Besides Byzantium and Sinope, the chief commercial centres in this region were Olbia, Panticapaeum, Phanagoria, and Phasis, from which trade-routes penetrated far into the barbarian countries of the interior. Other main routes led by Chios and Lesbos to the coasts of Asia Minor and by the Cyclades to that part of the Asiatic coast where lay the great cities of Samos, Ephesus, and Miletus. Hence they continued to Egypt and Cyrene, by Rhodes and Cyprus and the coast of Phoenicia. But in travelling to these parts from the Peloponnesus, they generally sailed by way of Crete, which had been long celebrated for its maritime enterprise. Round the promontory of Malea, the southernmost point of the Peloponnese, and by Corcyra, they sailed northwards to the coasts of the Adriatic, or westward to Italy and Sicily Regular traffic beyond Sicily was rendered impossible by the jealousy of the Carthaginians and Etruscans, who were masters of the commerce in this region, and whose place was afterwards taken there by the Romans. A considerable land-traffic was carried on by the colonies with barbarians of the interior. But in Greece, Proper the mountainous nature of the country and the absence of navigable rivers were unfavourable to communication by land, and the land-traffic accordingly was entirely thrown into the shade by the maritime trade. The only opportunity for commerce by land on a large scale was afforded by the great national festivals, which brought together great crowds of people from every part of Greece, and secured them a safe conduct (see EKECHEIRIA). In this way these festivals exactly corresponded to our trade fairs. The exports of Greece consisted mainly in wine, oil, and manufactured goods, especially pottery and metal wares. The imports included the necessaries of life, of which Greece itself, with its dense population, artificially increased by slavery, did not produce a sufficient quantity. The staple was wheat, which was imported in large quantities from the coasts of the Black Sea, Egypt, and Sicily. Next came wood for houses and for ships, and raw materials of all kind for manufacture. The foreign manufactures imported were mostly objects of luxury. Finally we should mention the large number of imported slaves. Comparing the circumstances of the ancient Greek maritime commerce with those of modern trade, we may observe that the ancients were much hampered by having no commission agencies and no system of exchange. The proprietor of the cargo sailed with it, or sent a representative with full powers. No transaction was carried on without payment in ready money, which was often rendered difficult by the existence of different systems of coinage. With uncivilized tribes, notably those on the Black Sea, a system of barter long maintained itself. As no goods could be bought without cash payments, and men of property generally preferred to lend out their capital to borrowers at high interest, a system of bottomry was extensively developed in Greek maritime trade. The creditor usually took care in lending the capital necessary for loading the ship, to secure a lien on the ship, or the cargo, or both. With this he undertook the risks of the business, charging interest at a very high rate, generally 20 to 30 per cent. The written contract contained other specifications as to the ship and the rate of interest, for the breach of which certain customary penalties were fixed. These had reference to the destination of the ship, and, generally speaking, to the route and the time to be occupied, to the character and value of the wares, and to the repayment of the loan; the latter to determine whether it should be made on the ship's arriving at its destination, or on its return home. In the first case the creditor would often sail with the ship, if he had no representative on the spot or at the port for which she was bound. At Athens, and no doubt in other cities, the interests of the creditor were protected by a strict code of laws. Fraudulent appropriation of a deposit was punishable with death; dilatoriness in payment with imprisonment. The creditor was allowed to seize not only the security, but the whole property of the debtor. In other respects Athenian legislation secured several advantages to traders, Commercial cases only came before the law courts in winter, when navigation was impossible, and they had to be decided within a month. In ordinary cases of debt the creditor could only seize on the debtor's property; but in commercial cases he was liable to e imprisoned if condemned to payment. In other matters aliens had to be represented in court by a citizen; in commercial cases they could appear in person. It was the duty of the Thesmothetae to see to the preparation of these cases. The trial was carried on and the verdict given by a special tribunal, the Nautodicae (see NAUTODICAe). Merchants could easily obtain the considerable privilege of exemption from military service, though they were not legally entitled to it. In general it may be said that the Greek states, in consideration of the importance of trade, went very far in providing for its interests. They did their best to secure its safety and independence by force of arms, and concluded treaties with the same end in view. This is especially true of those agreements which regulated the legal relations of the citizens of the two states in their intercourse with each other, and prescribed the forms to be observed by the citizens of one state when bringing suits against those of another. The institution of proxeni, corresponding to that of the modern consuls, was of immense benefit to the trading community. The Greek governments did a great deal in the way of constructing harbours, warehouses, and buildings for exchange in the neighbourhood of the harbours. The superintendence of the harbour traffic, like that of the market traffic, was entrusted to special government officials; in Athens, for instance, to the ten overseers of the Emporium (see AGORANOMI). The Athenians had also a special board, called metronomi, to see that the weights and measures were correct. It was only in exceptional cases that the freedom of trade was interfered with by monopolies, nor was it usual to lay prohibitions upon imports. Prohibitions of exportation were, however, much commoner. In many states, as e.g. in Macedonia, it was forbidden to export building materials, especially wood for ship-building; and no grain might be exported from Attica. Again, no Athenian merchant was permitted to carry corn to any harbour but that of Athens; no citizen or resident alien could lend money on the security of ships carrying corn to any place but Athens. Even foreigners who came with corn into the harbour of Athens were compelled to deposit two-thirds of it for sale there. To prevent excessive profits being realized in the corn trade, it was made a capital offense for any private citizen to, buy up more than 50 bushels at a time, or sell it at a profit of more than an obolos a bushel. The corn trade was under the superintendence of a board called sitophylakes. In the prevailing activity of commerce, the tolls on exports and imports were a plentiful source of revenue to the Greek government. In Greek society petty trading was thought a vulgar and sordid pursuit, and was left to the poorer citizens and resident aliens. In Athens the class of resident aliens included a great number of the larger dealers; for the wealthier and more respectable citizens liked lending their capital to others engaged in trade better than engaging in trade themselves. Italy. In Italy an active commerce was early carried on at sea by the Etruscans, the other Italian peoples taking only a passive part in it. But Rome, from a very early time, became the commercial centre of Middle Italy. It was situated on a river deep enough to admit large vessels, the upper course and tributaries of which were also navigable. Its position was much improved by the harbour at the colony of Ostia, said to have been constructed under king Ancus Martius. So long as the Etruscans and Carthaginians and (as in later times) the Greek cities of Southern Italy and Sicily, like Tarentum and Syracuse, ruled the sea, the maritime power and commerce of Rome were restricted within very narrow limits. Even as late as the middle of the 4th century B.C. the traffic of Rome was confined to Sardinia, Sicily and Africa. But, with the extension of the Roman power, Roman commerce assumed wider dimensions. At the end of the republican period Roman ships were on every sea, and there was a flourishing interior trade in Italy and all the provinces. Wherever there was a navigable river it was used for communication with the happiest results. After the second Punic War, Rome gradually acquired the character of a great commercial city, where the products of the whole world, natural and industrial, found a market. The most considerable import was corn, and this at all periods of Roman history (see ANNONA). The chief exports of Italy were wine and oil, to which we must add, after the development of Italian industry, manufactured goods. The trading harbour of Rome was Puteoli (Pozzuoli), on the Bay of Naples, while Ostia was used mainly by corn-ships. Petty dealing was regarded unfavourably by the Romans as by the Greeks; but trade on a large scale was thought quite respectable, though in older times members of the senate were not allowed to engage in it. Most of the larger undertakings at Rome were in the bands of joint-stock companies (see PUBLICANI), the existence of which made it possible for small capitalists to share in the profits and risks of commerce. It was indeed an old maxim of business men at Rome that it was better to have small shares in a number of speculations than to speculate independently. The corn trade, in particular, was in the hands of these companies. The government allowed them to transport corn from Sardinia, Sicily, Spain, Africa, and Egypt to Rome; whole fleets of vessels, constructed for the purpose, being appointed to this service. Foreign trade was subjected to a number of restrictions. The exportation of certain products was absolutely prohibited; for instance, iron, whether unwrought or manufactured, arms, coin, salt, and gold; and duties were levied on all imports. There were also numerous restrictions on trade in the interior, as each province formed a unit of taxation, in which toll had to be paid on entering or leaving it. Among the state monopolies, the most important was that of salt.
A Greek author, who flourished about 150 A.D., the author of a work, in ten books, on the lives and doctrines of celebrated Greek philosophers. It is an uncritical compilation from books of earlier and later date, but the richness of the material gathered from lost writings gives it inestimable value for the history of philosophy. Books 1-7 embrace the Ionic philosophers from Thales onwards, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and the Stoics down to Chrysippus. Books 8, 9 treat of the philosophers whom he includes under the name of Italian, Pythagoras, Empedocles, Heraclitus, the Eleatics and Atomists, Protagoras, Pyrrho and Epicurus, to the last of whom the whole tenth book is devoted.
The Greeks were early familiar with the practice of multiplying copies of books by transcription, either to private order or for public sale. As far back as the 5th Century B.C. the Athenians had a special place in their market-place for selling books, and it is clearly established that a regular book-fair existed at Athens by about 300 B.C. In Rome, towards the end of the republican age, the business of copying books and the book-trade in general developed on a large scale, and it became a fashionable thing to possess a library. The book-trade, in the proper sense of the term, owes its existence to Atticus, the well-known friend of Cicero. He kept a number of slaves skilled in shorthand and calligraphy (librarii), whom he set to copy a number of Cicero's writings, Which he then disposed of at a considerable profit in Italy and Greece. His example was soon followed, especially as the interest in new literary productions, and the love of reading, greatly increased after the time of Augustus. To facilitate the appearance of a great number of copies at the same time, the scribes were often set to write from dictation. Much use was made of the abbreviations (notae) invented by Tiro, the freedman of Cicero. The binding was done, as well as the writing, by the librarii ; and as the brittle papyrus was the usual material, the book was generally made up in the form of a roll (see WRITING MATERIALS). The ends of the roll were strengthened with thin strips of bone or wood, which were either provided at top and bottom with a knob (umbilicus), or finished off in the shape of a horn. Previously to this, the upper and lower edges were carefully clipped, smoothed with pumice-stone, and tinted with black. To protect it from moths and worms, the roll was dipped in cedar oil, which gave it a yellowish tinge. The title of the work (titulus or index) was written in red on a strip of parchment attached to the end of the roll. Expensive copies, especially in the case of poems, had a gilt umbilicus, as well as a parchment cover of purple colour. The books were then exposed for sale in the bookseller's shops, and sold at what appear, considering the circumstances, reasonable prices. The booksellers were called librarii or bibliopoloe; their shops were situated in the most frequented parts of the city, and much used, both as reading-rooms and rendezvous for learned discussion. As a general rule there was a good sale for books, especially such as had won popularity before publication in the public recitations (see RECITATIONS). Books were also much bought in the provinces, whose inhabitants were anxious to keep abreast with the intellectual life of the capital. Even works which were little thought of in Rome sometimes found an easy sale in other parts of the empire. It does not appear that the author received any honorarium from the publisher.[1]
GALENUS 40.14%
was the most celebrated physician in antiquity after Hippocrates, and at the same time one of the most prolific among ancient writers. He was born at Pergamon in 131 A.D., received a careful education in philosophy, and afterwards devoted himself to medical studies in his native city, at Smyrna, Corinth, and Alexandria. He returned to Pergamon in 168, and undertook the medical treatment of gladiators, as giving him the best opportunity for increasing his stock of surgical knowledge. In 164 he moved to Rome, and here won a considerable reputation by his success in practice and his public lectures on anatomy. After three years he was driven by the attacks of jealous rivals to leave Rome. He undertook scientific journeys through Greece and Asia, and then settled again in his native city. But he was soon recalled by the emperors Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, and in 170 appointed private physician to the young Commodus. He died in his seventieth year, after winning the high esteem of his contemporaries. Part of his writings were destroyed in a fire; in all 125 of his books are lost. About 100 of his genuine treatises have been preserved: of 19 we have fragments, more or less considerable; the genuineness of 18 is doubted, 24 are spurious. Many have not yet been printed, while others exist only in Latin, Syriac, Hebrew and Arabic translations. For during the Middle Ages, down to the 16th century, the authority of Galen was, throughout the East and West, held, especially by the Arabians, to be unassailable. A prolific writer like Galen was naturally careless of his style. His writings leave no branch of medicine untouched. They comprise anatomy, physiology, pathology, pharmacology, and treatment. Among them should be mentioned the following: On Anatomical Procedure, in 9 books; On the Use of Parts of the Human Body (17 books); On the Parts Affected (6 books); On the Composition of Medicines (three works, including 26 books); On Method in Therapeutics (14 books). His book on medicine, a complete sketch of therapeutics, was immensely popular. He was also the author of 18 books, of commentaries on Hippocrates, whom he claimed as his master. These still survive. His books contain important notices on the history of philosophy, of which he professes his knowledge and enthusiastic admiration. Some of his writings deal specially with this subject.
The Greek scholar, a native of Naueratis in Egypt. He was educated at Alexandria, where he lived about 170-230 A.D. After this he lived at Rome, and there wrote his Deipnosophistoe (or "Doctors at Dinner "), in fifteen books. Of these the first, second, and part of the third, are only preserved in a selection made in the 11th century; the rest survive in a tolerably complete state. The work shows astonishing learning, and contains a number of notices of ancient life which would otherwise have been lost. The author gives us collections and extracts from more than 1,500 works (now mostly lost), by more than 700 writers. His book is thrown into the form of a conversation held in the year 228 A.D. at a dinner given by Larensius, a rich and accomplished Roman, and a descendant of the great antiquarian Varro. Among the guests are the most learned men of the time, including Galen the physician and Ulpian the jurist. The conversation ranges over numberless subjects connected with domestic and social life, manners and customs, trade, art, and science. Among the most valuable things in the book are the numerous passages from prose-writers and poets, especially from the masters of the Middle Comedy.
surnamed Siculus, or the Sicilian. A Greek historian, native of Agyrion, in Sicily, who lived in the times of Julius Caeesar and Augustus. After thirty years preparation, based upon the results yielded by long travels in Asia and Europe, and the use of the plentiful materials supplied by residence in Rome, he wrote his Bibliotheca, an Universal History in 40 books, extending over a period of some 1,100 years, from the oldest time to 60 B.C. In the first six books he treated the primitive history and mythology of the Egyptians, the natives of Asia, and Africa, slid the Hellenes. The next eleven embraced the period from the Trojan war to the death of Alexander the Great. The remaining 23 brought the history down to the beginning of Caesar's struggle with Gaul. We still possess books 1-5 and 11-20 (from the Persian War under Xerxes to 302 B.C.), besides fragments, partly considerable, of the other books. In the early books his treatment is ethnographical; but from the seventh book onwards, in the strictly historical part of his work, he writes like an annalist narrating all the events of one year at a time, with emphasis on the more important ones. It is obvious that this proceeding must rob the history of all its inner connection. He has other weaknesses. He is incapable of seizing the individual characteristics either of nations or of individuals, and contents himself with giving anecdotes and unconnected details. He follows his authorities blindly, without any attempt to criticize their statements. Then his work falls far short of the ideal which he himself sets up in his introduction. But it is none the less of great value as being one of the main authorities for many parts of ancient history, especially that affecting Sicily. In his style Diodorus aims at clearness and simplicity.
A Latin author, in the 4th century A.D., who, by borrowing from the teaching of his predecessors and by his own experience, composed a work upon husbandry in fourteen books. Of these the first contains general precepts; books ii-xiii give the operations of agriculture in each of the successive months, while the fourteenth treats of the grafting of trees, in eighty-five elegiac couplets. His book, though written in dry and feeble language, was much used in the Middle Ages on account of its practical arrangement.
A physician, who lived in the 5th century, named Theodorus Priscianus, has left us a Medicina Prcesentanea (a book of rapid curatives) in five books.
A Greek grammarian of Cnidus, who lived at Alexandria in the 2nd century B.C. as tutor, and afterwards guardian, of a prince. He composed several historical works (one on the successors of Alexander), a well written performance, and a description of the Red Sea in five books. Of the former only a few fragments remain, of the last some considerable extracts from the first and fifth books.
STRABO 31.12%
The Greek geograpber. He was born of a good family at Amaseia in Pontus about 63 B.C. After the conclusion of his education in philosophy he devoted himself to historical and geographical studies, and undertook long journeys in Asia Minor, also in Egypt up to the boundaries of Ethiopia, and in parts of Greece and Italy, paying several visits to Rome. He composed a great historic work in forty-seven books, which from the fifth book onwards formed a continuation of Poklybius down to his own time; but of this only a few fragments remain. His Geogrdphica, however, we possess complete in seventeen books, with the exception of a few gaps in the seventh book. This was finished about A.D. 23. It is the principal geographical work that has come down to us from ancient times. It consists of descriptions of countries and peoples, and is specially valuable on account of the extent and importance of the historical and topographical matter it contains, partly derived from personal observation, but chiefly drawn from the best authorities, particularly from Eratosthenes. The first two books contain (1) a criticism, not always just, of the more ancient geographers from the time of Homer; and (2) the mathematical part of physical geography, the weakest portion of the work; books iii-x describe Europe (iii Spain, iv Gaul, Britain, Ireland, and the Alps, v and vi Italy, vii the north and east of Europe to the Danube, viii-x Greece); xi-xvi Asia; xvii Africa. Strabo gives detailed accounts of manners and customs, history and constitutions, whereas, in topography, he generally gives only what is of most importance. His style is clear and attractive. Notwithstanding a great extension of geographical knowledge, the work was not superseded by any later one, and indeed even in the Middle Ages was still used in selections as a school-book in Constantinople. [See Tozer's Selections, 1893.]
The father of ecclesiastical history. He was born at Caesarea in Phoe nicia in 264 A.D. In 315 he became bishop of that city, and died in 340. He was one of the most learned men of his time, and holds a high position both among the historians and the apologists of Christianity, His greatest work is his Church History. This work is in ten books, beginning with the rise of Christianity, and coming down to 314 A.D. It was much used by later writers, and was, about 403 A.D., translated into Latin by Tyrannius Rufinus of Aquileia, who continued it down to the death of Theodosius (A.D. 395). The apologetic writings of Eusebius are the Praeparatio Evangelica in fifteen books, and the Demonstratio Evangelica in twenty. They are both, but especially the former, a rich storehouse of information on antiquity, particularly on the philosophy and religion of the Greeks. Of still greater importance is his Chronicle (Chronicon), a work founded upon extracts from the now lost writings of previous historians. Its first book, the Chronographia, contains a general ethnographical history of the world, arranged from the creation to 325 A.D. The second, called the Chronological Canon, consisted of parallel chronological tables of the names of rulers and the most important events since 2017 B.C. Only fragments of the original work remain; but we have both books in an Armenian translation, and the second in the Latin version of Hieronymus. Among the other works of Eusebius we may mention: (1) A sketch of the topography of Palestine, in two books. The second alone survives, both in the original and in the translation of Hieronymus. (2) A biography, in four books, of the emperor Constantine, who had shown favour to Eusebius and had been baptized by him. This work is strongly coloured by personal feeling. (3) A panegyric on Constantine.
DION 30.78%
Dio Cassius (or Cassius Dio) Cocceianus. A Greek historian, grandson of Dio Chrysostomos, born at Nicaea, in Bithynia, 155 A.D. He came early to Rome with his father, Cassius Apronianus, a senator and high official. Here he received a careful education. In about 180 A.D. he became a member of the senate, and he was a long time in practice as an advocate. In 194 he was praetor, and afterwards consul. As proconsul he administered in succession the provinces of Africa, Dalmatia, and Pannonia. The strict order which he had maintained in Pannonia had drawn upon him the hatred of the undisciplined praetorians, who demanded his life. Alexander Severus, however, not only shielded him, but nominated him his colleague in the consulship of 229. At the same time he allowed him, for the sake of his own personal safety, to live outside Rome during his term of office. When this had expired the emperor, in consequence of his age and weak health, gave him leave to quit the public service and retire to his native city, where he ended his days. Here he completed his great work on Roman history, from the arrival of Aencas in Italy, to his own consulship in 229 A.D. This he had undertaken at the divine command, communicated to him in a dream. He spent twenty-two years upon it, ten on the preparation, and twelve on the execution. It contained 80 books, divided into decades. It gives only a sketch of the history down to Caesar, but treats the empire in detail, special care being bestowed upon the events contemporary with the writer. Of the first thirty-five books we have only fragments; book 36 (the wars with the pirates and with Mithridates) is mutilated at the beginning; books 37-54 (down to the death of Agrippa) are tolerably complete; books 55-60, which come down to Claudius, are imperfect. The rest are preserved only in fragments, and in the extracts made by Ionnes Xiphilinos, a Byzantine monk of the 12th century. These begin with book 35. The model taken by Dio for imitation was Polybius, whom he only distantly resembles. He often repels the reader by his crawling flattery, his affected dislike of the republican champions, such as Cicero, Brutus, and Cassius, and his gross superstition. But his book is a work of enormous industry, and of great importance, especially for the history of his own time. His narrative is, generally speaking, clear and vivid, and his style is careful.
A Greek physician and man of science. He flourished about the middle of the 1st century A.D., and was the author of a work De Materia Medica in five books. For nearly 1700 years this book was the chief authority for stu- dents of botany and the science of healing. Two short essays on specifies against vegetable and animal poisons (Alexipharmaca and Theriaca) are appended to it as the sixth and seventh books: but these are probably from the hand of a later Dioscorides of Alexandria. A work on family medicine is also attributed to him, but is not genuine.
A Greek author who followed the Peripatetic philosophy. He composed in the 4th century B.C. a historical and allegorical explanation of Greek myths in several books. Of this work we possess only a short abstract, probably composed in the Byzantine age under the title, On Incredible Tales. In former times it was a favourite school book.
A Roman writer on grammar of the last part of the 4th century A.D. He was the author of an Ars Grammatica, in three books, founded on the same ancient authorities as the work of his contemporary Charisius, with whom lie often agrees verbatim. His third book derives special value from the notices on literary history taken from Suetonius.
Of Stobi in Macedonia. About 500 A.D. he composed, for the education of his son Septimius, a philosophical anthology in four books, from the extracts which he had made in the course of his extensive reading from more than 500 Greek poets and prose writers. It is of great value, as it includes numerous fragments of works now lost, and is particularly rich in quotations from the works of the Greek dramatists. The collection, which originally seems to have formed one whole work, has been separated into two distinct portions in the course of time: (1) The "physical, dialectical, and ethical eclogues" (or selections) in two books (imperfect at the beginning and end); and (2) the Florilegium, also in two books, on ethical and political subjects, the sections of which are in great part so arranged that each virtue is treated in connexion with its opposite vice.
Marcus Terentius Varro Reatinus (i.e. a native of Reate in the Sabine territory). The most learned of the Romans; born 116 B.C. of an ancient senatorial family. He devoted himself to study at an early age, under the direction chiefly of the learned antiquarian and philologist Aelius Stilo, without however withdrawing from public life either in time of peace or war. He held the public offices of tribune, curule aedile, and praetor. In 67 he was lieutenant to Pompey in the war against the pirates; in 49 he again held a command under Pompey in the province of Spain beyond the Iberus, but was taken prisoner by Caesar after the capitulation of Ilerda. Although he afterwards rejoined Pompey, Caesar received him into favour, and he returned to Rome in 46 B.C., where he is said to have had the superintendence of the great library which Caesar destined for the public use. In spite of his abstaining henceforward from taking any active part in public affairs, he was prescribed by Antony in 43, and only narrowly escaped with his life. Pardoned by Octavianus, he lived till the year 27, full of vigour and literary activity to the last. Varro's learning comprised all the provinces of literature known at that time, and in productivity he was equalled by no Romans, and only a few Greeks. According to his own statement, he had composed 490 books before his 78th year; the total number of his works, either in prose or verse, theoretical or practical, exceeded 70, in more than 600 books. Of these, the three books on agriculture (Rerum Rusticarum Libri), written in the form of a dialogue in his 80th year, in which he treats the subject exhaustively, drawing from his own experience as well as from more ancient sources, are the only ones that have been completely preserved. Further, of the original 25 books on the Latin language (De Lingua Latina) dedicated to Caesar, in which he systematically treats, under the head of etymology, inflexions and syntax, only books v-x exist, in a mutilated condition. This work was followed by a number of other grammatical writings. It is only through a series of extant titles of his works that we know of his literary and historical studies, which were especially directed to dramatic poetry, and in particular to the comedies of Plautus, as well as of his researches into the history and antiquities of his own nation. His principal work, of which much use has been made by later writers, the Antiquitatas Rerum Humanarum et Divinarum, in 41 books. This was the most important of his writings on these subjects, as it gave a complete account of the political and religious life of the Romans from the earliest times. The 15 books, entitled Imagines or Hebdomades, published about B.C. 39, contained 700 portraits of celebrated Greeks and Romans, in sets of seven in each group, with epigrams written beneath them. His nine Disciplinarum Libri gave an encyclopaedia of the arts pertaining to general culture (grammar, dialectics, rhetoric, geometry, arithmetic, astronomy, music, architecture, medicine). His 76 Libri Logistorici included shorter popular treatises of a historical and philosophical nature, described by titles appropriate to their contents, borrowed from the names of well-known persons (e.g. Sisenna de Historia). Among Varro's numerous and varied poetical works we will only mention, as the most original, the 150 books of Menippean Satires (Saturoe Menippeoe), which were completed before 45 B.C., a species of composition which he introduced into Roman literature in imitation of the Cynic Menippus of Gadara. In these Satires, written alternately in prose and different kinds of verse, he treats of philosophical questions, especially those relating to morality, science, etc., chiefly with the view of exposing the failings of the age. Only a number of titles and fragments of this work have been preserved.
The Latin name for a bookseller. (See BOOKS AND BOOK-TRADE.)
A Greek mathematician of Alexandria, who flourished probably about 360 B.C. He was the author of an Arithmetica in thirteen books, of which littlemore than the first six still remain. The book is the only Greek work upon algebra. Diophantus was the most considerable arithmetician in Greek antiquity.
of Madaura in Africa, apparently a pagan; a lawyer at Carthage. He compiled before 439 A.D. (When Genseric took Carthage) an encyclopaedia of the liberal arts, entitled, " The Marriage of Philology and Mercury " (Nuptioe Philologioe et Mercurii), in nine books, a medley of prose and verse on the pattern of the Menippean Satires of Varro, to whom he is also otherwise indebted. The first two books contain the allegory: Mercury marries the maiden Philologia, and among the presents he gives her are seven maidens, the liberal arts: Grammar, Dialectic, Rhetoric, Geometry, Arithmetic, Astronomy, and Harmony (Music); each of these delivers her teaching in the following books. The style is partly dry and partly bombastic. In the earlier Middle Ages the book was for a long time the principal basis of school education in general, and exerted great influence on the liberal culture of the time.
Type: Standard
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