The Ancient Library

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On this page: Asconius Pedianus – Asellio – Asinius Pollio – Ascolia – Aspis – Assaracus – Assignatio – Asteria



at Pergamus, a colony from Epidanrus; that of Tricca in Thessaly enjoyed a re­putation of long standing, and in the islands that of Cos, the birthplace of the physician Hippocrates.

At Rome, the worship of the deity there called jEsculapius was introduced by order of the Sibylline books, on occasion of the plague of 293 B.C., and the god was brought from Epidaurus in the shape of a snake. For in the form of a snake, the symbol of rejuvenescence and of prophecy, he was wont to reveal himself, and snakes were accordingly kept in his temples. He had a sanctuary and a much frequented sana­torium on the island in the Tiber. With him were worshipped his wife EpISne (= soother), his two sons mentioned above, and several daughters, especially H~agieia, (q.v.); also TelesphSrOs (= fulness-bringer) the deity of Recovery, who was pictured as a boy. In later times Asclepius was often confounded with the Egyptian Serapis. He is among the most favourite subjects of ancient art; at several places where he was worshipped he had statues of gold and ivory. He is commonly represented writh a beard, and resembling Zeus, but with a milder aspect, sometimes with Teles-phoros, in a thick veil, or little Hygieia, at his side; his usual attribute is a staff with a serpent coiled round it. The cock was sacrificed to him.

Asconlus Pedlanus (Quintus), a Roman grammarian and historian, probably born at Patavium about the year 3 a.d. He lived latterly at Rome, where he enjoyed the favour of men in high place. During the reigns of Claudius and Nero, having care­fully studied the literature of the Ciceronian age, and availing himself of state-papers then existing, he composed for the use of his own sons his valuable historical Commentaries on Cicero's Orations, of which only those on five orations (In Pfsonem, Pro Scauro, Pro Mllone, Pro Cornelia, In toga Candida) are preserved, unfortunately in a very frag­mentary condition. The commentaries on the Verrine Orations, which bear his name, belong probably to the 4th century a.d. They treat chiefly of grammatical points. No other works by Asconius have survived. He died, after twelve years' blindness, about 88 a.d.

Aselllo (C. Sempronius). A Roman anna­list. See annalists.

Aslnius Polllo (Gaius). A celebrated Roman poet, orator, and historian. He was born b.c. 75, and made his first public ap-

pearance by bringing an impeachment in B.C. 54; in the Civil Wars he fought on Caesar's side at Pharsalus and in Africa and Spain. After the murder of Caesar he at first inclined to the Republicans, but in B.C. 43 joined Antony, and on the break-up of the Triumvirate obtained Gallia Trans-padana for his province. In the redis­tribution of lands there he saved the poet Vergil's paternal estate for him. After negotiating the Peace of Brundisium between Antony and Octavian, b.c. 41, he became consul in 40, conquered the Parthini in Dalmatia in 39, and celebrated a triumph. He then retired from political life, and devoted himself to the advancement of learning. He served the cause of literature not only by his own writings, but by setting up the first public library at Rome, and by introducing the custom of reading new works aloud to a circle of experts, before publica­tion. (See recitatio.) He was himself a stern critic of others, as we see by his strictures on Cicero, Sallust and Livy, though it was remarked that he was not always so severe upon himself. He was especially celebrated as an orator; yet his speeches, in spite of careful preparation, were devoid of elegance, and, as Quintilian remarks, might be supposed to have been written a century earlier than Cicero's. He wrote tragedies also, in which the same stiffness and dryness are complained of. And he composed a history of the Civil Wars in seventeen books, from tha first Triumvirate to the battle of Philippi, which seems not to have been published in a complete form till after his death. Not one of his works has survived. [The his­tory of Caesar's African campaign, Bellum Afrlcum, has recently been attributed to him, but on insufficient grounds.] He died 80 years old, a.d. 4.

Ascolia. The second day of the rural Dionysia (q.v.).

Aspis. The Greek name for a long shield (For further information, see shield.)

Assaracus, son of Tros, and founder of the collateral line to which Anchlses and jEneas belong in the royal house of Troy. (Comp. dardands.)

Assignatio. The Latin term for the assignment of public lands to single citizens or to colonies. See colonies and acer poblicus.

Astfiria, daughter of the Titan Ckeus and the Titanid Phoebe; sister of Leto, and mother of Hecate by Perses, son of the Titan Crius. She is said to have turned into an

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