The Ancient Library

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On this page: Tereus – Tergiversatio – Terminus



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, Csesar 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 proscribed 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 Rusttcarum 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 (Di> Lingua LdtlnX) 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 Anttquit&tes Rerum Humana-rum et Dlmndrum, 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 HebdSmddes, 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 Disclpllndrum Libri gave an encyclo­paedia of the arts pertaining to general culture (grammar, dialectics, rhetoric, geo­metry, arithmetic, astronomy, music, archi­tecture, medicine). His 76 Libri L5gist5rlci 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. Slsenna de HistOrid). Among Varro's numerous and varied poetical works we will only mention, as the most original, the 150 books of Menippean Satires (S&turce Menippece), 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.

(4) Quintus Terentius Scaurus. The most renowned Latin scholar and critic of the time of Hadrian (117-138 a.d.), commentator on Plautus and Vergil, and author of treatises on Latin grammar and poetry. A small work, De OrthfigrdpMa, of some value for the history of the Latin language, bears his name [but is probably not written by this Scaurus].

Tereus. King of Daulis, husband of Pr8cne (q.v.).

Tetglversatlo. The Roman term for the dereliction of duty involved in a legal prosecution being dropped by the prosecutor. Under Nero this offence was punished by fines and disgrace (infamla).

Terminus. The Roman god of bounds, under whose special protection were the stones (termini) which marked boundaries. The regulations respecting these stones and the religious customs and institutions con­nected with them went back to the time of king Numa. At the setting of such a stone every one living near the boundary assembled; and in their presence the hole prepared for the reception of the stone \vas watered with the blood of a sacrificial animal; incense, field-produce, honey, and wine were sprinkled over it, and a victim sacrificed. The stone, anointed and decked with garlands and ribbons, was then placed upon the smouldering bones and pressed into the earth. Whoever pulled up the

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