The Ancient Library

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On this page: Varius Rufus – Varro – Vases



anecdotes which the book offered to orators and authors, it was much quoted in the succeeding generations down to the Middle Ages. It has come down to us with two epitomes, drawn up in late Roman times, by lulius Paris and lanuarius Nlpotmnus. The short dissertation. De Prmnominlbus, appended to the work, has nothing to do with Valerius himself. It is an epitome drawn up by the above-mentioned Paris from the first portion of a work on Roman names by an unknown writer, who quotes old'authorities on the subject, especially Varro.

(3) Gaius Valerius Flaccus Balbus Sctlnus. A Latin writer of epic verse, born at Setia, who flourished under Vespasian and Titus, and died before 90 A.D. We have an unfinished epic by him on the expedition of the Argonauts (Aryonautfca) in 8 books, which was begun about the time of the destruction of Jerusalem (70), and was dedi­cated to Vespasian. The poem is a free paraphrase of the work of Apolloniuss Rh5dlus, with touches borrowed from other poets. It is written in language which, though careful and tastefully chosen, is sometimes difficult and obscure, and over­laden with rhetorical adornment. [Cf. Sum­mers, AStudyofthe Argonautica of Valerius Flaccus, 1894.]

(4) IfMus Valerius. Of Africa, who lived about the end of the 3rd century a.d., and wrote a Latin translation of the Pseudo-Callisthenes. (See cai.listhenes.)

Vartus Rufus (Lacius). A celebrated Roman poet. His poetical career began in the later days of the Republic. Like his younger friend Vergil, he was much honoured and appreciated by Augustus and Maecenas, to whom he also introduced his friend Horace. Vergil,at his death, in 19 r.c., left him and Plotius Tucca his literary re­mains, and Augustus entrusted to them the revision and publication. He died before the year 12 B.C. At the opening of the Augustan I era he was the most conspicuous of the Latin ' epic poets; but he obtained his greatest reputation by his tragedy Thyestes, which, with the Medea of Ovid, was considered the greatest effort of Roman literature in this department. The work was brought out at the games held in honour of the victory at Actium 29 B.C., and was rewarded by Au­gustus with a honorarium of a million ses­terces (£8,750). Of this, as of his epic poems (on the death of Caesar and panegyric on Augustus), only a few verses survive. Varro. See terentius (2) and (3).

[Vases, of Greek origin, may be classified under four heads, with several subdivisions in each: (I) archaic vases, (II) those with Mack figures, (III) those with red figures, and (IV) those of the decadence. (I) Archaic Vases.

(1) Among the oldest are those found in the island of Thera, the modern Santorin, one of the most southerly of the Cyclades. They were found buried beneath the debris of a volcanic eruption which took place in pre-historic times, and they have been ascribed, for geological reasons, to as early a date as the 18th or 20th century b.c. The colour of their ornamentation, which is extremely simple, is usually a dull brown on a gray ground. Among the commoner designs are plants artlessly copied from nature, e.g. white lilies on a reddish-brown grouud. A rarer specimen exhibits a series of animals resembling black stags running round the vase, with broad bands of red beneath them (Baumeister's Denkmaler, figs. 2050-2056).

(2) At a time when Phoenician influence was predominant in the ^Egean, a later variety of archaic vases was produced in several of the Cyclades and in other islands of the Mediterranean, especially in Melos, Thera, Rhodes, and Cyprus. They are probably not later than the 12th or 13th century b.c. Those of Thera are later than the group already mentioned, being found above the volcanic debris. These vases are usually large jars with a dull gray ground, decorated with bands and curves and zigzags of a dull brown colour (Collignon, L'ArchtZo-logie Grecque, fig. 105).

(3) Hand-made pottery of early date and primitive decoration has been found in some of the northern islands of the jEgean, in the Cyclades, and especially at Hissarlik in the Troad. Vases of the same class have been found in Cyprus (British Museum, Vase Room I, Cases 1-4).

(4) Another early class is that usually called Mycence ware, from the fact that attention was first drawn to it through the excavations at Mycenae. It is largely represented among the southern islands of the jEgean, and in parts of the mainland of Greece. In the earliest type the patterns are in a dull colour on a dull ground ; but this is succeeded by a ware of great brilliancy (ib. Cases 5-13).

(5) Vases with geometrical ornamentation have been found in many parts of Greece, especially in Mycenae and vEgina, as well as in Attica. Among the most important

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