The Ancient Library

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On this page: Veiovis – Velius Longus – Velleius Paterculus – Venantius Fortunatus – Venationes



merits, but only to a recognition of his industry. Although it is on the whole an arid and uncritical compilation, the book is valuable for the light it throws on the Roman military system.

(2) Pttblius Vegetius. A writer of a somewhat later date than (1), who composed an extensive work on veterinary science (especially on the treatment of horses and mules, and hence entitled Mulomediclna).

Veifivls (also Vediovis). An old Italian deity whose peculiar attributes were early forgotten. At Rome he had a famous shrine in the depression between the two peaks of the Capitoline Hill, the Capitol and the Arx. There lay his asylum and afterwards his temple, between two sacred groves. His statue, by the side of which stood a goat as a symbol, had a youthful, beardless head, and carried a bundle of arrows in its right hand; it was therefore supposed that he was the same as the Greek Apollo. Others saw in him a youthful Jupiter; while at a later date he was identified with Dts, the god of the world below. He was probably a god of expiation, and hence at the same time the protector of runaway criminals. The goat, which was sacrificed to him annu­ally on the 7th of March, appears elsewhere in the Roman cult as an expiatory sacrifice. Velltes (" skirmishers "). The name given in the old Roman legion to the 1,200 citi­zens of the lowest class in the census, who were distributed among the sixty centuries; they differed from the other soldiers in having lighter armour. (See legion.) When Marius introduced a uniform type of armour throughout all the ranks, this distinction disappeared.

Vellus Longus. A Latin grammarian of the first half of the 2nd century a.d. ; the composer of a work, De Orthogrdphia, which is still extant.

Vellelus Paterculns (Marcus). A Roman historian born about 19 b.c. He entered the army early, and from 4 A.D., partly as an officer in the cavalry, and partly as a legate, he accompanied Tiberius for eight years on all his campaigns into Germany, Pannonia, and Dalmatia. In 15 a.d. he held the praetorship, for which he was warmly recommended by Augustus and Tiberius. In 29-30 a.d. he composed in a few months a short sketch of Roman history in two books (Histories Romance, libri duo) which he dedicated to his patron Vinicius, one of the consuls for the year 30. The work has come down to us in a very confused and fragmentary condition. Only a few chapters

remain of the first book, which ends with the destruction of Carthage. Whether couside~ed as a historian or as a stylist, he is a dilettante. He had no special call to be a historian, and was destitute of any more than ordinary knowledge or ap­propriate preparation, although not devoid j of imagination and genius. His brochure I was composed with extreme haste, and merely consists of a number of items of information hurriedly put together. Hence ; its superficial execution and its numerous mistakes. After the manner of annalists, his work becomes more diffuse the nearer he approaches his own time. It ends with a panegyric on the imperial house, and especially on Tiberius, inflated with ful­some flatteries and high-sounding phraseo­logy. According to him, the fortune of ! Rome, which had declined after the destruc­tion of Carthage, and had been rising again from the time of Augustus, had reached its culminating point under Tiberius. He may be identified as the inventor of the ' courtly style of writing history. He does j not linger long over facts, but prefers to dwell on the portrayal of the various characters that present themselves in the course of the history. His language is sometimes careless and commonplace, some­times ornate and affected, with all manner of poetical expressions. His fancy for com­posing striking sentences and his undue predilection for antithesis have an unfor­tunate effect on his style.

Venantius Fortunatus (HSnorius ClU-mens). A Latin poet, born about 535 A.D. at Tarvlslum (Treviso) in North Italy. After a learned education in Ravenna, he proceeded, about 560, to Gaul, where he became an ecclesiastic at Poitiers, and died as bishop about 600. Among his works, we possess an epic poem on St. Martin, as well as a collection of 300 poems in eleven books, of very various kinds, including panegyrics, epigrams, letters, elegies, hymns; and hence called Miscelldnla. These poems, which are mostly elegiac, are not unsuccessful in form, and are of great value for the history of the time. One of the most interesting is the companion piece to the Mdsella of Ausonius, the description of a journey by the Moselle and Rhine from Metz to Ander-nach (De Navlgio suo).

Venatlones. The contests of beasts with one another, or of men with beasts, that formed part of the shows of which the Romans were passionately fond. They were first introduced at the games of Marcus

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