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VERRIUS FLACCUS.

may, indeed, admire the art which the poet has shown in moulding together the vast mass of material collected with so much effort from the poetic and prose writings of Greeks and Romans, the excellences of the language and of the metrical form, and the beauty of many individual portions; but it cannot be denied that in artistic completeness and originality the jEneid falls far below the Georgics. In particular, the endeavour to pourtray a real hero was beyond the capacity of the gentle, almost womanly, character of the poet; jEneas is a true hero neither in endurance nor in action. Further, the endeavour to rival Homer is mainly limited to imitation. This is apparent not only in countless single instances, but also in the plot of the whole poem. Vergil obviously wished to unite the excellences of the Odyssey and Iliad in one work by describing in the first six books the wanderings of jEneas, and in the last six his conflicts for the throne of Latium.

In spite of many faults, which were noticed even in ancient times, Vergil has remained the most widely read, the most admired, and the most popular poet of his nation, and no other writer has exercised such an influence on the subsequent develop­ment of the Roman literature and language. This remark applies to prose as well as poetry. As was the case with the poems of Homer among the Greeks, Vergil's works, and especially the jEneid as a national epic, were used down to the latest times for school teaching and as a basis of school grammar. They were imitated by authors, particularly by epic and didactic poets. In later times single verses and parts of verses (see cento) were used to compose new poems of the most varying contents; and finally the most famous scholars made them the object of their studies both in verbal and in general interpretation. Some relics of their labours are preserved in the dif­ferent collections of scholia, especially in that comprehensive commentary on his collected poems which bears the name of Servius Honoratus. Of smaller value are the commentaries of the pseudo-Probus on the Bucolics and Georyics, and of Tiberius Donatus on the JEneid.

The name of Vergil was also borne in ancient times by a number of poems, which passed as the works of his youth, but can hardly any of them have been his com­positions : (1) the Cdtalecta [or more cor­rectly CataleptOn], fourteen small poems in

iambic and elegiac metre. (2) Ciilex (" the midge "), supposed to have been written by Vergil in his sixteenth year, a most insipid poem. (3) The Ctris, the story of the transformation of Scylla, the daughter of the Megarian king, into the bird Ciris (see nisds), obviously composed by an imitator of Vergil and Catullus. (4) The Dirce, two bucolic poems : (a) the Dirce properly so called, imprecations on account of the loss of an estate consequent on the proscription of A.D. 41; and (6) the Lydia, a lament for a lost love, both of which have as little claim to be the writings of Vergil as of the grammarian Valerius Cato, to whom also they have been ascribed. (5) The Mdretum, so called from the salad which the peasant Slmylus prepares in the early morning for the day's repast, a character sketch as diverting and lifelike as (6) a poem deriving its title from the Copa, or hostess, who dances and sings before her inn, inviting the passers by to enter. This last poem is in elegiac metre. [Vergil's life was written by Suetonius from earlier memoirs and memoranda. tieeProi. Nettle-ship's Ancient Lives of Vergil, Clarendon Press, 1879.]

Verrius Flaccus (Marcus). A Roman freedman, " who obtained renown chiefly by his method of teaching. To exercise the wits of his pupils, says Suetonius, he used to pit against each other those of the same age, give them a subject to write upon, and reward the winner with a prize, generally in the shape of a fine or rare copy of some ancient author " (Prof. Nettleship's Essays, p. 203). He educated the grandsons of Augustus and died under Tiberius. He devoted himself to literary and antiquarian studies resembling those of the learned Varro. Thus, he wrote books De Ortho-graphia and Rlrum Memorm Dignarum ; but his most important work was entitled De Verborum Signiffcatu. This may claim to be the first Latin lexicon ever written. It was arranged alphabetically; it gave interpretations of obsolete words, and ex­plained the meaning of the oldest institu­tions of the State, including its religious customs, etc. V\'e only possess fragments of an abridgment made by Festus (q.v.~), and a further abridgment of the latter, dedicated to Charlemagne, by Paulus. A calendar of Roman festivals drawn up by him was set up in marble at Praneste, near Rome ; of this there are some fragments still preserved containing the months of January to April inclusive and December.

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