The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Caecina


eays Cicero (De Optim. Gen. Die. i.), although in other passages he censures his latinity as impure. {Ad Att. vii. 3, Brut. c. 74.) The dictum of the fashionable critics of the Augustan age is embodied by Horace in the line (Ep. ii. 1. 59), " Vincere Caecilius gravitate, Terentius arte." Velleius declares (ii. 17), that the " charms of Latin wit were brilliantly displayed by Caecilius, Terentius, and Afranius." " We are most lame in comedy, although the ancients extol Caecilius," is the testimony of Quintilian (x. 1. § 99), while Vulca-tius Sedigitus in an epigram preserved in the Noctes Atticae (xv. 24) pronounces Caecilius first among the nine comic poets there enumerated, the second place being assigned to Plautus, and the sixth to Terence.

This popularity, however, was not acquired at once, for the speaker of the prologue to the Hecyra, while he apologises for reproducing a piece which had already twice failed, reminds the audience that although the works of Caecilius were now listened to with pleasure, several had at first been driven off the stage, while others had with difficulty kept their ground. The whole of the forty plays alluded to above, as far as we can gather from their titles, belong to the class of Palliatae^ that is, were free translations or adaptations of the works of Greek writers of the new comedy. There is a curious chapter in Aulus Gellius (ii. 23), where a compari­son is instituted between certain passages in the Plocium of Caecilius and the corresponding por­tions of the drama by Menander, from which it was derived. We here gain some knowledge of the manner in which these transfusions were per­formed, and we feel strongly impressed with the poorness, flatness, and vapid heaviness of the Latin imitation when placed in juxtaposition with the sparkling brilliancy of the rich and racy original. To adopt the quaint simile of the grammarian, they resemble each other in the same degree as the bright and precious armour of Glaucus resembled the dull and paltry harness of Diomede. [W. R.]

CAECINA, the name of an Etruscan family of Volaterrae, one of the ancient cities of Etruria. It seems either to have derived its name from, or given it to, the river Caecina, which flows by the town. Persons of this name are first mentioned in the century before Christ, and they are expressly said to have been natives of Volaterrae. Under the empire the name is of frequent occurrence, and it is probable that all these Caecinae were of Etrus­can origin. As late as the reign of Honorius, we read of the poet Decius Albinus Caecina [see be­low], residing at his villa in the neighbourhood of Volaterrae ; and there is, or was lately, a family of this name at the modern Volterra, which Italian antiquaries would make out to be descended from the ancient Caecinae. There has been discovered in the neighbourhood of Volterra the family tomb of the Caecinae, from which we learn that Ceicna was the Etruscan form of the name. In this tomb there was found a beautiful sarcophagus, now in the Museum of Paris. The family was di­vided into several branches, and we accordingly find on the funeral urns the cognomens Caspu and and Tlapuni: in Latin inscriptions we also meet with the surnames Quadratus and Pladdus ; and various others occur below. (Miiller, Etrusker, vol. i. p. 416, &c.) The most important persons of this name are :

1. A. caecina, of Volaterrae, whom Cicero de-



fended in a law-suit, b. c. 69. The argument of this oration, which is of a purely legal nature, cannot be understood without a knowledge of the Roman interdict. It is discussed at length by Keller in the second book of his " Semestrium ad M. Tullium Ciceronem Libri VI." Turici, 1843. He was probably the father of the following, and not the same person, as is usually supposed. (Comp. Cic. adFam. vi. 9; Orelli, Onom. Tull. s. v.)

2. A. caecina, son of the preceding, published a libellous work against Caesar, and was in conse­quence compelled to go into exile after the battle of Pharsalia, b. c. 48. In order to obtain Caesar's pardon, he wrote another work entitled Querelae, which he sent to Cicero for revision. In the col­lection of Cicero's letters there is rather a long one from Caecina to Cicero, and three of Cicero's to Caecina. (Suet. Caes. 75 ; Cic. ad Fam. vi. 5-8.) In 47 Caecina was in Asia, and was recommended by Cicero to the proconsul P. Servilius, the go­vernor of the province (ad Fam. xiii. 66) : from thence he crossed over to Sicily, and was again re­commended by Cicero to Furfanius, the governor of Sicily. (Ad. Fam. vi. 9.) From Sicily he went into Africa, and, upon the defeat of the Pompeians there in the same year, b. e. 46, surrendered to Caesar, who spared his life. (Hirt. Sell. Afr. 8.9.)

Caecina was the author of a work on the "Etrus-ca Disciplina," which is referred to by Pliny as one of his authorities for his second book ; and it is pro­bably from this work that Seneca quotes (Quaesf. Nat. ii. 39) some remarks of Caecina upon the dif­ferent kinds of lightning. Cicero tells us (ad Fam. vi. 6. § 3), that Caecina was trained by his father in the knowledge of the Etruscans, and speaks of him otherwise as a man of talent, and possessed of oratorical powers. Seneca (Quaest. Nat. ii. 56) says, that he would have had some reputation in eloquence if he had not been thrown into the shade by Cicero. This must be the same Caecina whose work on the Etruscan Discipline is quoted in the Veronese scholia on the Aeneid (x. 198, 'ed. Mai).

3. caecina of Volaterrae, a friend of Octavianus, sent by the latter to Cicero in b. c. 44. (Cic. ad Att. xvi. 8.) Cicero speaks of him as " Caecinam quendam Volaterranum," which would seem to shew that he could not have been the same as the preceding, nor even his son, with whom also Cicero was well acquainted. (Cic. ad Fam. vi. 5.) This Caecina was sent by Octavianus with proposals to Antony in 41. (Appian, B. C. v. 60.)

4. A. caecina severus, a distinguished soldier and general in the reigns of Augustus and Tiberius, had served forty campaigns by the year A. d. 15, and lived several years afterwards. (Tac. Ann. i. 64, iii. 33.) He was governor of Moesia in a. d. 6, when the formidable insurrection under the two Batos broke out in the neighbouring provinces of Dalmatia and Pannonia, [bato.] He immediately marched against the Breucians in Pannonia, whom he defeated after a hard-fought battle, in which many of his troops fell, but was recalled almost im­mediately afterwards to his own province by the ravages of the Dacians and Sarmatians. In the following year, he gained another victory over the insurgents, who had attacked him while on his march from Moesia to join Germanicus in Panno­nia. (Dion Cass. Iv. 29, 30, 32 ; Veil. Pat. ii. 112.)

In a. d. 14, Caecina had the command, as legate of Germanicus, of the Roman army in Lower Ger-

2 m

About | First



page #  
Search this site
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of