NOTE I.—The Menippean Satires of Varro.
The reader will find all the information on this subject in Riese's edition of the Menippean Satires, Leipsic, 1865. We append a few fragments showing their style, language, and metrical treatment.
(1) From the ammon metreis.
“Quem secuntur eum rutundis velitis leves parmis
Ante signani quadratis multisignibus tecti.”
We observe here the rare rhythm, analogous to the iambic scazon, of a trochaic tetrameter with a long penultimate syllable.
(2) From the Anthropopolis.
“Non fit thesauris non auro pectu' solutum;
Non demunt animis curas et religiones
Persarum montes, non atria diviti' Crassi.”
The style here reminds us strongly of Horace.
(3) From the Bimarcus.
“Tunc repente caelitum altum tonitribus templum tonescat,
Et pater divon trisu cum fulmen igni fervido actum
Mutat in tholum macelli.”
(4) From the Dolium aut Seria, in anapaestics.
“Mundus domus est maxima homulli
Quam quinque altitonae flammigerae
Zonae cingunt per quam limbus
Bis sex signis stellumicantibus
Aptus in obliquo aethere Lunae
The sentiment reminds us of Plato.
(5) From the Est modus matulae, on wine.
“Vino nihil iucundius quisquam bibit
Hoc aegritudinem ad medendam invenerunt,
Hoc hilaritatis dulce seminarium,
Hoc continet coagulum convivia.”
(6) From the Eumenides, in galliambics, from which those of Catullus may be a study.
“Tibi typana non inanes sonitus Matri' Deum
Tonimu', canimu' tibi nos tibi nunc semiviti;
Teretem cornam volantem iactant tibi Galli.”
(7) From the Marcipor, a fine description.
“Repente noctis circiter meridie
Cum pictus aer fervidis late ignibus
Caeli chorean astricen ostenderet
Nubes aquali frigido velo leves
Caeli cavernas aureas subduxerant
Aquam vomentes inferam mortalibus
Ventique frigido se ab axe eruperant,
Phrenetici septentrionum filii
Secum ferentes regulas ramos syrus.
At nos caduci naufragi ut ciconiae,
Quarum bipinnis fulminis plumas vapor
Percussit, alte maesti in terram cecidimus.”
NOTE II.—The Logistorici.
The Logistorici, which, as we have said, were imitated from Heraclides Ponticus, are alluded to under the name Hrakleideion by Cicero. He says (Att. xv. 27, 2), Excudam aliquid Hrakleideion, quod lateat in thesauris tuis (xvi. 2, 5) Hrakleideion, si Brundisium salvi, adoriemur. In xvi. 3, 1, he alludes to the work as his Cato Major de Senectute. Varro had promised him a Hrakleideion. Varro ... a quo adhuc Hr. illud non abstuli (xvi. 11, 3). He received it (xvi. 12).
NOTE III.—Some Fragments of Varro Atacinus.
This poet, who is by later writers often confounded with Varro Reatinus, was much more finished in his style, and therefore more read by the Augustan writers. Frequently when they speak of Varro it is to him that they refer. We append some passages from his Chorographia.
“Vidit et aetherio mundum torquerier axe
Et septem aeternis sonitum dare vocibus orbes,
Nitentes aliis alios quae maxima divis
Laetitia est. At tunc longe gratissima Phoebi
Dextera consimiles meditator reddere voces.”
“Ergo inter solis stationem ad sidera septem
Exporrecta iacet tellus: huic extima fluctu
Oceani, interior Neptuno cingitur ora.”
“At quinque aethertis zonis accingitur orbis
Ac vastant mas hiemes mediamque calores:
Sed terrae extremas inter mediamque coluntur
Quas solis valido numquam vis atterat igne'.”
From the Ephemeris, two passages which Virgil has copied.
“Tum liceat pelagi volucres tardaeqne paludis
Cernere inexpleto studio gestire lavandi
Et velut insolitum pennis infundere rorem.
Aut arguta lacus circumvolitavit hirando.”
“Et vos suspiciens caelum (mirabile visu)
Naribus aerium patulis decerpsit odorem,
Nec tenuis formica cavis non erebit ova.”
An epigram attributed to him, but probably of somewhat later date, is as follows:
“Marmoreo Licinus tumulo iacet, at Cato parvo;
Pompeius nullo. Ciedimus esse deos?”
NOTE IV.—On the Jurists, Critics, and Grammarians of less note.
The study of law had received a great impulse from the labours of Scaevola. But among his successors none can be named beside him, though many attained to a respectable eminence. The business of public life had now become so engrossing that statesmen had no leisure to study law deeply, nor jurists to devote themselves to politics. Hence there was a gradual divergence between the two careers, and universal principles began to make themselves felt in jurisprudence. The chief name of this period is Sulpicius Rufus (born 105 B.C.), who is mentioned with great respect in Cicero's Brutus as a high-minded man and a cultivated student. His contribution lay rather in methodical treatment than in amassing new material. Speeches are also attributed to him (Quint. iv. 2, 106), though sometimes there is an uncertainty whether the older orator is not meant. Letters of his are preserved among those of Cicero, and show the extreme purity of language attained by the highly educated (Ad Fam. iv. 5). Other jurists are P. Orbius, a pupil of Juventius, of whom Cicero thought highly; Ateius, probably the father of that Ateius Capito who obtained great celebrity in the next period, and Pacuvius Labeo, whose fame was also eclipsed by that of his son. Somewhat later we find C. Trebatius, the friend of Cicero and recipient of some of his most interesting letters. He was a brilliant but not profound lawyer, and devoted himself more particularly to the pontifical law. His dexterous conduct through the civil wars enabled him to preserve his influence under the reign of Augustus. Horace professes to ask his advice (Sat. ii. 1, 4):
Quid faciam, praescribe.”
Trebatius replies: “Cease to write, or if you cannot do that, celebrate the exploits of Caesar.” This courtier-like counsel is characteristic of the man, and helps to explain the high position he was enabled to take under the empire. Two other jurists are worthy of mention, A. Cascellius, a contemporary of Trebatius, and noted for his sarcastic wit; and Q. Aelius Tubero, who wrote also on history and rhetoric, but finally gave himself exclusively to legal studies.
Among grammatical critics, the most important is P. Nigidius Figulus (98-46 B.C.). He was, like Varro, conservative in his views, and is considered by Gellius to come next to him in erudition. They appear to have been generally coupled together by later writers, but probably from the similarity of their studies rather than from any equality of talent. Nigidius was a mystic, and devoted much of his time to Pythagorean speculations, and the celebration of various religious mysteries. His Commentarii treated of grammar, orthography, etymology, &c. In the latter he appears to have copied Varro in deriving all Latin words from native roots. Besides grammar, he wrote on sacrificial rites, on theology (de dis), and natural science. One or two references are made to him in the curious Apology of Apuleius. In the investigation of the supernatural he was followed by Caecina, who wrote on the Etruscan ceremonial, and drew up a theory of portents and prodigies.
The younger generation produced few grammarians of merit. We hear of Ateius Praetextatus, who was equally well known as a rhetorician. He was born at Athens, set free for his attainments, and called himself Philologus (Suet. De Gram. 10). He seems to have had some influence with the young nobles, with whom a teacher of grammar, who was also a fluent and persuasive speaker, was always welcome. Another instance is found in Valerius Cato, who lost his patrimony when quite a youth by the rapacity of Sulla, and was compelled to teach in order to obtain a living. He speedily became popular, and was considered an excellent trainer of poets. He is called—
“Cato Grammaticus, Latina Siren,
Qui solus legit et facit poetas.”
Having acquired a moderate fortune and bought a villa at Tusculum, he sank through mismanagement again into poverty, from which he never emerged, but died in a garret, destitute of the necessaries of life. His fate was the subject of several epigrams, of which one by Bibaculus is preserved in Suetonius (De Cr. ii).
The only other name worth notice is that of Santra, who is called by Martial Salebrosus. He seems to have written chiefly on the history of Roman literature, and, in particular, to have commented on the poems of Naevius. Many obscurer writers are mentioned in Suetonius's treatise, to which, with that on rhetoric by the same author, the reader is here referred.