Varro Atacinus

Publius Terentius Varro Atacinus (Latin: [ˈpuːbliʊs tɛˈrɛntiʊs ˈwarːoː atakiːnʊs]; 82 – c. 35 BC) was a Roman poet, more polished in his style than the more famous and learned Varro Reatinus, his contemporary, and therefore more widely read by the Augustan writers.[1] He was born in the province of Gallia Narbonensis, the southern part of Gaul with its capital at Narbonne, on the river Atax[2] (now the Aude), for his cognomen Atacinus indicates his birthplace.

WritingsEdit

Only fragments of his works survive. His first known works are Bellum sequanicum,[3] a poem on Julius Caesar's campaign against Ariovistus, and some satires; these should not be confused with the Menippean Satires of the other Varro, of which some 600 fragments survive. He also wrote a geographical poem, Chorographia;[2] Ephemeris, a hexameter poem on weather-signs after Aratus, from which Virgil has borrowed[2] and (late in life) elegies to Leucadia.[3]

His translation of the Alexandrian poet Apollonius Rhodius' Argonautica into Latin has some fine surviving lines;[3] and was singled out for praise by Ovid: “Of Varro too what age will not be told/And Jason’s Argo and the fleece of gold?”.[4] Oskar Seyffert considered that the poem to have been “the most remarkable production in the domain of narrative epic poetry between the time of Ennius and that of Vergil”.[5]

Of Varro's fragments, the epigram on "The Tombs of the Great" is well-known; whether or not it is truly Varro's is debatable:

Marmoreo Licinus tumulo iacet, at Cato nullo,
Pompeius paruo: credimus esse deos?

In a marble tomb [the freedman] Licinus lies; yet Cato lies in none
and Pompey in but a small: Do we believe there are gods?

PatronsEdit

Cicero as well as Caesar have been suggested as possible patrons of Varro's writings.[6]

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Charles Thomas Cruttwell, History of Roman Literature (1877): Book II, part I, note III
  2. ^ a b c Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Varro, Publius Terentius" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 27 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 924.
  3. ^ a b c H. J. Rose, A Handbook of Latin Literature (London 1967) p. 146
  4. ^ A. D. Melville, trans., Ovid: The Love Poems (OUP 2008) p. 27 and p. 188
  5. ^ O. Seyffert, A Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (London 1892) p. 619
  6. ^ B. Gold ed., Literary and Artistic Patronage in Ancient Rome (2012) p. 91