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. He was born in the province of Gallia Narbonensis, the southern part of Gaul with its capital at Narbonne, on the river Atax (now the Aude), for his cognomen Atacinus indicates his birthplace.
Only fragments of his works survive. His first known works are Bellum sequanicum, 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; Ephemeris, a hexameter poem on weather-signs after Aratus, from which Virgil has borrowed and (late in life) elegies to Leucadia.
His translation of the Alexandrian poet Apollonius Rhodius' Argonautica into Latin has some fine surviving lines; 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?”. 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”.
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:
In a marble tomb [the freedman] Licinus lies; yet Cato lies in none
- Charles Thomas Cruttwell, History of Roman Literature (1877): Book II, part I, note III
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 27 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 924. .
- H. J. Rose, A Handbook of Latin Literature (London 1967) p. 146
- A. D. Melville, trans., Ovid: The Love Poems (OUP 2008) p. 27 and p. 188
- O. Seyffert, A Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (London 1892) p. 619
- B. Gold ed., Literary and Artistic Patronage in Ancient Rome (2012) p. 91