The Lives of the Twelve Caesars

The Eunuch was even acted twice the same day [931], and earned more money
than any comedy, whoever was the writer, had (533) ever done before,
namely, eight thousand sesterces [932]; besides which, a certain sum
accrued to the author for the title. But Varro prefers the opening of
The Adelphi [933] to that of Menander. It is very commonly reported that
Terence was assisted in his works by Laelius and Scipio [934], with whom
he lived in such great intimacy. He gave some currency to this report
himself, nor did he ever attempt to defend himself against it, except in
a light way; as in the prologue to The Adelphi:

Nam quod isti dicunt malevoli, homines nohiles
Hunc adjutare, assidueque una scribere;
Quod illi maledictun vehemens existimant,
Eam laudem hic ducit maximam: cum illis placet,
Qui vobis universis et populo placent;
Quorum opera in bello, in otio, in negotio,
Suo quisque tempore usus est sine superbia.

——–For this,
Which malice tells that certain noble persons
Assist the bard, and write in concert with him,
That which they deem a heavy slander, he
Esteems his greatest praise: that he can please
Those who in war, in peace, as counsellors,
Have rendered you the dearest services,
And ever borne their faculties so meekly.

He appears to have protested against this imputation with less
earnestness, because the notion was far from being disagreeable to
Laelius and Scipio. It therefore gained ground, and prevailed in after-

Quintus Memmius, in his speech in his own defence, says “Publius
Africanus, who borrowed from Terence a character which he had acted in
private, brought it on the stage in his name.” Nepos tells us he found
in some book that C. Laelius, when he was on some occasion at Puteoli, on
the calends [the first] of March, [935] being requested by his wife to
rise early, (534) begged her not to suffer him to be disturbed, as he had
gone to bed late, having been engaged in writing with more than usual
success. On her asking him to tell her what he had been writing, he
repeated the verses which are found in the Heautontimoroumenos:

Satis pol proterve me Syri promessa–Heauton. IV. iv. 1.
I’faith! the rogue Syrus’s impudent pretences–

Santra [936] is of opinion that if Terence required any assistance in his
compositions [937], he would not have had recourse to Scipio and Laelius,
who were then very young men, but rather to Sulpicius Gallus [938], an
accomplished scholar, who had been the first to introduce his plays at
the games given by the consuls; or to Q. Fabius Labeo, or Marcus Popilius
[939], both men of consular rank, as well as poets. It was for this
reason that, in alluding to the assistance he had received, he did not
speak of his coadjutors as very young men, but as persons of whose
services the people had full experience in peace, in war, and in the
administration of affairs.

After he had given his comedies to the world, at a time when he had not
passed his thirty-fifth year, in order to avoid suspicion, as he found
others publishing their works under his name, or else to make himself
acquainted with the modes of life and habits of the Greeks, for the
purpose of exhibiting them in his plays, he withdrew from home, to which
he never returned. Volcatius gives this account of his death:

Sed ut Afer sei populo dedit comoedias,
Iter hic in Asiam fecit. Navem cum semel
Conscendit, visus nunquam est. Sic vita vacat.

(535) When Afer had produced six plays for the entertainment of the
He embarked for Asia; but from the time he went on board ship
He was never seen again. Thus he ended his life.

Q. Consentius reports that he perished at sea on his voyage back from
Greece, and that one hundred and eight plays, of which he had made a
version from Menander [940], were lost with him. Others say that he died
at Stymphalos, in Arcadia, or in Leucadia, during the consulship of Cn.
Cornelius Dolabella and Marcus Fulvius Nobilior [941], worn out with a
severe illness, and with grief and regret for the loss of his baggage,
which he had sent forward in a ship that was wrecked, and contained the
last new plays he had written.

In person, Terence is reported to have been rather short and slender,
with a dark complexion. He had an only daughter, who was afterwards
married to a Roman knight; and he left also twenty acres of garden ground
[942], on the Appian Way, at the Villa of Mars. I, therefore, wonder the
more how Porcius could have written the verses,

——–nihil Publius
Scipio profuit, nihil et Laelius, nihil Furius,
Tres per idem tempus qui agitabant nobiles facillime.
Eorum ille opera ne domum quidem habuit conductitiam
Saltem ut esset, quo referret obitum domini servulus. [943]

Afranius places him at the head of all the comic writers, declaring, in
his Compitalia,

Terentio non similem dices quempiam.
Terence’s equal cannot soon be found.

On the other hand, Volcatius reckons him inferior not only (536) to
Naevius, Plautus, and Caecilius, but also to Licinius. Cicero pays him
this high compliment, in his Limo–

Tu quoque, qui solus lecto sermone, Terenti,
Conversum expressumque Latina voce Menandrum
In medio populi sedatis vocibus offers,
Quidquid come loquens, ac omnia dulcia dicens.

“You, only, Terence, translated into Latin, and clothed in choice
language the plays of Menander, and brought them before the public, who,
in crowded audiences, hung upon hushed applause–

Grace marked each line, and every period charmed.”

So also Caius Caesar:

Tu quoque tu in summis, O dimidiate Menander,
Poneris, et merito, puri sermonis amator,
Lenibus atque utinam scriptis adjuncta foret vis
Comica, ut aequato virtus polleret honore
Cum Graecis, neque in hoc despectus parte jaceres!
Unum hoc maceror, et doleo tibi deesse, Terenti.

“You, too, who divide your honours with Menander, will take your place
among poets of the highest order, and justly too, such is the purity of
your style. Would only that to your graceful diction was added more
comic force, that your works might equal in merit the Greek masterpieces,
and your inferiority in this particular should not expose you to censure.
This is my only regret; in this, Terence, I grieve to say you are
D. JUNIUS JUVENALIS, who was either the son [944] of a wealthy freedman,
or brought up by him, it is not known which, declaimed till the middle of
life [945], more from the bent of his inclination, than from any desire
to prepare himself either for the schools or the forum. But having
composed a short satire [946], which was clever enough, on Paris [947],
the actor of pantomimes, (537) and also on the poet of Claudius Nero, who
was puffed up by having held some inferior military rank for six months
only; he afterwards devoted himself with much zeal to that style of
writing. For a while indeed, he had not the courage to read them even to
a small circle of auditors, but it was not long before he recited his
satires to crowded audiences, and with entire success; and this he did
twice or thrice, inserting new lines among those which he had originally

Quod non dant proceres, dabit histrio, tu Camerinos,
Et Bareas, tu nobilium magna atria curas.
Praefectos Pelopea facit, Philomela tribunos.

Behold an actor’s patronage affords
A surer means of rising than a lord’s!
And wilt thou still the Camerino’s [948] court,
Or to the halls of Bareas resort,
When tribunes Pelopea can create
And Philomela praefects, who shall rule the state? [949]

At that time the player was in high favour at court, and many of those
who fawned upon him were daily raised to posts of honour. Juvenal
therefore incurred the suspicion of having covertly satirized occurrences
which were then passing, and, although eighty years old at that time
[950], he was immediately removed from the city, being sent into
honourable banishment as praefect of a cohort, which was under orders to
proceed to a station at the extreme frontier of Egypt [951]. That (538)
sort of punishment was selected, as it appeared severe enough for an
offence which was venial, and a mere piece of drollery. However, he died
very soon afterwards, worn down by grief, and weary of his life.
AULUS PERSIUS FLACCUS was born the day before the Nones of December [4th
Dec.] [952], in the consulship of Fabius Persicus and L. Vitellius. He
died on the eighth of the calends of December [24th Nov.] [953] in the
consulship of Rubrius Marius and Asinius Gallus. Though born at
Volterra, in Etruria, he was a Roman knight, allied both by blood and
marriage to persons of the highest rank [954]. He ended his days at an
estate he had at the eighth milestone on the Appian Way. His father,
Flaccus, who died when he was barely six years old, left him under the
care of guardians, and his mother, Fulvia Silenna, who afterwards married
Fusius, a Roman knight, buried him also in a very few years. Persius
Flaccus pursued his studies at Volterra till he was twelve years old, and
then continued them at Rome, under Remmius Palaemon, the grammarian, and
Verginius Flaccus, the rhetorician. Arriving at the age of twenty-one,
he formed a friendship with Annaeus Cornutus [955], which lasted through
life; and from him he learned the rudiments of philosophy. Among his
earliest friends were Caesius Bassus [956], and Calpurnius Statura; the
latter of whom died while Persius himself was yet in his youth.
Servilius (539) Numanus [957], he reverenced as a father. Through
Cornutus he was introduced to Annaeus, as well as to Lucan, who was of
his own age, and also a disciple of Cornutus. At that time Cornutus was
a tragic writer; he belonged to the sect of the Stoics, and left behind
him some philosophical works. Lucan was so delighted with the writings
of Persius Flaccus, that he could scarcely refrain from giving loud
tokens of applause while the author was reciting them, and declared that
they had the true spirit of poetry. It was late before Persius made the
acquaintance of Seneca, and then he was not much struck with his natural
endowments. At the house of Cornutus he enjoyed the society of two very
learned and excellent men, who were then zealously devoting themselves to
philosophical enquiries, namely, Claudius Agaternus, a physician from
Lacedaemon, and Petronius Aristocrates, of Magnesia, men whom he held in
the highest esteem, and with whom he vied in their studies, as they were
of his own age, being younger than Cornutus. During nearly the last ten
years of his life he was much beloved by Thraseas, so that he sometimes
travelled abroad in his company; and his cousin Arria was married to him.

Persius was remarkable for gentle manners, for a modesty amounting to
bashfulness, a handsome form, and an attachment to his mother, sister,
and aunt, which was most exemplary. He was frugal and chaste. He left
his mother and sister twenty thousand sesterces, requesting his mother,
in a written codicil, to present to Cornutus, as some say, one hundred
sesterces, or as others, twenty pounds of wrought silver [958], besides
about seven hundred books, which, indeed, included his whole library.
Cornutus, however, would only take the books, and gave up the legacy to
the sisters, whom his brother had constituted his heirs.

He wrote [959] seldom, and not very fast; even the work we possess he
left incomplete. Some verses are wanting at the end of the book [960],
but Cornutus thoughtlessly recited it, as if (540) it was finished; and
on Caesius Bassus requesting to be allowed to publish it, he delivered it
to him for that purpose., In his younger days, Persius had written a
play, as well as an Itinerary, with several copies of verses on Thraseas’
father-in-law, and Arria’s [961] mother, who had made away with herself
before her husband. But Cornutus used his whole influence with the
mother of Persius to prevail upon her to destroy these compositions. As
soon as his book of Satires was published, all the world began to admire
it, and were eager to buy it up. He died of a disease in the stomach, in
the thirtieth year of his age [962]. But no sooner had he left school
and his masters, than he set to work with great vehemence to compose
satires, from having read the tenth book of Lucilius; and made the
beginning of that book his model; presently launching his invectives all
around with so little scruple, that he did not spare cotemporary poets
and orators, and even lashed Nero himself, who was then the reigning
prince. The verse ran as follows:

Auriculas asini Mida rex habet;
King Midas has an ass’s ears;

but Cornutus altered it thus;

Auriculas asini quis non hahet?
Who has not an ass’s ears?

in order that it might not be supposed that it was meant to apply to
HORATIUS FLACCUS was a native of Venusium [963], his father having been,
by his own account [964], a freedman and collector of taxes, but, as it
is generally believed, a dealer in salted (541) provisions; for some one
with whom Horace had a quarrel, jeered him, by saying; “How often have I
seen your father wiping his nose with his fist?” In the battle of
Philippi, he served as a military tribune [965], which post he filled at
the instance of Marcus Brutus [966], the general; and having obtained a
pardon, on the overthrow of his party, he purchased the office of scribe
to a quaestor. Afterwards insinuating himself first, into the good
graces of Mecaenas, and then of Augustus, he secured no small share in
the regard of both. And first, how much Mecaenas loved him may be seen
by the epigram in which he says:

Ni te visceribus meis, Horati,
Plus jam diligo, Titium sodalem,
Ginno tu videas strigosiorem. [967]

But it was more strongly exhibited by Augustus, in a short sentence
uttered in his last moments: “Be as mindful of Horatius Flaccus as you
are of me!” Augustus offered to appoint him his secretary, signifying
his wishes to Mecaenas in a letter to the following effect: “Hitherto I
have been able to write my own epistles to friends; but now I am too much
occupied, and in an infirm state of health. I wish, therefore, to
deprive you of our Horace: let him leave, therefore, your luxurious table
and come to the palace, and he shall assist me in writing my letters.”
And upon his refusing to accept the office, he neither exhibited the
smallest displeasure, nor ceased to heap upon him tokens of his regard.
Letters of his are extant, from which I will make some short extracts to
establish this: “Use your influence over me with the same freedom as you
would do if we were living together as friends. In so doing you will be
perfectly right, and guilty of no impropriety; for I could wish that our
intercourse should be on that footing, if your health admitted of it.”
And again: “How I hold you in memory you may learn (542) from our friend
Septimius [968], for I happened to mention you when he was present. And
if you are so proud as to scorn my friendship, that is no reason why I
should lightly esteem yours, in return.” Besides this, among other
drolleries, he often called him, “his most immaculate penis,” and “his
charming little man,” and loaded him from time to time with proofs of his
munificence. He admired his works so much, and was so convinced of their
enduring fame, that he directed him to compose the Secular Poem, as well
as that on the victory of his stepsons Tiberius and Drusus over the
Vindelici [969]; and for this purpose urged him to add, after a long
interval, a fourth book of Odes to the former three. After reading his
“Sermones,” in which he found no mention of himself, he complained in
these terms: “You must know that I am very angry with you, because in
most of your works of this description you do not choose to address
yourself to me. Are you afraid that, in times to come, your reputation
will suffer; in case it should appear that you lived on terms of intimate
friendship with me?” And he wrung from him the eulogy which begins with,

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