Verrius Flaccus

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Marcus Verrius Flaccus (c. 10 BC), was a Roman grammarian and teacher, flourished under Augustus and Tiberius.

He was a freedman, and his manumitter has been identified with Verrius Flaccus, an authority on pontifical law; but for chronological reasons the name of Veranius Flaccus, a writer on augury, has been suggested (Teuffel-Schwabe, Hist. of Roman Lit. 199, 4). He gained such a reputation by his methods of instruction that he was summoned to court to bring up Gaius and Lucius, the grandsons of Augustus. He removed there with his whole school, and his salary was greatly increased on the condition that he took no fresh pupils. He died at an advanced age during the reign of Tiberius (Suetonius, De Grammaticis, 17), and a statue in his honour was erected at Praeneste, in a marble recess, with inscriptions from his Fasti.

Flaccus was also a distinguished philologist and antiquarian investigator. For his most important work (De Verborum Significatu) see Sextus Pompeius Festus. Of the calendar of Roman festivals (Fasti Praenestini) engraved on marble and set up in the forum at Praeneste, some fragments were discovered (1771) at some distance from the town itself in a Christian building of later date, and some consular fasti in the forum itself (1778). The collection was subsequently increased by two new fragments.

Other lost works of Flaccus were:

  • De Orthographia: De Obscuris Catonis, an elucidation of obscurities in the writings of Cato the Elder
  • Saturnus, dealing with questions of Roman ritual
  • Rerum memoria dignarum libri, an encyclopaedic work much used by Pliny the Elder
  • Res Etruscae, probably on augury.

For the fragments of the Fasti see Corpus Inscriplionum Latinarum, i. pp. 311; G Gatti, "Due nuovi Framinenti del Calendario di Verrio Flacco," in Atti della r. Accademia del Lincei, 5th ser., vol. 5, pt. 2, p. 421 (1898); Winther, De Fastis Verrii Flacci ab Ovidio adhibitis (1885); JE Sandys, Classical Scholarship (ed. 1906), vol. i., index, s.v. "Verrius"; fragments of Flaccus in KO Müller's edition of Festus; see also Henry Nettleship, Lectures and Essays.

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