Marcus Terentius Varro ( Latin: [ˈmarkʊs tɛˈrɛntɪʊs ˈwarːo] ; 116–27 BC) was one of ancient Rome's greatest scholars and a prolific author. He is sometimes called Varro Reatinus ( Latin: ['warːo rɛaˈtiːnʊs]) to distinguish him from his younger contemporary Varro Atacinus.
Varro was born in or near Reate (now Rieti) Ripa Sottile, until his old age. He supported Pompey, reaching the office of praetor, after having been tribune of the people, quaestor and curule aedile . He was one of the commission of twenty that carried out the great agrarian scheme of Caesar for the resettlement of Capua and Campania (59 BC).to a family thought to be of equestrian rank, and always remained close to his roots in the area, owning a large farm in the Reatine plain, reported as near Lago di
During Caesar's civil war he commanded one of Pompey's armies in the Ilerda campaign. BC, but following Caesar's death Mark Antony proscribed him, resulting in the loss of much of his property, including his library. As the Republic gave way to Empire, Varro gained the favour of Augustus, under whose protection he found the security and quiet to devote himself to study and writing.He escaped the penalties of being on the losing side in the civil war through two pardons granted by Julius Caesar, before and after the Battle of Pharsalus. Caesar later appointed him to oversee the public library of Rome in 47
Varro studied under the Roman philologist Lucius Aelius Stilo, and later at Athens under the Academic philosopher Antiochus of Ascalon. Varro proved to be a highly productive writer and turned out more than 74 Latin works on a variety of topics. Among his many works, two stand out for historians; Nine Books of Disciplines and his compilation of the Varronian chronology . His Nine Books of Disciplines became a model for later encyclopedists, especially Pliny the Elder. The most noteworthy portion of the Nine Books of Disciplines is its use of the liberal arts as organizing principles.Varro decided to focus on identifying nine of these arts: grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, musical theory, medicine, and architecture. Using Varro's list, subsequent writers defined the seven classical "liberal arts of the medieval schools".
In 37 BC,in his old age, he also wrote on agriculture for his wife Fundania, writing a "voluminous" work De re rustica (also called Res rusticae)—similar to Cato the Elder's similar work De agri cultura—on the management of large slave-run estates.
The compilation of the Varronian chronology was an attempt to determine an exact year-by-year timeline of Roman history up to his time. It is based on the traditional sequence of the consuls of the Roman Republic—supplemented, where necessary, by inserting "dictatorial" and "anarchic" years. It has been demonstrated to be somewhat erroneous but has become the widely accepted standard chronology, in large part because it was inscribed on the arch of Augustus in Rome; though that arch no longer stands, a large portion of the chronology has survived under the name of Fasti Capitolini.
Varro's literary output was prolific; Ritschl estimated it at 74 works in some 620 books, of which only one work survives complete, although we possess many fragments of the others, mostly in Gellius' Attic Nights . He was called "the most learned of the Romans" by Quintilian, and also recognized by Plutarch as "a man deeply read in Roman history".
Varro was recognized as an important source by many other ancient authors, among them Cicero, Pliny the Elder, Virgil in the Georgics, Columella, Aulus Gellius, Macrobius, Augustine, and Vitruvius, who credits him (VII.Intr.14) with a book on architecture.
His only complete work extant, Rerum rusticarum libri tres (Three Books on Agriculture), has been described as "the well digested system of an experienced and successful farmer who has seen and practised all that he records."
One noteworthy aspect of the work is his anticipation of microbiology and epidemiology. Varro warned his contemporaries to avoid swamps and marshland, since in such areas
...there are bred certain minute creatures which cannot be seen by the eyes, but which float in the air and enter the body through the mouth and nose and cause serious diseases.
Most of the extant fragments of these works (mostly the grammatical works) can be found in the Goetz–Schoell edition of De Lingua Latina, pp. 199–242; in the collection of Wilmanns, pp. 170–223; and in that of Funaioli, pp. 179–371.
Latin literature includes the essays, histories, poems, plays, and other writings written in the Latin language. The beginning of Latin literature dates to 240 BC, when the first stage play was performed in Rome. Latin literature would flourish for the next six centuries. The classical era of Latin literature can be roughly divided into the following periods: Early Latin literature, The Golden Age, The Imperial Period and Late Antiquity.
The gens Petronia was a plebeian family at ancient Rome. This gens claimed an ancient lineage, as a Petronius Sabinus is mentioned in the time of Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, the last of the Roman kings, but few Petronii are mentioned in the time of the Republic. They are frequently encountered under the Empire, holding numerous consulships, and eventually obtaining the Empire itself during the brief reign of Petronius Maximus in AD 455.
In ancient Roman religion and myth, Tellus Mater or Terra Mater is a goddess of the earth. Although Tellus and Terra are hardly distinguishable during the Imperial era, Tellus was the name of the original earth goddess in the religious practices of the Republic or earlier. The scholar Varro (1st century BCE) lists Tellus as one of the di selecti, the twenty principal gods of Rome, and one of the twelve agricultural deities. She is regularly associated with Ceres in rituals pertaining to the earth and agricultural fertility.
Lucius Junius Moderatus Columella was a prominent writer on agriculture in the Roman empire.
Rutilius Taurus Aemilianus Palladius, also known as Palladius Rutilius Taurus Aemilianus or most often just as Palladius, was an ancient writer who wrote in Latin, and is dated variously to the latter 4th century or first half of the 5th century AD. He is principally known for his book on agriculture, Opus agriculturae, sometimes known as De re rustica.
Appius Claudius Pulcher was a Roman patrician, politician and general in the first century BC. He was consul of the Roman Republic in 54 BC. He was an expert in Roman law and antiquities, especially the esoteric lore of the augural college of which he was a controversial member. He was head of the senior line of the most powerful family of the patrician Claudii. The Claudii were one of the five leading families which had dominated Roman social and political life from the earliest years of the republic. He is best known as the recipient of 13 of the extant letters in Cicero's ad Familiares corpus, which date from winter 53-52 to summer 50 BC. Regrettably they do not include any of Appius' replies to Cicero as extant texts of any sort by members of Rome's ruling aristocracy are quite rare, apart from those of Julius Caesar. He is also well known for being the older brother of the infamous Clodius and Clodia.
The gens Terentia was a plebeian family at ancient Rome. Dionysius mentions a Gaius Terentilius Arsa, tribune of the plebs in 462 BC, but Livy calls him Terentilius, and from inscriptions this would seem to be a separate gens. No other Terentii appear in history until the time of the Second Punic War. Gaius Terentius Varro, one of the Roman commanders at the Battle of Cannae in 216 BC, was the first to hold the consulship. Members of this family are found as late as the third century AD.
In ancient Rome, res divinae, singular res divina, were the laws that pertained to the religious duties of the state and its officials. Roman law was divided into the res divina and res publica, the divine and public or political spheres, the latter phrase being the origin of the English word "republic." Res divina also means, as a technical term, ritual sacrifice.
Quintus Valerius Soranus was a Latin poet, grammarian, and tribune of the people in the Late Roman Republic. He was executed in 82 BC while Sulla was dictator, ostensibly for violating a religious prohibition against speaking the arcane name of Rome, but more likely for political reasons. The cognomen Soranus is a toponym indicating that he was from Sora.
Nenia Dea was an ancient funeral deity of Rome, who had a sanctuary outside of the Porta Viminalis. The cult of the Nenia is doubtlessly a very old one, but according to Georg Wissowa the location of Nenia's shrine (sacellum) outside of the center of early Rome indicates that she didn't belong to the earliest circle of Roman deities. In a different interpretation her shrine was located outside of the old city walls, because it had been custom for all gods connected to death or dying.
The gens Axia, also spelled Axsia, was a plebeian family at Rome during the final century of the Republic and the beginning of the Empire. The gens does not appear to have been particularly large or important, although at least some of the family were reasonably wealthy.
In ancient Roman religion, the indigitamenta were lists of deities kept by the College of Pontiffs to assure that the correct divine names were invoked for public prayers. These lists or books probably described the nature of the various deities who might be called on under particular circumstances, with specifics about the sequence of invocation. The earliest indigitamenta, like many other aspects of Roman religion, were attributed to Numa Pompilius, second king of Rome.
The gens Cossinia was a plebeian family at Rome. The gens originated at Tibur, and came to Rome early in the first century BC. None of its members ever obtained the higher offices of the state.
Terentius Varro was the name used by men in a branch of the gens Terentia in ancient Rome, including:
The gens Fundania was a plebeian family at Ancient Rome, which first appears in history in the second half of the third century BC. Although members of this gens occur well into imperial times, and Gaius Fundanius Fundulus obtained the consulship in BC 243, the Fundanii were never amongst the more important families of the Roman state.
De Verborum Significatione, fully Twenty Books on the Meaning of Words and also known as De Verborum Signficatu and The Lexicon of Festus, is an epitome compiled, edited, and annotated by Sextus Pompeius Festus from the encyclopedic works of Verrius Flaccus. Festus's epitome is typically dated to the 2nd century, but the work only survives in a partial 11th-century manuscript and copies of its own separate epitome.
Antigonus of Cumae in Asia Minor was an ancient Greek writer on agriculture, who is referred to by Pliny, Varro, and Columella, but whose age is unknown.
Antiquitates rerum humanarum et divinarum was one of the chief works of Marcus Terentius Varro . The work has been lost, but having been substantially quoted by Augustine in his De Civitate Dei its contents can be reconstructed in parts. To a lesser extent, quotes from the work have also been transmitted by other authors, including Pliny, Gellius, Censorinus, Servius, Nonius, Macrobius, Priscian.
Marcellus autem ad quem haec uolumina misit quis fuerit nescio.
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