61. The Cornificius to whom Catullus addressed the pathetic appeal of c. 38 was a poet (cf. vv. 7 and 8), and is doubtless to be identified with the Cornificius mentioned by Ovid (Trist. II.436) in connection with other verse-writers of the period of Catullus. It is not so clear, though quite possible, that he is the Q. Cornificius to whom Cicero wrote friendly letters (Fam. XII. 17-30), dated between 45 and 43 B.C. This Cornificius was an active officer of Julius Caesar, a member of the college of augurs, and later governor of the province of Africa, which he endeavored to hold against T. Sextius, the general of the second triumvirate. His death is mentioned by Jerome under date of 41 B.C.: “Cornificius poeta a militibus desertus interiit, quos saepe fugientes 'galeatos lepores' adpellarat.” Jerome If this be the friend of Catullus, he may perhaps be counted as another of the group of young writers won over by Caesar from the ranks of his political foes. His interest and activity in rhetorical studies are distinctly indicated by Cicero, and there seems to be no good reason to doubt that he is the “Cornificius rhetor” not infrequently quoted by Quintilian. With but slightly less probability may be attributed to him the work on the derivation of the names of the gods ascribed by Macrobius and Priscian to an author of his name: but the verse in criticism of a grammatical point in Vergil attributed by Cledonius (V. 43.2) to Cornificius Gallus may have been written, as some have thought, by Cornelius Gallus. Only two fragments of the verses of Cornificius have been preserved, one a hendecasyllabic (Macr. VI. 4. 12), and the other the latter part of a hexameter from his Glaucus (Macr. VI. 5. 13). They are appended by L. Müller to his edition of Catullus.
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Friends and foes.
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