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Curtius Rufus

Quintus. A Roman historian who flourished in the first century of the Christian era. No particulars of his life are known, and no mention is to be found in the Roman writers that can be positively referred to him, though Suetonius mentions a Q. Curtius Rufus in his list of rhetoricians, and a Curtius Rufus is named by Tacitus ( Ann. xi. 21) and by the younger Pliny (Epist. vii. 27). The ten books (Historiarum Alexandri Magni Libri Decem) that he wrote are believed to have been composed during the reign of Claudius on the strength of a passage in the work itself (x. 9, 3-6), which seems to refer to the outbreak at Rome on the death of Caligula, to which the accession of Claudius put an end. (See Schultess, De Senecae Quaestt. Nat. [Bonn, 1872]; and Berger, De Curtii Aetate [Heidelberg, 1860]).

The history of Alexander the Great is treated in a rhetorical fashion with little historical insight, introducing a number of picturesque details which are grouped effectively; and the career of the great Macedonian is regarded as a series of brilliant and romantic adventures. There are a number of carefully finished speeches worked into the narrative and much sententious reflection. The style is evidently formed on that of Livy. The chief source of the Historiae is Clitarchus (q.v.). Of the original ten books, the first two are lost, and there are lacunae in the others. The work was read during the Middle Ages, and there are numerous MSS., the oldest being of the ninth century. The Historiae was edited by Erasmus (1518), and the first complete edition is that of Snakenburg (Delft, 1724). Later editions, with notes, are those of Schmieder (Göttingen, 1803), Mützell (Berlin, 1841), Zumpt (Brunswick, 1849), Vogel (3d ed. Leipzig, 1885), Schmidt (Prague, 1886), Dosson (Paris, 1887); bks. viii. and ix., with English notes, by Heitland and Raven (Cambridge, 1879). There is a lexicon to Curtius by Eichert (2d ed. Hanover, 1880). On the style, see the dissertations by Krah (Insterb. 1886), Eger (Giessen, 1885), Rauch (Meiningen, 1889); and for a general account, Dosson, Étude sur Q. Curce, sa Vie, et son Œuvre (Paris, 1887).

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