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Capella


1.

Martianus Mineus Felix. A poet, born, according to Cassiodorus, at Madaura in Africa; he calls himself, however, at the end of his work, “the foster-child of the city of Elissa”; whether it be that he was born at Carthage, or else received his education there, which latter is the more probable opinion of the two. The MSS., however, give him the title of “the Carthaginian.” In process of time he attained to proconsular dignity, but whether he was a Christian or not is a matter of uncertainty. About the middle of the fifth century of our era he wrote at Rome a work bearing the appellation of Satira or Satyricon, divided into nine books. It is a species of encyclopædia, half prose and half verse, modelled after the Varronian satire. The first two books form a detached and separate work, entitled De Nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii, and treating of the apotheosis of Philology and her marriage with Mercury. We find in it, among other things, a description of heaven, which shows that the mystic notions of the Platonists of that day approximated in a very singular manner to the truths of Christianity. In the seven following books Capella treats of the seven sciences which formed at that time the circle of human study—namely, grammar, logic, rhetoric, geometry, astrology (astronomy), arithmetic, and music, which comprehends poetry. (See Liberales Artes.) This work, written in an exaggerated and pedantic style, was introduced into the schools in the Middle Ages; hence it was frequently copied, and the text has become extremely corrupt. The prosody shows that accent had begun to destroy the distinction of quantity, for we find, e. g., lōquax, flăgitaret, Canŏpus, etc. On the text, see Dick, De Martiano Capella Emendando (Berne, 1885). The best edition of Capella is that of Eyssenhardt (Leipzig, 1866); the editio princeps was that of Bodianus (Vincent. 1499). The distinguished jurist, Grotius, edited the work when only fourteen years of age.


2.

An elegiac poet, mentioned with commendation by Ovid ( Pont. xvi. 36). We have no remains of his productions.

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