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Cn. An early Roman historian, a contemporary of the Gracchi. His history of Rome, though lost, is frequently quoted by the later writers.


Aulus. A Latin grammarian, born at Rome in the early part of the second century, and who died at the beginning of the reign of Marcus Aurelius. We have but few particulars of his life, though it is known that he studied rhetoric under Antonius Iulianus and Sulpicius Apollinaris at Rome, and philosophy under Favorinus at Athens, and that, on his return to Rome, while still at an early age, he was made one of the centumviri or judges in civil causes (Noct. Att. xiv. 2). Gellius has left behind him one work, entitled Noctes Atticae, “Attic Nights.” It was written, as he informs us in the preface, during the winter evenings in Attica, to amuse his children in their hours of relaxation. It appears from his own account that he had been accustomed to keep a commonplace book, in which he entered whatever he heard in conversation, or met with in his private reading, that appeared worthy of remembrance. In composing his Noctes Atticae, he seems merely to have copied the contents of his commonplace book, with a little alteration in the language, but without any attempt at classification or arrangement. It is, in fact, a huge scrap-book containing anecdotes and arguments, bits of history and pieces of poetry, and dissertations on various points in philosophy, geometry, and grammar. Amid much that is trifling and puerile, it gives information on many subjects relating to antiquity of which we must otherwise have been ignorant. It is divided into twenty books, which are still extant, excepting the eighth and the first part of the preface to the whole. Of the eighth book, the table of contents has come down. He mentions, in the conclusion of his preface, his intention of continuing the work, which purpose he probably, however, never carried into effect. The style of Aulus Gellius is in general unfit for imitation. In his fondness for archaisms, he is often carried too far, and introduces too many forms of expression from the earlier comic poets, whom he seems most anxious to take for his models in this respect. That he invented, however, any new terms himself seems hardly probable. His language, in fact, belongs to the so-called African style of Latinity, with a mingling of archaic forms and those that are characteristic of the plebeian speech. (See African Period of Latinity; Sermo Plebeius.) The standard editions of Aulus Gellius are those of Carrio (Paris, 1585); Gronovius (Leyden, 1706; revised by Conradi, 1762); Lion (Göttingen, 1824); and M. Hertz (Berlin, 1883; smaller ed. Leipzig, 1886). The Noctes Atticae has been translated into English by Beloe (London, 1800); into French by De Chaumont, Flambart, and Buisson (Paris, 1862); and into German by Weiss (Leipzig, 1875). For a valuable analysis of the Noctes Atticae, and a critical estimate of Gellius, see Prof. Nettleship's Essays in Latin Literature (Oxford, 1885). On the language, see Gorges, De Quibusdam Sermonis Gell. Proprietatibus (Halle, 1883); and Cooper, Sermo Plebeius (N. Y. 1895).

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