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Avi'tus, A'lphius

The Latin poet quoted under this name is believed to have flourished during the reigns of Augustus and Tiberius. Many suppose him to be the same person with Alfius Flavus--the precocious pupil of Cestius and contemporary with Seneca, who while yet a boy was so famed for his eloquence, that crowds flocked to listen to his orations (Senec.Controv. i.l )--and with Flavius Alfius, referred to by Pliny (Plin. Nat. 9.8), as an authority for a story about dolphins. Hence Vossius conjectures, that his designation at full length and properly arranged may have been Flavus Alfius Avitus. All this is very ingenious and very uncertain. We know from Terentianus Maurus (1. 2448), that Alphius Avitus composed a work upon Illustrious Men, in iambic dimeters, extending to several books; and eight lines are cited by Priscian from the second book, forming a part of the legend of the Faliscan schoolmaster who betrayed his pupils to Camillus; besides which, three lines more from the first book are contained in some MSS. of the same grammarian. (Priscian, vol. i. pp. 410, 553, vol. ii. p. 131, ed. Krehl, or pp. 823, 947, 1136, ed. Putsch.) These fragments are given in the Anthologia Latina of Burmann, ii. p. 267, and Add. ii. p. 730, or Ep. n. 125, ed. Meyer.

There is also an " Alpheus philologus," from whom Priscian adduces five words (vol. i. p. 370, ed. Kr., or p. 792, ed. Putsch), and an Alfius whose work on the Trojan war is mentioned by Festus, s. v. Mamertini. (Wernsdorf, Poett. Latt. Minn. vol. iii. p. xxxi., vol. iv. pars ii. p. 826.)


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