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Cornu'tus, L. Annaeus

Ἀνναῖος Κορνοῦτος), one of the commentators on Aristotle, concerning whose life but few particulars are known. The work of Diogenes Laertius is believed to have contained a life of Cornutus, which, however, is lost. (Salmas. Exercit. Plin. p. 888, &c.) Our principal sources of information are Suidas (s. v. Κορνοῦτος)--where, however, only the last words of the article refer to the philosopher, and all the rest to Cornutus the historian--and Eudocia (p. 273). Cornutus was born at Leptis in Libya, and came, probably in the capacity of a slave, into the house of the Annaei, which was distinguished for its love of literary pursuits. The Annaei emancipated him (whence his name Annaeus), and he became the teacher and friend of the poet Persius, on whose intellectual culture and development he exercised a very great influence. He was sent into exile by Nero, for having too freely criticised the literary attempts of the emperor. (D. C. 62.29.) This happened, according to Hieronymus in his Chronicle, in A. D. 68. The account of Dio Cassius furnishes a characteristic feature of the defiance peculiar to the Stoics of that time, to whom Cornutus also belonged, as we see from the fifth satire of Persius. That he was a man of very extensive knowledge is attested by the authority of Dio Cassius, as well as by the works he wrote.


On Aristotle's Categories

One of the most important of the philosophical productions of Cornutus was his work on Aristotle's Categories, which is referred to by the later cormmentators, Simplicius and Porphyrius. (Schol. Aristot. p. 48b. 13, p. 80a. 22, ed. Brandis; Simplic. fol. 5, a., ed. Basil.)

Ἀντιγραφὴ πρ̀ος Ἀθηνόδωρον

Cornutus seems to have been very partial to the study of Aristotle, for he wrote a work against Athenodorus, an opponent of the Aristotelian philosophy, which, according to Bake's emendation, bore the title Ἀντιγραφὴ πρ̀ος Ἀθηνόδωρον. (Simplic. p. 47b. 22, ed. Brandis; Porphyr. Expos. Arist. Categ. p. 21, ed. Paris; Simplic. fol. 15, b.)

Ἐλληνικὴ Θεολογία

Cornutus also wrote a philosophical work, entitled Ἐλληνικὴ Θεολογία, which is probably still extant, and the same as the much mutilated treatise Περί τῆς τῶν Θεῶν Φύσεως, edited by Gale in his " Opusc. Mythol. Phys. Eth." p. 139. (Ritter, Gesch. d. Philos. iv. p. 202.) Others, however, consider this treatise as a mere abridgment of the original work of Cornutus.

Other Works

The other philosophical productions of Cornutus, which were very numerous, are completely lost, and not even their titles have come down to us. He also wrote on rhetorical and grammatical subjects. Thus he made, for example, a commentary on all Virgil's poems, which he dedicated to the poet Silius Italicus. (Suringar, Hist. Crit. Scholiast. Lat. ii. p. 116, &c.)

According to the fashion of the time, he also tried his hand in tragedy, in conjunction with his friend Seneca and his pupils Lucan and Persius (Welcker, Griech. Trhg. iii. p. 1456, &c.); and he is even said to have made attempts at writing satires. (Wernsdorf, Poet. Lat. Min. iii p. 17.4.)

Further Information

A minute account of his relation to the poet Persius, as well as of his pupils and his literary merits, is given by Ger. Jo. de Martini, Disputatio Litteraria de L. Annaeo Cornuto, Lugd. Bat. 1825, and in Otto Jahn's Prolegomena to his edition of Persius, Lipsiae, 1843, pp. viii.--xxvii. (Comp. Stahr, Aristoteles bei d. Römern, p. 71, &c.)


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