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Foca

or PHOCAS, a Latin grammarian, author of a dull, foolish life of Virgil in hexameter verse, of which one hundred and nineteen lines and a half have been preserved in two fragments, together with a short Sapphic ode, by way of exordium, on the progress of history, addressed to the Muse Clio. The title of the piece, as found in MSS., is Vita Virgilii a Foca Grammatico Urbis Romae Versibus edita, or with the complimentary addition Grammatico Urbis Romae perspicacissimo et clarissimo, from which we may conjecture that he was one of the public salaried teachers who gave lectures at Rome under the later emperors, while his name indicates that he was a Greek by extraction at least, if indeed we are not to understand that Rome here denotes New Rome or Constantinople. We know nothing regarding the history of Foca, nor the precise period when he flourished, except that he lived before Priscian and Cassiodorus. by both of whom he is quoted. In addition to the life of Virgil, we have three couplets, In Aeneidem Virgilii, and two tracts in prose, one De Aspiratione, and the other Ars de Nomine et Verbo, with a preface in elegiac verse.

The metrical productions of this writer will be found in the Anthol. Lat. 2.175, 185, 186, 256, ed. Burmann, or No. 286-289, ed. Meyer; the prose treatises in Putschius, Grammaticae Latinae Auctores Antiqui, p. 1687 and p. 1722. See also Wernsdorf, Poet. Latini Min., vol. iii. pp. 347, 410.

[W.R]

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