a contemporary of the Gracchi, was the author of a history of Rome from the earliest epoch, extending, as we gather from Censorinus, down to the year B. C. 145 at least. We know that the Rape of the Sabines was commeemorated in the second book; the reign of Titus Tatius in the third; the death of Postumius during the second Punic war, and the purpose to which his skull was applied by the Boii (Liv. 23.24
), in the thirty-third; and we find a quotation in Chorisius from the ninety-seventh, if we can trust the number. Hence it is manifest that a considerable space was devoted to the legends connected with the origin of the nation; and that if these books were in general equal in length to the similar divisions in Livy, the compilation of Gellius must have been exceedingly voluminous, and the details more ample than those contained in the great work of his successor, by whom, as well as by Plutarch, he seems to have been altogether neglected, although occasionally cited by Dionysius, and apparently both all accurate chronologer and a diligent investigator of ancient usages.
Krause, in his Vitae et Fragmenta Historicorum Romanorum,
has enumerated no less than three Gellii, Cnaeus, Sextus, and Aulus; but although " Gellius" is frequently named as an annalist without any distinguishing praenomen, the two latter personages are in all probability imaginary.
The only direct testimony to the existence of Sextus is contained in the tract De Origine gentis Romanae
(100.16), which is a modern forgery; the argument derived from the use of the plural Γέλλιοι
by Dionysius (1.7
) will be found, upon consulting the passage, to be altogether inconclusive (Niebuhr, Rom. Hist.
vol. ii. note 11); and the word Gellii
adduced from Cicero (de Leg.
1.2) is a conjectural emendation.
As to Aulus, we find in Nonius, it is true (s. v. Bubo
), a reference to " A. Gellius historiarum libr. primo ;" and in Vopiscus (Prob.
sub init.) some MSS. have " M. Cato Agellius quoque," instead of the received reading, " M. Cato et Gellius historici ;" but it is clear that such evidence cannot be admitted with any confidence. (Cic. de Divin.
1.26; comp. de Leg.
1.2; Dionys. A. R. 1.7
; Plin. Nat. 7.56
; Solin. Polyh.
2, where one of the best MSS. has Gellius
for Caelius ; Gel. 13.22
; Censorin. de Die Nat.
17; Macr. 1.8
; Charisius, pp. 39, 40, 50, 55 ; Serv. ad Virg. Aen.
4.390, 8.638; Marius Victorin. p. 2468.)