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Rufus, C. Muso'nius

a celebrated Stoic philosopher in the first century of the Christian era, was the son of a Roman eques of the name of Capito, and was born at Volsinii in Etruria, either at the end of the reign of Augustus, or the beginning of that of Tiberius. In consequence of his practising and inculcating the principles of the Porch, he became an object of suspicion and dislike at Nero's court, and was accordingly banished to the island of Gyaros, in A. D. 66, under the pretext of his having been privy to the conspiracy uf Piso. The statement of Suidas (s. v.), that he was put to death by Nero, is unquestionably erroneous. He returned from exile on the accession of Galba, and when Antonius Primus, the general of Vespasian, was marching upon Rome, he joined the ambassadors that were sent by Vitellius to the victorious general, and going among the soldiers of the latter, descanted upon the blessings of peace and the dangers of war, but was soon compelled to put an end to his unseasonable eloquence. When the party of Vitellius gained the upper hand, Musonius distinguished himself by accusing Publius Celer, by whose means Barea Soranus had been condemned, and he obtained the conviction of Publius. Musonius seems to have been held in high estimation by Vespasian, as he was allowed to remain at Rome when the other philosophers were banished from the city. The time of his death is not mentioned, but he was not alive in the reign of Trajan, when Pliny speaks of his sonin-law Artemidorus. (Tac. Ann. 14.59, 15.71, Hist. 3.81, 4.10, 40; D. C. 62.27, 66.13; Plin. Ep. 3.11; Philostr. Vit. Apoll. 4.35, 46, 7.16; Themist. Orat. xiii. p. 173, ed. Hard.) The poet Rufus Festus Avienus was probably a descendant of Musonius. [See Vol. I. p. 433a.]


Musonius wrote various philosophical works, which are spoken of by Suidas as λόγοι διάφοροι φιλοσοφίας ἐχόμενοι. Besides these Suidas mentions letters of his to Apollonius Tyanaeus, which were spurious. His opinions on philosophical subjects were also given in a work entitled, Ἀπομνημονεύματα Μουσωνίου τοῦ φιλοσόφου, which Suidas attributes to Asinius Pollio of Tralles (s. v. Πωλίων), but which must have been the work of a later writer of this name, as Asinius Pollio was a contemporary of Pompey. [See Vol. III. p. 439b.] The work of Pollio seems to have been an imitation of the Memorabilia of Xenophon, and it was probably this work that Stobaeus (Floril. 29.78, 56.18), A. Gellius (5.1, 9.2, 16.1), Arrian, and other writers made use of, when they quote the opinions of Musonius.


All the extant fragments of his writings and opinions are carefully collected by Peerlkamp, in the work referred to below.

Further Information

Fabric. Bibl. Graec. vol. iii. pp. 566, 567; Ritter and Preller, Historia Philosophiae, pp. 438-441; Niewland, Dissert. Philos. Crit. de Musonio Rufoo, Amstelod. 1783, which is reprinted by Peerlkamp, in his C. Musonii Rufi Reliquiae et Apophthegmata, Harlemi, 1822.

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66 AD (1)
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