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Vopiscus, Fla'vius

Syracusius, one of the six Scriptores Historiae Augustae [see CAPITOLINUS], probably the latest, since he refers difectly to three, Trebellius Pollio, Julius Capitolinus, and Aelius Lampridius, the last being very probably the same with Spartianus [LAMPRIDIUS ; SPARTIANUS]. Vulcatius Gallicanus, the sixth, is alike unknown and insignificant.


Lives of the Emperors

The name of Vopiscus is prefixed to the biographies of, at this point he stops, declaring that Diocletian, and those who follow, demand a more elevated style of composition. Although we observe the same want of judgment in selecting, arranging, and combining his materials, which characterises the other authors of this collection, yet he appears to have exercised considerable industry in consulting the Greek writers who had preceded him in the same department, in availing himself of the treasures of the Ulpian and other public libraries, and in examining the public records of different branches of the administration, and the private papers of various distinguished individuals, especially the journals and commentaries of the emperor Aurelianus. Considerable authority and interest are communicated to his narrative by the insertion of original letters written by Hadrianus, Valerianus, Claudius, Aurelianus, Zenobia, Tacitus, Probus, Carus, and other public characters, together with quotations from acts of the senate, and orations delivered on great occasions. From the epithet Syracusius we conclude that Vopiscus was by birth a Sicilian : he informs us that he undertook the task of writing the life of Aurelianus, at the suggestion and by the request of Junius Tiberianus, prefect of the city (about A. D. 291), who placed at his disposal a variety of important documents, and we find that the life of Carinus was written after the elevation of Constantius Chlorus to the rank of Caesar, that is, later than A. D. 292.


For editions, translations, &c. see CAPITOLINUS.


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