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An Epicurean philosopher, who was head of the Epicurean School at Athens while Cicero was a student there (B.C. 80). He died in the year 70, and was succeeded by Patron. He wrote a treatise on the gods (Περὶ Θεῶν), a fragment of which was found at Herculaneum in 1806. (Edition by Petersen [Hamburg, 1883].) From it Cicero largely drew his materials for the first book of the De Natura Deorum. See Schwenke in Jahn's Neue Jahrbücher, 119, 49; 129.


A Roman writer of poetical fables. By birth a Macedonian of the district of Pieria, he came early to Rome as a slave, and acquired a knowledge of Roman literature while still a boy. If the traditional title of his five books of fables after Aesop is to be trusted (Phaedri, Augusti liberti, fabulae Aesopiae), he was set free by Augustus. To Phaedrus belongs the credit of introducing fable-writing into Latin poetical literature—a fact of which he was fully conscious, but which secured him neither relief from his miserable position, nor recognition on the part of the educated public; his patrons seem to have been only freedmen like himself. In fact, he even drew upon himself, by his two first published books, the illwill and persecution of the all-powerful favourite of Tiberius, Seianus, who suspected in them malicious reference to contemporary events. In consequence, he did not publish the remaining books till after the fall of Seianus in A.D. 31 and the death of Tiberius in 37.

The five books are preserved, though not in a complete form. Whether the further collection of thirty-two fables, transcribed from a MS. in the fifteenth century by Archbishop Nicolo Perotti (Fabulae Perottianae)—and published at Naples in 1809—are a genuine work of Phaedrus, is doubtful. The matter of the fables is only to a small extent borrowed from Aesop. Some include stories from history, partly referring to the present or immediate past. In relation to the Greek originals, the material is not always skilfully used, especially in the “morals.” The drawing of the characters is at first very cramped, but is afterwards more broadly treated; the language fluent and, in general, correct; the metre, too (iambic senarius), used with strictness, though wanting the purity which, in this kind of verse, became general from the time of Catullus. About the tenth century an author, calling himself Romulus, drew up a prose version of Phaedrus, which served as a model for the mediæval collections of fables.

The editio princeps of Phaedrus is that by Pithoeus (Autun, 1596). Other editions are those of Burmann (Amsterdam, 1698; re-edited with a commentary, Leyden, 1727); Bentley, with Terence (London, 1726); Schwabe, with commentary, 2 vols. (last ed. Brunswick, 1806); Orelli (Zürich, 1831); Dressler (Leipzig, 1850); Eyssenhardt (Berlin, 1867); Ramorius (Turin, 1884); L. Müller, with lexicon by Schaubach (Leipzig, 1888); Riese (Leipzig, 1885). Larger critical ed. by L. Müller (Leipzig, 1877). School edition, with English notes and vocabulary, by Schmitz; selections by Walford (London, 1873). See Hervieux, Les Fabulistes Latins, 2 vols. (Paris, 1884).

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