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Melissus, C. Maece'nas

a native of Spoletium. He was of free birth, but was exposed in his infancy, and presented by the person who found and reared him to Maecenas. Though his mother declared his real origin, he refused to leave Maecenas. He was, however, speedily manumitted, and obtained the favour of Augustus, who commissioned him to arrange the library in the portico of Octavia. At an advanced period of life he commenced the composition of a collection of jokes and witticisms. He also wrote plays of a novel sort, which he called Trabeatae. (Suet. de Illustr. Gramm. 21; Ov. ex Pont. 4.16. 30.) Suetonius, in the passage already referred to, calls him C. Melissus, but in another place de Illustr. Gramm. 3), he terms him Lenaeus Melissus, for which it has been conjectured we ought to read Cilnius Melissus. By Pliny (Plin. Nat. 28.6. s. 17) he is called Maecenas Melissus.


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