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Hygi'nus, Groma'ticus

so called from his profession. The Gromatici derived their name from the gruma or gnomon, an instrument used in land surveying and castrametation. We possess, under the name of Hyginus (or Hygenus, according to the spelling of the manuscripts), fragments connected with both these subjects.


In a fragment, de Limitibus Constituendis, which is attributed by its title to the freedman of Augustus, the author speaks of a division of lands in Pannonia lately undertaken at the command of Trajan. (Ed. Goes. pp. 150. 209.)

In the collections of Agrimensores, severally edited by Turnebus, Rigaltius, and Goesius, there is also published under the name of Hyginus a fragment De Conditionibus Agrorum (ed. Goes. p. 205). This fragment preserves a clause which was usually contained in the lex agraria of a colony founded by an emperor. The Fragmentum Agrarium de Limitibus (Goes. p. 215), which is attributed in one manuscript to Hyginus, and in another to Frontinus, is adjudicated by Niebuhr to the latter.

The commentaries of Aggenus Urbicus, and the Liber Simplici (Goes. p. 76), preserve some passages from Frontinus and Hyginus, but it is difficult to distinguish the borrowed passages from the additions of the later compiler.

In the Rheinisches Museum für Jurisprudenz, vol. vii. p. 137, Blume published a treatise de Controversüs Agrorum, which Rudorff once supposed to be the work of Siculus Flaccus [FLACCUS, SICULUS], but which, upon probable grounds, was attributed by Blume to Hyginus. It is reprinted by Giraud, in his Rei Agrariae Scriptorum Nobiliores Reliquiae, p. 54. (Paris, 1843.) While the work of Frontinus on the same subject treats of fifteen Controversiae, this treats of six only, namely:--1. de Alluvione, atque Abluvione; 2. de Fine (in which occurs a passage ignorantly transposed from a different work of Siculus Flaccus); 3. de Loco; 4. de Modo; 5. de Jure Subsecivorum; 6. de Jure Territorii. Under the fifth Controversia, the writer mentions constitutions of Vespasian, Titus, Domitian, and Divas Nerva. This agrees with the inference as to the date of Hyginus Gromaticus, derivable from the fragment de Limitibus Constituendis.

The work of Hyginus de Castrametatione was frequently cited by Lipsius from manuscript.


The de Castrametatione was first published, with other treatises relating to the art of war, by P. Scriverius, 4to. Antwerp, 1607, and again 1621. There is a subsequent edition by R. H. Scheel, under the title, "Hygini Gromatici et Polybii Megalopolitani de Castris Romanis quae extant, cum notis et animadversionibus, quibls accedunt Dissertationes aliquot de re eadem militari a R. H. S." (4to. Amstel. 1660, and Graevii Thes. Ant. Rom. vol. x. p. 599.


The difficulties of the subject, and the obscurities of the style, added to the confusion and corruption of the manuscripts, render these works exceedingly crabbed. Zeiss, in his essays on the Agrimensores in the Zeitschrift für Alterthumswissenschaft for 1840, discusses the question of their authorship, and is disposed, principally on account of a passage in the preface to the Astronomicon, to identify Hyginus Gromaticus with the author of that work and the mythographer. It appears to the writer of this article, that C. Julius Hyginus, the freedman of Augustus, gave origin to the title of most of the works passing under the name of Hyginus. The Augustan author wrote on similar subjects; and it is not unlikely that subsequent text-books were called by the name of their prototypes, as we may designate a spelling-book a Mavor, a book of arithmetic a Cocker, or a jest-book a Joe Miller.

For references to detailed information concerning the Agrimensores and their art, see Frontinus.


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