Asinius Pollio, Gaius, 76 BCE–4 CE

Alexander Hugh McDonald and Antony Spawforth

in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Classics

Published online December 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780199381135 | DOI:

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Gaius Asinius Pollio (76 bce– 4 ce), supported *Caesar, as praetor in 45, commanding in Spain in 44, and then joined Antony (M. *Antonius (2)); in Cisalpine Gaul in 41 he saved *Virgil's property from confiscation. Consul in 40, he celebrated a triumph over the Parthini of Illyria in 39; from the booty he built the first public *library in Rome. Then, with full honours, he retired from politics to devote himself to literature, organizing the first public recitations.In youth an associate of *Catullus, he later enjoyed the friendship of Horace (Carm. 2. 1) and Virgil (Ecl.4). His own work included poetry, tragedy, and oratory in Atticist style (see asianism and atticism), but he was above all an historian. The Historiae treated the period from 60 bce to the battle of Philippi in 42; analytical, critical, and serious, they were used by Plutarch and Appian. A sharp critic, he corrected Cicero and Caesar, Sallust for *archaism, and Livy for provincialism (Patavinitas); and he maintained his republican independence even against Augustus.

Article.  242 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Roman History

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