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Quintus Asconius Pedianus

(3—88 ad)


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(ad 3–88:

probable meaning of Jer. Chron. on 76, his death coming 12 years after the onset of blindness; the earliest reference to his activities may be Servius' remark (on Ecl. 4. 11) that Gaius Asinius Gallus (d. ad 33) told Asconius that Virgil's fourth Eclogue was written in his honour); from Padua (Patavium) (Livius noster p. 77. 4 Clark; also Quint. 1.7. 24). It is not known whether he had a public career, although he was certainly familiar with senatorial practice (e.g. 43. 27). His intimate knowledge of the city of Rome indicates that he spent many years there and possibly also composed his written work there. The only surviving work is part of a commentary (written ad 54–7) on Cicero's speeches, preserved in the order Pis., Scaur., Mil., Corn., Tog. Cand., and apparently much abbreviated. It is not known precisely how many speeches received such attention, but it was certainly a considerable number. This commentary was written for his two sons, in preparation for public life. The sources used include Cicero himself (some speeches now lost) and the invaluable acta (a gazette, whose publication dates from before 59 bc) for speeches after 59 bc. Although his reliability has occasionally been impugned, the consensus still regards him as a priceless resource, both for his chronological proximity to Cicero and for the variety of important sources accessible to him. Other works attributed to Asconius are: (1) Vita Sallustii (ps.-Acron on Hor. Sat. 1. 2. 41); (2) a work possibly entitled De longaevorum laude or Symposium (Pliny, HN 7. 159; Suda, entry under Ἀπίκιος); (3) Contra Vergilii obtrectatores (Donat. Vit. Verg. 191, ed. C. Hardie, OCT). The manuscripts of the commentary on Cicero also contain a mainly grammatical work on Verr., but this has been shown by Madvig to be a 5th-cent. compilation.

(1) Vita Sallustii (ps.-Acron on Hor. Sat. 1. 2. 41); (2) a work possibly entitled De longaevorum laude or Symposium (Pliny, HN 7. 159; Suda, entry under Ἀπίκιος); (3) Contra Vergilii obtrectatores (Donat. Vit. Verg. 191, ed. C. Hardie, OCT). The manuscripts of the commentary on Cicero also contain a mainly grammatical work on Verr., but this has been shown by Madvig to be a 5th-cent. compilation.

Peter Kenneth Marshall

Subjects: Classical Studies.


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