Asinius Pollio, Gāius

(76—4 bc)

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(76 bc–ad 4),

supported Caesar, as praetor in 45, commanding in Spain in 44, and then joined Antony (Marcus Antonius ); 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, arranging the first public recitations. In youth an associate of Catullus, he later enjoyed the friendship of Horace and Virgil. His own work included poetry, tragedy, and oratory in Atticist style (see asianism and atticism), but he was above all a historian. His Histories treated the period from 60 bc 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; and he maintained his republican independence even against Augustus.

Subjects: Classical Studies.

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