Asconius Pedianus

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Quintus Asconius Pedianus (c. 9 BC – c. AD 76) was a Roman historian.

In his later years he resided in Rome, and there he died, after having been blind for twelve years, at the age of eighty-five. During the reigns of Claudius and Nero he compiled for his sons, from various sources—e.g. the Gazette (Aetablica), shorthand reports or skeletons (commentarii) of Cicero's unpublished speeches, Tiro's life of Cicero, speeches and letters of Cicero's contemporaries, various historical writers, e.g. Varro, Atticus, Antias, Tuditanus and Fenestella (a contemporary of Livy whom he often criticizes) -- historical commentaries on Cicero's speeches, of which only five, viz, in Pisonem, pro Scauro, pro Milone, pro Cornelio and In Toga Candida, in a very mutilated edition, are preserved, under the modern title Q. Asconii Pediani Orationvm Ciceronis qvinqve enarratio.

In a note upon the speech pro Scauro, he speaks of Longus Caecina (died AD 57) as still living, while his words imply that Claudius (died AD 54) was not alive. This statement, therefore, must have been written between AD 54 and 57. These valuable notes, written in good Latin, relate chiefly to historical and antiquarian matters. A commentary, of superior Latinity and mainly of a grammatical character, on Cicero's Verrine orations, was transmitted alongside the commentaries of Asconius but is regarded as a 4th or 5th century work.

Both works were found by Poggio in a manuscript at St Gallen in 1416. This manuscript is lost, but three transcripts were made by Poggio, Zomini (Sozomenus) of Pistoia and Bartolommeo da Montelciano. That of Poggio is now at Madrid (Matritensis X. 81), and that of Zomini is in the Forteguerri library at Pistoia (No. 37). A copy of Bartolommeo's transcript exists in Florence (Laur. 5). The later manuscripts are derived from Poggio's copy.

Other works attributed to Asconius were:

  • a life of Sallust
  • a defence of Virgil against his detractors
  • a treatise (perhaps a symposium in imitation of Plato) on health and long life.

Editions[edit]

References[edit]

  • Johan Nicolai Madvig, De Asconio Pediano (1828).
  • B. A. Marshall, A historical commentary on Asconius. Columbia: Univ. of Missouri Press, 1985.
  • Asconius: Commentaries on Five Speeches of Cicero, Simon Squires (1990)
  • Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.