Varro Atacinus

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For others named Terentius Varro, see Varro (cognomen).

Publius Terentius Varro Atacinus (/ˈvær/; 82 BC – c. 35 BC) was a Roman poet, more polished in his style than the more famous and learned Varro Reatinus, his contemporary, and therefore more widely read by the Augustan writers.[1] He was born in the province of Gallia Narbonensis, the southern part of Gaul with its capital at Narbonne, on the river Atax (now the Aude), for his cognomen Atacinus indicates his birthplace.

Only fragments of his works survive. His first known works are Bellum Sequanicum, a poem on Julius Caesar's campaign against Ariovistus, and some satires; these should not be confused with the Menippean Satires of the other Varro, of which some 600 fragments survive. He translated the Alexandrian poet Apollonius Rhodius' Argonautica into Latin.

Of Varro's fragments, the epigram on "The Tombs of the Great" is well-known; whether or not it is truly Varro's it has the terse and skeptical Roman note, the equivalent of a haiku:

Marmoreo Licinus tumulo iacet, at Cato nullo,
Pompeius paruo: credimus esse deos?
("In a marble tomb [the freedman] Licinus lies; yet Cato lies in none
and Pompey in but a small one: Do we believe there are gods?")

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