Asconius Pedianus

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Quintus Asconius Pedianus (BC 9 - AD 76) was a Roman historian. There is no evidence that Asconius engaged in a public career, but his familiarity with the politics and geography of contemporary Rome suggests that he may have written much of his works in the city.[1]

During the reigns of Claudius and Nero he compiled historical commentaries on Cicero's speeches for his two sons, employing various sources: the Acta Diurna, shorthand reports or skeletons (commentarii) of Cicero's unpublished speeches, Tiro's life of Cicero, and speeches, letters and histories written during or shortly after Cicero's times, by such authors as Varro, Atticus, Antias, Tuditanus and Fenestella (a contemporary of Livy whom he often criticizes). Only five commentaries survive, relating to in Pisonem, pro Scauro, pro Milone, pro Cornelio de maiestate, and in toga candida.[1][2] The commentary on pro Scauro can be approximately dated, since Pedianus speaks of Longus Caecina (died AD 57) as still living, and implies that Claudius (died AD 54) is deceased. These valuable notes, written in good Latin, relate chiefly to historical and antiquarian matters.[2] A grammatical commentary on Cicero's Verrines was transmitted alongside Asconius' main commentaries but has been shown to be a 5th century work.[1]

Other works attributed to Asconius include a Vita Sallustii, referenced in Pliny's Naturalis Historiae, and contra Vergilii obtrectatores.[1]

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 Montepulciano. 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.[2]

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.[2][1]



  1. ^ a b c d e Marshall 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Asconius Pedianus, Quintus". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 2 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 723.

Further reading[edit]

  • Madvig, J. N. (1828). De Q. Asconii Pediani et aliorum interpretum in Ciceronis orationes commentariis (in Latin).
  • Marshall, B. A. (1985). A historical commentary on Asconius. University of Missouri Press. ISBN 0-8262-0455-4. OCLC 995260417.
  • Quintus Asconius Pedianus (1990). Commentaries on five speeches of Cicero. Translated by Squires, Simon. Bristol Classical Press. ISBN 0-86516-220-4. OCLC 977339344.