1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Aesopus, Clodius

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AESOPUS, CLODIUS, the most eminent Roman tragedian, flourished during the time of Cicero, but the dates of his birth and death are not known. The name seems to show that he was a freedman of some member of the Clodian gens. Cicero was on friendly terms with both him and Roscius, the equally distinguished comedian, and did not disdain to profit by their instruction. Plutarch (Cicero, 5) mentions it as reported of Aesopus, that, while representing Atreus deliberating how he should revenge himself on Thyestes, the actor forgot himself so far in the heat of action that with his truncheon he struck and killed one of the servants crossing the stage. Aesopus made a last appearance in 55 B.C.-when Cicero tells us that he was advanced in years-on the occasion of the splendid games given by Pompey at the dedication of his theatre. In spite of his somewhat extravagant living, he left an ample fortune to his spendthrift son, who did his best to squander it as soon as possible. Horace (Sat. iii. 3. 239) mentions his taking a pearl from the ear-drop of Caecilia Metella and dissolving it in vinegar, that he might have the satisfaction of swallowing eight thousand pounds' worth at a draught.

Cicero, De Divinatione, i. 37; pro Sestio, 56, 58; Quint., Instit. xi. 3, iii; Macrobius, Sat. iii. 14.