1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Atticus, Titus Pomponius
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Atticus, Titus Pomponius
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ATTICUS, TITUS POMPONIUS (109-32 B.C.), Roman patron of letters, was born at Rome three years before Cicero, with whom he and the younger Marius were educated. His name was Titus Pomponius, that of Atticus, by which he is known, being given him afterwards from his long residence in Athens (86-65) and his intimate acquaintance with the Greek literature and language. His family is said to have been of noble and ancient descent; his father belonged to the equestrian order, and was very wealthy. When Pomponius was still a young man his father died, and he at once took the prudent resolution of transferring himself and his fortune to Athens, in order to escape the dangers of the civil war, in which he might have been involved through his connexion with the murdered tribune, Sulpicius Rufus. Here he lived in retirement, devoting himself entirely to study. On his return to Rome, he took possession of an inheritance left him by his uncle and assumed the name of Quintus Caecilius Pomponianus. From this time he kept aloof from political strife, attaching himself to no particular party, and continuing on intimate terms with men so opposed as Caesar and Pompey, Antony and Octavian. His most intimate friend, however, was Cicero, whose correspondence with him extended over many years, and who seems to have found his prudent counsel and sympathy a remedy for all his many troubles. His private life was tranquil and happy. He did not marry till he was fifty-three years of age, and his only child became the wife of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, the distinguished minister of Augustus. In 32, being seized with an illness believed to be incurable, he starved himself to death. Of his writings none is extant, but mention is made of two: a Greek history of Cicero's consulship, and some annals, in Latin, an epitome of the events of Roman history down to the year 54. His most important work was his edition of the letters addressed to him by Cicero. He also formed a large library at Athens, and engaged a staff of slaves to make copies of valuable works.
See Life by Cornelius Nepos; Berwick, Lives of Messalla Corvinus and T. P. A. (1813); Fialon, Thesis in T. P. A. (1861); Boissier, Cicéron et ses amis (1888; Eng. trans. A. D. Jones, 1897); Peter, Historicorum Romanorum Fragmenta.