1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Aelian (Claudius Aelinaus)

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AELIAN (Claudius Aelianus), Roman author and teacher of rhetoric, born at Praeneste, flourished under Septimius Severus and probably outlived Elagabalus (d. 222). He spoke Greek so perfectly that he was called “honey-tongued” (μελίγλωσσος); Although a Roman he preferred Greek authors, and wrote in Greek himself. His chief works are: On the Nature of Animals, curious and interesting stories of animal life, frequently used to convey moral lessons (ed. Schneider, 1784; Jacobs, 1832); Various History-for the most part preserved only in an abridged form—consisting mainly of anecdotes of men and customs (ed. Lünemann, 1811). Both works are valuable for the numerous excerpts from older writers. Considerable fragments of two other works On Providence and Divine Manifestations are preserved in Suidas; twenty Peasants’ Letters, after the manner of Alciphron but inferior, are also attributed to him.

Editio princeps of complete works by Gesner, 1556; Hercher, 1864–1866. English translation of the Various History only by Fleming, 1576, and Stanley, 1665; of the Letters by Quillard (French), 1895.