1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Asconius Pedianus, Quintus

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ASCONIUS PEDIANUS, QUINTUS (9 B.C.A.D. 76; or A.D. 3–88), Roman grammarian and historian, was probably a native of Patavium (Padua). In his later years he resided at Rome, where he died, after having been blind for twelve years, at the age of eighty-five. During the reigns of Claudius and Nero he compiled for his sons, from various sources—e.g. the Gazette (Acta Publica), shorthand reports or “skeletons” (commentarii) of Cicero’s unpublished speeches, Tiro’s life of Cicero, speeches and letters of Cicero’s contemporaries, various historical writers, e.g. Varro, Atticus, Antias, Tuditanus and Fenestella (a contemporary of Livy whom he often criticizes)—historical commentaries on Cicero’s speeches, of which only five, viz. in Pisonem, pro Scauro, pro Milone, pro Cornelio and in toga Candida, in a very mutilated condition, are preserved. In a note upon the speech pro Scauro, he speaks of Longus Caecina (d. A.D. 57) as still living, while his words imply that Claudius (d. 54) was not alive. This statement, therefore, must have been written between A.D. 54 and 57. These valuable notes, written in good Latin, relate chiefly to legal, historical and antiquarian matters. A commentary, of inferior Latinity and mainly of a grammatical character, on Cicero’s Verrine orations, is universally regarded as spurious. Both works were found by Poggio in a MS. at St Gallen in 1416. This MS. is lost, but three transcripts were made by Poggio, Zomini (Sozomenus) of Pistoia and Bartolommeo da Montpulciano. 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. liv. 5). The later MSS. are derived from Poggio’s copy. Other works attributed to Asconius were: a life of Sallust, a defence of Virgil against his detractors, and a treatise (perhaps a symposium in imitation of Plato) on health and long life.

Editions by Kiessling-Schöll (1875), and A. C. Clark (Oxford, 1906), which contains a previously unpublished collation of Poggio’s transcript. See also Madvig, De Asconio Pediano (1828).