1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Cornutus, Lucius Annaeus

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CORNUTUS, LUCIUS ANNAEUS, Stoic philosopher, flourished in the reign of Nero. He was a native of Leptis in Libya, but resided for the most part in Rome. He is best known as the teacher and friend of Persius, whose satires he revised for publication after the poet’s death, but handed them over to Caesius Bassus to edit, at the special request of the latter. He was banished by Nero (in 66 or 68) for having indirectly disparaged the emperor’s projected history of the Romans in heroic verse (Dio Cassius lxii. 29), after which time nothing more is heard of him. He was the author of various rhetorical works in both Greek and Latin (Ῥητορικαὶ Τέχναι, De figuris sententiarum). Another rhetorician, also named Cornutus, who flourished A.D. 200–250 (or in the second half of the 2nd century) was the author of a treatise Τέχνη τοῦ πολιτικοῦ λόγου (ed. J. Graeven, 1890). A philosophical treatise, Theologiae Graecae compendium (of which the Greek title is uncertain; perhaps, Ἑλληνικὴ θεολογία, or Περὶ τῆς τῶν θεῶν φύσεως, though the latter may be the title of an abridgment of the former) is still extant. It is a manual of “popular mythology as expounded in the etymological and symbolical interpretations of the Stoics” (Sandys), and although marred by many absurd etymologies, abounds in beautiful thoughts (ed. C. Lang, 1881). Simplicius and Porphyry refer to his commentary on the Categories of Aristotle, whose philosophy he is said to have defended against an opponent Athenodorus in a treatise Ἀντιγραφὴπρὸς Άθηνόδωρον. His Aristotelian studies were probably his most important work. A commentary on Virgil (frequently quoted by Servius) and Scholia to Persius are also attributed to him; the latter, however, are of much later date, and are assigned by Jahn to the Carolingian period. Excerpts from his treatise De enuntiatione vel orthographia are preserved in Cassiodorus. The so-called Disticha Cornuti (ed. Liebl, Straubing, 1888) belong to the late middle ages.

See G. Martini, De L. Annaeo Cornuto (1825); O. Jahn, Prolegomena to his edition of Persius; H. von Arnim in Pauly-Wissowa’s Realencyclopädie, i. pt. ii. (1894); M. Schanz, Geschichte der römischen Litteratur, i. 2 (1901), p. 285; W. Christ, Geschichte der griechischen Litteratur (1898), pp. 702, 755; Teuffel-Schwabe, Hist. of Roman Literature (Eng. trans.), § 299, 2.