The New Student's Reference Work/Varro, Marcus Terentius

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Var′ro, Mar′cus Terentius, "the most learned of the Romans," was born at the Sabine town of Reate in 116 B. C., and received his education first under Præsconinus and then under Antiochus, a philosopher of the Academy. He served with distinction against Mithradates, king of Pontus, and also against the Mediterranean pirates, but afterwards, as legate of Pompey in Spain, he was compelled to surrender his forces to Julius Cæsar. He continued to share the fortunes of Pompey till after his defeat at Pharsalia, when he was pardoned by Cæsar and employed by him to collect and arrange the great library designed for the public. When the second triumvirate was formed by Antony, Lepidus and Octavian, his name was on the list of the proscribed, but, after some time spent in concealment, he was received under the protection of Octavian, and the remainder of his life was spent in the prosecution of his studies. He died in 28 B. C. Varro was not only the most learned of the Romans, but the most prolific Roman author. He himself confesses to have written no less than 490 books; but only two have survived, and one of these only in a fragmentary state.