Rabirius - Encyclopedia

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RABIRIUS, a Latin epic poet of the age of Augustus. Among the papyrus fragments discovered at Herculaneum in the early part of the 19th century were sixty-seven (mutilated) hexameters, referring to the final struggle between Antony and Octavian and the death of Cleopatra, generally supposed to be part of a poem by Rabirius, since Seneca (De Benef. vi. 3, I) informs us that he wrote on those subjects. If genuine, they justify the qualified commendation of Quintilian rather than the exaggerated praise of Velleius Paterculus (ii. 36, 3), who couples Rabirius and Virgil as the two most eminent poets of his time.

Fragments in E. Behrens, Fragmenta Poetarum Romanorum (1885); W. Scott, Fragmenta Herculanensia (Oxford, 1885); O. Ribbeck, Geschichte der riimischen Dichtung, ii. (1889); M. Schanz, Geschichte der romischen Litteratur, ii. i (1899); Teuffel, Hist. of Roman Literature (Eng. trans., 1900), 252, 9.

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