Online Encyclopedia

GAIUS CASSIUS

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V05, Page 462 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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GAIUS CASSIUS, Latin poet, general and politician, called Parmensis from his birthplace Parma,was one of the murderers of Julius Caesar, and after his death joined the party of Brutus and his namesake Cassius the conspirator. In 43 B.C. he was in command of the fleet on the coast of Asia, but after the battle of Philippi joined Sextus Pompeius in Sicily. When Pompeius, having been defeated in a naval engagement at Naulochus by the fleet of Octavian under Agrippa, fled to Asia, Cassius went over to Antony, and took part in the battle of Actium (31). He afterwards fled to Athens, where he was soon put to death by Octavian, whom he had offended by writing an abusive letter (Suetonius, Augustus, 4). Cassius is credited with satires, elegies, epigrams and tragedies. Some hexameters with the title Cassii Orpheus are by Antonius Thylesius,an Italian of the 17th century. Horace appears to have thought well of Cassius as a poet, for he asks Tibullus whether he intends to compete with the opuscula (probably the elegies) of Cassius (Epistles, i. 4. 3). The story in the Horace scholia, that L. Varius Rufus published his famous tragedy Thyestes from an MS. which he found amongst the papers of Cassius after his death, is due to a confusion of Cassius's murderer, Q. Attius Varus, with the tragedian (Appian, B.C. v. 2, 139; Cicero, ad Pam. xii. 13; Vell. Pat. ii. 87; Orosius, vi. 19; see also the diffuse treatise of A. Weichert, De L. Varii et Cassii Parmensis Vita et Carminibus, 1836). Cassius Parmensis must not be confused with Cassius Etruscus (Horace, Satires, i. 1o. 6o), an improviser, who is said to have used enough paper to furnish his funeral pyre.
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