Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V20, Page 432 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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LATINUS PACATUS DREPANIUS (or LATINIUS), one of the Latin panegyrists, flourished at the end of the 4th century A.D. He probably came from Aginnum (Agen), in the south of France, in the territory of the Nitiobriges, and received his education in the rhetorical school of Burdigala (Bordeaux). He was the contemporary and intimate friend of Ausonius, who dedicated two of his minor works to Pacatus, and describes him as the greatest Latin poet after Virgil. Pacatus attained the rank of proconsul of Africa (A.D. 390) and held a confidential position at the imperial court. He is the author of an extant speech (ed. E. Bahrens in Panegyrici latini, 1874, No. 12) delivered in the senate house at Rome (38g) in honour of Theodosius I. It contains an account of the life and deeds of the emperor, the special subject of congratulation being the complete defeat of the usurper Maximus. The speech is one of the best of its kind. Though not altogether free from exaggeration and flattery, it is marked by considerable dignity and self-restraint, and is thus more important as an historical document than similar productions. The style is vivid, the language elegant but comparatively simple, exhibiting familiarity with the best classical literature. The writer of the panegyric must be distinguished from Drepanius Florus, deacon of Lyons (c. 85o), author of some Christian poems and prose theological works. See M. Schanz Geschichte der romischen Litteratur (1904), iv. i.

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