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PUBLIUS VALERIUS

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Originally appearing in Volume V27, Page 860 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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PUBLIUS VALERIUS, surnamed PUBLICOLA (Or PUPLICOLA), " friend of the people, the colleague of Brutus in the consulship in the first year of the Roman republic (509 B.C.). According to Livy and Plutarch, his family, whose ancestor Volusus had settled in Rome at the time of King Tatius, was of Sabine origin. He took a prominent part in the expulsion of the Tarquins, and though not originally chosen as the colleague of Brutus he soon took the place of Tarquinius Collatinus. On the death of Brutus, which left him sole consul, the people began to fear that he was aiming at kingly power. To calm their apprehensions he discontinued the building of his house on the top of the Velian Hill, and also gave orders that the fasces should be lowered whenever he appeared before the people. He further introduced two laws to protect the liberties of the citizens, one enacting that whosoever should attempt to make himself a king might be slain by any man at any time, while another provided an appeal to the people on behalf of any citizen condemned by a magistrate (lex Valerie de provocation: see ROME, History, II. " The Republic "). He died in 503, and was buried at the public expense, the matrons mourning him for ten months. Livy ii. 6-8; Dion. Halic. iv. 67, v. 12-40; Life by Plutarch. VALERIUS FLACCUS, GAIUS, Roman poet, flourished under Vespasian and Titus. He has been identified on in-sufficient grounds with a poet friend of Martial (i. 61. 76), a native of Padua, and in needy circumstances; but as he was a member of the College of Fifteen, who had charge of the Sibylline books (i. 5), he must have been well off. The subscription of the Vatican MS., which adds the name Setinus Balbus, points to his having been a native of.Setia in Latium. The only ancient writer who mentions him is Quintilian (Instil. Orat. x. 1. 90), who laments his recent death as a great loss, although it does not follow that he died young; as Quintilian's work was finished about A.D. 90, this gives a limit for the death of Flaccus. His work, the Argonautica, dedicated to Vespasian on his setting out for Britain, was written during the siege, or shortly after the capture, of Jerusalem by Titus (70). As the eruption of Vesuvius (79) is alluded to, it must have occupied him a long time. The Argonautica is an epic in eight books on the Quest of the Golden Fleece. The poem is in a very corrupt state, and ends abruptly with the request of Medea to accompany Jason on his homeward voyage. It is a disputed question whether part has been lost or whether it was ever finished. It is a free imitation and in parts a translation of the work of Apollonius of Rhodes (q.v.), already familiar to the Romans in the popular version of Varro Atacinus. The object of the work has been described as the glorification of Vespasian's achievements in securing Roman rule in Britain and opening up the ocean to navigation (as the Euxine was opened up by. the Argo). Various estimates have been formed of the genius of Flaccus, and some critics have ranked him above his original, to whom he certainly is superior in liveliness of description and delineation of character. His diction is pure, his style correct, his versification smooth though monotonous. On the other hand, he is wholly without originality, and his poetry, though free from glaring defects, is artificial and elaborately dull. His model in language was Virgil, to whom he is far inferior in taste and lucidity. His tiresome display of learning, rhetorical exaggeration and ornamentations make him difficult to read, which no doubt accounts for his unpopularity in ancient tines. The Argonautica was unknown till the first four and a half books were discovered by Poggio at St Gall in 1417. The editio princeps was published at Bologna (1474). Recent editions by G. Thilo (1863), with critical notes; C. Schenkl (1871), with bibliography; E. Bahrens (1875), with critical introduction; P. Langen (1896), with Latin notes, and short introductions on the style and language; Caesar Giarratano (1904) ; see also J. Peters, De. V. F. Vita et Car-mine (189o) ; W. C. Summers, Study of the Argonautica (1894).
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