Maurus Servius Honoratus

Maurus Servius Honoratus was a late fourth-century and early fifth-century grammarian, with the contemporary reputation of being the most learned man of his generation in Italy; he was the author of a set of commentaries on the works of Virgil. These works, In tria Virgilii Opera Expositio, constituted the first incunable to be printed at Florence, by Bernardo Cennini, 1471.

In the Saturnalia of Macrobius, Servius appears as one of the interlocutors; allusions in that work and a letter from Symmachus to Servius indicate that he was not a convert to Christianity.

Servius commenting Virgil (France, 15th century).
Vergilius, Basel 1544
16th century edition of Virgil with Servius' commentary printed to the left of the text.

Commentary on Virgil

The commentary on Virgil (Latin: In Vergilii Aeneidem commentarii) has survived in two distinct manuscript traditions.[1] The first is a comparatively short commentary, which is attributed to Servius in the superscription in the manuscripts and by other internal evidence. A second class of manuscripts, all deriving from the 10th and 11th centuries, embed the same text in a much expanded commentary. The copious additions are in contrast to the style of the original; none of these manuscripts bears the name of Servius, and the commentary is known traditionally as Servius auctus or Servius Danielis, from Pierre Daniel who first published it in 1600.[2] "The added matter is undoubtedly ancient, dating from a time but little removed from that of Servius, and is founded to a large extent on historical and antiquarian literature which is now lost. The writer is anonymous and probably a Christian",[3] although not if, as is often suggested, he is Aelius Donatus. A third class of manuscripts, written for the most part in Italy, gives the core text with interpolated scholia, which demonstrate the continued usefulness of the Virgilii Opera Expositio.

The authentic commentary of Maurus Servius Honoratus is in effect the only complete extant edition of a classic author written before the collapse of the Empire in the West. It is constructed very much on the principle of a modern edition, and is partly founded on an extensive Virgilian critical literature, much of which is known only from the fragments and facts preserved in this commentary. The notices of Virgil's text, though seldom or never authoritative in face of the existing manuscripts, which go back to, or even beyond, the time of Servius, yet supply valuable information concerning the ancient recensions and textual criticism of Virgil. In the grammatical interpretation of his author's language, Servius does not rise above the stiff and overwrought subtleties of his time; while his etymologies, as is natural, violate every modern law of sound and sense in favour of creative excursus.

Servius set his face against the prevalent allegorical methods of exposition of text. For the antiquarian and the historian, the abiding value of his work lies in his preservation of facts in Roman history, religion, antiquities and language, which but for him might have perished. Not a little of the laborious erudition of Varro and other ancient scholars has survived in his pages.

Other works

Besides the Virgilian commentary, other works of Servius are extant: a collection of notes on the grammar (Ars grammatica) of Aelius Donatus; a treatise on metrical endings in verse (De finalibus); and a tract on the different poetic meters (De centum metris).

The edition of Georg Thilo and Hermann Hagen (1878–1902), remains the only edition of the whole of Servius' work. Currently in development is the Harvard Servius (Servianorum in Vergili Carmina Commentariorum Editio Harvardiana); of the projected five volumes, two have so far appeared, i (Aeneid 1–2), 1946; ii (Aeneid 3–5), 1965, and the project continues glacially.



  1. ^ The manuscript tradition is examined by Charles E. Murgia, Prolegomena to Servius 5: the manuscripts (University of California Classical Studies 11), University of California Press, 1975.
  2. ^ (in Italian) I. Biffi and C. Marabelli (eds.), Figure del pensiero medievale. Fondamenti e inizi IV-IX secolo, Jaca Book, 2009, p. 306
  3. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica 1911: sub "Servius Maurus Honoratus"


  • E. K. Rand, "Is Donatus's Commentary on Virgil Lost?" Classical Quarterly 10 (1916), 158–164. Donatus's authorship of the supplementary material.
  • "The Manuscripts of the Commentary of Servius Danielis on Virgil", Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 43 (1932), 77–121;
  • "The Manuscripts of Servius's Commentary on Virgil", Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 45 (1934), 157–204.
  • Casali, Sergio and Fabio Stok (edd.). Servio: stratificazioni esegetiche e modelli culturali / Servius: exegetical stratifications and cultural models (Bruxelles: Éditions Latomus, 2008) (Collection Latomus, 317).

External links

Abas (name)

Abas is both a given name and a surname. Notable people with this name include:

Abas (sophist), an ancient Greek sophist and rhetorician

Abas, the ancient writer of a work entitled Troia from which Maurus Servius Honoratus (ad Aen. ix. 264) has preserved a fragment

Abas I of Armenia (?–953), king of Armenia from 928 to 953

Abas Ermenji (1913–2003), Albanian politician and historian

Elisha Abas (born 1971), Israeli pianist

Salleh Abas (born 1929), Malaysian chief justice

Stephen Abas (born 1978), American wrestler


In Greek mythology, Aesepus (Ancient Greek: Αἴσηπος) may refer to:

Aesepus, a Potamoi (son of Oceanus and Tethys), the divine personification of the river and nearby town of Aesepus (today known as Gönen in Turkey), grandfather of the other Aesepus through his daughter Abarbarea. His other daughter Phrygia was the eponym of the country Phrygia.

Aesepus, the son of the naiad Abarbarea (daughter of the above Aesepus) and Bucolion. His twin brother was Pedasus; the pair appears briefly in the Iliad, Book VI. Both men fought in the Trojan War and were killed by Euryalus, the son of Mecisteus.


In Greek mythology, Anius (Ancient Greek: Ἄνιος) was a king of Delos and priest of Apollo.


Anxurus was an Italian divinity, who was worshipped in a grove near Anxur (modern Terracina) together with the goddess Feronia. He was regarded as a youthful Jupiter, and Feronia as Juno. On coins his name appears as "Axur" or "Anxur". There exists in Terracina the ruins of a temple to Jupiter Anxurus.


Aracynthus (Ancient Greek: Ἀράκυνθος) was a range of mountains in Aetolia, the exact position of which is uncertain. It was said to run in a south-easterly direction from the Achelous River to the Evenos, and separating the lower plain of Aetolia near the sea from the upper plain above the lakes Hyria and Trichonida.Pliny the Elder and Gaius Julius Solinus erroneously call Aracynthus a mountain of Acarnania. If we can trust the authority of later writers and of the Roman poets, there was a mountain of the name of Aracynthus both in Boeotia and in Attica, or perhaps on the frontiers of the two countries. Thus Stephanus of Byzantium and Maurus Servius Honoratus speak of a Boeotian Aracynthus; and Sextus Empiricus, Lutatius, and Vibius Sequester mention an Attic Aracynthus.

The mountain is connected with the Boeotian hero Amphion both by Propertius and by Virgil, and the line of Virgil--“Amphion Dircaeus in Actaeo Aracyntho” --would seem to place the mountain on the frontiers of Boeotia and Attica.There was also said to be a temple to Aphrodite Aracynthias on Aracynthus.

Ars grammatica

An ars grammatica (English: art of grammar) is a generic or proper title for surveys of Latin grammar.

Extant works known as Ars grammatica have been written by

Aelius Donatus

Maurus Servius Honoratus

Diomedes Grammaticus


Pseudo-Remmius PalaemonThe most famous ars grammatica since late antiquity has been that composed by Donatus.


An augur was a priest and official in the classical Roman world. His main role was the practice of augury: Interpreting the will of the gods by studying the flight of birds – whether they were flying in groups or alone, what noises they made as they flew, direction of flight, and what kind of birds they were. This was known as "taking the auspices".

The augural ceremony and function of the augur was central to any major undertaking in Roman society – public or private – including matters of war, commerce, and religion. Augurs sought the divine will regarding any proposed course of action which might affect Rome's pax, fortuna, and salus (peace, good fortune, and well-being).For similar practices in other places, see Ornithomancy.

Aventine Hill

The Aventine Hill (; Latin: Collis Aventinus; Italian: Aventino [avenˈtiːno]) is one of the Seven Hills on which ancient Rome was built. It belongs to Ripa, the twelfth rione, or ward, of Rome.


In Greek mythology, Calchas (; Ancient Greek: Κάλχας Kalkhas, possibly meaning "bronze-man"), was an Argive seer, with a gift for interpreting the flight of birds that he received of Apollo: "as an augur, Calchas had no rival in the camp". He also interpreted the entrails of the enemy during the tide of battle.

Callirrhoe (Oceanid)

In Greek mythology, Callirrhoe or Callirhoe (Ancient Greek: Καλλιρρόη or Καλλιρόη, meaning "Beautiful Flow," often written Callirrhoë) was a naiad. She was the daughter of Oceanus and Tethys. She was mentioned as a companion of Persephone when the daughter of Demeter was abducted by the lord of the dead, Hades. Callirhoe had consorted with Chrysaor, Neilus and Poseidon. She was one of the three ancestors of the Tyrians, along with Abarbarea and Drosera. Jupiter's moon Callirrhoe is named after her. She also mothered Cotys by Manes, king of Maeonia.

Chione (daughter of Callirrhoe)

In Greek mythology, Chione or Khionê (Ancient Greek: Χιονη from χιών – chiōn, "snow") was the daughter of the Oceanid Callirrhoe and Nilus. She was raped by a local peasant and transformed into a snow cloud by Hermes at the order of Zeus. From the clouds she cast snow (khiôn) upon the desert. The Greek word for snow (χιών chiōn) was thought to have come from her name.

Danielis (surname)

Danielis is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Daniel Danielis (1635–1696), Belgian composer

Servius Danielis or Maurus Servius Honoratus, fourth-century Italian grammarian

Dion (mythology)

In Greek mythology, Dion (; Greek: Δίων) was a King in Laconia and husband of Amphithea, the daughter of Pronax.God Apollo, who had been kindly received by Dion and Amphithea, rewarded them by conferring upon their three daughters, Orphe, Lyco, and Carya, the gift of prophecy, on condition, however, that they should not betray the gods nor search after forbidden things.Dion erected a temple to Dionysus, who also visited his house and fell in love with Carya. When Orphe and Lyco tried not to let their sister consort with the god (thus breaking the restrictions imposed by Apollo), Dionysus changed them into rocks and Carya into a walnut tree. The Lacedaemonians, on being informed of it by Artemis, dedicated a temple to Artemis Caryatis.


In ancient Greek religion and mythology, the Erinyes (; sing. Erinys , ; Greek: Ἐρινύες, pl. of Ἐρινύς, Erinys), also known as the Furies, were female chthonic deities of vengeance, sometimes referred to as "infernal goddesses" (χθόνιαι θεαί). A formulaic oath in the Iliad invokes them as "the Erinyes, that under earth take vengeance on men, whosoever hath sworn a false oath." Walter Burkert suggests they are "an embodiment of the act of self-cursing contained in the oath." They correspond to the Dirae in Roman mythology. The Roman writer Maurus Servius Honoratus wrote that they are called "Eumenides" in hell, "Furiae" on earth, and "Dirae" in heaven.According to Hesiod's Theogony, when the Titan Cronus castrated his father, Uranus, and threw his genitalia into the sea, the Erinyes (along with the Giants and the Meliae) emerged from the drops of blood which fell on the earth (Gaia), while Aphrodite was born from the crests of sea foam. According to variant accounts, they emerged from an even more primordial level—from Nyx ("Night"), or from a union between air and mother earth. Their number is usually left indeterminate. Virgil, probably working from an Alexandrian source, recognized three: Alecto or Alekto ("endless"), Megaera ("jealous rage"), and Tisiphone or Tilphousia ("vengeful destruction"), all of whom appear in the Aeneid. Dante Alighieri followed Virgil in depicting the same three-character triptych of Erinyes; in Canto IX of the Inferno they confront the poets at the gates of the city of Dis. Whilst the Erinyes were usually described as three maiden goddesses, the Erinys Telphousia was usually a by-name for the wrathful goddess Demeter, who was worshipped under the title of Erinys in the Arkadian town of Thelpousa.

Hortensius (Cicero)

Hortensius (Latin: [hoːr.teːʊs]) or On Philosophy is a lost dialogue written by Marcus Tullius Cicero in the year 45 BC. The dialogue—which is named after Cicero's friendly rival and associate, the speaker and politician Quintus Hortensius Hortalus—took the form of a protreptic. In the work, Cicero, Hortensius, Quintus Lutatius Catulus, and Lucius Licinius Lucullus discuss the best use of one's leisure time. At the conclusion of the work, Cicero argues that the pursuit of philosophy is the most important endeavor.

While the dialogue was extremely popular in Classical Antiquity, the dialogue only survived into the sixth century AD before it was lost. Today, it is extant in the fragments preserved by the prose writer Martianus Capella, the grammarians Maurus Servius Honoratus and Nonius Marcellus, the early Christian author Lactantius, and the Church Father Augustine of Hippo (the latter of whom explicitly credits the Hortensius with encouraging him to study the tenets of philosophy).

Idomeneus of Crete

In Greek mythology, Idomeneus (; Greek: Ἰδομενεύς) was a Cretan commander, father of Orsilochus, Cleisithyra and Iphiclus, son of Deucalion and Cleopatra, grandson of Minos and king of Crete. He led the Cretan armies to the Trojan War and was also one of Helen's suitors as well as a comrade of the Telamonian Ajax. Meriones was his charioteer and brother-in-arms.


In ancient Roman religion, Inuus was a god, or aspect of a god, who embodied sexual intercourse. The evidence for him as a distinct entity is scant. Maurus Servius Honoratus wrote that Inuus is an epithet of Faunus (Greek Pan), named from his habit of intercourse with animals, based on the etymology of ineundum, "a going in, penetration," from inire, "to enter" in the sexual sense. Other names for the god were Fatuus and Fatulcus.

Walter Friedrich Otto disputed the traditional etymology and derived Inuus instead from in-avos, "friendly, beneficial" (cf. aveo, "to be eager for, desire"), for the god's fructifying power.


An oxymoron (usual plural oxymorons, more rarely oxymora) is a rhetorical device that uses an ostensible self-contradiction to illustrate a rhetorical point or to reveal a paradox.

A more general meaning of "contradiction in terms" (not necessarily for rhetoric effect) is recorded by the OED for 1902..

The term is first recorded as latinized Greek oxymōrum, in Maurus Servius Honoratus (c. AD 400); it is derived from the Greek ὀξύς oksús "sharp, keen, pointed" and μωρός mōros "dull, stupid, foolish"; as it were, "sharp-dull", "keenly stupid", or "pointedly foolish". The word oxymoron is autological, i.e. it is itself an example of an oxymoron. The Greek compound word ὀξύμωρον oksýmōron, which would correspond to the Latin formation, does not seem to appear in any known Ancient Greek works prior to the formation of the Latin term.

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