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Vinnius Valens, Son of Vinnius Asina?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 February 2009

M. J. McGann
Affiliation:
The Queens's University, Belfast.

Extract

MR. R. G. M. Nisbet has made the attractive suggestion that the Vinnius to whom Horace addressed his thirteenth epistle was the Vinnius Valens mentioned by the elder Pliny as a centurion of immense strength who had served in the praetorian guard of Augustus (N.H. 7. 82). To the points which he has made in support of this identification may be added the appropriateness, if Horace's Vinnius was a soldier, of the words victor propositi (II) and the fact that Horace's comparison between Vinnius and a pack-animal gains in point if Vinnius was famous for feats of strength involving wagons and beasts of burden.

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Copyright
Copyright © The Classical Association 1963

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References

page 258 note 1 C.Q., N.s. ix (1959), 75 f. I am grateful to Mr. Nisbet and to Mr. A. E. Astin for reading and commenting upon a draft of this note.Google Scholar

page 258 note 2 Since it is known that most of the praetorian troops were stationed by Augustus circa finitima oppida (Suet. Aug. 49; cf. Durry, M., Les cohortes prétoriennes [Paris, 1938], p. 43, n. 2), it is tempting to speculate on the possibility that Vinnius was stationed outside Rome, say at Tibur, and had been given the parcel when going to Rome on business which would bring him into the presence of Augustus. Line 10 need not mean that the journey was arduous.Google Scholar

page 258 note 3 See Plin. loc. cit.Google Scholar: ‘vehicula culleis onusta donee exinanirentur sustinere solitus, carpenta adprehensa una manu retinere, obnixus contra nitentibus iumentis’. Pliny seems to have learned about these feats (and about the existence of Vinnius?) from seeing them depicted on his tomb-stone; see Hanslik, R., R.-E. II xvii. 151Google Scholar. Mr. Nisbet's reference to ‘his epitaph’ (op. cit. 76Google Scholar) seems to imply a less likely interpretation of Pliny's words (loc. cit.), … et alia mirifica …, quae insculpta monumento eius spectantur.Google Scholar

page 258 note 4 Op. cit. 75. Asellus derives from Ps.- Acro (ad 1) and the superscription of the manuscripts and may safely be left out of account.Google Scholar

page 258 note 5 Cf. Heinze, , ad loc.Google Scholar

page 258 note 6 Lewis and Short (s.v. paternus) say that the meaning ‘ancestral’ belongs to late Latin, but among the sixteen other occurrences of the word in Horace there is one where it means ‘ancestral’ (C. 1. 20. 5; Lewis and Short enter this under ‘of one's own country’) and another where it is used as a variant of patrius in the sense of ‘ancestral’ (C. 2. 18. 26). In the remaining instances, paternus seems to mean ‘of a father’, ‘paternal’, and not ‘ancestral’.

page 259 note 1 (3) is implied in Pseudo-Acro's note ad 8: ‘C. Vinnius Fronto, ad quern haec scripta est epistula, patrem habuit Asinae cognomine.’

page 259 note 2 See Douglas, A. E., Greece & Rome, 2nd ser. v (1958), 62 ff.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

page 259 note 3 The situation is different in Titus paterno cognomine (Suet. Tit. 1), where the ablative brings out the fact that Titus bore his father's cognomen Vespasianus.

page 259 note 4 Douglas, , op. cit. 63.Google Scholar

page 259 note 5 For the proverbial aspect of the asinus see Otto, A., Die Sprichwörter u. sprichwort-lichen Redensarten der Römer (Leipzig, 1890), pp. 40 ff.Google Scholar; Th. L.L. ii. 794. 36Google Scholar ff. For specu- lation about the occurrence of the name Asina among the Scipiones see Wolfflin, E., Arch, latein. Lexikogr. vii (1892), 279f.Google Scholar

page 259 note 6 vale occurs elsewhere in the epistles only at 6. 67.

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