Gaius Iulius Hyginus

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Gaius Iulius Hyginus (* around 60 BC; † after 4 AD) was an ancient Roman scholar and writer .

Suetonius offers two versions of his origins: He was born either in Hispania or Alexandria , and accordingly came as a prisoner of war after the capture of Alexandria in 47 BC. By Gaius Iulius Caesar or as a slave to Rome. Emperor Augustus gave him freedom, which is why he took over his first name and gentile name . The exact dates of his life are unknown. Hieronymus continued its heyday in the year 9 BC. Chr.

Suetonius , according to which most of the information received is due to the life of Gaius Julius Hyginus, he became Emperor Augustus v Head of the 28th Chr. Furnished Palatine Library appointed. Together with Marcus Verrius Flaccus, he is considered the educator of Augustus' great-grandchildren.

Hyginus was a student of Alexander Polyhistor and was friends with Ovid and the suffect consul of the year 4, Gaius Clodius Licinus . After leaving the library management he was supported by Clodius Licinus. From Ovid's address in the final poem to the third book of the Tristias , written in AD 10 , it was believed that Gaius Iulius Hyginus was still in charge of the library at that time, from which Ovid's works had been banned. This is countered by the testimony of Clodius Licinus, according to which Hyginus was without office and impoverished in old age, and Ovid must therefore have turned to his successor.

He wrote agricultural writings that have already been quoted in Columella , works on the topography of Italy, on the properties of the gods and on penates . His writings also include a collection of Exempla, that is, literary genres, and commentaries on Virgil and Gaius Helvius Cinna , as well as at least one book on famous men. Only fragments of his works have survived.

In recent research, the position is sometimes taken that two mythographic manuals, which are generally attributed to an unknown author, the " Hyginus Mythographus ", come from Gaius Iulius Hyginus. One is called Genealogiae and is also known under the title Fabulae , the other has an astronomical-mythographic content and bears the title De astronomia .

The moon crater Hyginus and the asteroid (12155) Hyginus are named after him.


Web links


  1. ^ Suetonius, De grammaticis 20.
  2. Hieronymus, chronicum Eusebii from Hieronymo retractatum ad annum Abrahae 2395 to the year 2008 (= 9 BC): C. Iulius Hyginus cognomento Polyhistor grammaticus habetur inlustris.
  3. ^ Suetonius, De grammaticis 20.
  4. ^ Ovid, Tristia 3:14 .
  5. ^ For discussion, Barbara M. Levick, Timothy J. Cornell: C. Julius Hyginus. In: Timothy J. Cornell (Ed.): The Fragments of the Roman Historians. Volume 1: Introduction. Oxford University Press, Oxford 2013, ISBN 978-0-19927-703-2 , p. 475.
  6. ^ Peter Lebrecht Schmidt, Helmuth Schneider: Hyginus, C. Iulius. In: Der Neue Pauly (DNP) , Vol. 5, Stuttgart 1998, Col. 778 f .; André Le Bœuffle (Ed.): Hygin: L'astronomie , Paris 1983, pp. XXXI-XXXVIII; Jean-Yves Boriaud (Ed.): Hygin: Fables , Paris 1997, pp. VII-XIII; Mariagrazia F. Vitobello (ed.): C. Giulio Igino: L'astronomia , Bari 1988, pp. VII-XI; rejecting and adhering to a dating of the works in the 2nd century: Robert A. Kaster : C. Suetonii Tranquilli de vita Caesarum libri VIII et de grammaticis et rhetoribus liber. Clarendon Press, Oxford 1995, p. 208; Marc Huys: Euripides and the 'Tales from Euripides': Sources of the Fabulae of Ps.-Hyginus? In: Archives for Papyrus Research and Related Areas . Volume 42, 1996, pp. 168-178, here: p. 169; Marc Huys: Review: Hygin. Fables; texts établi et traduit by Jean-Yves Boriaud. In: Mnemosyne . Volume 53, 2000, pp. 615-620, here: p. 616; Alan Cameron : Greek Mythography in the Roman World (= American Classical Studies. Volume 48). Oxford University Press, Oxford / New York 2004, p. 11 with note 36; Patrizia Mascoli: Igino bibliotecario e gli Pseudo-Igini. In: Invigilata lucerni. Volume 24, 2002, pp. 119–125 assumes that the corpus circulating under the name Hyginus includes works by at least two authors of the same name.
  7. ^ Gaius Iulius Hyginus in the Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature of the IAU (WGPSN) / USGS
  8. Gaius Iulius Hyginus at the IAU Minor Planet Center (English)