Lucius Accius

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Lucius Accius (* around 170 BC near Pesaro , Marken ; † around 90 BC ) was a Roman tragedy poet . He came from a freedman family; the exact year of his death is unknown, but he must have reached a great age, since Cicero (106–43 BC) reported in Brutus that he had spoken to him about literature.

Accius was an extremely prolific poet who was highly regarded ( Horace , Epistulae , ii. I, 56; Cicero , Pro Plancio , 24). The titles and around 700 fragmentary lines of around 50 of his pieces have been preserved. Mostly he translated tragedies ( Fabulae crepidatae ) from the Greek , with the legends about the Trojan War , such as his armorum iudicium , and the myths about Pelops being preferred subjects. His dramas Brutus and Decius, on the other hand, were inspired by Roman history, such as the expulsion of the last of the seven legendary Roman kings, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus , or of the consul Publius Decius Mus , who sacrificed himself for his army in the battle of Sentino should have. The text fragments that have been preserved are powerfully written in their language and full of vivid descriptions (cf. Ovid Amores I, 15.19).

In addition, he dealt with grammatical, literary-historical and antiquarian questions about the fashion of his time in different metrical forms (for example in the Didascalica and Pragmatica dramatic poetry and stage design). Parerga and Praxidica are about agriculture.

He was given the authorship of a proverb that would later become Caligula's motto : Oderint dum metuant (“They may hate (me) as long as they fear (me)”).

Editions and translations

  • Jacqueline Dangel (Ed.): Accius: Œuvres (fragments) . Les Belles Lettres, Paris 1995, ISBN 2-251-01383-0 (critical edition with French translation and commentary)
  • Anna Resta Barrile (ed.): Lucio Accio: Frammenti dalle tragedie e dalle preteste . Zanichelli, Bologna 1987 (uncritical edition with Italian translation)
  • Quirino Franchella (Ed.): Lucii Accii tragoediarum fragmenta . Compositori, Bologna 1968 (critical edition with Italian translation)
  • Vincenzo D'Antò (Ed.): L. Accio: I frammenti delle tragedie . Milella, Lecce 1980, ISBN 88-7048-011-9 (critical edition with detailed commentary)
  • Giampiero Scafoglio (Ed.): L'Astyanax di Accio. Saggio sul background mitografico, testo critico e commento dei frammenti . Latomus, Bruxelles 2006, ISBN 2-87031-236-9 (detailed introduction, critical edition and commentary)


Overview representations


  • Beatrice Baldarelli: Accius and the pre-Trojan Pelopid saga . Schöningh, Paderborn 2004, ISBN 3-506-71785-5 (p. 11–34 contains a study of the social and political background of Accius' career)
  • Francesco Casaceli: Lingua e stile in Accio . Palumbo, Palermo 1976
  • Rita Degl'Innocenti Pierini: Studi su Accio . CLUSF, Firenze 1980
  • Stefan Faller, Gesine Manuwald (ed.): Accius and his time . Ergon, Würzburg 2002, ISBN 3-89913-257-2 (collection of conference papers)

Web links