THE ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA

A DICTIONARY OF ARTS, SCIENCES, LITERATURE AND GENERAL INFORMATION

ELEVENTH EDITION 1911

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AVIENUS, RUFIUS FESTUS, a Roman aristocrat and poet, of Vulsinii in Etruria, who flourished during the second half of the 4th century A.D. He was probably proconsul of Africa (366) and of Achaia (372). Avienus was a pagan and a staunch supporter of the old religion. He translated the Φαινόμενα of Aratus and paraphrased the Περιήγησις of Dionysius under the title of Descriptio Orbis Terrarum, both in hexameters. He also compiled a description, in iambic trimeters, of the coasts of the Mediterranean, Caspian and Black Seas in several books, of which only a fragment of the first is extant. He also epitomized Livy and Virgil's Aeneid in the same metre, but these works are lost. Some minor poems are found under his name in anthologies, e.g. a humorous request to one Favianus for some pomegranates for medicinal purposes.
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