Marcus Terentius Varro

Varro, Marcus Terentius, 116 B.C.–27? B.C., Roman man of letters. Known as the most erudite man and the most prolific writer of his times, Varro is estimated to have written about 620 volumes. He served as Pompey's legate in Spain and fought at Pharsalus, but was reconciled with Caesar, who made him director of the proposed public library. At the time of the Second Triumvirate his villa was plundered, and he himself was proscribed. He fled, but was pardoned by Augustus. In his writing scarcely a field of contemporary learning was left untouched. Of his many works only one remains intact, De re rustica libri III [three books on farming]. This is one of the most important books of its kind extant from antiquity. Six books (V–X) out of the original 25 remain of De lingua latina [on the Latin language], and about 600 fragments from his Satirae Menippeae survive.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Classical Literature: Biographies