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Hirtius, Aulus

HIRTIUS, AULUS (c. 90-43 B.C.), Roman historian and statesman. He was with Julius Caesar as legate in Gaul, but after the civil war broke out in 49 he seems to have remained in Rome to protect Caesar's interests. He was also a personal friend of Cicero. He was nominated with C. Vibius Pansa by Caesar for the consulship of 43; and after the dictator's assassination in March 44, he and his colleague supported the senatorial party against M. Antonius, with whom Hirtius had at first sided. The consuls set out for Mutina, where Antonius was besieging Decimus Brutus. On the i5th of April, Pansa was attacked by Antonius at Forum Gallorum, about 8 m. from Mutina, and lost his life in the engagement. Hirtius, however, compelled Antonius to retire on Mutina, where another battle took place on the 25th (or 27th) of April, in which Hirtius was slain. Of the continuations of Caesar's Commentaries the eighth book of the Gallic war, the history of the Alexandrian, African and Spanish wars the first is generally allowed to be by Hirtius; the Alexandrian war is perhaps by him (or Oppius) ; the last two are supposed to have been written at his request, by persons who had taken part in the events described, with a view to subsequent'revision and incorporation in his proposed work on military commanders. The language of Hirtius is good, but his style is monotonous and lacks vigour.

Hirtius and the other continuators of Caesar are discussed in M. Schanz, Geschickte der romischen Literatur, i. ; also R. Schneider, Bellum Africanum (1905). For the history of the period see under ANTONIUS; Cicero's Letters (ed. Tyrrell and Purser); G. Boissier, Cicero and his Friends (Eng. trans., 1897).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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