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LAEVIUS (? c. 80 B.C.), a Latin poet of whom practically nothing is known. The earliest reference to him is perhaps in Suetonius (De grammaticis, 3), though it is not certain that the Laevius Milissus there referred to is the same person. Definite references do not occur before the 2nd century (Pronto, Ep. ad M. Caes. i. 3; Aulus Gellius, Noct. Alt. ii. 24, xii. 10, xix. 9 ; Apuleius, De magia, 30; Porphyrion, Ad Horat. carm. iii. i, 2). Some sixty miscellaneous lines are preserved (see Bahrens, Fragm. poet. rom. pp. 287-293), from which it is difficult to see how ancient critics could have regarded him as the master of Ovid or Catullus. Gellius and Ausonius state that he composed an Erotopaegnia, and in other sources he is credited with Adonis, Alcestis, Cenlauri, Helena, Ino, Protesilaudamia, Sirenocirca, Phoenix, which may, however, be only the parts of the Erotopaegnia. They were not serious poems, but light and often licentious skits on the heroic myths.

See O. Ribbeck, Geschichte der romischen Dichtung, i.; H. de la Ville de Mirmont, Etude biographique et litteraire surle poete Laevius (Paris, 1900), with critical ed. of the fragments, and remarks on vocabulary and syntax; A. Weichert, Poetarum latinorum reliquiae (Leipzig, 1830); M. Schanz, Geschichte der romischen Litteratur (2nd ed.), pt. i. p. 163; W. Teuffel, Hist, of Roman Literature (Eng. tr.), 150, 4; a convenient summary in F.Plessis, La Poesie latine (1909), pp. 139-142.

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

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