Aulus Gellius  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Aulus Gellius (ca. 125 AD—after 180 AD), Latin author and grammarian, possibly of African origin, probably born and certainly brought up at Rome.

He studied grammar and rhetoric at Rome and philosophy at Athens, after which he returned to Rome, where he held a judicial office. His teachers and friends included many distinguished men — Sulpicius Apollinaris, Herodes Atticus and Fronto.

His only work, the Attic Nights (in Latin: Noctes Atticae), takes its name from having been begun during the long nights of a winter which he spent in Attica. He afterwards continued it at Rome. It is compiled out of an Adversaria, or commonplace book, in which he had jotted down everything of unusual interest that he heard in conversation or read in books, and it comprises notes on grammar, geometry, philosophy, history and almost every other branch of knowledge.

The work, deliberately devoid of sequence or arrangement, is divided into twenty books. All these have come down to us except the eighth, of which nothing remains but the index. The Attic Nights are valuable for the insight they afford into the nature of the society and pursuits of those times, and for its many excerpts from works of lost ancient authors.

One story is Androcles, which is often compiled into collections of Aesop's fables (but is not found there).




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