Festus, Pompeius

, was a celebrated grammarian of antiquity, who abridged a work of “Verrius Flaccus de signih’catione verborum,” as is supposed, in the fourth century. Flaccus’s work had been greatly commended by Pliny, Aulus Gellius, Priscian, and other ancient writers, but Festus in his abridgment took unwarrantable liberties; for he was not content with striking out a vast number of words, but pretended to criticize the rest, in a manner, as Vossius has observed, not favourable to the reputation of Flaccus. Another writer, however, in the eighth century, | afterwards revenged this treatment of Flaccus, by abridging Festus in the same way. This was Paul the deacon, who so maimed and disfigured Festus, that it was scarce possible to know his work, which lay in this miserable state till, a considerable fragment being found in the library of cardinal Farnese, some pains were taken to put it again into a little order. The first, or princeps editio, is without a date, but supposed to have been printed in 1470, which, was followed by one with the date of 1471. Since that time there have been various editions by Scaliger, Fulvius Ursinus, Aldus Minucius, and others; but the most complete is the Delphin edition of Paris, 1681, in 4to, published by Dacier, or perhaps the reprint of it by Le Clero, Amst. 1699. It is also among the “Auctores Latinae Linguae,” collected by Gothofredus in 1585, and afterwards reprinted with emendations and additions at Geneva, in 1622. Scaliger says that Festus is an author of great use to those who would attain the knowledge of the Latin tongue with accuracy. 1


Fabric. Bibl. Lat. —Moreri. —Saxii Onomast.