A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology

Smith, William

A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology. William Smith, LLD, ed. 1890

one of the early Roman poets, is classed among the comic poets of Rome by Vulcatius Sedigitus, who assigns him the fifth place among them in order of merit. (Ap. Gell. 15.24.) But as Atilius translated into Latin the Electra of Sophocles (Cic. de Fin. 1.2; comp. Suet. Jul. 84), it would appear that he wrote tragedies as well as comedies. The latter, however, may have been both superior to, and more numerous

than, the former; and this would be a sufficient reason why Sedigitus classed him among the comic poets, without having recourse to the improbable conjecture of Weichert (Poet. Latin. Reliquiae, p. 139), that he had turned the Electra of Sophocles into a comedy. Among his other plays we have the titles of the following : Μισόγονος (Cic. Tusc. Disp. 4.11), Bocolia (Varr. L. L. 6.89, ed. Müller), Ἄγροικος, and Commorientes. (Varr. apud Gell. 3.3.) According to another reading the last three are attributed to a poet Aquillius. With the exception of a line quoted by Cicero (Cic. Att. 14.20), and a few words preserved in two passages of Varro (L. L. 7.90, 106), nothing of Atilius has come down to us. Cicero (ad Att. l.c.) calls him poeta durissimus, and Licinius describes him as ferreus scriptor. (Cic. de Fin. l.c.)