Aristius Fuscus, Marcus

Roma, saec. I a. Chr. – I p. Chr.

The tria nomina of this grammarian can be recovered from the inscriptio to Hor. carm. 1.22, transmitted in some Horatian MSS (GRFF test. 1). Whilst the praenomen ‘Marcus’ is nowhere else attested, he is commonly referred to as ‘Fuscus’, ‘Aristius Fuscus’ or ‘Fuscus Aristius’. Being a very close friend to Horace, Fuscus is the addressee of Hor. carm. 1.22 and epist. 1.10, and appears in sat. 1.9.60 ff. as one of the characters of the piece. In sat. 1.10.83 Horace names Fuscus as one of his learned friends and critics of his work. We can suppose that Fuscus dwelt in Rome (cf. GRFF test. 2). According to Porphyrio and Pseudo-Acro (GRFF test. 3), Fuscus was a grammarian, and even a very distinguished one; HARRISON (1992: 543), grounding on the aforementioned testimonies, stated that he was a professional schoolmaster; furthermore, taking into account the information which can be drawn from Horace, HARRISON (1992: 543-547) argued that he was influenced by the Stoic philosophy. According to Porphyrio (GRFF test. 4), Fuscus wrote comedies. A notice about his alleged activity as tragic writer depends on an interpolation to Ps.-Acro (Hor. epist. 1.10.1) and does not deserve credibility.
The attribution of frg. Parisinum de praep. et uerbis GL VII 35.1-6 (olim Aufustius GRFF frg. 1) to Aristius Fuscus depends on a conjecture by HAUPT (1838: 40); cf. NISBET-HUBBARD 1970: 262 and HARRISON 1992: 543. Conversely, USENER (1868: 100-101 = 1913: 212; followed by FUNAIOLI GRFF 491-492) attributed this fragment to Aufustius. The mention of Asinius Pollio as the addressee of the treatise from which this fragment was taken, points to Fuscus (cf. Horace sat. 1.10.81–83) and not to Aufustius – no connection of the latter with Pollio is known. The fragment deals with the formation of the indicative imperfect of the verbs in –io, and more precisely with the alternation between the regular forms in –ĭēba– and those in –ība-. The latter are noticed by Char. gramm. p. 229.18-24 (e Cominiano); Diom. GL I 350.32-37; Prisc. GL III 450.40-451.1; Prob. inst. gramm. GL IV 178.1-9; Mart. Cap. 3.322; Audax GL VII 362.1; Consent. GL V 384.3-9 and Macr. exc. gramm. GL V 639.11 (cf. also Cledon. GL V 55.14- 15). Such imperfects in –ība– of the fourth conjugation are ascribed to the ueteres by Charisius, Diomenes, Consentius and Martianus Capella; Priscian, in turn, considers them to be a poetical feature, stating furthermore that they are originated by syncope of the forms in –ĭēba-. A similar origin is stated by Audax, even if he labels such forms as barbarisms; Consentius, in turn, thinks of an analogy with the verbs in –eo of the fourth declension. In this fragment Fuscus states that the forms in –ĭēba– are more correct (rectius dici) than those in –ība-; perhaps he was implying that the latter may be used in some contexts (e.g. in poetry?). The reason of this choice is not stated. Even though, if the examples reported by Terentius Scaurus may be traced back to Aristius Fuscus, the counterexample rursus ‘ueneo’ prima producta ‘uenibam’, non ‘ueniebam’, may show that this grammarian (like Charisius, Diomedes, Consentius, Priscian and Martianus Capella) clearly recognized two different groups in the fourth declension, namely the verbs in -io (forming the indicative imperfect in –ĭēba-) and those in –eo (making such tense in –ība-). Even though, it is rather doubtful whether 5-7 tamquam uenio … non ueniebam can be ascribed to Fuscus; in turn, the two last couples of examples, 6-7 ‘audio’ ‘audiebam’ ; ‘audeo’ ‘audebam’, do not fit with the present discussion and may be surely regarded as an adventitious element.



GRFF p. 507 (test.), p. 492 (olim Aufustius frg. 1, nobis Fuscus frg.).


E. Klebs, ‘Aristius 2’, RE ii/1 (1895), 906; Teuffel–Kroll–Skutsch (1910⁶-1916⁶), ii, 79; PIR² i (1933), A 1048; Schanz–Hosius (1927⁴-1935⁴), i, §. 320 [p. 293 and n. 2]; K.-L. Elvers, ‘Aristius 2’, DNP ii (1997), 1104.

Harrison, Stephen J. (1992), ‘Fuscus the Stoic: Horace Odes 1.22 and Epistles 1.10’, CQ 42, 543-547.
Haupt, Mauritz (1838), Ouidii Halieutica. Gratii et Nemesiani Cynegetica, Lipsiae.
Nisbet, Robin George Murdoch – Hubbard, Margaret (1970), A Commentary on Horace Odes. Book I, Oxford.
Usener, Hermann (1869), ‘Varronische Excerpte’, RhM 24, 94-114 (= 1913: 201-223).
Usener, Hermann (1913), Kleine Schriften, ii, Leipzig-Berlin.

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