SILIUS

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SILIUS, Caius, surnamed Italicus, was born in the reign of Tiberius, about the year 15. The origin of his surname is uncertain. At Rome, he applied himself to the bar, and became a celebrated orator and advocate. He was consul at the time of Nero's death, and incurred some reproach for assisting in that tyrant's prosecutions, but acquired honor from his conduct in the proconsulate of Asia, assigned to him by Vespasian, from which he retired into private life, and collected books, statues, and busts of eminent men He finally retired to his seat in Campania, where, being seized with an incurable ulcer, he put an end to his life by starvation, in his seventyfifth year. The only work of Silius which has reached modern times, is an epic poem on the second Punic war, in sixteen books, written with more diligence than genius. It contains, however, occasional splendid passages; and his description of the passage of, Hannibal across the Alps is particularly admired. The best editions are those of Drakenborch (1717, 4to.), and of Ruperti (Gottingen, 1795-8, 2 vols., 8vo.).