15 Facts About Ausonius


Decimius Magnus Ausonius was a Roman poet and teacher of rhetoric from Burdigala, Aquitaine.


Ausonius's best-known poems are Mosella, a description of the River Moselle, and Ephemeris, an account of a typical day in his life.


Ausonius was given a strict upbringing by his aunt and grandmother, both named Aemilia.


Ausonius received an excellent education at Bordeaux and at Toulouse, where his maternal uncle, Aemilius Magnus Arborius, was a professor.


In 328 Arborius was summoned to Constantinople to become tutor to Constans, the youngest son of Constantine the Great, whereupon Ausonius returned to Bordeaux to complete his education under the rhetorician Minervius Alcimus.


Ausonius's teaching attracted many pupils, some of whom became eminent in public life.


That year Ausonius was made Praetorian Prefect of Gaul, campaigned against the Alemanni and received as part of his booty a slave girl, Bissula, and his father, though nearly ninety years old, was given the rank of prefect of Illyricum.

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In 379 Ausonius was awarded the consulate, the highest Roman honour.


In 383, the army of Britain, led by Magnus Maximus, revolted against Gratian and assassinated him at Lyons; and when Emperor Valentinian II was driven out of Italy, Ausonius retired to his estates near Burdigala, in Gaul.


When Magnus Maximus was overthrown by Emperor Theodosius I in 388, Ausonius did not leave his country estates.


Ausonius appears to have been a late and perhaps not very enthusiastic convert to Christianity.


Ausonius's works attest to the devastation that Ausonius's Gaul would face soon after his death.


Ausonius's style is easy and fluent, and his Mosella is appreciated for its evocation of the life and the country along the River Moselle, but he is considered derivative and unoriginal.


Edward Gibbon pronounced in his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire that "the poetical fame of Ausonius condemns the taste of his age".


Ausonius's writings are remarkable for mentioning in passing the working of a water mill sawing marble on a tributary of the Moselle:.