Astronomicon

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Cambridge University Press, May 19, 2011 - Foreign Language Study - 162 pages
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Both the author and the date of this five-volume poem, the first Western document to link the houses of the zodiac with the course of human affairs, are uncertain. The author's name may be Marcus Manilius, or Manlius, or Mallius, and the latest datable event mentioned in the books themselves is the disastrous defeat of Varus' Roman legions by the German tribes in 9 CE. The writing shows knowledge of the work of Lucretius, but the work is not referred to by any subsequent writer, suggesting that it was never widely disseminated. A manuscript was rediscovered by Poggio Bracciolini in 1416 or 1417, and editions were produced by Scaliger and Bentley, but this immensely erudite edition of 1903-1930 by the scholar and poet A. E. Housman (1859-1936) is regarded as authoritative. Volume 2 describes the signs of the zodiac, their characteristics and their subdivisions.
 

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About the author (2011)

A. E. Housman was born in Fockbury, Worcestershire, England on March 26, 1859. In 1877, he attended St. John's College, Oxford and received first class honours in classical moderations. He worked as clerk in the Patent Office in London for ten years. During this time he studied Greek and Roman classics intensively, and in 1892 was appointed professor of Latin at University College, London. In 1911 he became professor of Latin at Trinity College, Cambridge, a post he held until his death. He only published two volumes of poetry during his lifetime: A Shropshire Lad and Last Poems. He died on April 30, 1936. A third volume, More Poems, was released posthumously in 1936 by his brother as was an edition of Housman's Complete Poems in 1939.

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