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Aulus Gellius


Aulus Gellius (c. 125 – after 180 AD) was a Latin author and grammarian, who was probably born and certainly brought up in Rome. He was educated in Athens, after which he returned to Rome, where he held a judicial office. He is famous for his Attic Nights, a commonplace book, or compilation of notes on grammar, philosophy, history, antiquarianism, and other subjects, preserving fragments of many authors and works who otherwise might be unknown today.

The only source for the life of Aulus Gellius is the details recorded in his writings. He was of good family and connections, possibly of African origin, but he was probably born and certainly brought up in Rome. He traveled much, especially in Greece, and resided for a considerable period in Athens. He studied rhetoric under Titus Castricius and Sulpicius Apollinaris; philosophy under Calvisius Taurus () and Peregrinus Proteus; and enjoyed also the friendship and instruction of Favorinus, Herodes Atticus, and Fronto.

He returned to Rome, where he held a judicial office. He was appointed by the praetor to act as an umpire in civil causes, and much of the time which he would gladly have devoted to literary pursuits was consequently occupied by judicial duties. The precise date of his birth, as of his death, is unknown; but from the names of his teachers and companions, he must have lived under Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius.



  • G. Anderson, "Aulus Gellius: a Miscellanist and His World," in Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt, vol. II.34.2 (Berlin, 1994), 1834–1862.
  • Marie-Luise Lakmann, Der Platoniker Tauros in der Darstellung des Aulus Gellius (Leiden: Brill, 1994) (Philosophia Antiqua, 63)
  • Leofranc Holford-Strevens, Aulus Gellius. An Antonine Scholar and his Achievement (Oxford: Oxford University Press, revised ed. 2003)
  • Leofranc Holford-Strevens and Amiel Vardi, eds., The Worlds of Aulus Gellius (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2004)
  • Wytse Keulen, Gellius the Satirist: Roman Cultural Authority in Attic Nights (Leiden: Brill, 2008) (Mnemosyne Supplements, 297).
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