letters published rome edition
FRONTO, MARCUS Con Emus, a Roman grammarian, rhetorician, and advocate, was born of an Italian family at Cirta in Numidia, a Libyan of the Libyans, as lie calls himself, AL'pes rwv Acgi;wv. The date of his birth is unknown, but as he was quiestor in 138, it must have been before 113, and not improbably between 100 and 110. lie came to Rome in the reign of Hadrian, and soon gained such renown as an advocate and orator as to be reckoned inferior only to Cicero. Antoninus Pius, bearing of his fame, appointed him tutor to his adopted sons Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus ; and Fronto, as appears from his surviving letters, completely gained the confidence and affection of both these pupils. He was proconsul of Asia for a few months in 113, and five years later he was offered the same post, but declined acceptance on the plea of bad health. He preferred to remain at Rome, where, by the practice of his profession, be amassed a very large fortune, which enabled him to purchase the famous gardens of Mceeenas besides sumptuous villas in various parts of Italy. In ins old age, when confined to his house by the gout, he used to receive the leading literary men, who flocked to hear his unrivalled conversation. This exhibited the same qualities as his more formal orations, which were so much admired that a school of rhetoricians called itself after his name, having for its object the restoration to the Latin language of its ancient purity and simplicity. Frouto died at an advanced age, but the exact date of his death is not known, and it is even uncertain whether lie survived or predeceased the emperor Marcus Aurelius. Till 1815 the only work of Fronto's believed to exist was some disjointed fragments of his essay De Differentia Vocabuloruni, and even this is more probably the production of a later grammarian who made use of Pronto's works. In that year, however, Angelo Mai discovered in the Ambrosian library at Milan a palimpsest manuscript, on which had been originally written sonic of Fronto's letters to his royal pupils. These lie deciphered and published with notes, Milan, 1815. On his removal to Rome he discovered in the Vatican some additional sheets of the same palimpsest, which, like the first, contained letters of Pronto to Aurelius and Verus, with their replies. These palimpsests had originally belonged to the famous convent of St Columba at Bobbio, and had been written over by the monks with the acts of the first council of Chalcedon. All these letters were published by Mai, at Rome, in 1823, under the title of N. Cornelii Prontonis et H. Attrelii imperatori8 epistolce ; L. Teri et Antonini Pii et Appiani epistolarunt reliquice ; Fragmenta Frontonis et scripta granunatim. The discovery excited intense interest among the scholars of Europe, but a certain amount of disappointment was felt when the contents of the letters were examined, The characters of the two emperors, indeed, are displayed in a very favourable light, especially in the affection which they both seemed to have retained for their old master ; but the subject-matter of most of the letters is of such ephemeral interest as to throw little additional light on Roman antiquity. Not only have 146 of the leaves of the manuscript been lost, but hardly a half of the 194 still extant have been deciphered so as to furnish an intelligible context. A more careful examination of the palimpsest might possibly show good results.
A critical edition was published by Niebuhr, Buttmann, and lleindorf, Berlin 1826; a French translation of Mai's edition of 1823, by Armand Cassan, Paris, 2 vols. 8ro, 1830; and an edition based on a new examination of the MSS. by Du Bien, by Nether, Leipsic,1867. Orelli published a selection of the letters or Chrestomathia Frontoniana, as an appendix to his edition of the Dialogus de Oratoribus of Taeitus. Critical observations on the remains have been published by L. Schopen (Bonn, 1830, 1841); Alan (Dublin, 1841); A. Philibert Scalpel, De Fr011iOltiS religniis, Amiens, 1853; J. Neatly, in Phi/o/otrus, xvii. and xix.; M. Ilaupt, De emendalione libromon Prontonis, Berlin, 1867; E. Ellis, in Journal of Philology, 1868; Eussner, in Rheinisthes .11fuseum, xxv.; Mommsen, in Hermes, 1874; Kltissmann, Emendationes Frontomictnce, Gottingen, 1871; enlarged, Berlin, 1874.