What Do We Know About Caecilius Statius?

  • Among the scrolls of (mostly) Philodemus found at the Villa of the Papyri in Herculaneum, there is a copy of a play by the (apparently) famous-in-Rome comic playwright Caecilius Statius. I've only just recently discovered that Caecilius was the author of a quote I have always seen attributed to Cicero—for Cicero does quote him directly;


    Quote

    One plants trees for the benefit of another age.

    -Caecilius Statius


    I'm struggling to find much in English on this writer. In addition to the above, here are a few quotes attributed to him:


    ***note; I have not verified these selections***


    Quote

    Fear created the first gods in the world

    Quote

    The whole world is a man's birthplace

    Quote

    Grant us a brief delay; impulse in everything is but a worthless servant.

    Quote

    Wisdom oft lurks beneath a tattered coat.


    I'm wondering whether anybody else has come across him. I know Hiram has delved deeply into Philodemus' scrolls. I'm just wondering if he should be on our radar?

  • Great find, Joshua, I have never heard of him but will be watching for him from now on.

  • In the video from the Getty Villa that Cassius posted it was mentioned that a chest of Latin texts was found along with the main Greek library, but that they were too badly damaged to even know what they are. So we probably shouldn't read too much into it.


    In my truck, for example, there are 6 or 7 Epicurean texts, my old well-worn copy of Walden, a Latin Dictionary, and a copy of Macbeth that I bought at a used book store in Salt Lake City. I would encourage future papyrologists poking through my stuff not to place too much importance on the Macbeth!

  • Great point-- I possess several books I've read in order to understand the positions of those I disagree with, lol. I even have, gasp, my mother's old bible (fortunately for her, she became a nonbeliever in college).