Obsequens JULIUS, an ancient sage who flourished some time in the early Christian period, is principally known as the author of a work entitled De Prodigiis, or Prodigiorum libellus. The work affords no biographical data, and there is not accessible from any other source anything which may reveal a knowledge of him personally, not even as to the place of his birth nor the time when he lived. Vossius thinks him anterior to Paul Orosius, and Scaliger claims that St. Jerome made some use of this work; but these are mere suppositions. Obsequens was not a historian, but a compiler. His work, of which a fragment only remains, is a collection of such phenomena as the Romans called Prodigia, or Ostenta, and which they looked upon as miraculous manifestations of the divine power, and as solemn forebodings of future events. It is chronologically divided, and the fragment we possess extends from the consulate of Scipio and Laelius, in B.C. 190, to that of Fabius and Elius, in B.C. 11. The materials are generally taken from Livy, whom he sometimes copies literally. There is no MS. copy of his work known at present; that which served for the first edition belonged to Jodocus of Verona, and has long been lost. Towards the middle of the 16th century Conrad Woolf hard, a professor at Basle better known by the name of Conradus Lycosthenes published Obsequens's work, with a supplement. Judging from his introduction, he had a high aim in so doing. He says, "The Romans evinced their religious sentiments by the great attention they paid to marvelous phenomena and to omens, while their blindness was manifested by their worshipping false gods. Had they known the true religion, they would have surpassed in their pious zeal their descendants, who are Christians more in name than in fact, and take no account of the events which Christ predicted should occur as the end of the world approached." Among the recent omens, Lycosthenes mentions three or four eclipses occurring in one year, comets, earthquakes in Italy, etc., which have made no impression upon the minds of the people. Their neglect of the divine warnings and their impious conduct have brought down upon them the wrath of God, who has given them up to civil war, diseases, and famine. Lycosthenes thinks the publication of Obsequens's work useful, as. showing the importance of the omens which people were neglecting. His supplement contains the phenomena observed since the foundation of Rome to the time when commences Obsequens's fragment, taken from Livy, Orosius, etc. The first edition of Julius Obsequens was published by Aide (Venice, 1508, 8vo; reprinted in 1518), in a volume containing also the letters of the younger Pliny. The second edition is that of Beatus Rhenanus (Strasburg, 1514, 8vo), in a volume containing also the letters of Pliny, the De viris illustribus of Aurelius Victor, and the De claris grammaticis et rhetoribus of Suetonius. Robert Estienne published the third (Paris, 1529, 8vo), together with the letters of Pliny. The first edition, together with the supplement of Lycosthenes, was published at Basle (1558, 8vo). Among subsequent editions, the best are those of Scheffer (Amst. 1679, 8vo); Oudendorp (Leyden, 1720, 8vo); Hase, in Lemaire's collection of Latin classics (Paris, 1823). It was translated into French by Georges de la Bouthiere (Lyons, 1558, 8vo), and by Victor Verger (Paris, 1825, 12mo); and into Italian by Damiano Maraffi (Lione, 1.554, 8vo). See the introductions of Kapp, Lycosthenes, Scheffer,,and Oudendorp, in Hase's edition. See Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, 38:414; Smith, Dict. of Greek and Roman Biog. and Mythol. 3:1-2. (J. N. P.)

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