Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Theologica tripertita

Here's something related to Ovid's Fasti that came up in some of the scholarship. Varro (116-17 BC) was a hugely productive intellectual of early Rome, and apparently was the source of the later formalization of the liberal arts into the trivium and quadrivium:
Varro . . . turned out more than 74 Latin works on a variety of topics. Among his many works, two stand out for historians; Nine Books of Disciplines and his compilation of the Varronian chronology. His "Nine Books of Disciplines" became a model for later encyclopedists, especially Pliny the Elder. The most noteworthy portion of the Nine Books of Disciplines is its use of the liberal arts as organizing principles.[1] Varro decided to focus on identifying nine of these arts: grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, musical theory, medicine, and architecture. Using Varro's list, subsequent writers defined the seven classical "liberal arts of the medieval schools".[1]
The article below discusses Varro's notion of "tripartite theology" -- cosmic, political, fabulous. From in Religions of the Ancient World, ed. by Sara Iles Johnson.

Varro was very interested in the calendar, (the structuring form of Fasti), and in working out the chronology of Roman history:

Pre-Julian Calendar

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