The New International Encyclopædia/Gellius, Aulus

GEL'LIUS, Aulus. A Latin author of the second century A.D. Little is known of his life. He is supposed to have been born at Rome, where, at all events, he studied rhetoric. Subsequently he proceeded to Athens to undergo a discipline in philosophy. On his return to Rome he entered upon a legal career, without, however, abandoning his literary pursuits. Gellius's well-known work, The Attic Nights (Noctes Atticæ), begun during the long nights of winter in a country house near Athens, and completed during the latter years of his life, is a collection of miscellaneous matter on language, antiquities, history, and literature, in twenty books, of which the eighth is wanting. It contains many extracts from Greek and Latin authors no longer extant. The work is destitute of any plan or arrangement, is disfigured by archaisms, and derives its value mainly from being a repository of curious knowledge. The editio princeps appeared at Rome in 1469; the earliest critical edition is that of Gronovius (Leyden, 1706); the most important edition is that of Hertz (Berlin, 1883-85); there is also a smaller edition by the same author (Berlin, 1886); and a volume of selections, with notes and vocabulary, by Nall (London, 1888). There is an English translation by Beloe (London, 1795).