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On this page: B Assi Ana – Bassianus – Bassus

471

BASSUS.

B ASSI ANA, one of the names of Julia Soemias. [bassianus, No. 2; soemias.J

BASSIANUS. 1. A Roman of distinction se­lected by Constantine the Great as the husband of his sister Anastasia, and destined for the rank of Caesar and the government of Italy, although pro-babl}r never actually invested with these dignities. For, while negotiations were pending with Licinius respecting the ratification of this arrangement, it was discovered that the last-named prince had been secretly tampering with Bassianus, and had persuaded him to form a treasonable plot against his brother-in-law and benefactor. Constantine promptly executed vengeance on the traitor, and the discovery of the perfidy meditated by his col­league led to a war, the result of which is recounted elsewhere. [constantinus.] The whole history of this intrigue, so interesting and important on account of the momentous consequences to which it eventually led, is extremely obscure, and depends almost exclusively upon the anonymous fragment appended by Valesius to his edition of Ammianus Marcellinus.

2. A Phoenician of humble extraction, who nevertheless numbered among his lineal descend­ ants, in the three generations which followed immediately after him, four emperors and four Augustae, — Caracalla, Geta, Elagabalus, Alex­ ander Severus, Julia Doinna, Julia Maesa, Julia Soemias, and Julia Mamaea, besides having an emperor (Sept Severus) for his son-in-law. From him Caracalla, Elagabalus, and Alexander Severus all bore the name of Bassianus; and we find his grand-daughter Julia Soemias entitled Bassiana in a remarkable bilmgiiar inscription discovered at Velitrae and published with a dissertation at Rome in 1765. (Aurelius Victor, Epit. c. 21, has pre­ served his name; and from an expression used by Dion Cassius, Ixxviii. 24, with regard to Julia Domna, we infer his station in life. See also the genealogical table prefixed to the article cara­ calla.) [W. R.]

BASSUS. We find consuls of this name under Valerian for the years a. d. 258 and 259. One of these is probably the Pomponius Bassus who under Claudius came forward as a national sacrifice, because the Sibylline books had declared that the Goths could not be vanquished unless the chief senator of Rome should devote his life for his country; but the emperor would not allow him to execute this design, generously insisting, that the person pointed out by the Fates must be himself. The whole story, however, is very problematical. (Aurel. Vict. Epit. c. 34 ; comp. Julian, Caes. p. 11, and Tillemont on Claudius II.) [W. R.]

BASSUS. 1. Is named by Ovid as having formed one of the select circle of his poetical associates, and as celebrated for his iambic lays, " Ponticus heroo, Bassus quoque clarus iambo," but is not noticed by Quintilian nor by any other Roman writer, unless he be the Bassus familiarly addressed by Propertius. (Eleg. i. 4.) Hence is is probable that friendship may have exaggerated his fame and merits. Osann argues from a passage in Apuleius the grammarian {De Ortliograpli. § 43), that Battus, and not Bassus, is the true reading in the above line from the Tristia, but his reasonings have been successfully combated by Weichert. (De L. Vario Poeta, Excurs. ii. De Bassis qitibus-dam, <$£c.}

2. A dramatic poet, contemporary with Martial,

BASSUS.

and the subject of a witty epigram, in which he is recommended to abandon such themes as Medea, Thyestes, Niobe, and the fate of Troy, and to de­ vote his compositions to Phaethon or Deucalion, i. e. to fire or water. (Martial, v. 53.) The name occurs frequently in other epigrams by the same author, but the persons spoken of are utterly un­ known. [W. R.]

BASSUS, occurs several times in the ancient authors as the name of a medical writer, sometimes without any praenomen, sometimes called Julius and sometimes Tullius. It is not possible to say exactly whether all these passages refer to more than two in­dividuals, as it is conjectured that Julius and Tullius are the same person: it is, however, certain that the Julius Bassus said by Pliny (Ind. to PL JV. xx.) to have written a Greek work, nrast have lived before the person to whom Galen dedicates his work De Libris Propriis, and whom he calls Kpcc-tkttos Bacrcros. (Vol. xix. p. 8.) Bassus Tullius is said by Caelius Aurelianus (DeMorb. Acut. iii. 16. p. 233) to have been the friend of Niger, who may perhaps have been the Sextius Niger mentioned by Pliny. (Ind. to //. Ar. xx.) He is mentioned by Dioscorides {De Mat. Med. i. praef.) and St. Epi-phanius {Adv. Haer. i. 1. § 3) among the writers on botany; and several of his medical formulae are preserved by Aetius, Marcellus, Joannes Actuarius, and others. (Fabric. Biblioth. Gr. vol. xiii. p. 101, ed. vet.; C. G. Klilm, Addit. ad Elench. Medic, a Fair. ^c. EocUl, fasc. iv. p. 1, &c.) [W. A. G.]

BASSUS, A'NNIUS, commander of a legion under Antonius Primus, a. D. 70. (Tac. HisL iii. 50.)

BASSUS, AUFI'DIUS, an orator and histo­ rian, who lived under Augustus and Tiberius. He drew up an account of the Roman wars in Ger­ many, and also wrote a work upon Roman history of a more general character, which was continued, in thirty-one books, by the elder Pliny. No frag­ ment of his compositions has been preserved. {Dialog, de Orat. 23; Quintil. x. 1, 102, &c.; Senec. Suasor. 6, Ep. xxx., which perhaps refers to a son of this individual; Plin. H. N. Praef., Ep. iii. 5, 9. ed, Titze.) It will be clearly per­ ceived, upon comparing the two passages last re­ ferred to, that Pliny wrote a continuation of the general history of Bassus, and not of his history of the German wars, as Bahr and others have asserted. His praenomen is uncertain. Orelli {ad Dialog, de Orat. c. 23) rejects Titus., and shews from Priscian (lib. viii. p. 371, ed. Krehl), that Publius is more likely to be correct. [W. R.]

BASSUS, BETILIE'NUS, occurs on a coin, from which we learn that he was a triumvir mone-talis in the reign of Augustus. (Eckhel, v. p. 150.) Seneca speaks {de Ira, iii. 18) of a Betilienus Bassus who was put to death in the reign of Cali­gula ; and it is supposed that he may be the same as the Betillinus Cassius, who, Dion Cassius says (lix. 25), was executed by command of Caligula, a. d. 40.

BASSUS, Q. CAECI'LIUS, a Roman knight, and probably quaestor in b. c. 59 (Cic. ad Att. ii.. 9), espoused Pompey's party in the civil war, and after the loss of the battle of Pharsalia (48) fled to Tyre. Here he remained concealed for some time ; but being joined by several of his party, he endea­voured to gain over some of the soldiers of Sex. Julius Caesar, who was at that time governor of Syria. In this attempt he was successful; but his designs

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