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Decimus Magnus Ausonius (c. 310-395), Roman poet and rhetorician, was born at Burdigala (Bordeaux).

He received excellent education, especially in grammar and rhetoric, but professes that his progress in Greek was unsatisfactory. Having completed his studies, he practised for some time as an advocate, but his inclination lay in the direction of teaching. He set (in 334) a school of rhetoric in his native place, which was hugely attended, his most famous pupil being Paulinus, afterwards Bishop of Nola.

After thirty years of this work, he was summoned by Valentinian to the imperial court, to undertake the education Gratian, the heir-apparent. The prince always entertained the greatest regard for his tutor, and after his accession bestowed on him the highest titles and honours, culminating in the consulate (379).

After the murder of Gratian (383), Ausonius retired his estates near Burdigala. He appears to have been a (not very enthusiastic) convert to Christianity. He died about 395.

This entry was an extract from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.

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