AUSONIUS d. ca. 395. Decimus Magnus Ausonius, born at Bordeaux ca. 310, died there ca. 395, was first a professor and poet of that famous school, then the future emperor Gratian’s tutor at Trier, a courtier loaded with titles and honors 364–385; then, all his influence lost, he returned to his native town to cultivate his thought games and word games, esp. those of his 20 years at Trier.
He taught Paulinus before his baptism 390 and vainly tried to dissuade him from the ascetic life 395. He wrote Christian poems during his time with Gratian; his daily poems Ephemeris and Domestica 2-3 may be a poetic transposition of his pre- and postbaptismal catechetical instructions. There is nothing Christian in some of his other poems Bissula, Cento nuptialis, prayers without biblical references, etc.. He remained in the antechamber of Christianity: an erudite but amiable rhetorician, ambitious but good, a singer of Janus and of Jesus. His bookish muse was inspired by contemplation of nature Mosella, but never by biblical laus Dei. Yet his Parentalia were not indifferent Christians: his widowed sister Julia Dryadia, always avid for truth and ardent in charity 12,5-8, was a source of joy in their paternal home 12,9-12; his aunt Julia Cataphronia lived humbly in virginal chastity and voluntary poverty 26; his aunt Emilia Hilaria, a lover of consecrated virginity, was as solicitous in charity as Christian virgines devotae 6; his uncle Clemens Contemptus lived a poor and solitary life in terra Rutupina.
The equal distance from paganism and Christianity that led Ausonius to joke even about the Tris Deus Unus Griph. 88 does not seem foreign to his captious mentality. Ch. Guignebert, Les demi-chrétiens et leur place dans l’Église antique: RHR 88 1923 65-102; Patrologia 3, 264-266; J.R. Hussey, Ausonius and the Concept of the Worthwhile Life, Tufts University 1974; F. Benedetti, La tecnica del vertere negli epigrammi di Ausonio, Florence 1980; E. Di Lorenzo, Ausonio. Saggio su alcune componenti stilistiche, Naples 1981; G.J. Fisher, Studies in Fourth and Fifth Century Latin Literature with Particular Reference to Ausonius, Southampton 1981; Ch.-M. Ternes, Ètudes ausoniennes, Luxembourg 1986; A. Alvar Ezquerra, Estado actual de los estudios sobre Ausonio: biblio- grafía crítica 1960-1987: Estudios clásicos 33 1991 53-96; F. Della Corte, Storia e preistoria del testo ausoniano, Rome 1991; M.J.
Lossau ed., Ausonius, Darmstadt Wiss. 1991; V. Messana, L’ironia di Ausonio e il suo sentimento religioso, in Polyanthema: studi di letteratura cristiana antica offerti a Salvatore Costanza, Messina 1991, 75-108; L. Mondin, Storia e critica del testo di Ausonio: a proposito di una recente edizione: BStudLat 23 1993 59-96; H. Sivan, Ausonius of Bordeaux: Genesis of a Gallic Aristocracy, London 1993; N.G. Davis, Cupid at the Ivory Gates: Ausonius as a Reader of Vergil’s Aeneid: Colby Quarterly 303 1994 162-170; G. Guttilla, Ausonio e Paolino: rapporti letterari e umani: Impegno and dialogo 10 1994 177-189; L. Mondin, Dieci anni di critica ausoniana: 1984-1993: BStudLat 241 1994 192-255; J.F. Drinkwater, ReDating Ausonius’ War Poetry: AJPh 1203 1999 443-452; L. Mondin, Qualche novità sul “Technopaegnion” di Ausonio, con un saggio inedito di Dante Nardo: Lexis 17 1999 319-344; G. Polara, Tra “ars” e “ludus”: tecnica e poetica in Ausonio, in G. Mazzoli – F. Gasti eds., Prospettive sul tardoantico: Atti del Convegno di Pavia 27-28 novembre 1997, Como 1999, 31-47; M. Skeb, Subjektivität und Gottesbild: die religiöse Mentalität des Decimus Magnus Ausonius: Hermes 1283 2000 327-352.