An epyllion written probably during the reign of Tiberius, and for a long time attributed to Vergil. After a lengthy programmatic introduction, in which the author tries to assume the persona of Vergil by heavy-handed references to Augustus and the possibility of more serious future work, the author dives right into the story:

A lonely goatherd, while tending his flock, decides to take a siesta by a spring under the shade. While drifting off to sleep, he is seen by a snake, who begins to creep up on him. Disaster is averted when a small eponymous gnat stings him on the eyeball. The goatherd swats the gnat, killing it, and thereby notices the snake in time to beat it to death with a club.

Later, the ghost of the gnat haunts him in a dream, chastising him for his ingratitude. He then goes to the underworld to atone, and after many zany adventures involving annoyingly complex Alexandrian allusions, returns, and erects to his fallen saviour a monument, upon which he inscribes:

Oh little Gnat, this goatherd erects a deserved
reward in death for your services in life.

Cu"lex (k?"l?ks), n. [L., a gnat.] (Zoöl.)

A genus of dipterous insects, including the gnat and mosquito.


© Webster 1913

Cu"lex (?), n. [L., a gnat.] (Zoöl.)

A genus of mosquitoes to which most of the North American species belong. Some members of this genus are exceedingly annoying, as C. sollicitans, which breeds in enormous numbers in the salt marshes of the Atlantic coast, and C. pipiens, breeding very widely in the fresh waters of North America. (For characters distinguishing these from the malaria mosquitoes, see Anopheles, above.) The yellow-fever mosquito is now placed in another genus, Stegomyia.


© Webster 1913

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