Arātus in Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities

A Greek poet, of Soli in Cilicia, about B.C. 270, contemporary of Callimachus and Theocritus. At the request of the Macedonian king, Antigonus Gonatas, at whose court he lived as physician, he wrote, without much knowledge of the subject but guided by the works of Eudoxus and Theophrastus, two astronomical poems, Phaenomena (Φαινόμενα) and Prognostica (Διοσημεῖα) (aspects of the sky and signs of weather). Without genuine poetic inspiration, Aratus manages his intractable material with considerable tact and dignified simplicity. The language, while not always free from stiffness, is choice, and the versification correct. The poems enjoyed a high repute with the general public, as well as with poets and specialists, and the great astronomer Hipparchus wrote a commentary on them in four books. The Romans also took pleasure in reading and translating them-e. g. Cicero, Germanicus, and Avienus. Eng. trans. by Poste (London, 1880). (See Aratea.) Aratus is mentioned by his contemporary Theocritus in the Sixth and Seventh Idyls, and by St. Paul in his speech (Acts, xvii. 28). Recent edition by Maas. A Greek patriot, born in Sicyon B.C. 273, who expelled from his native state the tyrant Nicocles, and persuaded his countrymen to join the Achaean League, and in 244 secured the adhesion of Corinth. He afterwards had equal success with other States in southern Greece, so that the League became powerful, exciting the jealousy of the Aetolians, who made war upon it, but were defeated by Aratus aided by Antigonus, and for a time by Philip, nephew of Antigonus. This strong alliance overthrew Cleomenes, king of Sparta. Later, however, Aratus incurred the ill-will of Philip, who destroyed him by poison, B.C. 213. See Plut.

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