From Suetonius LIVES OF EMINENT GRAMMARIANS

 

IX.  ORBILIUS PUPILLUS, of Beneventum, being left an orphan, by the death
of his parents, who both fell a sacrifice to the plots of their enemies
on the same day, acted, at first, as apparitor to the magistrates.  He
then joined the troops in Macedonia, when he was first decorated with the
plumed helmet [865], and, afterwards, promoted to serve on horseback.
Having completed his military service, he resumed his studies, which he
had pursued with no small diligence from his youth upwards; and, having
been a professor for a long period in his own country, at last, during
the consulship of Cicero, made his way to Rome, where he taught with more
reputation than profit.  For in one of his works he says, that "he was
then very old, and lived in a garret."  He also published a book with the
title of Perialogos; containing complaints of the injurious treatment to
which professors submitted, without seeking redress at the hands of
parents.  His sour temper betrayed itself, not only in his disputes with
the sophists opposed to him, whom he lashed on every occasion, but also
towards his scholars, as Horace tells us, who calls him "a flogger;"
[866] and Domitius Marsus [867], who says of him:

    Si quos Orbilius ferula scuticaque cecidit.
    If those Orbilius with rod or ferule thrashed.

(513) And not even men of rank escaped his sarcasms; for, before he
became noticed, happening to be examined as a witness in a crowded court,
Varro, the advocate on the other side, put the question to him, "What he
did and by what profession he gained his livelihood?"  He replied, "That
he lived by removing hunchbacks from the sunshine into the shade,"
alluding to Muraena's deformity.  He lived till he was near a hundred
years old; but he had long lost his memory, as the verse of Bibaculus
informs us:

    Orbilius ubinam est, literarum oblivio?
    Where is Orbilius now, that wreck of learning lost?

His statue is shown in the Capitol at Beneventum.  It stands on the left
hand, and is sculptured in marble [868], representing him in a sitting
posture, wearing the pallium, with two writing-cases in his hand.  He
left a son, named also Orbilius, who, like his father, was a professor of
grammar.