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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
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Please note that Mommsen uses the AUC chronology (Ab Urbe Condita), i.e. from the founding of the City of Rome. You can use this reference table to have the B.C. dates


III. From the Union of Italy to the Subjugation of Carthage and the Greek States

From: The History of Rome, by Theodor Mommsen
Translated with the sanction of the author by William Purdie Dickson

The History of Old Rome

Chapter XIII - Faith and Manners


The Original Greek New Testament

» Contents of this Chapter

Page 17

To indicate the character of the book, it may suffice to mention the one fact, that the story of Kronos devouring his children is explained as arising out of the existence of cannibalism in the earliest times and its abolition by king Zeus. Notwithstanding, or even by virtue of, its insipidity and of its very obvious purpose, the production had an undeserved success in Greece, and helped, in concert with the current philosophies there, to bury the dead religion.

It is a remarkable indication of the expressed and conscious antagonism between religion and the new philosophy that Ennius already translated into Latin those notoriously destructive writings of Epicharmus and Euhemerus. The translators may have justified themselves at the bar of Roman police by pleading that the attacks were directed only against the Greek, and not against the Latin, gods; but the evasion was tolerably transparent.

Cato was, from his own point of view, quite right in assailing these tendencies indiscriminately, wherever they met him, with his own peculiar bitterness, and in calling even Socrates a corrupter of morals and offender against religion.

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