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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 XIV - Literature and Art


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Page 10

Now both institutions--the school and the stage--were thoroughly anti-Roman and revolutionary. The gaping and staring idleness of the theatre was an abomination to the sober earnestness and the spirit of activity which animated the Roman of the olden type; and--inasmuch as it was the deepest and noblest conception lying at the root of the Roman commonwealth, that within the circle of Roman burgesses there should be neither master nor slave, neither millionnaire nor beggar, but that above all a like faith and a like culture should characterize all Romans--the school and the necessarily exclusive school-culture were far more dangerous still, and were in fact utterly destructive of the sense of equality.

The school and the theatre became the most effective levers in the hands of the new spirit of the age, and all the more so that they used the Latin tongue. Men might perhaps speak and write Greek and yet not cease to be Romans; but in this case they accustomed themselves to speak in the Roman language, while the whole inward being and life were Greek. It is not one of the most pleasing, but it is one of the most remarkable and in a historical point of view most instructive, facts in this brilliant era of Roman conservatism, that during its course Hellenism struck root in the whole field of intellect not immediately political, and that the -maitre de plaisir- of the great public and the schoolmaster in close alliance created a Roman literature.

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