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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 108

Character and Historical Position of Roman Literature

Thus poetry and literature made their entrance into Rome along with the sovereignty of the world, or, to use the language of a poet of the age of Cicero:

-Poenico bello secundo Musa pennato gradu
Intulit se bellicosam Romuli in gentem feram.-

In the districts using the Sabellian and Etruscan dialects also there must have been at the same period no want of intellectual movement Tragedies in the Etruscan language are mentioned, and vases with Oscan inscriptions show that the makers of them were acquainted with Greek comedy. The question accordingly presents itself, whether, contemporarily with Naevius and Cato, a Hellenizing literature like the Roman may not have been in course of formation on the Arnus and Volturnus. But all information on the point is lost, and history can in such circumstances only indicate the blank.

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