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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 33

In general no references to the events or circumstances of the present occur in the pieces of Plautus. The only exceptions are, congratulations on the course of the war(20) or on the peaceful times; general sallies directed against usurious dealings in grain or money, against extravagance, against bribery by candidates, against the too frequent triumphs, against those who made a trade of collecting forfeited fines, against farmers of the revenue distraining for payment, against the dear prices of the oil-dealers; and once--in the -Curculio- --a more lengthened diatribe as to the doings in the Roman market, reminding us of the -parabases- of the older Attic comedy, and but little likely to cause offence(21)

20. Thus the prologue of the -Cistellaria- concludes with the following words, which may have a place here as the only contemporary mention of the Hannibalic war in the literature that has come down to us:--

-Haec res sic gesta est. Bene valete, et vincite
Virtute vera, quod fecistis antidhac;
Servate vostros socios, veteres et novos;
Augete auxilia vostris iustis legibus;
Perdite perduelles: parite laudem et lauream
Ut vobis victi Poeni poenas sufferant.-

The fourth line (-augete auxilia vostris iustis Iegibus-) has reference to the supplementary payments imposed on the negligent Latin colonies in 550 (Liv. xxix. 15; see ii. 350).

21. Cf. III. XIII. Increase of Amusements

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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

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