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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 59

Tragedies - Euripides

Greek tragedy as well as Greek comedy came in the course of this epoch to Rome. It was a more valuable, and in a certain respect also an easier, acquisition than comedy. The Greek and particularly the Homeric epos, which was the basis of tragedy, was not unfamiliar to the Romans, and was already interwoven with their own national legends; and the susceptible foreigner found himself far more at home in the ideal world of the heroic myths than in the fish-market of Athens.

Nevertheless tragedy also promoted, only with less abruptness and less vulgarity, the anti-national and Hellenizing spirit; and in this point of view it was a circumstance of the most decisive importance, that the Greek tragic stage of this period was chiefly under the sway of Euripides (274-348). This is not the place for a thorough delineation of that remarkable man and of his still more remarkable influence on his contemporaries and posterity; but the intellectual movements of the later Greek and the Graeco-Roman epoch were to so great an extent affected by him, that it is indispensable to sketch at least the leading outlines of his character.

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