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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 66

Roman Tragedy

The Hellenism of Euripides flowed to Rome through very various channels, and probably produced a speedier and deeper effect there by indirect means than in the form of direct translation. The tragic drama in Rome was not exactly later in its rise than the comic;(39) but the far greater expense of putting a tragedy on the stage--which was undoubtedly felt as a consideration of moment, at least during the Hannibalic war--as well as the nature of the audience(40) retarded the development of tragedy.

39. Cf. III. XIV. Livius Andronicus

40. Cf. III. XIV. Audience

In the comedies of Plautus the allusions to tragedies are not very frequent, and most references of this kind may have been taken from the originals. The first and only influential tragedian of this epoch was the younger contemporary of Naevius and Plautus, Quintus Ennius (515-585), whose pieces were already travestied by contemporary comic writers, and were exhibited and declaimed by posterity down to the days of the empire.

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