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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 77

Recitative Poetry

Recitative poetry also took its rise during this epoch at Rome. Livius naturalized the custom which among the ancients held the place of our modern publication--the public reading of new works by the author--in Rome, at least to the extent of reciting them in his school. As poetry was not in this instance practised with a view to a livelihood, or at any rate not directly so, this branch of it was not regarded by public opinion with such disfavour as writing for the stage: towards the end of this epoch one or two Romans of quality had publicly come forward in this manner as poets.(51)

51. Cf. III. IX. Conflicts and Peace with the Aetolians

Recitative poetry however was chiefly cultivated by those poets who occupied themselves with writing for the stage, and the former held a subordinate place as compared with the latter; in fact, a public to which read poetry might address itself can have existed only to a very limited extent at this period in Rome.

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