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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


Icon of the Christ and New Testament Reader

» Contents of this Chapter

Page 78


Above all, lyrical, didactic, and epigrammatic poetry found but feeble representation. The religious festival chants--as to which the annals of this period certainly have already thought it worth while to mention the author--as well as the monumental inscriptions on temples and tombs, for which the Saturnian remained the regular measure, hardly belong to literature proper. So far as the minor poetry makes its appearance at all, it presents itself ordinarily, and that as early as the time of Naevius, under the name of -satura-.

This term was originally applied to the old stage-poem without action, which from the time of Livius was driven off the stage by the Greek drama; but in its application to recitative poetry it corresponds in some measure to our "miscellaneous poems," and like the latter denotes not any positive species or style of art, but simply poems not of an epic or dramatic kind, treating of any matters (mostly subjective), and written in any form, at the pleasure of the author.

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