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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 96

History of Other Nations

With non-Roman history the Romans concerned themselves so far, that a certain knowledge of it was deemed indispensable for the cultivated Roman; even old Fabius is said to have been familiar not merely with the Roman, but also with foreign, wars, and it is distinctly testified that Cato diligently read Thucydides and the Greek historians in general. But, if we leave out of view the collection of anecdotes and maxims which Cato compiled for himself as the fruits of this reading, no trace is discernible of any literary activity in this field.

Uncritical Treatment of History

These first essays in historical literature were all of them, as a matter of course, pervaded by an easy, uncritical spirit; neither authors nor readers readily took offence at inward or outward inconsistencies. King Tarquinius the Second, although he was already grown up at the time of his father's death and did not begin to reign till thirty-nine years afterwards, is nevertheless still a young man when he ascends the throne. Pythagoras, who came to Italy about a generation before the expulsion of the kings, is nevertheless set down by the Roman historians as a friend of the wise Numa.

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