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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


IV. The Revolution

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 XII - Nationality, Religion, and Education


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Page 8

A native of Carthage, then a disciple of Carneades at Athens, and afterwards his successor in his professorship, Clitomachus held intercourse from Athens with the most cultivated men of Italy, the historian Aulus Albinus and the poet Lucilius, and dedicated on the one hand a scientific work to Lucius Censorinus the Roman consul who opened the siege of Carthage, and on the other hand a philosophic consolatory treatise to his fellow-citizens who were conveyed to Italy as slaves.

While Greek literary men of note had hitherto taken up their abode temporarily in Rome as ambassadors, exiles, or otherwise, they now began to settle there; for instance, the already-mentioned Panaetius lived in the house of Scipio, and the hexameter-maker Archias of Antioch settled at Rome in 652 and supported himself respectably by the art of improvising and by epic poems on Roman consulars.

Even Gaius Marius, who hardly understood a line of his -carmen- and was altogether as ill adapted as possible for a Maecenas, could not avoid patronizing the artist in verse. While intellectual and literary life thus brought the more genteel, if not the purer, elements of the two nations into connection with each other, on the other hand the arrival of troops of slaves from Asia Minor and Syria and the mercantile immigration from the Greek and half-Greek east brought the coarsest strata of Hellenism--largely alloyed with Oriental and generally barbaric ingredients--into contact with the Italian proletariate, and gave to that also a Greek colouring.

The remark of Cicero, that new phrases and new fashions first make their appearance in maritime towns, probably had a primary reference to the semi-Greek character of Ostia, Puteoli, and Brundisium, where with foreign wares foreign manners also first found admission and became thence more widely diffused.

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