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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 XIII - Literature and Art


The Original Greek New Testament

» Contents of this Chapter

Literary Reaction ||| Scipionic Circle ||| Tragedy - Pacuvius ||| Accius - Greek Comedy - Terence ||| National Comedy - Afranius ||| Atellanae ||| Dramatic Arrangements ||| Satura ||| Lucilius ||| Historical Composition - Polybius ||| Roman Chroniclers ||| Memoirs and Speeches ||| Sciences ||| Philology ||| Stilo ||| Rhetoric ||| Philosophy ||| Professional Sciences - Jurisprudence

Literary Reaction

The sixth century was, both in a political and a literary point of view, a vigorous and great age. It is true that we do not find in the field of authorship any more than in that of politics a man of the first rank; Naevius, Ennius, Plautus, Cato, gifted and lively authors of distinctly-marked individuality, were not in the highest sense men of creative talent; nevertheless we perceive in the soaring, stirring, bold strain of their dramatic, epic, and historic attempts, that these rest on the gigantic struggles of the Punic wars.

Much is only artificially transplanted, there are various faults in delineation and colouring, the form of art and the language are deficient in purity of treatment, Greek and national elements are quaintly conjoined; the whole performance betrays the stamp of its scholastic origin and lacks independence and completeness; yet there exists in the poets and authors of that age, if not the full power to reach their high aim, at any rate the courage to compete with and the hope of rivalling the Greeks. It is otherwise in the epoch before us.

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