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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


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Page 29


In recitative poetry the most surprising circumstance is the insignificance of the Epos, which during the sixth century had occupied decidedly the first place in the literature destined for reading; it had numerous representatives in the seventh, but not a single one who had even temporary success. From the present epoch there is hardly anything to be reported save a number of rude attempts to translate Homer, and some continuations of the Ennian Annals, such as the "Istrian War" of Hostius and the "Annals (perhaps) of the Gallic War" by Aulus Furius (about 650), which to all appearance took up the narrative at the very point where Ennius had broken off--the description of the Istrian war of 576 and 577.

In didactic and elegiac poetry no prominent name appears. The only successes which the recitative poetry of this period has to show, belong to the domain of what was called -Satura---a species of art, which like the letter or the pamphlet allowed of any form and admitted any sort of contents, and accordingly in default of all proper generic characters derived its individual shape wholly from the individuality of each poet, and occupied a position not merely on the boundary between poetry and prose, but even more than half beyond the bounds of literature proper.

The humorous poetical epistles, which one of the younger men of the Scipionic circle, Spurius Mummius, the brother of the destroyer of Corinth, sent home from the camp of Corinth to his friends, were still read with pleasure a century afterwards; and numerous poetical pleasantries of that sort not destined for publication probably proceeded at that time from the rich social and intellectual life of the better circles of Rome.

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