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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 30


Its representative in literature is Gaius Lucilius (606-651) sprung of a respectable family in the Latin colony of Suessa, and likewise a member of the Scipionic circle. His poems are, as it were, open letters to the public.

Their contents, as a clever successor gracefully says, embrace the whole life of a cultivated man of independence, who looks upon the events passing on the political stage from the pit and occasionally from the side-scenes; who converses with the best of his epoch as his equals; who follows literature and science with sympathy and intelligence without wishing personally to pass for a poet or scholar; and who, in fine, makes his pocket-book the confidential receptacle for everything good and bad that he meets with, for his political experiences and expectations, for grammatical remarks and criticisms on art, for incidents of his own life, visits, dinners, journeys, as well as for anecdotes which he has heard.

Caustic, capricious, thoroughly individual, the Lucilian poetry has yet the distinct stamp of an oppositional and, so far, didactic aim in literature as well as in morals and politics; there is in it something of the revolt of the country against the capital; the Suessan's sense of his own purity of speech and honesty of life asserts itself in antagonism to the great Babel of mingled tongues and corrupt morals.

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