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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 52


In the field of letters Latin philology flourished vigorously, in close association with the philological treatment--long ago placed on a sure basis--of Greek literature. It was already mentioned that about the beginning of this century the Latin epic poets found their -diaskeuastae- and revisers of their text;(33) it was also noticed, that not only did the Scipionic circle generally insist on correctness above everything else, but several also of the most noted poets, such as Accius and Lucilius, busied themselves with the regulation of orthography and of grammar.

33. Cf. IV. XII. Latin Instruction

At the same period we find isolated attempts to develop archaeology from the historical side; although the dissertations of the unwieldy annalists of this age, such as those of Hemina "on the Censors" and of Tuditanus "on the Magistrates," can hardly have been better than their chronicles. Of more interest were the treatise on the Magistracies by Marcus Junius the friend of Gaius Gracchus, as the first attempt to make archaeological investigation serviceable for political objects,(34) and the metrically composed -Didascaliae- of the tragedian Accius, an essay towards a literary history of the Latin drama.

34. The assertion, for instance, that the quaestors were nominated in the regal period by the burgesses, not by the king, is as certainly erroneous as it bears on its face the impress of a partisan character.

But those early attempts at a scientific treatment of the mother-tongue still bear very much a dilettante stamp, and strikingly remind us of our orthographic literature in the Bodmer- Klopstock period; and we may likewise without injustice assign but a modest place to the antiquarian researches of this epoch.

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