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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 54


The literary activity in the field of Latin rhetoric was, as might be expected, of a more subordinate kind. There was nothing here to be done but to write manuals and exercise-books after the model of the Greek compendia of Hermagoras and others; and these accordingly the schoolmasters did not fail to supply, partly on account of the need for them, partly on account of vanity and money. Such a manual of rhetoric has been preserved to us, composed under Sulla's dictatorship by an unknown author, who according to the fashion then prevailing(36) taught simultaneously Latin literature and Latin rhetoric, and wrote on both; a treatise remarkable not merely for its terse, clear, and firm handling of the subject, but above all for its comparative independence in presence of Greek models.

36. Cf. IV. XII. Course of Literature and Rhetoric

Although in method entirely dependent on the Greeks, the Roman yet distinctly and even abruptly rejects all "the useless matter which the Greeks had gathered together, solely in order that the science might appear more difficult to learn." The bitterest censure is bestowed on the hair-splitting dialectics--that "loquacious science of inability to speak"--whose finished master, for sheer fear of expressing himself ambiguously, at last no longer ventures to pronounce his own name.

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