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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 6

Tragedy - Pacuvius

Let us first glance at the Roman dramatic literature and the stage itself. Tragedy has now for the first time her specialists; the tragic poets of this epoch do not, like those of the preceding, cultivate comedy and epos side by side. The appreciation of this branch of art among the writing and reading circles was evidently on the increase, but tragic poetry itself hardly improved. We now meet with the national tragedy (-praetexta-), the creation of Naevius, only in the hands of Pacuvius to be mentioned immediately-- an after-growth of the Ennian epoch. Among the probably numerous poets who imitated Greek tragedies two alone acquired a considerable name.

Marcus Pacuvius from Brundisium (535-c. 625) who in his earlier years earned his livelihood in Rome by painting and only composed tragedies when advanced in life, belongs as respects both his years and his style to the sixth rather than the seventh century, although his poetical activity falls within the latter. He composed on the whole after the manner of his countryman, uncle, and master Ennius.

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