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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


V. The Establishment of the Military Monarchy

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 VII - The Subjugation of the West


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Page 25

Art and Science

The low state of the arts of design is remarkable, and is the more striking by the side of this mechanical skill in handling the metals. The fondness for parti-coloured and brilliant ornaments shows the want of a proper taste, which is sadly confirmed by the Gallic coins with their representations sometimes exceedingly simple, sometimes odd, but always childish in design, and almost without exception rude beyond parallel in their execution.

It is perhaps unexampled that a coinage practised for centuries with a certain technical skill should have essentially limited itself to always imitating two or three Greek dies, and always with increasing deformity. On the other hand the art of poetry was highly valued by the Celts, and intimately blended with the religious and even with the political institutions of the nation; we find religious poetry, as well as that of the court and of the mendicant, flourishing.(17)

17. Cf. IV. V. Transalpine Relations of Rome

Natural science and philosophy also found, although subject to the forms and fetters of the theology of the country, a certain amount of attention among the Celts; and Greek humanism met with a ready reception wherever and in whatever shape it approached them. The knowledge of writing was general at least among the priests. For the most part in free Gaul the Greek writing was made use of in Caesar's time, as was done among others by the Helvetii; but in its most southern districts even then, in consequence of intercourse with the Romanized Celts, the Latin attained predominance--we meet with it, for instance, on the Arvernian coins of this period.

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