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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 XII - Religion, Culture, Literature, and Art


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Page 2

That a presentiment of its own worthlessness began to dawn on the Stoa itself, is shown by its attempt artificially to infuse into itself some fresh spirit in the way of syncretism. Antiochus of Ascalon (flourishing about 675), who professed to have patched together the Stoic and Platonic-Aristotelian systems into one organic unity, in reality so far succeeded that his misshapen doctrine became the fashionable philosophy of the conservatives of his time and was conscientiously studied by the genteel dilettanti and literati of Rome. Every one who displayed any intellectual vigour, opposed the Stoa or ignored it. It was principally antipathy towards the boastful and tiresome Roman Pharisees, coupled doubtless with the increasing disposition to take refuge from practical life in indolent apathy or empty irony, that occasioned during this epoch the extension of the system of Epicurus to a larger circle and the naturalization of the Cynic philosophy of Diogenes in Rome.

However stale and poor in thought the former might be, a philosophy, which did not seek the way to wisdom through an alteration of traditional terms but contented itself with those in existence, and throughout recognized only the perceptions of sense as true, was always better than the terminological jingle and the hollow conceptions of the Stoic wisdom; and the Cynic philosophy was of all the philosophical systems of the times in so far by much the best, as its system was confined to the having no system at all and sneering at all systems and all systematizers. In both fields war was waged against the Stoa with zeal and success; for serious men, the Epicurean Lucretius preached with the full accents of heartfelt conviction and of holy zeal against the Stoical faith in the gods and providence and the Stoical doctrine of the immortality of the soul; for the great public ready to laugh, the Cynic Varro hit the mark still more sharply with the flying darts of his extensively- read satires. While thus the ablest men of the older generation made war on the Stoa, the younger generation again, such as Catullus, stood in no inward relation to it at all, and passed a far sharper censure on it by completely ignoring it.

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