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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 XII - Religion, Culture, Literature, and Art


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Page 23

Among the host of Greek attendants with which the Roman of quality at this time surrounded himself, the philosopher, the poet, and the memoir-writer played conspicuous parts by the side of the cook, the boy-favourite, and the jester. We meet already literati of note in such positions; the Epicurean Philodemus, for instance, was installed as domestic philosopher with Lucius Piso consul in 696, and occasionally edified the initiated with his clever epigrams on the coarse-grained Epicureanism of his patron. From all sides the most notable representatives of Greek art and science migrated in daily-increasing numbers to Rome where literary gains were now more abundant than anywhere else.

Among those thus mentioned as settled in Rome we find the physician Asclepiades whom king Mithradates vainly endeavoured to draw away from it into his service; the universalist in learning, Alexander of Miletus, termed Polyhistor; the poet Parthenius from Nicaea in Bithynia; Posidonius of Apamea in Syria equally celebrated as a traveller, teacher, and author, who at a great age migrated in 703 from Rhodes to Rome; and various others. A house like that of Lucius Lucullus was a seat of Greek culture and a rendezvous for Greek literati almost like the Alexandrian Museum; Roman resources and Greek connoisseurship had gathered in these halls of wealth and science an incomparable collection of statues and paintings of earlier and contemporary masters, as well as a library as carefully selected as it was magnificently fitted up, and every person of culture and especially every Greek was welcome there--the master of the house himself was often seen walking up and down the beautiful colonnade in philological or philosophical conversation with one of his learned guests. No doubt these Greeks brought along with their rich treasures of culture their preposterousness and servility to Italy; one of these learned wanderers for instance, the author of the "Art of Flattery," Aristodemus of Nysa (about 700) recommended himself to his masters by demonstrating that Homer was a native of Rome!

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