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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 27

Cicero for instance, although in prose one of the chief representatives of the modern tendency, revered nevertheless the older national poetry nearly with the same antiquarian respect which he paid to the aristocratic constitution and the augural discipline; "patriotism requires," we find him saying, "that we should rather read a notoriously wretched translation of Sophocles than the original." While thus the modern literary tendency cognate to the democratic monarchy numbered secret adherents enough even among the orthodox admirers of Ennius, there were not wanting already bolder judges, who treated the native literature as disrespectfully as the senatorial politics.

Not only did they resume the strict criticism of the Scipionic epoch and set store by Terence only in order to condemn Ennius and still more the Ennianists, but the younger and bolder men went much farther and ventured already--though only as yet in heretical revolt against literary orthodoxy--to call Plautus a rude jester and Lucilius a bad verse-smith. This modern tendency attached itself not to the native authorship, but rather to the more recent Greek literature or the so-called Alexandrinism.

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