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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 29

It was only in a comparatively narrow circle not of men of culture-- for such, strictly speaking, no longer existed--but of men of erudition that the Greek literature was still cherished even when dead; that the rich inheritance which it had left was inventoried with melancholy pleasure or arid refinement of research; and that, possibly, the living sense of sympathy or the dead erudition was elevated into a semblance of productiveness. This posthumous productiveness constitutes the so-called Alexandrinism.

It is essentially similar to that literature of scholars, which, keeping aloof from the living Romanic nationalities and their vulgar idioms, grew up during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries among a cosmopolitan circle of erudite philologues--as an artificial aftergrowth of the departed antiquity; the contrast between the classical and the vulgar Greek of the period of the Diadochi is doubtless less strongly marked, but is not, properly speaking, different from that between the Latin of Manutius and the Italian of Macchiavelli.

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