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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 30

The Roman Alexandrinism

Italy had hitherto been in the main disinclined towards Alexandrinism. Its season of comparative brilliance was the period shortly before and after the first Punic war; yet Naevius, Ennius, Pacuvius and generally the whole body of the national Roman authors down to Varro and Lucretius in all branches of poetical production, not excepting even the didactic poem, attached themselves, not to their Greek contemporaries or very recent predecessors, but without exception to Homer, Euripides, Menander and the other masters of the living and national Greek literature.

Roman literature was never fresh and national; but, as long as there was a Roman people, its authors instinctively sought for living and national models, and copied, if not always to the best purpose or the best authors, at least such as were original. The Greek literature originating after Aexander found its first Roman imitators--for the slight initial attempts from the Marian age(7) can scarcely be taken into account--among the contemporaries of Cicero and Caesar; and now the Roman Alexandrinism spread with singular rapidity.

7. Cf. IV. XIII. Historical Composition

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