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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 31

In part this arose from external causes. The increased contact with the Greeks, especially the frequent journeys of the Romans into the Greek provinces and the assemblage of Greek literati in Rome, naturally procured a public even among the Italians for the Greek literature of the day, for the epic and elegiac poetry, epigrams, and Milesian tales current at that time in Greece. Moreover, as we have already stated(8) the Alexandrian poetry had its established place in the instruction of the Italian youth; and thus reacted on Latin literature all the more, since the latter continued to be essentially dependent at all times on the Greek school-training.

8. Cf. V. XII. Greek Instruction

We find in this respect even a direct connection of the new Roman with the new Greek literature; the already-mentioned Parthenius, one of the better known Alexandrian elegists, opened, apparently about 700, a school for literature and poetry in Rome, and the excerpts are still extant in which he supplied one of his pupils of rank with materials for Latin elegies of an erotic and mythological nature according to the well-known Alexandrian receipt. But it was by no means simply such accidental occasions which called into existence the Roman Alexandrinism; it was on the contrary a product--perhaps not pleasing, but thoroughly inevitable-- of the political and national development of Rome.

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