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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 43

Indignantly he turns away from the "hollow Hellenism" of his time, and professes himself with his whole soul and heart to be the scholar of the "chaste Greeks," as indeed even the sacred earnestness of Thucydides has found no unworthy echo in one of the best-known sections of this Roman poem. As Ennius draws his wisdom from Epicharmus and Euhemerus, so Lucretius borrows the form of his representation from Empedocles, "the most glorious treasure of the richly gifted Sicilian isle"; and, as to the matter, gathers "all the golden words together from the rolls of Epicurus," "who outshines other wise men as the sun obscures the stars." Like Ennius, Lucretius disdains the mythological lore with which poetry was overloaded by Alexandrinism, and requires nothing from his reader but a knowledge of the legends generally current.(16)

16. Such an individual apparent exception as Panchaea the land of incense (ii. 417) is to be explained from the circumstance that this had passed from the romance of the Travels of Euhemerus already perhaps into the poetry of Ennius, at any rate into the poems of Lucius Manlius (iv. 242; Plin. H. N. x. a, 4) and thence was well known to the public for which Lucretius wrote.

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