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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 52

As respects the subject-matter, under the influence partly of effeminate models, partly of an immoral age, amatory themes acquired a surprising preponderance little conducive to poetry; but the favourite metrical compendia of the Greeks were also in various cases translated, such as the astronomical treatise of Aratus by Cicero, and, either at the end of this or more probably at the commencement of the following period, the geographical manual of Eratosthenes by Publius Varro of the Aude and the physico-medicinal manual of Nicander by Aemilius Macer.

It is neither to be wondered at nor regretted that of this countless host of poets but few names have been preserved to us; and even these are mostly mentioned merely as curiosities or as once upon a time great; such as the orator Quintus Hortensius with his "five hundred thousand lines" of tiresome obscenity, and the somewhat more frequently mentioned Laevius, whose -Erotopaegnia- attracted a certain interest only by their complicated measures and affected phraseology. Even the small epic Smyrna by Gaius Helvius Cinna (d. 710?), much as it was praised by the clique, bears both in its subject--the incestuous love of a daughter for her father--and in the nine years' toil bestowed on it the worst characteristics of the time.

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