Reference address :

ELPENOR - Home of the Greek Word

Three Millennia of Greek Literature
Constantinople Home Page  

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


Icon of the Christ and New Testament Reader

» Contents of this Chapter

Page 53


Those poets alone of this school constitute an original and pleasing exception, who knew how to combine with its neatness and its versatility of form the national elements of worth still existing in the republican life, especially in that of the country-towns. To say nothing here of Laberius and Varro, this description applies especially to the three poets already mentioned above(20) of the republican opposition, Marcus Furius Libaculus (652-691), Gaius Licinius Calvus (672-706) and Quintus Valerius Catullus (667-c. 700).

20. Cf. V. VIII. Literature of the Opposition

Of the two former, whose writings have perished, we can indeed only conjecture this; respecting the poems of Catullus we can still form a judgment. He too depends in subject and form on the Alexandrians. We find in his collection translations of pieces of Callimachus, and these not altogether the very good, but the very difficult. Among the original pieces, we meet with elaborately-turned fashionable poems, such as the over-artificial Galliambics in praise of the Phrygian Mother; and even the poem, otherwise so beautiful, of the marriage of Thetis has been artistically spoiled by the truly Alexandrian insertion of the complaint of Ariadne in the principal poem. But by the side of these school-pieces we meet with the melodious lament of the genuine elegy, the festal poem in the full pomp of individual and almost dramatic execution, above all, the freshest miniature painting of cultivated social life, the pleasant and very unreserved amatory adventures of which half the charm consists in prattling and poetizing about the mysteries of love, the delightful life of youth with full cups and empty purses, the pleasures of travel and of poetry, the Roman and still more frequently the Veronese anecdote of the town, and the humorous jest amidst the familiar circle of friends.

Previous / First / Next Page of this Chapter

Do you see any typos or other mistakes? Please let us know and correct them

The History of Old Rome: Contents ||| The Medieval West | The Making of Europe | Constantinople Home Page

Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Receive updates :

Learned Freeware

Reference address :