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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


Icon of the Christ and New Testament Reader

» Contents of this Chapter

Page 92

The Other Professional Sciences

Alongside of this extraordinary stir in the field of philology The small amount of activity in the other sciences is surprising. What appeared of importance in philosophy--such as Lucretius' representation of the Epicurean system in the poetical child-dress of the pre-Socratic philosophy, and the better writings of Cicero-- produced its effect and found its audience not through its philosophic contents, but in spite of such contents solely through its aesthetic form; the numerous translations of Epicurean writings and the Pythagorean works, such as Varro's great treatise on the Elements of Numbers and the still more copious one of Figulus concerning the Gods, had beyond doubt neither scientific nor formal value.

Even the professional sciences were but feebly cultivated. Varro's Books on Husbandry written in the form of dialogue are no doubt more methodical than those of his predecessors Cato and Saserna-- on which accordingly he drops many a side glance of censure-- but have on the whole proceeded more from the study than, like those earlier works, from living experience. Of the juristic labours of Varro and of Servius Sulpicius Rufus (consul in 703) hardly aught more can be said, than that they contributed to the dialectic and philosophical embellishment of Roman jurisprudence. And there is nothing farther here to be mentioned, except perhaps the three books of Gaius Matius on cooking, pickling, and making preserves-- so far as we know, the earliest Roman cookery-book, and, as the work of a man of rank, certainly a phenomenon deserving of notice.

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