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Charles Thomas Cruttwell


Great literary activity of all kinds was, after the third Punic war, liable to continual interruption from political struggles or revolutions. But between each two periods of disturbance there was generally an interval in which philosophy, law, and rhetoric were carefully studied. As, however, no work of this period has come down to us except the treatise to Herennius, our notice of it will be proportionately general and brief. We shall touch on the principal studies in order. First in time as in importance comes Law, the earliest great representative of which is P.

The short artificial elegy of Callimachus and Philetas had, as we have seen, found an imitator in Catullus. But that poet, when he addressed to Lesbia the language of true passion, wrote for the most part in lyric verse. The Augustan age furnishes a series of brilliant poets who united the artificial elegiac with the expression of real feeling; and one of them, Ovid, has by his exquisite formal polish raised the Latin elegiac couplet to a popularity unparalleled in imitative literature.


[1] Quint. I. 5, 72. The whole chapter is most interesting.

[2] How different has been the lot of Greek! An educated Greek at the present day would find little difficulty in understanding Xenophon or Menander. The language, though shaken by rude convulsions, has changed according to its own laws, and shown that natural vitality that belongs to a genuinely popular speech.

[3] See Conington on the Academical Study of Latin. Post. Works, i. 206.

[4] See esp. R. II. Bk. 1, ch. ix. and xv.



The present work is designed mainly for Students at our Universities and Public Schools, and for such as are preparing for the Indian Civil Service or other advanced Examinations. The author hopes, however, that it may also be acceptable to some of those who, without being professed scholars, are yet interested in the grand literature of Rome, or who wish to refresh their memory on a subject that perhaps engrossed their early attention, but which the many calls of advancing life have made it difficult to pursue.

Public oratory, which had held the first rank among studies under the Republic, was now, as we have said, almost extinct. In the earlier part of Augustus's reign, Pollio and Messala for a time preserved some of the traditions of freedom, but both found it impossible to maintain their position. Messala retired into dignified seclusion; Pollio devoted himself to other kinds of composition.

[1] From the Romische Zeittafeln of Dr E. W. Fischer, and from Clinton, Fasti Hellenici and Romani. Only those dates which are tolerably certain are given.

[2] Clinton places his birth in 193; but see Teuff. S 97, 6.

[3] Others place this event in 109 B.C.

[4] Others place this event in 55 B.C.

In the latter part of the seventeenth century, and during nearly the whole of the eighteenth, the literature of Rome exercised an imperial sway over European taste. Pope thought fit to assume an apologetic tone when he clothed Homer in an English dress, and reminded the world that, as compared with Virgil, the Greek poet had at least the merit of coming first. His own mind was of an emphatically Latin order. The great poets of his day mostly based their art on the canons recognised by Horace.

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