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  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home2/ph4410/public_html/classiq.net/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 906.

J. W. Mackail

The Peace of the Empire, secured by the victory of Actium, and fully established during the years which followed by Augustus and his lieutenants, inaugurated a new era of social life in the capital. The saying of Augustus, that he found Rome brick and left it marble, may be applied beyond the sphere of mere architectural decoration. A French critic has well observed that now, for the first time in European history, the Court and the City existed in their full meaning.

The Ciceronian age represents on the whole the culmination of Latin prose, as the Augustan does the culmination of Latin poetry. In the former field, the purity of the language as it had been used by Caesar and Cicero could hardly be retained in a period of more diffused culture; and the influence of the schools of rhetoric, themselves based on inferior Greek models, became more and more marked. Poetry, too, was for the time more important than prose, and one result was that prose became infected with certain qualities of poetical style.

The impulse given to Latin literature by the great poets and prose writers of the first century before Christ ebbed slowly away. The end of the so-called Golden Age may be conveniently fixed in the year which saw the death of Livy and Ovid; but the smaller literature of the period suffered no violent breach of continuity, and one can hardly name any definite date at which the Silver Age begins. Until the appearance of a new school of writers in the reign of Nero, the history of Roman literature is a continuation of the Augustan tradition.

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