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Latin Literature

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.

NOTE I.—A fragment translated from Seneca's Suasoriae, showing the style of expression cultivated in the schools.

The subject (Suas. 2) debated is whether the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae, seeing themselves deserted by the army, shall remain or flee. The different rhetors declaim as follows, making Leonidas the speaker:—

[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.

The period embraced by the present book contains the culmination of all kinds of literature, the drama alone excepted. It falls naturally into two divisions, each marked by special and clearly-defined characteristics. The first begins with the recognition of Cicero as the chief man of letters at Rome, and ends with the battle of Philippi, a year after his death. It extends over a period of two and twenty years (about 63-42 B.C.), though many of Cicero's orations are anterior, and some of Varro's works posterior, to the extreme dates.

NOTE I.—The Menippean Satires of Varro.

The reader will find all the information on this subject in Riese's edition of the Menippean Satires, Leipsic, 1865. We append a few fragments showing their style, language, and metrical treatment.

(1) From the ammon metreis.

  “Quem secuntur eum rutundis velitis leves parmis 
  Ante signani quadratis multisignibus tecti.”

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