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CHAPTER V. PROSE-WRITERS OF THE AUGUSTAN PERIOD.

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. Somewhat later we find MESSALINUS, the son of Messala, noted for his eloquent pleading; but as he inherited none of the moral qualities which had made his father dangerous, Augustus permitted him to exercise his talent. He was an intimate friend of Ovid, from whom we learn details of his life; but he frittered away his powers on trifling jests [1] and extempore versifying. The only other name worthy of mention is Q. HATERIUS, who from an orator became a noted declaimer. The testimonies to his excellence vary; Seneca, who had often heard him, speaks of the wonderful volubility, more Greek than Roman, which in him amounted to a fault. Tacitus gives him higher praise, but admits that his writings do not answer to his living fame, a persuasive manner and sonorous voice having been indispensible ingredients in his oratory. [2] The activity before given to the state was now transferred to the basilica. But as the full sway of rhetoric was not established until quite the close of Augustus's reign, we shall reserve our account of it for the next book, merely noticing the chief rhetoricians who flourished at this time. The most eminent were PORCIUS LATRO, FUSCUS ARELLIUS, and ALBUCIUS SILUS, who are frequently quoted by Seneca; RUTILIUS LUPUS, [3] who was somewhat younger; and SENECA, the father of the celebrated philosopher. [4] Fuscus was an Asiatic, and seems to have been one of the first who declaimed in Latin. Foreign professors had previously exercised their own and their pupils' ingenuity in Greek; Cicero had almost invariably declaimed in that language, and there can be no doubt that this was a much less harmful practice; but now the bombast and glitter of the Asiatic style flaunted itself in the Latin tongue, and found in the increasing number of provincials from Gaul and Spain a body of admirers who cultivated it with enthusiasm. CESTIUS PIUS, a native of Smyrna, espoused the same florid style, and was even preferred by his audience to such men as Pollio and Messala. To us the extracts from these authors, preserved in Seneca, present the most wearisome monotony, but contemporary criticism found in them many grades of excellence. The most celebrated of all was Porcius Latro, who, like Seneca himself, came from Spain. There is a special character about the Spanish literary genius which will be more prominent in the next generation. At present it had not sufficiently amalgamated with the old Latin culture to shine in the higher branches. But in the rhetorical schools it gradually leavened taste by its attractive qualities, and men like Latro must be regarded as wielding immense influence on Roman style, though somewhat in the background, much as Antipho influenced the oratory of Athens.

Annaeus Seneca of Corduba (Cordova), [5] the father of Novatus, Seneca, and Mela the father of Lucan, belonged to the equestrian order, was born probably about 54 B.C. and lived on until after the death of Tiberius. [6] The greater part of this long life, longer even than Varro's, was spent in the profession of eloquence, for which in youth he prepared himself by studying the manner of the most renowned masters. Cicero alone he was not fortunate enough to hear, the civil wars having necessitated his withdrawal to Spain. [7] He does not appear to have visited Rome more than twice, but he shows a thorough knowledge of the rhetoricians of the capital, whence we conclude that his residence extended over some time. [8] The stern discipline of Caesar's wars had taught the Spaniards something of Roman severity, and Seneca seems to have adopted with a good will the maxims of Roman life. [9] He possessed that elan with which young races often carry all before them when, they give the fresh vigour of their understanding to master an existing system; his memory, as he himself tells us, was so prodigious that he could recite 2000 names correctly after once hearing them; [10] and, with the taste for showy ornament which his race has always evinced, he must have launched himself without misgiving into the competition of the schools. Nevertheless, in his old age, when he came to look back on his life, he felt half ashamed of its results. His sons had asked him to write a critical account of the greatest rhetoricians he had known; he gladly acceded to their wish, and has embodied in his work vast numbers of extracts, drawn either from memory or rough notes, specifying the manner in which each professor treated his theme; he then adds his own judgment on their merits, often interspersing the more tedious discussions with bon-mots or literary anecdotes. The most readable portions are the prefaces, where he writes in his own person in the unaffected epistolary style. We learn from them many particulars about the lives of the great rhetoresand the state of taste and literary education. But in the preface to the tenth book (the last of the series) he expresses an utter weariness of a subject which not even the reminiscences of happier days could invest with serious interest. There are no indications that Seneca rose to the first eminence. His extraordinary memory, diligence, and virtuous habits gained him respect from his pupils and the intimacy of the great. But there is nothing in his writings to show a man of more than average capacity, who, having been thrown all his life in an artificial and narrowing profession, has lost the power of taking a vigorous interest in things, and acquired the habit of looking at questions from what we might call the examiner's point of view. We have remains of two sets of compositions by him; Controversiae, or legal questions discussed by way of practice for actual cases, divided into ten books, of which about half are preserved; and Suasoriae, or imaginary themes, such as those ridiculed by Juvenal:

  “Consilium dedimus Sullae, privatus ut altum 
  Dormiret.”

These last are printed first in our editions, because, being abstract in character and not calling for any special knowledge, they were better suited for beginners. The style of the book varies. In the prefaces it is not inelegant, and shows few traces of the decline, but in the excerpts from Latro and Fuscus, (which are perhaps nearly in their own words) we observe the silver Latinity already predominant. Much is written in a very compressed manner, reading like notes of a lecture or a table of contents. There is, however, a geniality about the old man which renders him, even when uninteresting, not altogether unpleasing.

We pass from rhetoric to history, and here we meet with one of the great names of Roman letters, the most eloquent of all historians, TITUS LIVIUS PATAVINUS. The exact date of his birth is disputed, but may be referred to 59 or 57 B.C. at Pataviam (Padua), a populous and important town, no less renowned for its strict morals than for its opulence. [11] Little is known of his life, but he seems to have been of noble birth; his relative, C. Cornelius, took the auspices at Pharsalia, and the aristocratic tinge which pervades his work would lead to the same inference. Padua was a bustling place, where public-speaking was rife, and aptitude for affairs common; thus Livy was nursed in eloquence and in scenes of human activity. Nothing tended to turn his mind to the contemplation of nature—at least we see no signs of it in his work,—his conceptions of national development were uncomplicated by reference to the share that physical conditions have in moulding it; man alone, and man as in all respects self-determining, has interest for him. His gifts are pre-eminently those of an orator; the talent for developing an idea, for explaining events as an orderly sequence, for establishing conclusions, for moving the feelings, for throwing himself into a cause, for clothing his arguments in noble language, shine conspicuous in his work, while he has the good faith, sincerity, and patriotism which mark off the orator from the mere advocate. For some years he remained at Padua studying philosophy [12] and practising as a teacher of rhetoric, declaiming after the manner of Seneca and his contemporaries. Reference is made to these declamations by Seneca and Quintilian, and no doubt they were worth preserving as a grade in his intellectual progress and as having helped to produce the artistic elaborateness of his speeches. In 31 B.C. or thereabouts, he came to Rome, where he speedily rose into favour. But though a courtier, he was no flatterer. He praised Brutus and Cassius, [13] he debated whether Caesar was useful to the state, [14] his whole history is a praise of the old Republic, his preface states that Rome can neither bear her evils, nor the remedy that has been applied to them (by which it is probable he means the Empire), and we know that Augustus called him a Pompeian, though, at the same time, he cannot have been an imprudent one, otherwise he could hardly have retained the emperor's friendship. As regards the date of his work, Professor Seeley decides that the first decade was written between 27 and 20 B.C., the very time during which the Aeneid was in process of composition. The later decades were thrown off from time to time until his death at Patavium in 17 A.D. Indications exist to show that they were not revised by him after publication, e.g., the errors into which he had been led by trusting to Valerius Antias were not erased; but he was careful not to rely on his authority afterwards. That he enjoyed a high reputation is clear from the fact recorded by Pliny the younger, that a man journeyed to Rome from Cadiz for the express purpose of seeing him, and, having succeeded, returned at once. [15] The elder Pliny [16] draws a picture of him at an advanced age studying with undiminished zeal at his great work. The “old man eloquent” used to say that he had written enough for glory, and had now earned rest; but his restless mind fed on labour and would not lie idle. When completed, his book at once became the authoritative history of Rome, after which nothing was left but to abridge or comment upon it.

The state of letters at Rome, while unfavourable to strictly political history, was ripe for the production of a work like Livy's. Augustus, Agrippa, and Pollio, had founded public libraries in which the older works were accessible. The emperor took a keen interest in all studies; he encouraged not merely poets but philologians and scientific writers, and he was not indisposed to protect historical study, if only it were treated in the way he approved. Rabirius, Pedo Albinovanus, and Cornelius Severus had written poems on the late wars, Ovid and Propertius on the legends embodied in the calendar; the rival jurists Labeo and Capito had wrought the Juris Responsa into a body of legal doctrine; Strabo was giving the world the result of his travels in a universal geography; Pompeius Trogus, Labienus, Pollio, and the Greeks Dionysius, Dion, and Timagenes, had all treated Roman history; Augustus had published a volume of his own Gesta; all things seem to demand a comprehensive dramatic account of the growth of the Roman state, which should trace the process by which the world became Roman, and Rome became united in the hands of Caesar.

Hitherto Roman history had been imperfectly treated. It is unfortunate that such crude conceptions of its nature prevailed. Even Cicero says, opus hoc unum maxime oratorium. [17] It had been either a register of events kept by aristocratic pontiffs from pride of race, or a series of pictures for the display of eloquence. Neither the flexible imagination, nor the patient sagacity, nor the disinterested view of life necessary for a great historian, was to be found among the Romans. There was no true criticism. For instance, while Juvenal depicts the first inhabitants of the city, according to tradition, as rude marauders, [18] Cicero commends their virtues and extols the wisdom of the early kings as the Athenian orators do that of Solon; and in his Cato Maior makes of the harsh censor a refined country gentleman and a student of Plato! Varro had amassed a vast collection of facts, a formidable array of authorities; Dionysius had spent twenty years in studying the monuments of Rome, and yet had so little intelligence of her past that he made Romulus a philosopher of the Sophistic type! Caesar and Sallust gave true narratives of that which they had themselves known, but they did little more. No ancient writer, unless perhaps Thucydides, has grasped the truth that history is an indivisible whole, and that humanity marches according to fixed law towards a determinate end. The world is in their eyes a stage on which is played for ever the same drama of life and death, whose fate moves in a circle bounded by the catastrophes of cities mortal as their inhabitants, without man's becoming by progress of time either better or more powerful. In estimating, then, the value of Livy's work, we must ask, How far did he possess the qualifications necessary for success? We turn to his preface and find there the moralist, the patriot, and the stylist; and we infer that his fullest idea of history is of a book in which he who runs can read the lesson of virtue; and, if he be a lawgiver, can model his legislation upon its high precedents, and, if he be a citizen, can follow its salutary precepts of conduct. An idea, which, however noble, is certainly not exhaustive. It may entitle its possessor to be called a lofty writer, but not a great historian. This is his radical defect. He treats history too little as a record, too little as a science, too much as a series of texts for edification.

How far is he faithful to his authorities? In truth, he never deserts them, never (or almost never) advances an assertion without them. [19] His fidelity may be inferred from the fact that when he follows Polybius alone, he adds absolutely nothing, he merely throws life into his predecessor's dead periods. Moreover, he writes, after the method of the old annalists, of events year by year; he rarely conjectures their causes or traces their connexion, he is willing to efface himself in the capacity of exponent of what is handed down. Whole passages we cannot doubt, especially in the early books, are inserted from Fabius and the other ancients, only just enough changed to make them polished instead of rude; and it is astonishing how slight the changes need be when the hand that makes them is a skilful one. So far as we can judge he never alters the testimony of a witness, or colours it by interested presentation. His chief authorities for the early history are Licinius Macer, Claudius Quadrigarius, Gn. Gellius, [20] Sempronius Tuditanus, Aelius Tubero, Cassius Hemina, Calpurnius Piso, Valerius Antias, Acilius Glabrio, [21] Porcius Cato, Cincius, and Pictor. [22] These writers, or at least the most ancient of them, Cato and Pictor, founded their investigations on such, records as treaties, public documents—e.g. the annals, censors' and pontiffs' commentaries, augural books, books relating to civil procedure kept by the pontiffs, &c.; [23] laws, lists of magistrates, [24] Libri Lintei kept in the temple of Juno Moneta; all under the reservation noticed before, that the majority perished in the Gallic conflagration. [25] These Professor Seeley classes aspure sources. The rest, which he calls corrupt, are the funeral orations, inscriptions in private houses placed under the Imagines, [26] poems of various kinds, both gentile and popular, in all of which, there was more or less of intentional misrepresentation. For the history after the first decade new authorities appear. The chief are Polybius, Silenus the Sicilian a friend of Hannibal, Caelius Antipater, Sisenna, Caecilius, Rutilius, and the Fasti, which are now almost or quite continuous; and still further on he followed Posidonius, and perhaps for the Civil Wars Asinius Pollio, Theophanes, and others. There is evidence that these were carefully digested, but by instalments. For instance, he did not read Polybius until he came to write the Punic wars. Hence he missed several antiquarian notices (e.g. the treaty with Carthage) which would have helped him in the first decade. Still he uses the authors he quotes with moderation and fidelity. When the Fasti omit or confuse the names of the consuls, he tells us so; [27] when authorities differ as to whether the victory lay with the Romans or Samnites, [28] he notes the fact. In the early history he is reticent, where Dionysius is minute; he is content with the broad legendary outline, where Dionysius constructs a whole edifice of probable but utterly uncertified particulars. In the important task of sifting authorities Livy follows the plan of selecting the most ancient, and those who from their position had best access to facts. In complicated cases of divergence he trusts the majority, [29] the earliest, [30] or the most accredited, [31] particularly Fabius and Piso. [32] He does not analyse for us his method of arriving at a conclusion. “Erudition is for him a mine from which the historian should draw forth the pure gold, leaving the mud where he found it.” Many of his conclusions are reached by a sort of instinct, which by practice divines truth, or rather verisimilitude, which is but too often its only available substitute.

So far as enthusiasm serves (and without it criticism, though it may succeed in destroying, is helpless to construct), Livy penetrates to the spirit of ancient times. He says himself, in a very celebrated passage where he bewails the prevailing scepticism, [33] “Non sum nescius ab eadem neglegentia qua nihil portendere deos volgo nunc credunt neque nuntiari admodum ulla prodigia in publicum neque in annales referri. Ceterum et mihi vetustas res scribenti nescio quo pacto antiquus fit animus et quaedam religio tenet, quae illi prudentissimi viri publice suscipienda curarint, ea pro indignis habere quae in meos annales referam.” This “antiquity of soul” is not criticism, but it is an important factor in it. In the history of the kings he is a poet. If we read the majestic sentence in which the end of Romulus is described, [34] we must admit that if the event is told at all this is the way in which it should be told. We meet, however, here and there, with genuine insertions from antiquity which spoil the beauty of the picture. Take, e.g., the law of treason, [35] terrible in its stern accents, “Duumviri perduellionem iudicent: si a duumviris provocarit, provocatione certato: si vincent, caput obnubito: infelici arbori reste suspendito: verberato vel intra pomoerium vel extra pomoerium,” where, as the historian remarks, the law scarcely hints at the possibility of an acquittal. In the struggles of the young Republic one traces the risings of political passion, not of individuals as yet, but of parties in the state. After the Punic wars have begun individual features predominate, and what has been a rich canvass becomes a speaking portrait. Constitutional questions, in which Livy is singularly ill informed, are hinted at, [36] but generally in so cursory and unintelligent a way, that it needs a Niebuhr to elicit their meaning. And Livy is throughout led into fallacious views by his confusion of the mob (faex Romuli, as Cicero calls it) which represented the sovereign people in his day, with the sturdy and virtuous plebs, whose obstinate insistance on their right forms the leading thread of Roman constitutional development. Conformably with his promise at the outset he traces with much more effect the gradually increasing moral decadence. It is when Rome comes into contact with Asia that her virtue, already tried, collapses almost without a struggle. The army, once so steady in its discipline, riots in revelry, and marches against Antiochus with as much recklessness as if it were going to butcher a flock of sheep. [37] The soldiers even disobey orders in pillaging Phocaea; they become cowards, e.g., the Illyrian garrison surrenders to Perseus; and before long the abominable and detested oriental orgies gain a permanent footing in Rome. Meanwhile, the senate falls from its old standard, it ceases to keep faith, its generals boast of perfidy, [38] and the corrupted fathers have not the face to check them. [39] The epic of decadence proceeds to its denouement, and if we possessed the lost books the decline would be much more evident. It must be admitted that in this department of his subject Livy paints with a master's hand. But nothing can atone for his signal deficiency in antiquarian and constitutional knowledge. He had (it has been said) a taste for truth, but not a passion for it. Had he gone into the Aedes Nympharum, he might have read on brass the so-called royal and tribunician laws; he might have read the treaties with the Sabines, with Gabii and Carthage; the Senatus Consulta and the Plebi Scita. Augustus found in the ruined temple of Jupiter Fucinus [40] the spolia opima of Cossus, who was there declared to have been consul when he won them. All the authorities represented him as military tribune. Livy, it seems, never took the trouble to examine it. When he professes to cite an ancient document, it is not the document itself he cites but its copy in Fabius. He seems to think the style of history too ornate to admit such rugged interpositions, [41] and when he inserts them he offers a half apology for his boldness. This dilettante way of regarding his sources deserves all the censure Niebuhr has cast on it. If it were not for the fidelity with which he has incorporated without altering his better-informed predecessors, the investigations of Niebuhr and his successors would have been hopelessly unverifiable. The student who wishes to learn the value of Livy for the history of the constitution should read the celebrated Lectures (VII. and VIII.) of Niebuhr's history. Their publication dethroned him, nor has he yet been reinstated. But it must be remembered that this censure does not attach to him in other aspects, for instance as a chronicler of Rome's wars, or a biographer of her worthies. As a geographer, however, he is untrustworthy; his description of Hannibal's march is obscure, and many battles are extremely involved. It is evident he was a clear thinker only on certain points; his preface, e.g., is intricate both in matter and manner.

It remains to consider him shortly as a philosophic and as an artistic historian. On these points some excellent remarks are made by M. Taine. [42] When we read or write a history of Rome we ask, Why was it that Rome conquered the Samnites, the Carthaginians, the Etruscans? How was it that the plebeians gained equal rights with the patricians? The answer to such questions satisfies the intelligent man of the world who desires only a clear and consistent view. But philosophy asks a yet further why? Why was Rome a conquering state? why these never-ceasing wars? why was her cult of abstract deities a worship of the letter which never rose to a spiritual idea? In the resolution of problems like these lies the true delight of science; the former is but information; this is knowledge. Has Livy this knowledge? It does not follow that the philosophic historian should deduce with mathematical precision; he merely narrates the events in their proper order, or chooses from the events those that are representative; he groups facts under their special laws, and these again under universal laws, by a skilful arrangement or selection, or else by flashes of imaginative insight. Livy is no more a philosopher than a critic; he discovers laws, as he verifies facts, imperfectly. The treatment of history known to the ancients did not admit of separate discussions summing up the results of previous narrative; for philosophic views we are as a rule driven to consult the inserted speeches. Livy's speeches often reveal considerable insight; Manlius's account of the Gauls in Asia, [43] and Camillus's sarcastic description of their behaviour round Rome, [44] go to the root of their national character and lay bare its weakness. The Samnites are criticised by Decius in terms which show that Livy had analysed the causes of their fall before Rome. [45] Hannibal arraigns the narrow policy of his country as his true vanquisher. These and the like are as effectual means of inculcating a general truth as a set discussion. To these numerous and perhaps more striking passages bearing on the internal history might be added. [46] But a historian should have his whole subject under command. It is not enough to illuminate it by flashes. The speeches, besides being in the highest degree unnatural and unhistoric, are far too eloquent, moving the feelings instead of the judgment. [47] “For an annalist,” to quote Niebuhr, “a clear survey is not necessary; but in a work like Livy's, it is of the highest importance, and no great author has this deficiency to such an extent as he. He neither knew what he had written nor what he was going to write, but wrote at hap-hazard.” To put all facts on an equal footing is to be like a child threading beads. To know how to select representative facts, to arrange according to representative principles is an indispensable requisite, as its absence is an irremediable defect in a writer who aspires to instruct the world.

To turn to his artistic side. In this he has been allowed to stand on the highest pinnacle of excellence. Whether he paints the character of a nation or an individual; whether he paints it by pausing to reflect on its elements, as in the beautiful studies of Cato and Cicero, [48] or by describing it in action, which is the poetical and dramatic mode, or by making it express itself in speech, which is the method the orator favours most, he is always great. He was a Venetian, and Niebuhr finds in him the rich colouring of the Venetian school; he has also the darker shadow which that colouring necessitates, and the bold delineation of form which renders it not meretricious but noble. When he makes the old senators speak, we recognise men with the souls of kings. Manlius regards the claim of the Latins for equal rights as an outrage and a sacrilege against Capitoline Jupiter, with a truly Roman arrogance which would be grotesque were it not so grand. [49] The familiar conception we form in childhood of the great Roman worthies, where it does not come from Plutarch, is generally drawn from Livy.

The power of his style is seen sometimes in stately movement, sometimes in lightning-like flashes. When Hannibal at the foot of the Alps sees his men dispirited, he cries out, “You are scaling the walls of Rome!” When the patricians shrink in fear from the dreaded tribunate, the consuls declare that their emblems of office are a funeral pageant. [50] All readers will remember pithy sentences like these: “Hannibal has grown old in Campania;” [51] “The issue of war will show who is in the right.” [52]

His rhetorical training discovers itself in the elaborate exactness with which he disposes of all the points in a speech. The most artificial of all, perhaps, and yet at the same time the most effective, is the pleading of old Horatius for his son. [53] It might have come from the hands of Porcius Latro, or Arellius Fuscus. The orator treats truth as a means; the historian should treat it as an end. Livy wishes us not so much to know as to admire his heroes.

His language was censured by Pollio as exhibiting a Patavinitas, but what this was we know not. To us he appears as by far the purest writer subsequent to Cicero. Of the great orator he was a warm admirer. He imitated his style, and bade his son-in-law read only Cicero and Demosthenes, or other writers in proportion as they approached these two. He models his rhythm on the Ciceronian period so far as their different objects permit. But poetical phrases have crept in, [54] marring its even fabric; and other indications of too rich a colouring betray the near advent of the Silver Age.

As the book progresses the style becomes more fixed, until in the third decade it has reached its highest point; in the later books, as we know from testimony as well as the few specimens that are extant, it had become garrulous, like that of an old man. His work was to have consisted of fifteen decades, but as we have no epitome beyond Book CXLII., it was probably never finished. Perhaps the loss of the last part is not so serious as it seems. We have thirty books complete and the greater part of five others; but no more, except a fragment of the ninety-first book, has been discovered for several centuries, and in all probability the remainder is for ever lost. Livy was so much abridged and epitomized that during the Middle Ages he was scarcely read in any other form. Compilers like Florus, Orosius, Eutropius, &c. entirely supplied his place.

A word should perhaps be said about POMPEIUS TROGUS, who about Livy's time wrote a universal history in forty-four books. It was called Historiae Philippicae, and was apparently arranged according to nations; it began with Ninus, the Nimrod of classical legend, and was brought down to about 9 A.D. We know the work from the epitomes of the books and from Justin's abridgment, which is similar to that of Florus on Livy. Who Justin was, and where he lived, are not clearly ascertained. He is thought to have been a philosopher, but if so, he was anything but a talented one; most scholars place hisfloruit under the Antonines. He seems to have been a faithful abbreviator, at least as far as this, that he has added nothing of his own. Hence we may form a conception, however imperfect, of the value of Trogus's labours. Trogus was a scientific man, and seems to have desired the fame of a polymath. In natural science he was a good authority, [55] but though his history must have embodied immensely extended researches, it never succeeded in becoming authoritative.

Among the writers on applied science, one of considerable eminence has descended to us, the architect VITRUVIUS POLLIO. He is very rarely mentioned, and has been confounded with Vitruvius Cerdo, a freedman who belongs to a later date, and whose precepts contradict in many particulars those of the first Vitruvius. His birth-place was Formiae; he served in the African War (46 B.C.) under Caesar, so that he was born at least as early as 64 B.C. [56] The date of his work is also uncertain, but it can be approximately fixed, for in it he mentions the emperor's sister as his patroness, and as by her he probably means Octavia, who died 11 B.C., the book must have been written before that year. As, moreover, he speaks of one stone theatre only as existing in Rome, whereas two others were added in 13 B.C., the date is further thrown back to at least 14 B.C. As he expressly tells us it was written in his old age, and he must have been a young man in 46 B.C., when he served his first campaign, the nearer we bring its composition to the latest possible date (i.e. 14) the more correct we shall probably be. He was of good birth and had had a liberal education; but it is clear from the style of his work that he had either forgotten how to write elegantly, or had advanced his literary studies only so far as was necessary for a professional man. [57] His language is certainly far from good.

He began life as a military engineer, but soon found that his personal defects prevented him from succeeding in his career. [58] He therefore seems to have solaced himself by setting forward in a systematic form the principles of his art, and by finding fault with the great body of his professional brethren. [59] The dedication to Augustus implies that he had a practical object, viz. to furnish him with sound rules to be applied in building future edifices and, if necessary, for correcting those already built. He is a patient student of Greek authors, and adopts Greek principles unreservedly; in fact his work is little more than a compendium of Greek authorities. [60] His style is affectedly terse, and so much so as to be frequently obscure. The contents of his book are very briefly as follows:—

  Book I. General description of the science—education of the 
              architect—best choice of site for a city-disposition of its 
              plan, fortifications, public buildings, &c.

   “ II. On the proper materials to be used in building, preceded, 
              like several of Pliny's books, by a quasi-philosophical 
              digression on the origin and early history of man—the 
              progress of art—Vitruvius gives his views on the nature of 
              matter.

   “ III. IV. On temples—an account of the four orders, Doric, Ionic, 
              Corinthian, and Composite.

   “ V. On other public buildings.

   “ VI. On the arrangement and plan of private houses.

   “ VII. On the internal decoration of houses.

   “ VIII. On water supply—the different properties of different 
              waters—the way to find them, test them, and convey them 
              into the city.

   “ IX. On sun dials and other modes of measuring time.

   “ X. On machines of all kinds, civil and military.

As will be seen from this analysis, the work is both comprehensive and systematic; it was of great service in the Middle Ages, when it was used in an abridged form (sufficiently ancient, however,) which we still possess.

Antiquarian research was carried on during this period with much zeal. Many illustrious scholars are mentioned, none of whose works have come down to us, except in extremely imperfect abridgments. FENESTELLA (52 B.C.-22 A.D.) wrote on various legal and religious questions, on miscellaneous topics, as literary history, the art of good living, various points in natural history, &c. for which he is quoted as an authority by Pliny. His greatest work seems to have been Annales, which were used by Plutarch. It is probable, however, that in these he showed his special aptitude for archaeological research, and passed over the history in a rapid sketch. Special grammatical studies were carried on by VERRIUS FLACCUS, a freedman, whose great work, De Verborum Significatu, the first Latin lexicon conducted on an extensive scale, we possess in an abridgment by Festus. Its size may be conjectured from the fact that the letter A occupied four books, P five, and so on; and that Festus's abridgment consisted of twenty large volumes. [61] It was a rich storehouse of knowledge, the loss of which is much to be lamented. Another freedman, C. JULIUS HYGINUS (64 B.C.-16 A.D.?), who was also keeper of Augustus's library on the Palatine, manifested an activity scarcely less encyclopaedic than that of Varro. Of his multifarious works we possess two short treatises which pass under his name, the first on mythology, called Fabulae, a series of extracts from his Genealogiae, which we have in an abridgment; the second on astronomy, extending, though this is also in an abridged form, to four books. A few details of his life are given by Suetonius. He was a Spaniard by birth, though some believed him to be an Alexandrian, since Caesar brought him to Rome after the Alexandrine War; he attended at Rome the lectures of the grammarian Cornelius Alexander, surnamed Polyhistor. He was an intimate acquaintance of Ovid, [62] and is said to have died in great poverty. It is doubtful whether the works we possess were written by him in his youth, or are the production of an imperfectly educated abbreviator. Bursian, quoted by Teuffel, [63] thinks it probable that in the second half of the second century of the Christian era, a grammarian made a very brief abridgment of Hyginus's work entitled Genealogiae, and to this added a treatise on the whole mythology so far as it concerned poetical literature, compiled from good sources. This mythology, which retained the name of Hyginus and the title of Genealogiae, came to be generally used in the schools of the grammarians.

The demand for school-books was now rapidly increasing; and as the great classical authors published their works, an abundant supply of material was given to the ingenious and learned. The grammaticae tribus, whom Horace mentions with such disdain, [64] were already asserting their right to dispense literary fame. They were not as yet so compact or popular a body as the rhetoricians, but they had begun to cramp, as the others had begun to corrupt, literature. Dependence on the opinion of a clique is the most hurtful state possible, even though the clique be learned; and Horace showed wisdom as well as spirit in resisting it. The endeavour to please the leading men of the world, which Horace professed to be his object, is far less narrowing; such men, though unable to appraise scientific merit, are the best judges of general literature.

The careful methods of exact inquiry, were, as we have said, directed also to law, in which Labeo remained the highest authority. Capito abated principle in favour of the imperial prerogative. They did not, however, affect philosophy, which retained its original colouring as an ars vivendi. Many of Horace's friends, as we learn from the Odes, gave their minds to speculative inquiry, but, like the poet himself, they seem to have soon deserted it. At least we hear of no original investigations. Neither a metaphysic nor a psychology arose; only a loose rhetorical treatment of physical questions, and a careful collection of ethical maxims for the most part eclectically obtained.

SEXTIUS PYTHAGOREUS—there were two born of this name, father and son— wrote in Greek, reproducing the oracular style of Heraclitus. The gnuomai, which were translated and christianised by Rufinus, were stamped with a strongly theistic character. A few inferior thinkers are mentioned by Quintilian and Seneca, as PAPIRIUS FABIANUS, SERGIUS FLAVIUS, and PLOTIUS CRISPINUS. Of these, Papirius treated some of the classificatory sciences, which now first began to attract interest in Rome. Botany and zoology were the favourites. Mineralogy excited more interest on its commercial side with regard to the value and history of jewels; it was also treated in a mystic or imaginative way.

From this rapid summary it will be seen that real learning still flourished in Rome. Despotism had not crushed intellectual energy, nor enforced silence on all but flatterers. The emperor had nevertheless grown suspicious in his old age, and given indications of that tyranny which was soon to be the rule of government; he had interdicted Timagenes from his palace, banished Ovid, burnt the works of Labienus, exiled Severus, and shown such severity towards Albucius Silo that he anticipated further disgrace by a voluntary death. His reign closed in 14 A.D., and with it ceases for near a century the appearance of the highest genius in Rome.