A History of Roman Classical Literature


R. W. Browne

Series: Fine Arts, Music and Literature
BISAC: HIS002020

The history of Roman Classical Literature, although it comprehends the names of many illustrious writers and many voluminous works, is, chronologically speaking, contained within narrow limits. Dating from its earliest infancy, until the epoch when it ceased to deserve the title of classical, its existence occupies a period of less than four centuries.
(Imprint: SNOVA)



Table of Contents

Section I. FIRST ERA.
CHAPTER I. Comparison of the Latin language with the Greek—Eras of Latinity—Origin of the Romans—Elements of the Latin language—Etruscan influence
CHAPTER II. The Eugubine Tables—Existence of Oscan in Italy—Bantine Table—Perugian Inscription—Etruscan Alphabet and Words—Chant of Fratres Arvales—Salian Hymn—Other Monuments of Old Latin—Latin and Greek Alphabets compared
CHAPTER III. Saturnian Metre—Opinions respecting its origin—Early examples of this Metre—Saturnian Ballads in Livy—Structure of the Verse—Instances of Rhythmical Poetry
CHAPTER IV. Three periods of Roman Classical Literature—Its Elements rude—Roman Religion—Etruscan influence—Early Historical Monuments—Fescennine Verses—Fabulæ Atellanæ—Introduction of Stage-Players—Derivation of Satire
CHAPTER V. Emancipation of Livius Andronicus—His imitation of the Odyssey—New kind of Scenic Exhibitions—First exhibition of his Dramas—Nævius a Political Partisan—His bitterness—His Punic War—His nationality—His versification
CHAPTER VI. Nævius stood between two Ages—Life of Ennius—Epitaphs written by him—His taste, learning, and character—His fitness for being a Literary Reformer—His influence on the language—His versification—The Annals—Difficulties of the Subject—Tragedies and Comedies—Satire—Minor Works
CHAPTER VII. The New Comedy of the Greeks the Model of the Roman—The Morality of Roman Comedy—Want of variety in the Plots of Roman Comedy—Dramatis Personæ—Costume—Characters—Music—Latin Pronunciation—Metrical Licenses—Criticism of Volcatius—Life of Plautus—Character of his Comedies—Analysis of his Plots
CHAPTER VIII. Statius compared with Menander—Criticism of Cicero—Hypotheses respecting the early life of Terence—Anecdote related by Donatus—Style and Morality of Terence—Anecdote of him related by Cornelius Nepos—His pecuniary circumstances and death—Plots and Criticism of his Comedies—The remaining Comic Poets
CHAPTER IX. Why Tragedy did not flourish at Rome—National Legends not influential with the People—Fabulæ Prætextatæ—Roman Religion not ideal—Roman love for Scenes of Real Action and Gorgeous Spectacle—Tragedy not patronised by the People—Pacuvius—His Dulorestes and Paulus
CHAPTER X. L. Attius—His Tragedies and Fragments—Other Works—Tragedy disappeared with him—Roman Theatres—Traces of the Satiric Spirit in Greece—Roman Satire—Lucilius—Criticisms of Horace, Cicero, and Quintilian—Passage quoted by Lactantius—Lævius a Lyric Poet
CHAPTER XI. Prose Literature—Prose suitable to Roman Genius—History, Jurisprudence, and Oratory—Prevalence of Greek—Q. Fabius Pictor—L. Cincius Alimentus—C. Acilius Glabrio—Value of the Annalists—Important literary period, during which Cato Censors flourished—Sketch of his Life—His character, genius, and style
CHAPTER XII. The Origines of Cato—Passage quoted by Gellius—Treatise De Re Rustica—Orations—L. Cassius Hemina—Historians in the Days of the Gracchi—Traditional Anecdote of Romulus—Autobiographers—Fragment of Quadrigarius—Falsehoods of Antias—Sisenna—Tubero
CHAPTER XIII. Early Roman Oratory—Eloquence of Appius Claudius Cæcus—Funeral Orations—Defence of Scipio Africanus Major—Scipio Africanus Minor Æmilianus—Era of the Gracchi—Their Characters—Interval between the Gracchi and Cicero—M. Antonius—L. Licinius Crassus—Q. Hortensius—Causes of his early popularity and subsequent failure
CHAPTER XIV. Study of Jurisprudence—Earliest Systematic Works on Roman Law—Groundwork of the Roman Civil Law—Eminent Jurists—The Scævolæ—Ælius Gallus—C. Aquilius Gallus, a Law Reformer—Other Jurists—Grammarians
CHAPTER XV. Prose the Test of the condition of a Language—Dramatic Literature extinct—Mimes—Difference between Roman and Greek Mimes—Laberius—Passages from his Poetry—Matius Calvena—Mimiambi—Publius Syrus—Roman Pantomime—Its licentiousness—Principal actors of Pantomime
CHAPTER XVI. Lucretius a Poet rather than a Philosopher—His Life—Epic structure of his Poem—Variety of his Poetry—Extracts from his Poem—Argument of it—The Epicurean Doctrines contained in it—Morality of Epicurus and Lucretius—Testimonies of Virgil and Ovid—Catullus, his Life, Character, and Poetry—Other Poets of this period
CHAPTER XVII. Age of Virgil favourable to Poetry—His birth, education, habits, illness, and death—His popularity and character—His minor Poems, the Culex, Ciris, Moretum, Copa, and Catalecta—His Bucolics—Italian manners not suited to Pastoral Poetry—Idylls of Theocritus—Classification of the Bucolics—Subject of the Pollio—Heyne’s theory respecting it
CHAPTER XVIII. Beauty of Didactic Poetry—Elaborate finish of the Georgics—Roman love of Rural Pursuits—Hesiod suitable as a Model—Condition of Italy—Subjects treated of in the Georgics—Some striking passages enumerated—Influence of Roman Literature on English Poetry—Sources from which the incidents of the Æneid are derived—Character of Æneas—Criticism of Niebuhr
CHAPTER XIX. The Libertini—Roman feelings as to Commerce—Birth and infancy of Horace—His early education at Rome—His Military career—He returns to Rome—Is introduced to Mæcenas—Commences the Satires—Mæcenas gives him his Sabine Farm—His country life—The Epodes—Epistles—Carmen Seculare—Illness and death
CHAPTER X. Character of Horace—Descriptions of his Villa at Tivoli, and his Sabine Farm—Site of the Bandusian Fountain—The neighbouring Scenery—Subjects of his Satires and Epistles—Beauty of his Odes—Imitations of Greek Poets—Spurious Odes—Chronological Arrangement
CHAPTER XXI. Biography of Mæcenas—His intimacy and influence with Augustus—His character—Valgius Rufus—Varius—Cornelius Gallus—Biography of Tibullus—His style—Criticism of Muretus—Propertius—Imitated the Alexandrian Poets—Æmilius Macer
CHAPTER XXII. Birth and education of Ovid—His rhetorical powers—Anecdote related by Seneca—His poetical genius—Self-indulgent life—Popularity—Banishment—Place of his Exile—Epistles and other Works—Gratius Faliscus—Pedo Albinovanus—Aulus Sabinus—Marcus Manilius
CHAPTER XXIII. Prose Writers—Influence of Cicero upon the Language—His converse with his Friends—His early Life—Pleads his first Cause—Is Quæstor, Ædile, Prætor, and Consul—His exile, return, and provincial Administration—His vacillating conduct—He delivers his Philippics—Is proscribed and assassinated—His character
CHAPTER XXIV. Cicero no Historian—His Oratorical style defended—Its principal charm—Observations on his forensic Orations—His Oratory essentially judicial—Political Orations—Rhetorical Treatises—The object of his Philosophical Works—Characteristics of Roman Philosophical Literature—Philosophy of Cicero—His Political Works—Letters—His Correspondents—Varro
CHAPTER XXV. Roman Historical Literature—Principal Historians—Lucceius—Lucullus—Cornelius Nepos—Opinions of the genuineness of the Works which bear his Name—Biography of J. Cæsar—His Commentaries—Their style and language—His modesty overrated—Other Works—Character of Cæsar
CHAPTER XXVI. Life of Sallust—His insincerity—His Historical Works—He was a bitter opponent of the New Aristocracy—Profligacy of that Order—His style compared with that of Thucydides—His value as an Historian—Trogus Pompeius—His Historiæ Philippicæ
CHAPTER XXVII. Life of Livy—His object in writing his History—Its spirit and character—Livy precisely suited to his Age—Not wilfully inaccurate—His political bias accounted for—Materials which he might have used—Sources of History—His defects as an Historian—His style—Grammarians—Vitruvius Pollio, an Augustine Writer—Contents of his Work
CHAPTER XXVIII. Decline of Roman Literature—It became declamatory—Biography of Phædrus—Genuineness of his Fables—Moral and Political Lessons inculcated in them—Specimens of Fables—Fables suggested by Historical events—Sejanus and Tiberius—Epoch unfavourable to Literature—Ingenuity of Phædrus—Superiority of Æsop—The style of Phædrus classical
CHAPTER XXIX. Dramatic Literature in the Augustan Age—Revival under Nero—Defects of the Tragedies attributed to Seneca—Internal evidence of their authorship—Seneca the Philosopher a Stoic—Inconsistent and unstable—The sentiments of his Philosophical Works found in his Tragedies—Parallel passages compared—French School of Tragic Poets
CHAPTER XXX. Biography of Persius—His schoolboy days—His friends—His purity and modesty—His defects as a Satirist—Subject of his Satires—Obscurity of his style—Compared with Horace—Biography of Juvenal—Corruption of Roman Morals—Critical observations on the Satires—Their Historical value—Style of Juvenal—He was the last of Roman Satirists
CHAPTER XXXI. Biography of Lucan—Inscription to his Memory—Sentiments expressed in the Pharsalia—Lucan an unequal Poet—Faults and merits of the Pharsalia—Characteristics of his Age—Difficulties of Historical Poetry—Lucan a descriptive Poet—Specimens of his Poetry—Biography of Silius Italicus—His character by Pliny—His Poem dull and tedious—His description of the Alps
CHAPTER XXXII. C. Valerius Flaccus—Faults of the Argonautica—Papinius Statius—Beauty of his minor Poems—Incapable of Epic Poetry—Domitian—Epigram—Martial—His Biography—Profligacy of the Age in which he lived—Impurity of his Writings—Favourable specimens of his Poetry
CHAPTER XXXIII. Aufidius Bassus and Cremutius Cordus—Velleius Paterculus—Character of his Works—Valerius Maximus—Cornelius Tacitus—Age of Trajan—Biography of Tacitus—His extant Works enumerated—Agricola—Germany—Histories—Traditions respecting the Jews—Annals—Object of Tacitus—His character—His style
CHAPTER XXXIV. C. Suetonius Tranquillus—His Biography—Sources of his History—His great fault—Q. Curtius Rufus—Time when he flourished doubtful—His Biography, of Alexander—Epitomes of L. Annæus Florus—Sources whence he derived them
CHAPTER XXXV. M. Annæus Seneca—His Controversiæ and Suasoriæ—L. Annæus Seneca—Tutor to Nero—His enormous fortune—His death and character—Inconsistencies in his Philosophy—A favourite with early Christian Writers—His Epistles—Work on Natural Phenomena—Apocolocyntosis—His style
CHAPTER XXXVI. Pliny the Elder—His habits described by his Nephew—His industry and application—His death in the eruption of Vesuvius—The Eruption described in two Letters of Pliny the Younger—The Natural History of Pliny—Its subjects described—Pliny the Younger—His affection for his guardian—His Panegyric, Letters, and Despatches—That concerning the Christians—The answer
CHAPTER XXXVII. M. Fabius Quintilianus—His Biography—His Institutiones Oratoriæ—His views of Education—Division of his Subject into Five Parts—Review of Greek and Roman Literature—Completeness of his great Work—His other Works—His disposition—Grief for the loss of his son
CHAPTER XXXVIII. A. Cornelius Celsus—His merits—Cicero Medicorum—Scribonius Largus Designatianus—Pomponius Mela—L. Junius Moderatus Columella—S. Julius Frontinus—Decline of taste in the Silver Age—Foreign Influence on Roman Literature—Conclusion
Chronological Table

Additional information