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I work is not a great achievement in point or store-house of learning and exact scholarship brilliant composition. The translator is aware eral taste of his own countrymen and that of ers differ in this respect, and there is not the slightbut that many English readers will pronounce the work "dry and heavy" but this very feature may end it to the real scholar who knows that a meretriand brilliant style with striking and ingenious displays of ad of clever aperçus often hides superficiality and shallow
I have not endeavoured to improve upon the style of work, though my personal preference might perhaps have d me to adopt an easier style in many parts. I have more han once found it difficult adequately to render the author's meaning in English, and am aware that my translation is sometimes awkward, because I endeavoured to be rather faithful than elegant.
In conclusion, the readers are referred to an article (by Professor M. Hertz) on the latest works on Roman Literature, in the Academy, of August 1, 1871, vol. 2 p. 380-383.
MARCH 17, 1873.
CONTAINING A GENERAL VIEW
OF THE SUBJECT.
1. The Romans lacked the versatility, manysidedness and imaginative power of the Greeks; their eminent qualities are sober and acute thought, and firmness and perseverance of will. Their intellect was directed to the practical, and sometimes degenerated into egotism and cunning, just as their perseverance often turned into obstinacy and pedantry. In the domain of state and law these qualities accomplished great and enduring results, while they were decidedly unfavourable to art and literature.
1. Cic. Tusc. I 1, 2: quae tanta gravitas, quae tanta constantia, magnitudo animi, probitas, fides, quae tam excellens in omni genere virtus in ullis fuit, ut sit cum maioribus nostris comparanda? (3) Doctrina Graecia nos et omni litterarum genere superabat etc. De imp. Pomp. 20, 60: maiores nostros semper in pace consuetudini, in bello utilitati paruisse. Tac. dial. 5: si ad utilitatem vitae omnia consilia factaque nostra dirigenda sunt. Plin. N. H. XXV 2: nostri, omnium utilitatum et virtutum rapacissimi. Quintil. XII 2, 7: ego illum quem instituo romanum quendam velim esse sapientem, qui non secretis disceptationibus, sed rerum experimentis atque operibus vere civilem virum exhibeat. — Liv. XXIII 14, 1: insita (Romanorum) animis industria. Liv. XLII 62: romana constantia, cf. ib. XXX 7: romana in adversis rebus constantia, and Polyb. III 75 extr. XXVII 8: idιov rovτo пáviy παρὰ Ρωμαίοις ἔθος καὶ πάτριόν ἐστι, τὸ κατὰ μὲν τὰς ἐλαττώσεις αυθαδεστάτους καὶ βαρυτάτους φαίνεσθαι, κατὰ δὲ τὰς ἐπιτυχίας ὡς μετριωτάτους. ib. I 39: ὄντες ἐν παντὶ φιλότιμοι διαφερόντως. Scipio Africanus minor ap. Macr. Sat. III 14, 7: eunt in ludum histrionum, discunt cantare quae maiores nostri ingenuis probro ducier voluerunt. Ib. 10: Cato, cui... etiam cantare non serii hominis videtur. Sen. Controv. p. 49, 1 Bu.: cantandi saltandique obscena studia. Tac. dial. 10: in Graecia, ubi ludicras quoque artes exercere honestum est. All occupations without immediate practical tendency are artes leviores (Cic. Brut. 1, 3) and mediocres (Cic. de or. I 2, 6), studia leviora (Cic. de or. I 49, 212. Cat. 14, 50) and minora (Cic. Brut. 18, 70).
2. On the national character of the Romans see R. Ihering, Geist des röm. Rechts I espec. p. 291-313. Bernhardy, History of the Rom. Lit. p. 2 sq. W. Teuffel, on the character of Horace p. 23-34. Bunsen, Egypt's place &c. I p. 194 etc. K. F. Hermann, History of Civilisation among the Greeks and Romans II p. 26 etc. Mommsen, Roman History in many places, e. g. I (sec. ed.) p. 28 sq. C, Peter, Studies on Roman History, (1863) p. 116 sqq. Pantke, A Parallel between the national character of the Greeks and Romans, Vienna 1854. E. Zeller, Religion and Philosophy among the Romans (Berl. 1866) p. 8 sqq. — Köpke, on the aesthetic views of the Romans as compared with the Greeks, Berlin 1867. L. Friedländer, on the artistic taste of the Romans in the Imperial period, Königsberg 1851. K. F. Hermann, on the artistic taste of the Romans and their place in the history of ancient art, Göttingen 1855.
2. As long as the peculiar character of the Roman nation remained unaltered, literary occupation was thought admissible only so far as it was of practical value. The authors were for long of foreign origin, little respected, and had to struggle with poverty; hence they became tainted with the Roman indifference to form and style. It is true that the importance of eloquence as a means of political influence, the value of information in regard to events that had taken place, and the importance of jurisprudence were recognized at an early time; but all other fields of knowledge were all the more neglected; poetry was tolerated only for the purposes of worship, and during a long time limited to a single species. Only in the course of the sixth century (A. v. c.), the increased acquaintance with Greek life and literature produced new ideas, interests and requirements.
1. Cic. p. Planc. 27, 66: M. Catonis illud quod in principio scripsit Originum suarum semper magnificum et praeclarum putavi: clarorum hominum atque magnorum non minus otii quam negotii rationem exstare oportere. The same Cato (ap. Gell. N. A. XI 2, 5) says in praise of ancient Rome: poeticae artis honos non erat. si quis in ea re studebat aut sese ad convivia adplicabat grassator vocabatur. Festus p. 333a M.: scribas proprio nomine antiqui et librarios et poetas vocabant. The literary activity of old Cato sufficiently shows what branches of literature were held admissible; he feared ὡς ἀποβαλοῦσι Ῥωμαῖοι τὰ πράγ uare yoаuuάtor Eliqvizor avariyogévres (Plut. Cato mai. 23). Cic. (Tusc. I 1-3.) gives a sketch of the part taken by the Romans in literature. 2. Voorduin, de artibus et doctrinis in quibus Romani elaboraverunt, Ghent 1822. 150 pp. 4. M. Hertz, the Authors and the reading public of Rome. Berlin 1853. 45 pp. 8.
3. Of the various kinds of poetry, dramatic poetry seems after all to be most in conformity with the character of the Roman people. Like all Italians, the Romans possessed
a quick eye for all peculiarities of outward appearance, the talent of close observation, lively imitation and quick repartee. Hence it comes that improvisation and songs of a jocular and abusive character, poetical dialogues and amoebaean ditties are found in Italy at a very remote date.
1. Specimens of italum acetum (Hor. S. I 7, 32 comp. maledica civitas Cic. p. Cael. 16, 38; Romanorum facetiae, Trebell. Gallien. 9) are furnished by the numerous surnames which were originally nicknames taken from corporal peculiarities; see Quintil I. O. I 4, 25. Fr. Ellendt, de cognomine etc. (Königsberg 1853) p. 9-22. This quality was further developed by the political and legal quarrels of subsequent times. Cf. Cic. de or. II 54 sqq. Quintil. VI 3.
2. The 'occentationes' were prohibited in the XII tables, on punishment of flogging. Plaut. Aul. III 2, 31 sq.: nisi reddi mihi vasa iubes pipulo hic differam ante aedes.- For the satirical songs on the triumphator, see below 74. The custom is described by Suet. Vesp. 19: in funere Favor archimimus personam eius (i. e. Vespasiani) ferens imitansque, ut est mos, facta ac dicta vivi. The amoebaean form prevails in the songs of the fratres arvales, the Fescennine songs, the songs used in the triumphs, songs of beggars (Schol. Hor. Ep. I 17, 48), shepherds' songs (amant alterna Camenae, Virg. Ecl. III 59.)
3. A certain liking for dialogue long prevails in Roman literature, e. g. in the instance of the jurisprudent Junius Brutus and C. Curio. Its popularity appears e. g. from the inscription of Aesernia I. R. N. 5078.
4. On festive occasions merry performances of this kind took place even in public to the accompaniment of a tibia and with dancing. The actors were disguised, in accordance with the fondness of Southern nations for mummery, their faces being painted or masked. There was only a small step from the farcical representation of an actual event to exhibiting a fictitious action, in which the plot was invented and set down, but the detail of the execution left to the performers. Popular performances of this kind were the Fescennine songs, the Saturae, the Mimi, and later on the Atellanae.
1. Virg. Ge. II 385 sqq.: Ausonii.. coloni versibus incomptis ludunt risuque soluto oraque corticibus sumunt horrenda cavatis etc. Tibull. II 1, 55: agricola. . minio suffusus. . rubenti primus inexperta duxit ab arte choros.
2. Mommsen R. H. 12. p. 206-208.
5. The name of the Fescenninae is derived from the town of Fescennium in the South of Etruria, though they belong in general to central Italy. They made part of rustic merrymakings, being
performed on occasions of rejoicing, the performers indulging in mutual abuse and coarse jokes in the native and unrefined taste of the populace, etc. Though this custom was originally also practiced on rustic festivities (e. g. at harvest-time, and the festivals of Tellus and Silvanus), it was gradually confined to narrower limits and restricted to weddings. When, after the downfall of the Republic, the Fescenninae were drawn into the domain of artistic poetry, they were partly practiced in their scoptic character and partly used at weddings.
1. K. Zell, Writings during my Vacations II. p. 121 sqq. 0. Müller, on the Etrurians II. p. 284 sqq. R. Klotz, Hist. of Lat. Lit. 1. p. 292 sqq. W. Corssen, Origines poes. p. 124-132. A. Th. Broman, de versibus fesc. Upsala 1852. 18 pp. 4. A. Rossbach, röm. Ehe (1853) S. 340–345.
2. Festus in the abridgement of Paul. Diac. p. 85 M.: Fescennini versus, qui canebantur in nuptiis, ex urbe Fescennina dicuntur allati, sive ideo dicti quia fascinum putabantur arcere. The immediate connexion of the name with the name of the town should not be denied, witness the grammatical formation of the word and the analogy of the Atellanae. But beyond this, a common derivation from fascinus φαλλός (in its symbolic meaning of fertility) which had its place both in rustic festivities and at weddings (Rossbach p. 343 sqq.), may be readily admitted.
3. Hor. Ep. II 1, 139 sqq.: agricolae prisci.. condita post frumenta levantes tempore festo corpus et ipsum animum ... Tellurem porco, Silvanum lacte piabant, floribus et vino Genium.. (145) Fescennina per hunc inventa licentia morem versibus alternis (comp. Liv. VII 2, 7 and Sen. Med. 108) opprobria rustica fudit, libertasque recurrentes accepta per annos lusit amabiliter, donec iam saevus apertam in rabiem coepit verti iocus etc. etc. Liv. VII 3, 7: non .. Fescennino versu similem incompositum temere ac rudem alternis iaciebant. Lucan. II 368 sq.: non soliti lusere sales nec more Sabino excepit tristis convicia festa maritus. Macrob. Sat. III 14, 9: M. Cato senatorem non ignobilem Caecilium . . Fescenninum vocat, probably on account of his habit of ridicularia fundere, iocos dicere (ib.) Cf. Fest. v. spatiator, p. 344 b. M.
4. Catull. 61, 122 sq.: ne diu taceat (at a wedding) procax Fescennina locutio. Sen. Med. 107 sqq.: concesso iuvenes ludite iurgio. hinc illinc iuvenes mittite carmina. rara est in dominos iusta licentia. V. 113 sq.: festa dicax fundat convicia fescenninus, solvat turba iocos. Sen. Controv. VII 21 p. 223, 16 sq. Bu.: inter nuptiales fescenninos (so Plin. N. H. XV : 22, 86; cf. also Serv. on Aen. VII 695: Fescenninum oppidum est, ubi nuptialia inventa sunt carmina) in crucem generi nostri iocabantur. Auson. cento nupt. (Id. XIII): Fescenninos amat celebritas nuptialis verborumque petulantiam notus vetere instituto ludus admittit. Claudian. Fescenn. 4, 29 sqq.: ducant pervigiles carmina tibiae permissisque iocis turba licentior exsultet tetricis libera legibus.