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  • Cited by 7
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    This book has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Power, Tristan 2014. Suetonius' Tacitus. Journal of Roman Studies, Vol. 104, p. 205.


    Danckaert, Lieven 2013. Magis Rythmus Quam Metron: The Structure of Seneca's Anapaests, and the Oral/Aural Nature of Latin Poetry. Symbolae Osloenses, Vol. 87, Issue. 1, p. 148.


    Whitton, Christopher L. 2013. A Companion to the Neronian Age.


    Avlamis, Pavlos 2012. The Encyclopedia of Ancient History.


    2012. A Companion to Augustine.


    Morgan, Llewelyn 2003. Child's Play: Ovid and his Critics. Journal of Roman Studies, Vol. 93, p. 66.


    Williams, Gareth 1993. On Ovid's Ibis: a poem in context. Proceedings of the Cambridge Philological Society, Vol. 38, p. 171.


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    • Online ISBN: 9781139054881
    • Book DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521210430
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Book description

The Cambridge History of Classical Literature provides a comprehensive, critical survey of the literature of Greece and Rome from Homer till the Fall of Rome. This is the only modern work of this scope; it embodies the very considerable advances made by recent classical scholarship, and reflects too the increasing sophistication and vigour of critical work on ancient literature. The literature is presented throughout in the context of the culture and the social and hisotircal processes of which it is an integral part. The overall aim is to offer an authoritative work of reference and appraisal for one of the world's greatest continuous literary traditions. The work is divided into two volumes, each with a similar and broadly chronological structure. Among the special features are important introductory chapters by the General Editors on 'Books and Readers', discussing the conditions under which literature was written and read in antiquity. There are also extensive Appendices or Authors and Works giving detailed factual information in a convenient form. Technical annotation is otherwise kept to a minimum, and all quotations in foreign languages are translated.

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Page 1 of 2


  • 1 - Books and readers in the Roman world
    pp 1-32
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521210430.002
  • View abstract
    Summary
    For half a millennium the printed book has been the primary means of communicating ideas in the Western world. The history of Roman literature effectively begins with Ennius. Plautus in his comedies had reproduced his Greek models in metres in which the influence of native Latin verse is apparent. Roman educational institutions, predictably, follow Greek models. The casual and fluid nature of publication in the ancient world is described just as characteristic of what happened to books after publication. For educational and rhetorical purposes epitomes and abstracts were increasingly in vogue. Roman scholars took over the traditions of Alexandrian literary scholarship along with the rest of Hellenistic culture. From Virgil onwards Latin poetry was profoundly influenced by rhetoric, and a style of literary criticism that fails to take account of this fact will miss much that is essential to the poetry. Literary Latin was an artificial dialect, quite distinct from the spoken idiom.
  • 2 - Literary criticism
    pp 33-50
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521210430.003
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Literary critics today fall into two broad categories. There are the academics, out to impress their colleagues and instruct their pupils. And there are, in the great tradition of Dryden, creative writers meditating on their craft. In Greece scholars seem to have been called kritikoi before they took over the term grammatikos. With Quintilian the authors come to a professional rhetor, well qualified, as well as inclined, to assess Cicero as well as praise him. Quintilian knew how literary criticism of oratory should be conducted. It is a mark of his sophistication that only recently has scholars approached Cicero in this wide and unprejudiced way. Cicero brought to the theory of oratory a width that it had never known before and was rarely to know again. He thinks often of an ideal orator, who shall have all the qualities of Cicero himself and more besides.
  • 3 - The genesis of poetry in Rome
    pp 51-59
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521210430.004
  • View abstract
    Summary
    For centuries the Romans had achieved considerable political sophistication, and that involved public debates with carefully composed speeches. This chapter discusses the genesis of poetry in Rome. The word carmen was adopted by Augustan poets as the generic term for their own compositions. This meaning of poem and poetry was a specialization imposed on a word whose meaning was originally much wider. The most extensive surviving carmen is a prayer quoted by the elder Cato. Early in the nineteenth century, the great German historian Niebuhr, anxious to give a basis to his reconstruction of the early Roman tradition, revived the theory that legends such as that of Horatius or Verginia had been preserved by oral tradition in great families in the form of heroic lays. The ancient Roman custom was to set a man's titulus over his grave. L. Cornelius Scipio Barbatus's consul in 298 BC has epitaphs in Saturnian verse.
  • 4 - Ennius' Annales
    pp 60-76
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521210430.005
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter focuses on an important bearing on the shape and unity of Ennius' Annales as a whole. The cult of the Muses was introduced by M. Fulvius Nobilior, who built a Templum Herculis Afusarum to house statues of Hercules Musageta and the Nine Sisters taken with much other booty from what had once been Pyrrhus' palace in Ambracia. The title of Ennius' poem looks immediately to the priestly Annales, yearbooks, instituted by the Pythagorean king Numa Pompilius and kept by the pontifices. Ennius has achieved the rapidity of Homer by using a mixture of dactyls and spondees quite different from that in his tree-felling passage, and by keeping Homer's enjambments, essential to the impetus of a passage describing great and uncontrolled natural forces at large. He is essentially un-Homeric in calling the South Wind spiritus Austri imbricitor, that is Hellenistic baroque.
  • 5 - Drama
    pp 77-137
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521210430.006
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The acting profession came to depend and to thrive on a circuit of musical and dramatic festivals among which Athens was only one of several centres. This chapter looks at the importance of the theatrical traditions of South Italy and Sicily. Andronicus is a major figure in the history of literature as the first to tackle the problems of literary translation. His approach was crucial for the subsequent development of Latin literature. All kinds of Roman drama were far more musical and operatic than Greek. Grammarians drew a distinction between tragoediae, modelled on Greek tragedy, and fabulae praetextae 'Hem-' or 'Robe-plays ', on Roman themes, ancient and modern. This is parallel to the distinction of comoediae and fabulae togatae. Accius, the polemical scholar, the Pergamene rhetorician, the authority on orthography, the head of the college of poets, the historian of the Greek and Roman theatre, and the Hellenistic tragedian evinces a new self-confidence and artistic awareness.
  • 6 - Prose literature
    pp 138-155
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521210430.007
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Prose literature, as opposed to mere writing, may be said to have begun when men began to exploit the fact that their views on important matters could be disseminated by means of the liber or uolumen which could be multiplied. The intended readers of the kind of technical works reviewed in this chapter were influential Romans professionally interested in the subjects treated. The chapter discusses some kinds of writing which are best described as political manifestos or memoirs. In the Greek world it had long been the custom of authors to address poems, histories, and technical works to a patron or friend, so that the work might take on the appearance of a private letter of didactic character. By using Latin in his own pithy way, M. Porcius Cato the Elder was asserting the new importance of the language in international diplomacy, and implicitly rejecting the attitude and the Greek rhetoric of a T. Quinctius Flamininus.
  • 7 - The satires of Ennius and Lucilius
    pp 156-172
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521210430.008
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Ennius was not only a major dramatist and the author of the most ambitious Roman epic. He also extended the range of Latin poetry in a series of compositions in the genus hundle, the low key, some based on Greek models, and others original. This chapter focuses on the nature and origin of Latin satire. Ennius' minor works as a whole remind one of many features of lowkey, unpretentious Alexandrian poetry and moralizing literature. A judicious modern account of fourth- and third-century Greek literature as it relates in style, intent, and variety to all of Ennius' minor works remains a desideratum. The language and form of those earliest works were those of drama, as was only natural, since Ennius had established the iambo-trochaic metres and diction of the form as the ordinary medium for any poetry of less than heroic pretensions; including in Lucilius' time even epitaphs.
  • 8 - Predecessors
    pp 173-177
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521210430.009
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The short poems of Catullus, which he himself calls nugae 'trifles', confront the critic with a paradox: poetry of obviously major significance and power which belongs formally to a minor genre. Aulus Gellius and Cicero have preserved five short epigrams by a trio of accomplished amateurs, Valerius Aedituus, Porcius Licinus and Qyintus Lutatius Catulus. These are freely adapted from Hellenistic Greek originals, most of which can be identified in the Greek Anthology. Cicero is a more important figure in the history of Latin poetry than is commonly acknowledged. For one of the hallmarks of the new school of poets was their insistence on careful and exact craftsmanship. Cicero's hexameters, flat and lifeless as they read, are technically much more like those of Catullus than those of Ennius or even Lucretius. The precise part played by Cicero in the development of Latin poetry is bound to remain obscure, given the fragmentary nature of the evidence.
  • 9 - The new direction in poetry
    pp 178-206
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521210430.010
  • View abstract
    Summary
    In 50 BC Cicero begins a letter to Atticus with a playful reference to a mannerism of the New Poets, the spondaic hexameter. The spondaic hexameter is as old as Homer, but in Homer infrequent and casual. In the Hellenistic poets, Aratus, Callimachus, Apollonius, Euphorion, and odiers, and in their Latin imitators it becomes frequent and designed. The New Poets were a group of young and impressionable poets in the generation after Cicero's who shared a literary attitude relating even to stylistic minutiae, of which Cicero chose to notice two. They wished to change Latin poetry, and to a considerable extent they succeeded in their purpose. The Marriage of Peleus and Thetis is Catullus' longest and most ambitious poem, undoubtedly his intended masterpiece. The subject of the poem, home-coming, is likely to occasion diffuse sentiment. Catullus' delight is exactly reflected in the wit and complicated play, the happiness, of his language.
  • 10 - Lucretius
    pp 207-229
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521210430.011
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The De rerum natura of Lucretius represents one of the rarest of literary accomplishments, a successful didactic poem on a scientific subject. Epicureanism was the most conservative of the Hellenistic philosophies, but it was not immune to change and modification. While Lucretius was writing, Epicurean philosophers like Philodemus were busy developing the master's doctrine and attempting to answer the objections of their philosophical opponents. Lucretius was familiar with Philodemus or was in any way influenced by his work. More significant is the poet's relationship with contemporary Stoicism. If the central question in Lucretian criticism is the relationship between poetry and philosophy, then it is important to understand the extent to which Lucretius accurately reflects the spirit of Epicurus. The idea of introducing the old Homeric myth of Venus and Mars may in fact have come to Lucretius from Empedodes, who is said to have used it for the two great forces of love and strife which control the Empedoclean universe.
  • 11 - Cicero and the relationship of oratory to literature
    pp 230-267
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521210430.012
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Marcus Tullius Cicero has been endlessly studied as a character and as a politician, and certainly these aspects of him are of absorbing interest; but his chief historical importance is as a man of letters. Hellenistic criticism recognized three styles, the grand, middle and plain. Not only higher education but literature in general at Rome was founded on oratory. Cicero in the Orator associated these with the three aims of oratory, to move, to please and to convince respectively. The grand style was forceful, weighty, spacious, emotional and ornate, carrying men away: it was what is understood by rhetorical. The ambition to be an orator probably came to the boy from the hill-town of Arpinum, south-east of Rome, through his being entrusted by his father to the care of Rome's leading orator, Lucius Crassus. The nature of Roman legal procedure promotes Cicero's oratorical development.
  • 12 - Sallust
    pp 268-280
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521210430.013
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Sallust was the first recognized classic amongst Roman historians, avidly read, admired and abused, immensely influential on many diverse writers, and cited more often than any Latin prose author, Cicero alone excepted. Oratory at Rome reached its maturity a generation or more before history. That simple fact largely explains why Cicero's remarks about history are prejudiced and condescending. Sallust may more fairly be criticized, in his Catiline at least, for die disproportionate bulk of introductory matter in a comparatively short composition. Ancient critics recorded the most distinctive features of his style: archaism, brevity, abruptness, and novelty. The brevity which Sallust pursued and often attained made a great impression on Roman readers, to judge by the numerous references to it. Sallust's outspokenness and self-will commanded the attention of contemporaries and posterity. He puts over his personality, real or assumed, very forcefully: witness the violent opening words of the lugurtha.
  • 13 - Caesar
    pp 281-285
    • By R. M. Ogilvie, St Salvator's College, University of St Andrews
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521210430.014
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Julius Caesar's surviving output comprises seven books on the Gallic Wars and three on the Civil Wars. This chapter presents the literary background to the Commentaries on the Gallic Wars and on the Civil Wars. The publication of the Commentaries was timed to assert his claim on the gratitude of his fellow-countrymen and to display his dignitas, the Roman quality of achievement which merits recognition by high office. The Gallic Wars was a statement of Caesar's achievements. Caesar's motive is principally simplicity, but the comparison with Livy shows that he is also influenced by concern for purity or propriety of diction. Language had always been a study of interest to him. The style and presentation follow the pattern of the Gallic Wars. The Bellum Hispaniense is one of the very few works written in a predominantly un-literary Latin, and is a very valuable source for the knowledge of the language.
  • 14 - Prose and mime
    pp 286-294
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521210430.015
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The trivium and quadrivium of medieval education descend ultimately from Varro's Disciplinae, a work of his eighties. Indeed traces of Varronian systematization still lurk in modern university syllabuses. Characteristic methods, of research and of disposition, can be detected in widely scattered areas: they serve to reveal the Roman polymath at work and to explain how, in a full life, one man's output could be so colossal. Varro found in Menippus, a third-century Syrian freedman writing under Cynic influence, a model for profitable imitation and his 150 Menippeae, combining prose and verse, humour and moral improvement, dominated the literary output of his active public life. Nepos is an intellectual pygmy whom one finds associating uneasily with the literary giants of his generation. Cornelius Nepos and Varro diverge sharply from the narrow traditions of Roman and familial pride, which constitute the origins of Roman biography. Cicero acknowledges with embarrassment his pleasure in the mime's humour.
  • 15 - Uncertainties
    pp 295-300
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521210430.016
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Cicero was murdered by the soldiers of Antony and Octavian in December of 43 BC. In the following year, according to the ancient tradition, Virgil began to write the Eclogues. In the work of Virgil and Horace it seems that the process of assimilation has achieved a happy equilibrium: the most characteristic monuments of Augustan poetry display a formally and aesthetically satisfying fusion of new and old, native and alien elements. For the first time since the classical age of Greece the competing claims of technique and inspiration were again harmonized. After the elimination of Octavian's last rival at Actium in 31 BC the Roman world entered on an unexampled period of peace and prosperity. Naturally the official author of these blessings expected his achievements to be reflected in contemporary literature. A tradition of court poetry going back through Theocritus and Callimachus to Pindar and beyond offered obvious models.
  • 16 - Theocritus and Virgil
    pp 301-319
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521210430.017
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Theocritus of Syracuse, who invented the pastoral, was a Hellenistic poet, a contemporary of Callimachus and Apollonius. A proud claim, made with all the delicate force of which pastoral rhetoric is capable: the claim, that is, of being the first Latin poet to imitate Theocritean pastoral; and made at the beginning of an eclogue which owes little or nothing overtly to Theocritus. Virgil's imitation of Theocritus is restricted mainly, and not surprisingly, to the pastoral Idylls, with the notable exception of Idyll, Simaetha's incantation, a most unpastoral song which Virgil managed to translate into a pastoral setting. The publication of the Book of Eclogues is an epoch in Latin poetry. Virgil's Eclogue may be taken as a personal expression of a public attitude. Time is a relation of experience, and much had happened in the few urgent years during which Virgil was meditating his book.
  • 17 - The Georgics
    pp 320-332
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521210430.018
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The misery of the years following Julius' murder are recalled in Virgil's next work, the Georgics, in the magnificent rhetoric of the finale of Book I, 466-514, which represents the chaos as continuing and the young Octavian as the only hope. Seneca said pertinently that Virgil was interested in what could be said most gracefully, not most truthfully, and wrote not to teach farmers but to delight readers. In Virgil the technically didactic matter is eclectic, yet it forms too large a part of the poem for it to be taken as purely symbolic. In the case of a poem whose excellence depends on a variety of features the best, perhaps the only, way of doing justice to it is by a running commentary, in terms of structure. To several sensitive critics the Georgics has suggested a musical composition, a symphony with four movements and various themes enunciated and then harmoniously interwoven.
  • 18 - The Aeneid
    pp 333-369
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521210430.019
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Virgil's Aeneid was conceived and shaped as a national and patriotic epic for the Romans of his day. Certainly the Romans hailed it as such, and it rapidly became both a set text in education and the natural successor to the Annales of Ennius as the great poetic exposition of Roman ideals and achievements. One of the fountains of the Aeneid's inspiration was the national aspiration of Rome in Virgil's time; another, of equal if not greater importance, was the epic poetry of Homer. The Iliad and the Odyssey represented in the classical world the highest achievement of Greek poetry, and the admiration universally felt by the Romans for Homer was for the great national poet of the Greek world whose literature they revered. The Olympian deities enabled Virgil to enter in description the mythological world which delighted Ovid in his Metamorphoses.
  • 19 - Horace
    pp 370-404
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521210430.020
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Horace is commonly thought of as a comfortable cheerful figure, well adjusted to society and loyally supporting the Augustan regime. The traditional stereotype is popular and superficial, the two divergent views are represented by several important works of scholarship. This chapter considers Horace's poetry that offers a number of contrasting features, such as public/private, urban/rural, Stoic/Epicurean, grand/plain. It focuses on a critique of the academic dichotomy. The chapter shows how small light poems can be structurally complex, and how within a given ode the style may shift from one level to another. It examines how parodies use solemnity for comic effect, how in a recusatio the grand style can be disavowed and employed at the same time, and how a contrast can be exploited by juxtaposition. Only a small proportion of Odes was written in praise of Augustus and those odes were notably restrained in comparison with the usual type of Hellenistic panegyric.
  • 20 - Love elegy
    pp 405-419
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521210430.021
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The elegiac distich appears as a fully developed poetic form in Greece in the seventh century BC. This chapter concentrates on the famous Augustan love-poets. The love elegy or the book of love elegies may be considered as a creation of the Augustan age, though Catullus is sometimes included. His poem would seem to represent the prototype of the Augustan love elegy though love is only one theme among many; it is interwoven most skilfully with the themes of friendship, the loss of his brother, the Trojan War. The elegiac poets of the Augustan age, beginning with Cornelius Gallus, write whole books of elegies. Albius Tibullus' friendship with the great statesman M. Valerius Messalla Corvinus is one of the main themes of his poetry. The Corpus Tibullianum may be considered an anthology of poems written by members of that circle, probably published after Messalla's death.
  • 21 - Ovid
    pp 420-457
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521210430.022
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The design and execution of the Amores can be properly understood only in relation to Ovid's predecessors. The chronology of Ovid's early poetry is perplexed and obscure, so that the composition of the Heroides cannot be exactly placed in a sequence with the two editions of the Amores and with the Ars amatoria. The material of the Heroides comes principally from Greek epic and tragedy. Ovid's language implies that the Metamorphoses will manage to be both Callimachean and un-Callimachean at once. Attempts have been made to detect a unity and hence a message in such aspects of the poem as its structure or its symbolism, even in its very diversity. In the technical sphere Ovid left a mark on the Latin poetic tradition that still endures: for the modern composer of elegiac couplets is normally expected to abide by the Ovidian rules.
  • 22 - Livy
    pp 458-466
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521210430.023
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Internal evidence suggests that Livy began to write his History of Rome in or shortly before 29 BC by which time Octavian, the later Augustus, had restored peace and a measure of stability to the Roman world. Historical activity had flourished at Rome for 200 years before Livy and the project of writing the complete history of the state was not a new one. Livy was, indeed, acquainted with Augustus, who called him a Pompeian, which implied a conservative independence of outlook and he acted as literary adviser to the future emperor Claudius but it is impossible to trace political motives in his writing. In interpreting history in terms of individuals, Livy was following very much in the Hellenistic tradition. Livy's language has been much studied and the publication of a complete Concordance has opened new doors for the appreciation of his verbal sensitivity.
  • 23 - Minor figures
    pp 467-494
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521210430.024
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter discusses the literary form Appendix Vergiliana and other minor forms especially epigram and elegy. It also describes didactic, mythological epic and tragedy, other drama, and historical epic. Virgilian authorship is claimed by external sources for the whole Catalepton, a title used, incidentally, by Aratus for a collection of short poems. A group of poems directly addressed to three of Virgil's associates: Octavius Musa, a historian who was involved in the land disputes around Mantua, and Varius and Tucca, Virgil's later editors. Antiquity had no specialized scientific or technological idiom, and writers of textbooks and tracts were for the most part at the mercy of rhetoric. Vitruvius, the author of books on architecture, left style to the experts and schools. Celsus is more stylistically accomplished than Vitruvius but now of greater interest to historians of medicine than students of literature.
  • 24 - Challenge and response
    pp 495-502
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521210430.025
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The first century of the Christian era has often been termed the' age of rhetoric'. Tacitus Dialogus is a valuable witness to the attitudes and aspirations of the first century. The arguments of Vipstanus Messalla have been cited to prove the corrupting effects of rhetorical education. For a professional poet in need of patronage the recitation must have been of some assistance. Statius, for instance, at one point refers to the fact that senators were in the habit of attending his readings and Juvenal, in sarcastic vein, confirms their success, though denying that they brought Statius any financial benefit. To see the literature of die first century in perspective, it seems best to bear in mind a number of disparate but possibly cumulative factors, educational, social, political and philosophical, all of which are, to a greater or lesser degree, relevant to die whole picture.

Page 1 of 2


This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.


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