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R. W. BROWNE, M. A., Ph. D.,
PREBENDARY OF ST. PAUL'S,
Meum semper judicium fuit, omnia nostros aut invenisse per se sapientius quam Græcos; aut
Cic. Tusc. Disp. I.
BLANCHARD AND LEA.
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.
The imperial city had been founded for upwards of five hundred
years without exhibiting more than those rudest germs of literary taste which are common to the most uncivilized nations, without producing a single author either in poetry or prose.
The Roman mind, naturally vigorous and active, was still uncultivated, when, about two centuries and a half before the Christian era, conquest made the inhabitants of the capital acquainted, for the first time, with Greek science, art, and literature; and the last rays of classic taste and learning ceased to illumine the Roman world before the accession of the Antonines.'
Such a history, however, must be introduced by a reference to times of much higher antiquity. The
B. C. 210; A. U. c. 514.
2 A. D. 138; A. U. c. 891.