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From An Introduction to the History of History, by James T. Shotwell; Columbia University Press; New York; 1922; pp. 211-224.





IF politics be the main theme of history in the antique world, it might seem reasonable to look for the greatest historians among the people who achieved the greatest political creation, the Romans. But although Rome furnished the lesson in practical statesmanship, both for antiquity and for succeeding ages, its achievement in history-writing is, upon the whole, poor and disappointing. It was a Greek, Polybius, who, as we have seen, wrote in the city of the Scipios the story of the emergence of the Latin people upon the theatre of world empire. Although Sallust, Livy and Tacitus rise to the height of national monuments, — Tacitus even higher still, — yet the two outstanding figures of Roman literature, throughout the Middle Ages as in Modern Times, are Vergil, the epic poet, and Cicero, the philosophic orator. There is a real significance in this; for in them, rather than in the historians, are typified the interests and attitudes of the intellectual Romans themselves, — in them and in that other still greater creation of the Latin genius, the Roman law. The extent of the failure of Romans in history-writing, when they had a theme the like of which had never been even dreamed of in the world before, is obscured by the individual genius of Tacitus. But from his time, — excepting Suetonius, who was partly contemporary, — to the fall of the empire at the end of the fourth century, when a simple, straightforward soldier, Ammianus Marcellinus, told of the wars on the frontier and the troubles at home, there “was not one author of talent to preserve in Latin the memory of the events that stirred the world of that period; but it was a Bithynian . . ., Dion Cassius of Nicæa, who, under the Severi, narrated the history of the Roman people.”1


Our sense of loss is probably lessened by the poor consolation that had a second Tacitus appeared and devoted himself to the larger theme disclosed by the passing centuries, he could hardly have succeeded, however great his genius, in dealing alone with so vast a subject. History, as has become clear from our survey of Greece, differs absolutely from poetry or philosophy in that it needs an apparatus for investigation. Philosophy may get a new grip upon the questions of reality from a Descartes divesting himself — or trying to do so — of the inheritance of past systems. But the historian can never work in isolation. The conditions under which Thucydides wrote justify the editor of the merest selections for college text-books in revising his story of the Peloponnesian war, and since the Romans failed to develop historical apparatus any more adequate for their purpose than that of the Greeks was for Thucydides, we should, at best, have had the same kind of exploit over again. From Thucydides to Ammianus Marcellinus stretch almost eight hundred years, during which ran the whole drama of the classic world. Yet little, if any, progress was made in the work of the historian. On the other hand, from the day of Niebuhr, hardly a century ago, to the present, the whole perspective of that antiquity has been remade, and a multitude of facts established which the antique historians should have known but had no way of finding out. Surely no greater proof is needed that history to be adequate differs from the rest of literature in that it is more science than art, a social rather than an individual product.

The sense of the mediocre character of the historical writings of Romans during the Republic, is brought out by Cicero in the one treatment of history and its possibilities which has come down to us in Latin literature. The setting is significant, for it occurs in his treatise, On the Orator,2 an imaginary dialogue, placed by Cicero in the Tusculan villa of Crassus in the year 91 B.C. The principal disputants were the two great orators Lucius Licinius Crassus and Marcus Antonius.3 The passage which deals with 213 history occurs in a most incidental way. Antonius has been speaking of the fact that no special training is needed by the orator to quote official documents in his speeches, — a point with which his interlocutor, Catalus,4 agrees:

“Well, then, to proceed,” said Antonius, “what sort of orator, or how great a master of language, do you think it requires to write history?” “If to write it as the Greeks have written, a man of the highest powers,” said Catulus; “if as our own countrymen, there is no need of an orator; it is sufficient for the writer to tell truth.”

This depreciation of the old Roman historiographers — for so mere truth telling is regarded — is apparently brought in to indicate the general opinion in which they were held in Cicero’s day. It draws from Antonius, however, the following justification of the Romans by way of a slight historical survey. The most noticeable point in this survey is the recognition upon the part of Cicero, — for of course it is Cicero who speaks, — that the development of historiography in Greece and Rome took place along exactly similar lines:

“But,” rejoined Antonius, “that you may not despise those of our own country, the Greeks themselves too wrote at first just like our Cato, and Pictor, and Piso. For history was nothing else but a compilation of annals; and accordingly, for the sake of preserving the memory of public events, the pontifex maximus used to commit to writing the occurrences of every year, from the earliest period of Roman affairs to the time of the Pontifex Publius Mucius,5 and had them engrossed on white tablets, which he set forth as a register in his own house, so that all the people had liberty to inspect it; and these records are yet called the Great Annals. This mode of writing many have adopted, and, without any ornaments of style, have left behind them simple chronicles of times, persons, places, and events. Such, therefore, as were Pherecydes, Hellanicus, Acusilas, and many others among the Greeks, are Cato, and Pictor, and Piso with us, who neither understand how composition is to be adorned (for ornaments of style have been but recently introduced among us), and, provided what they related can be understood, think brevity of expression the only merit. . . .”

We shall revert later to this account of the Annales Maximi, for it is a prime source, but what interests us here is to follow the clue which Cicero offers as to the reasons for the mediocrity of Roman history-writing. His whole interest is in the style of the 214 writers. The first step forward was, in his eyes, when Antipater, the instructor of the orator Crassus, adorned his narrative with rhetoric. Admittedly Antipater overdid it,6 but yet history at Rome did not amount to much before his time. The implication is clear, and is developed by Antonius. History is an art, and as such is to be compared with oratory; and the point is made that the Romans have failed to do it justice because they have concentrated too excessively upon forensic eloquence:

“It is far from being wonderful,” said Antonius, “if history has not yet made a figure in our language; for none of our countrymen study eloquence except to display it in pleading and in the forum; whereas among the Greeks, the most eloquent men, wholly unconnected with public pleading, sought to gain renown in other ways, such as writing history; for of Herodotus himself, who first lent distinction to this kind of writing, we hear that he was never engaged in pleading; yet his eloquence is so great as to delight me extremely, as far as I can understand Greek. After him, in my opinion, Thucydides has certainly surpassed all historians in the art of composition; for he has such a wealth of material, that he almost equals the number of his words by the number of his thoughts. He too, so far as we know, although he was engaged in public affairs, was not one of those who engaged in pleading; and he is said to have written his books at a time when he was removed from all civil employments, and, as usually happened to every eminent man at Athens, was driven into banishment. He was followed by Philistus of Syracuse, who, living in great familiarity with the tyrant Dionysius, spent his leisure in writing history, and, as I think, principally imitated Thucydides. Afterwards, two men of great genius, Theopompus and Ephorus, coming from what we may call the noblest school of rhetoric, applied themselves to history by the persuasion of their master Isocrates, and never attended to pleading at all. At last historians arose also among the philosophers; first Xenophon, the follower of Socrates, and afterwards Callisthenes, the pupil of Aristotle and companion of Alexander. The latter wrote in an almost rhetorical manner; the former used a milder strain of language, which has not the animation of oratory, but, though perhaps less energetic, is, as it seems to me, much more pleasing. Timæus, the last of all these, but, as far as I can judge, by far the most learned, and richest in subject matter and variety of thought, and not unpolished in style, brought a large store of eloquence to this kind of writing, but no experience in pleading causes.”7

There is a good deal to think about in this slight sketch. It is a chapter of the history of History in miniature, the first and only 215 one in Latin literature. Yet it deals with Greeks! Rome had as yet produced no such line of great historians. Sallust, Livy and Tacitus were yet to come. Cicero knew only one Latin name to match the Greeks, the elder Cato;8 and in judging him he used Hellenic standards. He recognized that the field of history is one by itself, and he had a real appreciation of its dignity, but after all, it did not interest him as did philosophy. He did not attempt to transmit to Rome the ideals of Thucydides, as he did those of the Platonic school of thinkers to whom he owed so much.9 Thucydides is “a wise and dignified narrator of facts,” but he “was never accounted an orator, ” and used hard and obscure sentences in his speeches; as for Xenophon, though “his style is sweeter than honey,” it is “as unlike as possible to the noisy style of the forum.” It is therefore a mistake, says Cicero, to imitate, as some do, the one or the other in the training of an orator.10

Once having got our bearings, that history is a useful art and that its chief use is to furnish inspiration or “points” to the orator, it is clear that rules should be at hand for its production, rules that the orator might readily apply. Yet no such treatment can be found among the works on rhetoric; and this leads Cicero to supply the need, in an oft-quoted passage:

“Who is ignorant that the first law in writing history is that the historian must not dare to say anything that is false, and the next, that he must dare to tell the truth? Also that there must be no suspicion of partiality or of personal animosity? These fundamental rules are doubtless universally known. The superstructure depends on facts and style. The course of facts (rerum ratio) requires attention to order of time and descriptions of countries; and since, in great affairs, such as are worthy of remembrance, we look first for the designs, then the actions, and afterwards the results, it should also show what designs the writer approves; and with regard to the actions, not only what was done or said, but in what manner; and when the result is stated, all the causes contributing to it, whether arising from accident, wisdom, or temerity. As to the characters concerned, not only their acts should be set forth but the life and manners of at 216 least those eminent in reputation and dignity. The sort of language and character of style to be observed must be regular and continuous, flowing with a kind of equable smoothness, without the roughness of judicial pleadings, and the sharp-pointed sentences used at the bar. Concerning all these numerus and important points, there are no rules, do you observe, to be found in the treatises of the rhetoricians. . . .”11

It is perhaps somewhat confusing, in an introductory chapter, to have the doors thus thrown open upon the central theme. But Cicero reveals more than he intends, and one sees from these slight sketches what there was in the Roman attitude toward history which determined its whole character. Two things stand out: the practical bent of the Roman, and his Greek education. History is an aid to statesmen and orators, furnishing examples of actions to emulate or avoid, or illustrations for speeches, which the user — if not the historian himself12 — may improve to suit the needs of an idea or phrase.13 Truth for truth’s sake is all right in its way; but truth that is apt and to the point, in debate or in practice, is worth more to a Roman. Now history abounds in truths that may be applied; the trouble is that in applying them one is likely to destroy the nexus of events and lose the sense of historical relationships, of that process, in short, which gives meaning to the whole.14 Pragmatic history, in spite of the plea of Polybius,15 is dangerous business. The practical Roman, however, was not so much interested in any other kind. And his native bent was not corrected by his Greek education. “Greece captive, captured Rome,” as the saying ran. And the Greeks who achieved this cultural triumph were the grammarians and rhetoricians who taught the Latins the arts of elegance and sophistication.16 The 217 effect of Greece upon Rome was seen in history as in poetry and in religion, a constant influence reaching all the way from the transformation of its early legends to embellishments of style in the later writers.

The legendary element of Roman history has little place in a history, for it is the most unhistorical product imaginable, being invention rather than folk-myths,17 and supplanting the simple annals of the poor by suggestions of strange adventures that linked the origins of Rome with the great days of Troy. To the Roman there was little worthy of record in the humble story of his little farmer-state, struggling with its neighbours of Latium. There are no contemporary legends of the long period of history in which Rome grew from a group of villages on the hills by the swampy back-water of the Tiber, to the chief city of the western plain. Contemporary data begin only when Rome was already conquering the Mediterranean.18 And as both Polybius and Livy “recognized as the chief principle of historical criticism that there can be no trustworthy and sincere history where there have not been contemporary historians”19 we may frankly and shortly dismiss, as not germane to our subject, the legendary heritage which Rome possessed from its earliest days. It remained for a Wissowa or a Fowler in our own day to recover, from the fragmentary remains of cult and myth, of law and custom, the living picture of that quaint if unheroic life of wattled hut and market-place which left its traces on the Roman character, but which the glamour of Greece and of Rome’s own great career obscured until the critics of the nineteenth century began their destructive and reconstructive work.20 218

If the legends of early Rome were unreal, even as legends, we need hardly delay over the way in which the epic poets immortalized them. And yet, this was history to Romans, almost, if not quite, as the Homeric poems were to Greeks. Indeed, the epos of Rome was a recurring echo of the great voice of Homer. It was not necessarily due to any inherent weakness of the Roman imagination, as is often supposed; nor to any abstract nature of the Italian gods;21 it was rather due to the absence of a great adventure. There was no racial sense among the dwellers of Latium as among the Greeks; they had no “barbarian” world against which to sharpen their national consciousness. Moreover, they were conquered by Etruscans and the greatest age of the early period was under foreign kings. Hence there was little chance for an epic of glorious war. As for the abstract deities, the gods of early peoples are not abstract; we are beginning now to understand better the cults and faith of early Rome. There were no great divine happenings, simply because the worshippers had done nothing heroic; for the myth of the gods is a reflection of the human story. The deities of Rome were obscure, not abstract. Later, there was no need to invent new epic poetry when that of Greece had been captured, and brought home along with the rest of the booty.22

The first of the predecessors of Vergil was Andronicus (c. 284-204 B.C.), who translated the Odyssey into Latin. The wanderings of Ulysses into those western seas which wash the shores of Italy, rather than the siege of Troy itself, was the suggestive theme 219 for Italians. Then came Nævius (d. 199 B.C.), who wrote the story of the first Punic war, which he had himself seen, in “the style of a mediæval chronicle, but with a rhyming, mythological framework, after the Homeric manner (Juno as the enemy, Venus as the friend of the Trojans, Jupiter and Apollo taking personal part in the action).”23 But the one who more than any other, except Vergil himself, fastened the poetic legend of Trojan origins upon Roman history was Ennius (d. 169 B.C.), whose Annales were placed by Cicero on the plane of the history of Herodotus for reliability,24 whom Livy used as a source, and upon whom Vergil built. He traced the history of Rome from the landing of Æneas in Italy down to his own time, at the end of the second century B.C. Ennius was considerably more of a historian than one would at first suspect from the medium he used, for he availed himself of the Homeric device of accumulating lists and exact data in order to record not imaginary but historical or at least legendary material.25 His narrative was influenced by his intimate relations with the older Scipio Africanus, and tends to take the side of the Scipios in the politics of the great Roman houses, as against the Fabians, who had as their exponent the first Roman historian — to be considered in the following chapter — Q. Fabius Pictor. Ennius was successful in outbidding Pictor in popularity, and the story of the old families as preserved in later days obscured the exploits of the Fabians. But the creator of the Latin hexameter, for Ennius has that distinction, did not allow these clannish interests to obscure the main one, which was the history of Rome itself. We come at the outset, therefore, upon the striking fact that in poetry as in prose, from first to last, the chief aim of Latin literature, responsive to the demands of national outlook, is the exaltation of the state.

The culmination of the poetic legend in Latin was, of course, Vergil’s Æneid. Merely to recall it here shows how far from the narrow paths of history those delusive, quasi-historical interests take us, which linked the Rome of Augustus with the story of its origins. It was a work of genius to carry into the sophisticated 220 age of the Principate the simplicity and charm of a tale of the olden time; to recreate Homer, as it were, consciously, and to impress both for his own time and succeeding ages a sense of reality upon mere poetic imaginings by the sheer, inevitable quality of art. Yet this assent which he won for a fabricated myth was secured less by the Homeric power of narrative than by stirring the emotions of readers over the fate of his characters. St. Augustine tells us how deeply he was affected, as a youth, by the story of Dido dying for the love of Æneas, a tale with a charm to rival the Christian epos.26 Vergil shows how human sympathy may translate even the grotesque into the field of experience. Next to this emotional suggestiveness must be mentioned the religious quality of Vergil’s mind, that pietas or reverence, which calls forth a responsive note wherever the universal “will to believe” is supported by emotion. It was reverence for the greatness in Rome’s destiny which tinged even the remote distances with dignity, while the spell of the past lent, in turn, to the present a gleam of poetry and romance. Moreover, the narrative, varied as it was from simple, natural scenes, in keeping with the quiet of the poet’s own temper, to the splendor of imperial visions, offered a pageant of life and color which, until then, was unknown to Latin literature. It is small wonder, therefore, that the myth content of the Æneid became fixed upon Rome as a substitute for history.

If consideration of the myths of Rome has carried us over into the field of Latin poetry, before we have so much as secured a foothold in that of history proper, we may as well profit by the occasion, before turning to the sober beginnings of prose annals, to consider here a poem which stands apart from all others, not only in Latin, but in the world’s literature, and which is of deep and lasting interest to thoughtful students of history — the poem of Lucretius, On the Nature of Things (De Rerum Natura. If Vergil stands with Homer, in epic power and universality of appeal, Lucretius suggests comparison rather with Dante or Milton, both in the sombre “fanatical faith” in his scheme of the universe, and in his sense of a religious mission, to rid the world of superstition.27 221 But the vision of the great world which he proposed to substitute for that of popular imagination was not, as in the case of Dante or Milton, merely a reinterpretation of accepted beliefs, refined through Aristotelian or biblical media. Lucretius proposed to dispense with myth entirely; and, many centuries before its day, wrote in terms of science. It is a poem for the twentieth century, in this sense perhaps the most marvellous performance in all antique literature. Any survey of antique processes of mind as they bear upon the development of historical outlook would be sadly incomplete without an examination of De Rerum Natura.

Of the life of Lucretius Carus (c. 95-55 B.C.) little is known.28 The one poem which has been left us appeared just before Vergil’s day, and, “though it not only revealed a profound and extraordinary genius, but marked a new technical level in Latin poetry, stole into the world all but unnoticed,”29 whereas the Æneid was produced (and even preserved)30 under the direct patronage of Augustus. In neither style nor message was there any of the appealing charm of Vergil; but a scheme of the world based upon Epicurean philosophy, cast into a ringing, if metallic, verse. Much of this lies outside our field; we are not concerned here with atomistic theories nor with the fate of the dead, nor even with the effort to justify man’s place in the universe by displacing superstition and the fear of the gods. But there is more than a philosophy of history in the marvellous fifth book, which traces the birth of the world and then, after the scientific postulates of creation, attempts a survey of the beginnings of life, of men, and of civilization. Strongly countering that natural tendency to look backward to a golden age, a dawn of innocence in an Eden of the gods, such as the Jews or Greeks had accepted, Lucretius begins with the slow evolution of life from lower forms to higher; first vegetable, then animal; then primitive 222 man, suffering much but living a wild and hardy life. The beginning of civilization and the central fact of social origins according to Lucretius, as also according to the sociologists today, was the discovery and use of fire; it came, not as a gift of a god, but either from lightning setting trees aflame, or from the friction of dry boughs in the wind. No Vulcan brought fire and its blessings to men; natural causes led to its discovery. Then control of metals brought an ever-enlarging control over nature; and with settled life came politics and the state, the arts and sciences. Even religion had a natural origin, although, through dreams by night and the awe engendered by mystery, mankind created its gods by its own imaginings and so obscured the patent but elusive truth. This generalized plan of human advance is not a history in the narrower sense; but where such a genius as that of Lucretius illustrates the process, it offers the historian more suggestion than he sometimes proves worthy of receiving. We may, therefore, close this chapter by quoting a section or two from the one poet-critic and philosophic thinker of antiquity who eliminated from his mind that entire myth-picture of social origins which, in one form or another, obscured with its mirage the vision of all antiquity; and who, by so doing, anticipated much of modern discovery.

Quotation from Lucretius is difficult, both because the expression itself is often involved and because the poem so holds together that extracts fail to carry the argument. But one may catch a glimpse of its graphic power from the lines which describe the various possible ways in which the smelting of metals may have been learned:

“  . . . copper and gold and iron were discovered, and with them the weight of silver and the usefulness of lead, when a fire had burnt down vast forests with its heat on mighty mountains, either when heaven’s lightning was hurled upon it, or because waging a forest-war with one another men had carried fire among the foe to rouse panic, or else because allured by the richness of the land they desired to clear the fat fields, and make the countryside into pastures, or else to put the wild beasts to death, and enrich themselves with prey. For hunting with pit and fire arose first before fencing the grove with nets and scaring the beasts with dogs. However that may be, for whatever cause the flaming heat had eaten up the forests from their deep roots with terrible crackling, and had baked the earth with fire, the streams of silver and gold, and likewise of copper and lead, gathered together and trickled from the 223 boiling veins into hollow places in the ground. And when they saw them afterwards hardened and shining on the ground with brilliant hue, they picked them up, charmed by their smooth bright beauty, and saw that they were shaped with outline like that of the several prints of the hollows. Then it came home to them that these metals might be melted by heat, and would run into the form and figure of anything, and indeed might be hammered out and shaped into points and tips, however sharp and fine, so that they might fashion weapons for themselves, and be able to cut down forests and hew timber and plane beams smooth, yea, and to bore and punch and drill holes. And, first of all, they set forth to do this no less with silver and gold than with the resistless strength of stout copper; all in vain, since their power was vanquished and yielded, nor could they like the others endure the cruel strain. Then copper was of more value, and gold was despised for its uselessness, so soon blunted with its dull edge. Now copper is despised, gold has risen to the height of honor. So rolling time changes the seasons of things. What was of value, becomes in turn of no worth; and then another thing rises up and leaves its place of scorn, and is sought more and more each day , and when found blossoms into fame, and is of wondrous honour among men.”31

Then follow a disquisition on the art of war and a rapid series of pictures of the various states of social development, pastoral, agricultural and urban, ending with the luxuries of civilization.

“So, little by little, time brings out each several thing into view, and reason raises it up onto the coasts of light.”32

The pathway to those coasts of light, which Lucretius pointed out, unhappily lay untravelled; and there was ample justification for the poignant lines which he interjected into the sketch of history, when treating of the origins of religion — lines which match the noblest protests of reason in the face of mystery in all literature:

“Ah! unhappy race of men, when it has assigned such acts to the gods and joined therewith bitter anger! what groaning did they then beget for themselves, what sores for us, what tears for our children to come! Nor is it piety at all to be seen often with veiled head turning towards a stone, and to draw near to every altar, no, nor to be prostrate on the ground with outstretched palms before the shrines of the gods, nor to sprinkle the altars with the streaming blood of beasts, nor to link vow to vow; but rather to be able to contemplate all things with a mind at rest.”33


But the mind of Lucretius was not “at rest.” Such gloomy might is not serenity. Its very poise is protest — protest against that “will to believe” which is the universal barrier to science. No wonder the world at large shrank from such stern rationalism, and preferred the genial, mythical stories of Vergil.


  1  F. Cumont, The Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism, p. 7, where the debt of Rome to the Orient is brilliantly summarized.

  2  Cicero, De Oratore, Bk. II, Chap. XII. It was published by Cicero 55 B.C. The extracts quoted here are from the translation by J. S. Watson in Bohn’s Classical Library, a somewhat literal rendering.

  3  Grandfather of the triumvir.

  4  Consul with Marius, at te time of the battle with the Cimbri.

  5  Publius Mucius Scævola. Vide infra, Chap. XIX.

  6  Cicero, op. cit., Bk. II, Chap. XIII.

  7  Cicero, De Oratore, Bk. II, Chap. XIII-XIV. (Translation based on Watson’s.)

  8  Vide infra, Chap. XIX.

  9  Cf. Cicero, Orator, Chaps. III-IV: “I confess that I have been made an orator (if indeed I am one at all, or such as I am), not by the workshop of the rhetoricians, but by the works of the Academy.” It is philosophy that stirs the imagination of the great orator, and imagination is the main thing in eloquence (not facts!).

10   Cicero, Orator, Chap. IX. The admission of this vogue is as significant as Cicero’s comment.

11   Cicero, De Oratore, Bk. II, Chap. XV. (Translation based on Watson’s.)

12  Cf. Quintilian’s dictum, De Institutione Oratoria, Bk. X, Chap. I, Sect. 31: “Historia . . . . scribitur ad narrandum non ad probandum.”

13  Cf. Cicero, Brutus, Chap. XI. “It is the privilege of rhetoricians to exceed the truth of history that they may have the opportunity of embellishing the fate of their heroes.”

14  In other words, destroy the history. Vide infra, Chap. I, for definition.

15  It would be interesting to speculate as to how much of Polybius’ pragmatism is a reflection of Roman influence.

16  Philosophy proper was best to be studied by travel, especially by going to Athens, much as many Americans have gone to Europe for their post-graduate studies.

Cf. H. Peter, Die geschichtliche Litteratur über die römische Kaiserzeit bis Theodosius I und ihre Quellen (2 vols., 1897), Vol. I, Chap. I (Die Geschichte in der Jugenbildung.)

17  Cf. W. Soltau, Die Anfänge der roemischen Geschichtschreibung (1909), pp. 1-4. Only the scientific mind has a sense of the significance of the obscure. So long as history is considered as primarily one of the literary arts such things escape it.

18  Ibid., p. 228.

19  E. Pais, Ancient Legends of Roman History (1905), p. 12.

20  This is not the place for a comprehensive survey of the remaking of early Roman history. The groundwork of historical criticism was laid by Louis de Beaufort, in his Dissertation sur l’incertitude des cinq premiers siècles de l’histoire romaine (1738). B. G. Niebuhr’s great work is still of absorbing interest. The first two volumes of his Römische Geschichte appeared in 1812, a third in 1832, and his Lectures in 1846. The reaction against his negative criticism has generally taken the line that the growth of Rome might be traced fairly well through an analysis of its institutions. T. Mommsen’s Römische Geschichte (1st ed., 1854-1856) deliberately ignored the early period as unhistorical, but even the credit which he was willing to allow the later sources on the regal era (in his various studies), has been denied by the vigorous skepticism of E. Pais, Ancient Legends of Roman History, Chap. I (The Critical Method.) See recent manuals of Roman History, especially W. Ihne’s History of Rome (1871-1882), and the article in Encyclopaedia Britannica, Roman History, where there is a short but excellent history of Roman historiography.

21  Cf. Teuffel-Schwabe, History of Roman Literature, Vol. I, Sect. 20.

22  There is no argument for any native lack of inventive capacity in the Romans because they appropriated Greek culture. Compare America today, which copies everything European, down to millinery. Yet we like to think that our inventive faculties are still available and could be shifted to other uses than those of business, in case of need. The point is that circumstances rather than natural capacity dictate our activities.

23  Teuffel-Schwabe, History of Roman Literature, Vol. I, Sect. 95, n. 8.

24  Cicero, De Divinatione, Bk. II, Chap. LVI.

25  Cf. H. Peter, Wahrheit und Kunst, pp. 278-279.

26  Augustine, Confessiones, Bk. I, Chap. XIII.

27  Cf. A. W. Verrall, in A Companion to Latin Studies, edited by J. E. Sandys (2d ed., 1913), pp. 612-613.

28  The brief notice in St. Jerome’s Chronicle, stating that he lost his reason through a drug and wrote in the intervals of sanity, and that Cicero with his own hand edited the poem, while practically the only account we have, is open to suspicion on each of the three supposed facts which it supplies. The account in J. W. Mackail’s Latin Literature, Bk. I, Chap. IV, while short, is satisfactory. For detailed bibliography, see Teuffel-Schwabe, op. cit.

29  J.W. Mackail, op. cit., p. 40.

30  Vergil, dying before he had the chance to work it over as he wished, had left instructions that it should be destroyed. Augustus countermanded these orders.

31  Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, Bk. V, ll. 1241-1280, translated by C. Bailey, 1910. (Reprinted by permission of the Clarendon Press.)

32  Ibid., Bk. V, ll. 1454-1455.

33  Ibid., Bk. V, ll. 1194-1203.


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