Johann Joachim Eschenburg.

Manual of classical literature : from the German of J.J. Eschenburg, with additions online

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attested by a plaintiff; L. famosi, pasquinades
or libels ; L. gladiatorii, bills or advertisements
distributed by those who gave gladiatorial

Libellus memorialis, a pocket-book ; L. ratio-
nulls, an account book ; L. appellatorius, an ap-
peal from a judicial sentence.

Librarii, transcribers; applied also to those
who bound books ; and sometimes to those who
had the care of libraries (bibliothecurii).
Libraria (taberna understood), book-shop.

I Librarium, a chest for holding books.

Litercp, usually epistles, but often any kind
of writing; hence put for learning.

I Opisthographiis, written on both sides.

Pagina, a page ; primarily, a sheet of the

{papyrus; i. q. plagula described above (1); ra-

\mentum, cutis, corium, tmnia, are applied by
Pliny to the same.

I Palimpsestus (codex), a manuscript on which
the first writing was obliterated in order thaJ
it mi^ht be used again. This was effected by
removing the surface of the parchment, or by
some chemical process. Cf. $ 84.

I Pergamena, see Charta.

j Pugillares, small writing tables, of oblong
form, made of citron, boxwood, or ivory, and
covered with wax. The Romans usiialjy car-
ried such tablets with them; a slave (notariusX
was often employed to note down what they

I Tiihella, a small tablet, with the name of a

i candidate, or some formula, inscribed; used iP

. voting. Cf. P in. $ 239


Tabula, any flat substance used for writing
upon, whether stone or metal, or wood covered
witli wax. That covered with wax was some-
times made of ivory or citron-wood, but more
commonly of beech or fir. The form was ob-
long. When two tablets were united i.diptycha,
(JiTrrvxa), the outside of each consisted merely
of the wood; the inside was covered with wax,
excepting a raised margin all around ik When
three tablets were united (triptycha, Tpinrvxa),
the interior tablet was covered wiih wax on
both sides. They were fastened together by

the museum at Pest. One is of beech wood,
the other of fir, about the size which we term
small octavo. The wax is almost of a black
color, spread rather thin, especially on the
beechen tablets, on which the stylus of the
writer in some places cut through the wax into
the wood. See j 133. 7. — Sometimes four or five
tablets (.peniaptycha), or even more ipvlij.tycha),
were joined together. Such tablets coiitmued
to be used in the middle ages; a specimen, he-
loiitiing to A. U. 1301, is preserved in the Flo-
rentine Museum. — The form of such tablets ia

wires or strings passing through the margins, ! seen in Plate XXX Vll. fig. 2— Forms of the

and forming a sort of hinges ; and were opened
and shut like a modern book. Two or more
tablets thus united formed a libellus ; some-
times termed pugillares. — Two triptychs, or
books consisting of three tablets as here de-
scribed, were found some years ago in the
mines of ancient Dacia, and are preserved in

style used, in the same Plate

Theca calamario, the case for the calamus or
stylus. The style was sometimes, under provo-
cation, used as a weapon; hence, as has been
sup()osed, the stiletto of the modern Italians.

Vellum (Vitulinum), the skins of calves pre-
pared as material for manuscripts.

III. — Of the most JlourisJiing period of Roman Literature.

§ 119. The conquest of IMagna Graecia, as has been mentioned, made the Ro-
mans more acquainted with the letters and arts of the Greek colonies in the
south of Italy. After the first Punic war, and especially after the subjection of
Sicily, B. C. 212, where also, particularly at Syracuse, Greek letters flourished,
the influence of these subject states upon their mistress was great in respect to
intellectual culture. Poets, orators, and grammarians from the conquered coun-
tries removed to Rome and inspired many of her citizens with a love of litera-

§ 120 u. From this period, Roman literature made rapid and remarkable progress.
They began more to admire poetry, especially dramatic, and to study with more care the
principles of their language. They also became acquaitited with the Grecian philosophy.
What contributed very much to this last, was the visit of three Greek philosophers,
Carneades, Diogenes, and Critolaus, who came to Rome on an embassy, B. C. 155.
These men, (cf. P. V. % 408,) notwithstanding the efforts made by Cato to shorten
their stay and to prevent their teaching their doctrines, excited great interest in the
Greek philosophy. The Romans now also began to set more value upon the art of
oratory ; to apply themselves to historical researches ; and to look upon the sttidy of
jurisprudence as a favorable means for improving their welfare. After the taking of
Carthage, and especially after the subjection of Greece, Rome enjoyed more of peace,
together with the numerous advantages she had gained by her conquests ; then followed
the reign of the sciences and fine arts, and that brilliant period, which is called the
golden age of her literature.

See Abbt le Maine, and /. B. Eberhardt, as cited P V. § 294.

§ 121. The most brilliant age of Roman literature commenced with the cap-
ture of Corinth and Carthage, B. C. 146, and continued to the death of Augustus,
the first emperor, A. D. 14, comprising a period of 159 years. The progress
of the Romans in the sciences and arts was now so great, that it has excited
the admiration of posterity, and secured them a rank among the distinguished
nations of antiquity, second only to the Greeks. Among the causes of this re-
markable advancennent, must be mentioned the comparative tranquillity of the
period, the greatness of the empire, the custom of imitating the best Grecian
models, and those changes in the Roman constitution and policy with regard to
the arts and sciences, by which these not only obtained tolerance, but enjoyed
protection, respect, and the most flattering encouragement.

§ 122. It was thus, that the productions of genius came to the greatest perfection,
that the language was enriched, and poetry took a novel and more brilliant form,
particularly in the reign of Augustus. The art of oratory presented a vast field for
the intellect, and held a superior rank. History acquired more of dignity and
mterest. Philosophy in all its sects adopted the Grecian method of instruction,
and received the most encouraging attention. The Mtthematics, which hitherto
had been limited to arithmetic and the elements of geometry, obtained far greater

2 h2


extent and perfection. To medicine and jurisprudence were imparted more so-
lidity and exactness in tlieir application. This progress became still more
rapid and universal, as these acquirements extended through different classes
of citizens, and Romans of the highest rank, and even the rulers themselves,
engaged in literary pursuits, or at least considered it their glory to favor and
encourage them. ^

§ 123. The progress of improvement was specially manifest in the system of
education. It was no longer limited to the bodily powers and the art of war.
Every faculty of the mind was developed, as among the Greeks, who were in
this as in other things the masters and models of the Romans. The first instruc-
tion of the Romans was received from Greeks, and Grecian letters and arts
constituted the principal study. Hence their evident imitation of the Greeks,
whom however they did not servilely copy, but infused into their imitations
their own spirit and genius. In the same manner as the Greeks, the Romans
also had their contests or trials of skill in oratory, poetry, and music, their public
recitals, their professed readers, and their literary feasts; and the sciences were
not limited to particular classes or professions, any more than among the Greeks.
The knowledge which they considered suitable to every condition, and worthy
of a man of noble birth, and of good capacity, education and manners, they
called by way of eminence, artes liberales, studia humanilatis.

See CeUarii Diss, de studiis RomaQorem lilerariis. Hal. 1698. 4.— Also contained in Cdlarii Antiq. Rom. edited by WdUh. Hal.
1774. 8.

§ 124. In these studies we must include the instruction given by the Gram-
marians and Rhetoricians, who were also styled professores, literati, and Utera-
tores. These latter instructed not only in the elements of the Latin and Greek lan-
guage, but also in the principles of poetry and oratory, the principal works of
which they analyzed and explained. Of declamation, or public oratorical re-
hearsals, there was a frequent practice. Not only children and youth, but men
of parts and education, assisted in these exercises. Besides this encouragemen*
the instructors received recompenses and favors, and sometimes even shared in
the highest dignities of state. The first Grammarian, who taught in Rome with
success, was the Grecian Crates from Mallos (cf. P. V. § 418). After him
L. Flofius became one of the most celebrated in that profession; and he was the
first who taught the art of oratory in the Latin language.

§ 125. Many public schools (scholae, hidi, perguJse niagistrales) were established,
in consequence of the great number of these grammarians, which at length in-
creased, so that many were obliged to leave Rome, and spread themselves in
upper Italy. One of the most celebrated of the schools was that instituted at a
later period by the emperor Adrian. It was held in a large edifice, called the
Atheneum, partly devoted also to public recitals and declamations, and was
continued under the name o( Schola Romana, until the time of the first Christian
emperors. There was also an establishment of the kind in the Capitolium. In
addition to these, some temples, as that of Apollo, for example, formed halls of
assembly, for the purpose of rehearsal. And in the Gymnasia, there were vari-
ous intellectual as well as bodily exercises. The methods of instruction, par-
ticularly in the study of philosophy, where similar to those of the Greeks. (Cf.
§> 71—73.)

1. In the temple of Apollo, built by Augustus on the Palatine hill, authors, particu-
larly poets, used to recite their composition before select judges. They were there said
to be matched or contrasted, committi, or to contrast their works, opera commiltere.
Hence the word commisp.iones was used to signify showy declamations.

Cf. Jav. vi. 435.— Sitf/. Aug. 45, S9 Claud. 4. 53.— Aaudet, Sur I'instruction publique chez les anciens, particulierement les
Romains. Mem. de TImtitut Classe (THM. et Lit. Anc vol. ix. p. 388.— i. Rjderer, De ScholasL Romanor. Institutione.
Bonn. 1828. 4.

2. The following extract, from Keniiett's Antiquities, will give further particulars
respecting the education of the Romans.

"For masters, in the first place, tiiey had the Literatores or TpatiyLari(jra\, who taught the
children to read and write ; to these they were committed about the age of six or seven years.
Beins come from under their care, they were sent to the grammar schools, to learn the art of
speaking w^U, and the Hnderstanding of authors; or more frequently in the houses of great
men, some jminent grammarian was entertained for that employment.— It is pleasant to con-
sider, what prudence was used in these early years to instil into tlie children'.^ nimds a love


and inclination to the Fornm, whence they were to expect the greatest share of their honora
and preferments. For Cicero tells Atticus, in his second book De Lepibus, that when they were
boys they used to learn the famous laws of the Twelve Tables by heart, in the same manner ag
they did an excellent poem. And Plutarch relates, in his life of the younger Cato, that the very
children had a play in which they acted pleading of causes before the judges; accusing one an-
other, and carrying the condemned party to prison. — The masters already mentioned, together
with the instructors in the several sorts of manly exercises fur the improving of their natural
strength and force, do not properly deserve that name, if set in view with the rhetoricians and
philosophers; who, after that reason had displayed her faculties, and established her command,
were employed to cultivate and adnrn the advaniages of nature, and to give the last hand to-
wards the forming of a Roman citizen. Few persons made any great figure on the scene of
action in their own time, or in history afterwards, who, besides the constant frequenting of public
lectures, did not keep with them in the house some eminent professor of oratory or wisdom.

At the age of seventeen years, when the youne gentlemen put on the manly gown, they were
brought in a solemn manner to the forum, and entered in the study of pleading ; not or\ly if they
designed to make this their chief profession, but although their inclinations lay rather to the
camp. For we scarce meet with a good captain who was not a good speaker, or any eminent
orator who had not served some time in the army. Thus it was requisite for all persons who
had any thoughts of rising in the world, to make a good appearance, both at the bar and in the
field ; because if the success of their valor and conduct should advance them to any considerable
post, it would have proved almost impossible, without the advantage of eloquence, to maintain
their authority with the senate and people ; or if the force of their oratory should in time pro-
cure them the honorable office of praetor or consul, they would not have been in a capacity to
undertake the government of the provinces (which fell to their share at the expiration of those
employments) without some experience in military command.

In the dialogue de Oratoribus, we have a very good account of this admission of young gentle-
men into the forum, and of the necessity of such a course in the coninumwealih. — "Among our
ancestors," says the author, "the youth who was designed for the forum, and the practice of
eloquence, being now furnished with the liberal arts, and the advantage if a domestic institu-
tion, was brought by his father or near relations to the most celebrated orator in the city. Him
he used constantly to attend, and to be always present at his ps^rformance of any "kind, either
injudicial matters, or in the ordinary assemblies of the people, so that by this means he learned
to engage in the laurels and contentions of the bar, and to approve himself a man at arms in the
wars of the pleaders."

To confirm the opinion of their extreme industry and perpetual study and labor, it may not
seeni impertinent to instance in the three common exercises of translating, declaiming, and re-
citing. — Travslaiion, the ancient orators of Rome looked on as a most useful, though a most
laborious employment. All persons that applied themselves to the bar, proposed commonly
some one orator of Greece for their constant pattern; either Lysias, Hyperides, Deniosthenc-s,
or .aCschines, as their genius was inclined. Ilim they continually studied, and, to render them-
selves absolute masters fif hi.s excellencies, were always making hitii speak their own tongue.
This Cicero, Qniniilian, and Pliny Junior, enjoin as an indispensable duty, in order to the ac-
quiring any talent in eloquence. And the first of these great men, besides his many versions
of the orators for his private use, obliged tlie public with the translation of several parts of Plato
and Xenophon in prose, and of Homer and Aratus in verse.

As to declaiminir, this was not only the main thing at which they labored under the masters
of rhetoric, but what they practiced long after they undertook real causes, and had gained a
considerable name in the forum. Suetonius, in his book of famous rhetoricians, t,-?lls us that
Cicero declaimed in Greek till he was elected prretor, and in Latin till near his death ; that
Pompey the Great, just at the breaking out of the civil war, resumed his old exercise of declaim-
ing, that he might the more easily be able to deal with Curio, who undertook the defence of
CsEsar's cause, in his public harangues; that Mark Antony and Augustus did not lay aside this
custom, even when they were engaged in the siege of Mutina ; ani that Nero was not only
constant at his declamations while in a private station, but for the first year after his advance-
ment to the empire.— It is worth remarking, that the subject of these old derlamations was not
a mere fanciful thesis, but a case which might be brought into the courts of judicature.

When I speak of recitation, I intend not to insist on the public performances of the poets in
that kind, for which purpose they commonly borrowed the house of some of their noblest pa-
trons, and carried on the whole matter before a vast concourse of people, and with abundance
of ceremony. For, considering the ordinary circumstances of men of that profession, this may
be thouzht not so much the effect of an industrious temper, as the necessary way of raising a
name among the wits, and getting a tolerable livelihood. I Vv^ould mean, therefore, the re-
hearsal of all manner of compositions in prose or verse, performed by men of some rank and
quality, before they obliged the world with their publication. This was ordinarily done in the
meeting of friends and acquaintances, and now and then with the admission of a more numerous
audience. The design they chiefly aimed at was the correction and improvement of the piece;
for the author, having a greater awe and concern upon him on these occasions than at other
times, must needs take more notice of every word and sentence, while he spoke them before the
company, than he did in the composure, or in the common supervisal. Besides, he had the
advantage of all his friends' judgments, whether intimated to him afterwards in private con-
ference, or tacitly declared at ihe'recital by their looks and nods, with many other tokens of dis-
like and approbation. (Cf $ 07.)

The example of the younger Pliny, in this practice, is very observable, and the account which
we have of it is given us by himself. " I oinit (says he, Ej>. vii. 17) no way or method that may
seem proper for correction. And first I take a strict view of what I have written, and consider
thoroughly of the whole piece ; in the next place. I read it over to two or three friends, and soon
after send it to others for the benefit of their observations. If I am in any doubt concerning
their criticisms, 1 take in the assistance of one or two besides myself, to judge and debate the
matter. Last of all, I recite before a great number; and this is the time that 1 furnish myself
with the severest emendations."

On Ihc rehearsals of the Romans, see Gierig, as cited § I2S. 3.— Cf. I'liny, Ep. i. 13. — For snme remarks on Roman education, se«
OvocTs Book of Nature, Lect. xi. — On Roman education in lime of Quintilian, R Uin, on the Latin Rhetoricians, in his Anc Hist
St N. York, IS35, ii. p. 552.— Sdiwartz Erriehun^slehre, cited § 75. vol. i. p. 431.


§ 126. Collections of books were considerably numerous at Rome. The firsi
private library is said lo have been that which P. Emilius founded B. C. 167,
immediately after the Macedonian war; which, however, could not have been
very large. More extensive was the library which Sylla brought with him from
the capture of Athens, which included the rich collection of Apellicon. But
this did not equal the magnificence of the famous library of Lucullus, obtained
in the Mithridatic war. Besides these there were several other distinguished
private libraries, many citizens having them at their country villas. The first
public library was founded by Jlsinius Follio, in the hall of the temple of Liberty,
on Mount Aventine. One of the most celebrated was that founded by Augustus
in the temple of Apollo on Mount Palatine. Another particularly celebrated
was the Ulpine library founded by Trajan, and afterwards located in the Baths
of Diocletian. There were also other public libraries, as for example, in the
Capitol, in the temple of Peace, and in a building adjoining the theatre of Mar-

1. Varro is said to have collected a very valuable library, which was open to the use
of literary men. Cicero and Atticus also possessed considerable libraries. Tyrannio,
a native of Pontus, who was taken prisoner by Lucullus and brought to Rome as a
slave, and who having received his freedom, engaged in teaching rhetoric and grammar,
is said to have acquired by his earnings a library of 30,000 volumes.

2. We cannot infer with certainty the number either of different authors, or of different works,
contained in a librarj', from the number of volumes mentioned ; as often only one author, or one
work even, was comprised in many volumes. The same work was iro doubt found in various
libraries, and duplicates might exist in the same library. How many of the volumes enumerated
in the different libraries of Rome were tilled, for example, with the poems of Virgil 1 — A recent
writer has estimated that, at the end of the second century, when there were probably about
three millions of Christians in the Roman empire, there were about 60.000 copies of the Gospels
in use among them. Allowing that each gospel constituted but a single voluuie, this would
make 240,000 voluntes, in existence, for only four ditl'erent authors.

"i u. Generally libraries (bibliolheccB) occupied one of the principal apartments in the
edifices and palaces of the Romans, usually in the eastern side of the building. They
were ornamented with paintings and with statues and busts of distinguished writers.
The books were ranged along the walls in cases {armaria, rapsa), which were numbered
and had subdivisions {foruli, loculamenta, nidi) . Gratnmarians, and Greek slaves or
freedmen, were appointed for the librarians {hihliolhecarii) .

A. Norton, Evidences of ttie GeDuinen»ss of Itie Gospels, Bost. 1S37. 8. p 45. ss.— See Hea-eii's Gesch. Klass. Lit bk. i. §§ 8-lS,
ciled § 53.— Siiu. LUrKn, De templn el bibliotheca Apolliiiis Palatini. Franequ. 1719. 9.—Sch'U, Hist. Litt. Grecqu^■, liv v. ch. 50.
—Dunlop, Hist Rom. Lit. ii. 50.—/. H Fels, De As. Pollionis bibliottieca, &c. Jen. 1713. i.— Plutarch, in Lticullus—Poppe,
Tie Romanor. Bibliothecis. Berl. 1;26. 4.

§ 127. To these various means of improvement we must add travels, by which
not only professed men of letters, but also persons of distinguished rank, ex -
tended their information and perfected their taste. At this time, education and
knowledge were no longer restricted so much as formerly by national prejudice.
The Romans began more and more to appreciate the merits of foreigners, and
to reap advantages from their intercourse with them. For this reason they re-
sorted to Athens, the seat of Grecian refinement. They went also to Lacedemon,
Rhodes, Eleusis, Alexandria, Mytilene, and other places. Cicero, Sallust,
Vitruvius, Virgil, Propertius, and others thus went abroad for improvement.

See G. N, Kriegh, Diatribe de Veterum Romanorum peregrinationibus academicis. Jen. 1704. 4.

IV. — Of ike decline of Roman Literature.

§ 128 /. Roman literature, from the latter part of the first century after Christ,
began to decline very sensibly from its height of glory and perfection. Its de-
cline became, from the concurrence of many causes, more rapid than had been
its former progress and iinprovement. We must place among these causes the
loss of liberty and the triumph of despotism; the little encourasement given to
literature by most of the emperors succeeding Augustus; the great increase of
^uxury, and the consequent universal degeneracy of manners. The changes in
the moral and political condition of Rome paralyzed the nobler motives, which


had stimulated the citizens. Pure taste and delicate sensibility were gradually
lost. Gaudy ornament was admired rather than real beauty. Affectation was
substituted for nature, and the subtleties of sophistry for true philosophy. F'inally
the invasions of the barbarians, the frequent internal commotions, the conflict
of Christianity with pao-an superstition (§ 83), the transfer of the imperial throne
to Constantinople, and the division of the empire, consummated that fall of Ro-
man literature, for which so many united causes had prepared the way.

See Meiners, Geschichte des VerfalU der Sitteii und der Staatsverfassunj der Romer, Lpz. 1782. 8.

1. The decline of Roman Hterature may be dated from the end of the rei>n of Au-
gustus, A. D. 14 ; and its history is considered as terminated with the overthrow of the
western empire, A. D. 476. The whole time intervening is commonly divided into two

Online LibraryJohann Joachim EschenburgManual of classical literature : from the German of J.J. Eschenburg, with additions → online text (page 75 of 153)