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LUCILIUS
Gaius Lucilius, founder of Roman satire, was probably born 180 B.C. at Suessa Aurunca in Campania, of a distinguished and wealthy Latin equestrian family. He afterwards settled in Rome, where his Latin origin excluded him from a political career. Owing partly however to his excellent education, partly to his family connexions (being Pompey's granduncle on the mother's side), he was on friendly terms with the most distinguished men. In particular, he lived with the younger Scipio and his friend Laelius in the closest intimacy. He accompanied the former during the Numantine War, and died in Naples, 103 B.C. --His satires, in thirty books, were much esteemed in the time of the Republic and later. We possess numerous but inconsiderable fragments, from which, however, can be gathered their original position in the general scheme of his work. Each book certainly contained a number of separate poems which, at least in books xxvi-xxx (the first written and published), were composed, like the satires of Ennius, in various metres. In most of the books, however, only a single metre was used, by far the most common being the dactylic hexameter (bks. i-xx and xxx), which from Horace's time became the ordinary metre for satire. The contents of the satires were exceedingly varied: all occurrences of political, social, and learned life were brought by him within the range of his discussion. He even touched upon his own experiences and his studies on literary, antiquarian, grammatical, and orthographical questions. His severest censure and most pitiless mockery were directed, not only against the vices and absurdities of the time in general, but also against particular individuals without any respect of persons. On the other hand, true merit received his warmest praise. His satires must have given, on the whole, a true and lively picture of the time. On metrical form and on style he does not seem to have set much store; it is apparently only in its metrical setting that his language differs from the daily tone of educated circles. To the latter we may also probably ascribe the incorporation of so many fragments of Greek. His writings early became an object of study to the learned of Rome, and they also remained models to subsequent satirists, especislly Horace.
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