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ANNALS 100.00%
Year-books. From early times a record of all important events at Rome had been kept in chronological order by the high priest (pontifex maximus) for the time, who every year exhibited in his official residence a whited board (album), on which, after the names of the magistrates for the year, occurrences of all kinds-war, dearth, pestilence, prodigies-were set down briefly according to their dates. These annales pontificum or annales maximi (supposed to be so called after the pontifex maximus), though destroyed at the burning of Rome by the Gauls, B.C. 389, were restored as far as possible, and continued till B.C. 130. Collected afterwards in eighty books, they were at once utilized and superseded by the so-called ANNALISTS (q.v.).
DURIS 68.52%
A Greek historian, a native of Samos, and a disciple of Theophrastus. For some time he was despot of Samos. In the first half of the 3rd century B.C. he wrote, besides other historical works, a comprehensive history, in twenty-three books, of Greece and Macedonia, from 370 to at least 281 B.C. He was also the author of Annals of Samos, in at least twelve books. Nothing but fragments of his writings remain, which show that they were no more than uncritical collections of material carelessly treated.
The name given to the oldest Greek historians, who by their first attempts at disquisitions in prose marked the transition from narrative poetry to prose history. As in the case of epic poetry, so these earliest historical writings emanated from Ionia, where the first attempts at an exposition of philosophic reflexions in prose were made at about the same time by Pherecydes, Anaximander, and Anaximeues; and, in both cases alike, it was the Ionic dialect that was used. This class of writing long preserved in its language the poetic character which it inherited from its origin in the epic narrative. It was only by degrees that it approached the tone of true prose. It confined itself absolutely to the simple telling of its story, which was largely made up of family and local traditions. It never classified its materials from a more elevated point of view, or scrutinised them with critical acumen. The logographers flourished from about 550 B.C. down to the Persian Wars. Their latest representatives extend, however, down to the time of the Peloponnesian War. When true history arose with Herodotus, they soon lapsed into oblivion, whence they were rescued in Alexandrian days. Many of the works ascribed to them were however believed to be spurious, or at least interpolated. We possess fragments only of a few. The larger number of the historic writers who are described as logographers were Asiatic Greeks, e.g. CADMUS of Miletus, author of a history of the founding of Miletus and the colonization of Ionia (he lived about 540 B.C., and was considered the first writer of historic prose); further, DIONYSIUS of Miletus, a writer of Persian history, HECATAeUS (q.v.) Of MiletUS (550-476), XANTHUS of Sardis (about 496), a writer of Lydian history, HELLANICUS (q.v.) of Lesbos (about 480-400), CHARON of Lampsacus (about 456), a compiler of Persian history and annals of his native town, PHERECYDES of the Carian island Leros (died about 400 B.C.), who lived at Athens, and in his great collection of myths in ten books treated chiefly of the early days of Attica. Some belonged to the colonies in the West, e.g. HIPPYS of Rhegium, at the time of the Persian War the oldest writer on Sicily and Italy. The only representative from Greece itself is ACUSILAUS of Argos in Boeotia, the author of a genealogical work.
ENNIUS 21.46%
The founder of the Hellenized type of Latin poetry. He was born 239 B.C. at Rudiae in Calabria, and was by descent a Graecised Messapian. He was probably educated at Tarentum, and served with the Romans in the Second Punic War in Sardinia, whence Cato took him to Rome in 204 B.C. His poetical talent here came to his aid, not in a pecuniary way (for he was in slender circumstances to the end of his life), but as an introduction to the favour of the great men. Among these must be mentioned the Scipios, and Fulvius Nobilior, who took him in his retinue to the Aetolian war in B.C. 189,and whose son procured him the citizenship five years later (184). A gouty affection did not prevent him from continuing his literary work to an advanced age.He was in his sixty-seventh year when he finished his Annales, and he put a tragedy on the stage shortly before his death. He died in 170 B.C., in his seventieth year, It was said that the Scipios placed his image in their family vault. Ennius wrote poetry with success in a great number of styles. But in his own opinion, as well as in that of his fellowcitizens, his greatest work was his Annales in eighteen books. This was a chronological narrative of Roman history in verse. Like Naevius' Bellum Poenicum, it began with the destruction of Troy, and came down to the poet's own times. In this poem Ennius created for the Romans their first national epic, the fame of which was only eclipsed by Vergil. But he did more. By the introduction of the Greek hexameter Ennius did much to further the future development of Latin poetry. His predecessor, Naevius, had continued to write in the native Saturnian metre, which was hardly capable of artistic development. But the practice of writing in the strict dactylic measure enabled the Latin poets to assimilate the other metrical forms presented by Greek literature. Of the Annals we possess, relatively speaking, only a small number of fragments. Some of these can only be distinguished from prose by their metrical form; others are very fine, both in form and ideas. Ennius showed considerable capacity, too, as a writer of tragedies. His dramas, which were very numerous, were composed after Greek models, especially the tragedies of Euripides. More than twenty of these Euripidean plays are known to us by their titles and surviving fragments. He also wrote proetextoe, or tragedies on Roman subjects, as, for instance, the Ambracia, representing the siege and conquest of this city by his patron Fulvius Nobilior. His comedies were neither so numerous nor so important as his tragedies. Besides these he wrote several books of saturoe, or collections of poems of various contents and in various metres. Several of his adaptations or translations of Greek originals were probably included in these: as, for instance, the Hedyphagetica, a gastronomic work after Archestratus of Gela; Epicharmus, a didactic poem on the "Nature of Things"; Euhemerus, a rationalistic interpretation of the popular fables about the gods; Proecepta or Protrepticus, containing moral doctrines; and others of the same kind. There was a poem entitled Scipio, written in honour of the elder Africanus. Whether this was a satura or a drama is uncertain. The memory of Ennius long survived the fall of the Republic. Even after literary taste had taken quite a different direction, he was revered as the father of Latin poetry, and especially as having done much to enrich the Latin language.
TACITUS 16.79%
The celebrated Roman historian, born about the year 54 A.D., apparently of an equestrian family. Nothing is known of his birthplace, and it is only a conjecture that he was born at Interamna (Terni). In his rhetorical education he came under the immediate influence of the most distinguished orators of the time, Marcus Aper and Julius Secundus, and he made his first appearance as an advocate at an early age. In 77 he married the daughter of the consul of that year, Julius Agricola, shortly before the latter's departure for Britain [Tac., Agr. 9]. In 78-79 he held the quaestorship under Vespasian,; in 80-81 he was aedile or tribune under Titus, and in 88 under Domitian. In 90 he left Rome with his wife on some official commission, and had not returned in 93, when his father-in- law died [ib. at end]. In 97, under Nerva, he was consul suffectus. He appears for the last time in active public life in 100, when, with his friend the younger Pliny, be appeared on the side of the prosecution in an important law-suit [Pliny, Ep. ii 12 Section 2]. The date of his death is unknown, but be probably survived the accession of Hadrian in 117. His writings are: (1) A dialogue on the decline of eloquence (Dialogus de Oratoribus), one of his earliest works, written apparently [under the influence of Quintilian] in the early part of the reign of Domitian, and originating in a close study of Cicero's rhetorical writings. It is one of the ablest works of the imperial age, and in language and style is so different from his later works that its genuineness has frequently been disputed. (2) The life of his father-in-law Agricola (De Vita et Moribus Iulii Agricoloe), published at the beginning of Trajan's reign, and written in dutiful commemoration of the deceased; it is in the manner of Sallust, from whom Tacitus to a large extent borrowed his style. (3) The "Germania" (De Sita, Moribus, ac Populis Germanioe), written soon after his Agricola; a description of the Germany of that time, which is founded on careful research, and is especially important as the source of all ours knowledge of the ancient history of Germany. (4) A history of his own times, from Galba to the death of Domitian (69-96), under the title Historioe, in fourteen books, of which books i-iv and the first half of v, covering not quite two years (69-70), have alone been preserved. (5) The history of the Julian house, in sixteen books, published between 115 and 117, beginning with the death of Augustus. (Hence the original title Ab Excessu divi Augusti; the usual title, Annales, rests on no authority.) Books i-iv are still complete; the latter part of the fifth and the beginning of the sixth is missing (the reign of Tiberius A.D. 14-37); while the second half of the eleventh, the whole of books xii-xiv and the first half of xv (the reign of Claudius from the year 47 and the history of Nero as far as 68) are still extant. The two principal works of Tacitus thus give us a complete history of the emperors from Tiberius to Domitian. He was probably prevented by his death from completing is design by writing an account of the reign of Augustus, from the battle of Actium, and also including the reigns of Nerva and Trajan. In both works the chronological arrangement of the materials is predominant; they are founded on the most searching and comprehensive study of the historical authorities, and are marked by a thoroughly critical spirit. Tacitus is always extremely careful to ascertain and to record the truth; he is never satisfied with a mere narrative of events, but seeks to elicit their causes from the facts themselves. He is an adept in fathoming the hidden thoughts and motives of human agents. His method of treatment is, in external appearance, entirely objective; but an undercurrent of sympathy, now sad, now cheerful, with the events related, is everwhere betraying itself. He is avowedly and resolutely impartial, and his judgment is eminently fair. It is only severe when he is dealing with wrongs done to the State, and to the moral laws of the universe. Thoroughly convinced of the value of virtue, he hates vice, which he seeks to terrify by exposing it to the ignominy of after ages. With all his admiration for the greatness of republican Rome, he is a stanch imperialist, being convinced of the necessity of the Empire for the stability of the State. In contrast with the bright elegance and richness of expression characteristic of his earliest work, as he advances in his literary activity his style becomes more sombre and pathetic, in accordance with the gloomy and tragic events which he has to describe. He becomes increasingly fond of rhetorical colouring, and avoids the ordinary diction of prose, while seeking to attain sublimity and novelty of style, less by archaisms than by an approximation to poetical expression. His grave and serious purpose finds its counterpart in his efforts to express himself with a terseness and precision which is often peculiarly pointed and epigrammatic. It is in the Annals that this last trait displays itself in its most characteristic form, and on the most extensive scale.
A member of the highest priestly college in Rome, to which belonged the superintendence over all sacred observances, whether performed by the State or by private persons. The meaning of the name is uncertain; the interpretation which follows most obviously from the form of the word, that of "bridge-builder," referred in particular to the sacred bridge on piles (pons sublicius) over the Tiber, is open to many objections. 1 The foundation of the college is ascribed to Numa; at first it probably consisted of six patrician members, with the addition of the king, whose place, after the abolition of the Monarchy, was transferred to the pontifex maximus (high-pontiff); from 300 B.C. it was composed of nine members (4 patrician and 6 plebeian), from the time of Sulla of fifteen (7 patrician and 8 plebeian); Caesar added another member; and the emperors also raised the number at their pleasure. The office was for life, us was also that of the president. While, in the time of the Monarchy, the pontiffs were probably named by the king, under the Republic the college for a long time filled up its own numbers by co-optation, and also appointed the high-pontiff from among its members. From somewhere about 250 B.C. the election of the latter took place in the comitia of the tribes under the presidency of a pontiff, and, from 103 B.C., the other members were also elected in the comitia out of a fixed number of candidates presented by the college. Under the Empire a preliminary election was held by the Senate, and merely confirmed by the comitia. Besides the pontiffs proper, there were also included in the college the rex sacrorum, the three higher flamens and the three pontifices minores, who assisted the pontiffs in transactions relating to sacrifices and in their official business, besides sharing in the deliberations and the banquets of the whole college: these ranked according to length of service. In the earlier time an advanced age, with freedom from secular offices, was necessary for eligibility to the pontificate; the high-pontiff, among other restrictions, was not allowed to leave Italy, was obliged to have a wife without reproach, and might not enter upon a second marriage or see a dead body, much less touch one. As regards his position, he was, as spiritual successor of the king, the sole holder and exerciser of the pontifical power; and his official dwelling was in the king's house, the regia of Numa adjoining the Forum, the seat of the oldest State worship. The college existed by his side only as a deliberative and executive body of personal assistants. He appointed to the most important priestly offices of the State, those of flamen, of vestal, and of rex sacrorum; he made public the authoritative decisions of the college. In matters which came within the limits of his official action, he had the right of taking: auspices, of holding assemblies of the people, and of publishing edicts. He also exercised a certain jurisdiction over the persons subject to his high-priestly power, especially the flamens and Vestals, over whom his authority was that of an actual father. Owing to the great importance of the office, the emperors from the time of Augustus undertook it themselves, and retained it, even in Christian times, until the year 382. As regards the functions of the college, besides performing a number of special sacrifices in the service of the household gods, they exercised (as already mentioned) a superintendence over the whole domain of the religious services recognised by the State, public and private. In all doubts which arose concerning the religious obligations of the State towards the gods, or concerning the form of any religious offices which were to be undertaken, their opinion was asked by the Senate and by the other secular bodies, who were obliged unhesitatingly to follow it. In the various religious transactions, expiatory offerings, vows, dedications, consecrations, solemn appropriations, undertaken on behalf of the State, their assistance was invited by the official bodies, in order that they might provide for the correct performance, especially by dictating the prayers. The knowledge of the various rites was handed down by the libri pontificii, which were preserved in the official dwelling of the high-pontiff and kept secret. These included the forms of prayer, the rules of ritual for the performance of ceremonial observances, the acta pontificum, i.e. the records relating to the official actions of the college, and the commentarii pontificum, i.e. the collection of opinions delivered, to which they were as a rule obliged to have recourse when giving new ones. An important and indeed universal influence was exercised by the pontiffs, not only on religious, but also on civic life, by means of the regulation of the calendar, which was assigned to them as possessing technical knowledge of the subject; and by means of their superintendence over the observance of the holidays. Owing to the character of the Roman reckoning of the year, it was necessary from time to time to intercalate certain days, with a view to bringing the calendar into agreement with the actual seasons to which the festivals were originally attached; and special technical knowledge was needed, in order to be sure on what day the festivals fell. This technical knowledge was kept secret by the pontiffs as being a means of power. It was for the month actually current that they gave information to the people as to the distribution of the days, the festivals falling within the month, and the lawful and unlawful days (fasti and nefasti, q.v. for civil and legal transactions. In 304 B.C. the calendar of the months was made public by Gnaeus Flavius; but the pontiffs still retained the right of regulating the year by intercalations, and thereby the power of furthering or hindering the aims of parties and individuals by arbitrary insertion of intercalary months. This they kept until the final regulation of the year introduced by Caesar as high-pontiff in 46 B.C. Closely connected with the superintendence of the calendar was the keeping of the lists of the yearly magistrates, especially of the consuls, since it was by their names that the years were dated, as well as the keeping of the yearly chronicle. (See ANNALS.) As experts in the law of ritual, the pontiffs had the superintendence over many transactions of private life, so far as ceremonial questions were connected with them, such as the conclusion of marriages, adoption by means of arrogation, and burial. Even upon the civil law they had originally great influence, inasmuch as they alone were in traditional possession of the solemn legal formuloe, known as the legis actiones, which were necessary for every legal transaction, including lawsuits. They even gave legal opinions, which obtained recognition in the courts as customary law, by the side of the written law, and grew into a second authoritative source of Roman law. Until the establishment of the praetorship (866 <smalCaps>B.C.), a member of the college was appointed every year to impart information to private persons concerning the legal forms connected with the formulating of plaints and other legal business. The legis actiones were made public for the first time by the above-mentioned Flavius at the same time as the calendar. (See JURISPRUDENCE.)
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