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Pomponius Mela. A native of Tingentera in Spain. He composed a description of the world in three books (De Choarographia), the earliest work of this kind which we possess, and the only special work on the subject, which Roman literature has to show. According to a notice in the book [iii 49], it was written either in 40 A.D., when Caligula triumphed over the Britons, or in 44, when Claudius did the same. The author's information does not rest upon personal inspection, but it is drawn from good, though mostly antiquated, Greek sources. Writing in a brief and concise style, he describes in the form of a coasting-voyage, with North Africa for its starting-point, the various countries of the then known world in geographical order, until he comes back by way of Western Africa to the point from which he set out. His language bears the rhetorical character of his time.
Sextus Pomponius. A distinguished jurist of the first half of the 2nd century A.D. He composed, among other works, a history of law and jurisprudence down to the time of Hadrian, which is frequently quoted in the Digest.
Pomponius Porphyrio. Roman grammarian, who lived in the first half of the 2nd century A.D., and composed a commentary on Horace, a fragmentary abridgment of which is still preserved.
Lucius Pomponius Bononiensis, i.e. of Bononia (Bologna), flourished about 90 B.C. He was the first to raise the hitherto improvised popular plays called Atellanoe (q.v.) to a species of art by the introduction of written composition in the metrical forms and technical rules of the Greeks. He is particularly praised for richness of fancy, liveliness in plays upon words, and readiness in the use of rustic and farcical language. [Velleius Pat., ii 9 § 6; Macrobius, Saturnalia vi 9 § 4; Seneca, Controv. vii 18 § 9.] About 70 titles of plays by him are mentioned, a productiveness explained by the small compass of the Atellanoe as being after-pieces. Some titles point to travesties of mythological subjects, such as the Supposititious Agamemnon and the Award of the Armour (of Achilles).
Titus Pomponius Atticus. SeeATTICUS.
Lucius Pomponius Secundus. The most important tragedian of the time of the Empire, probably the last who wrote for the stage. He lived under Triberius and was a partisan of Sejanus, after whose fall (31 A.D.) he had to submit to be kept in custody by his brother for six years, until Caligula gave him his freedom. In 44 he was consul; in 50 he fought with success against the Chatti, and received triumphal honours from Claudius. His poetical productions are highly spoken of by Tacitus [Ann. xii 281 and Quintilian [x 1 § 98]. We possess only very scanty remains of his tragedies.
NOVIUS 40.68%
A writer of Atellanoe (q.v.) flourishing about 90 B.C. Like his contemporary and rival Pomponius, he was a master of ready speech of a coarse and droll description. Some of his witty verses are quoted by Cicero [de Or. ii 255, 279, 285). Over forty titles of his works are mentioned, among them, as in the case of Pomponius, some which suggest travesties of mythological subjects; e.g., Hercules as Auctioneer.
ATTICUS 10.77%
T. Pomponius. A Roman of an old and wealthy equestrian family, born 109 B.C. He received a good education in boyhood and youth, and went in the year 88 B.C. to Athens, where he lived until 65, devoting himself entirely to study, and much respected by the citizens for his generosity and cultivated refinement. In 65 he returned to Rome, to take possession of the inheritance left him by his uncle and adoptive father, Q. Caecilius. He now became Q. Caecilius Pomponianus. From this time onward he lived on terms of intimacy with men like Cicero, Hortensius, and Cornelius Nepos, who wrote a life of him which we still possess. He avoided public life and the strife of parties. This fact, in addition to his general amiability and good nature, enabled him during the civil wars to keep on the best of terms with the leaders of the conflicting parties, Cicero, Brutus, and Antonius. He died after a painful illness, of voluntary starvation, in the year 32 B.C. Atticus was the author of several works, the most considerable of which was a history (liber annalis) dedicated to Cicero. This gave a short epitome of the bare events of Roman history down to B.C. 54, arranged according to the series of consuls and other magistrates, with contemporaneous notices. But his most important contribution to Latin literature was his edition of the letters which he had received from Cicero. He also did great service by setting his numerous slaves to work at copying the writings of his contemporaries.
[A farce or comedy, which the ancients supposed was originally acted or invented at the Oscan town of Atella in Campania. Modern scholars incline to the opinion that it was a species of Latin drama representing scenes at Atella, or scenes of country-town life.Its characteristics were (1) that it was performed by free-born youths, not by professional actors; (2) that certain conventional characters, as Bucco ("Fatchaps"), Dossennus ("The Glutton"), Pappus ("The old father"), Maccus ("The fool") always occurred in it; (3) that it contained puzzles to explain, either in the plot or in single lines.] The Atellance came into fashion at Rome as after-pieces (exodia) about the end of the 3rd century B.C., displacing the saturoe. (See SATURA). Till the beginning of the last century of the Republic the Atellana was probably an improvisation; but, in the hands of Pomponius of Bononia and Novius, it was raised to the position of a regular comedy on the Greek model. From about the middle of the 1st century B.C., the Atellana went out of fashion in favour of the mimus, but was revived, probably in the reign of Tiberius, by a certain Mummius. It lived on for some time under the Empire, till at last it became undistinguishable from the mimus.
ROMAN TRAGEDY was founded entirely on that of the Greeks. In early times there existed crude dramatic productions (see SATIRE), which provided an opening for the translation from the Greek dramas brought on the stage by Livius Andronicus. He was a Greek by birth, but was brought to Rome as a captive about 200 B.C. It is to him that Roman tragedy owes its origin. His dramas and those of his successors were more or less free versions of Greek originals. Even the tragedies, or historical plays, drawn from national Roman materials, called fabuloe proetextoe or proetextatoe, (see PRAeETEXTA), the first writer of which was his immediate successor Noevius (about 235 B.C.), were entirely modelled on the Greek. The most noteworthy representatives of tragedy under the Republic were Ennius (B.C. 239-170), Pacuvius (220-130), and Accius (170-104), besides whom only a few other poets produced any works about this time. It is true that the scanty fragments we possess of these dramas admit of no positive judgment as to their merit, but there is no doubt that they rank far below the original creations of the Greeks. It may also be clearly inferred from the fragments, that declamation and pathos formed a characteristic attribute of Roman tragedy, which was intensified by a studied archaism of expression. Moreover, the titles of their plays that have come down to us show that preference was given to subjects relating to the Trojan epic cycle; this is to be explained by the Trojan origin claimed by the Romans. Next to this the most popular were the myths of the Pelopidae, of the Theban cycle, and of the Argonauts. Euripides was the favourite model; after him Sophocles: rarely Aeschylus. Roman tragedy, like Greek, was made up of spoken dialogue in iambic trimeters and musical portions called cantica (q.v.). On the chorus in Roman tragedy see CHORUS (near the end). In the time of Augustus the representatives of tragedy were Asinius Pollio, Varius, and Ovid; under Tiberius, Pomponius Secundus; under Nero and Vespasian, Curiatius Maternus, of whose works scarcely a line has been preserved. The only tragedies of Roman antiquity which we possess are those of the philosopher Seneca, which show great mastery of form and a fertile imagination, but suffer from an intolerable excess of rhetorical declamation. It is doubtful whether they were intended for the stage at all, and not rather for public recitation and for private reading.
COMEDY 6.13%
Roman. Like the Greeks, the Italian people had their popular dramatic pieces; the versus Fescennini, for instance, which were at first associated with the mimic drama, first introduced in 390 B.C. from Etruria in consequence of a plague, to appease the wrath of heaven (see FESCENNINI VERSUS). From this combination sprang the satura, a performance consisting of flute-playing, mimic dance, songs, and dialogue. The Atellana (q.v.) was a second species of popular Italian comedy, distinguished from others by having certain fixed or stock characters. The creator of the regular Italian comedy and tragedy was a Greek named Livius Andronicus, about 240 B.C. Like the Italian tragedy, the Italian comedy was, in form and contents, an imitation, executed with more or less freedom, of the Greek. It was the New Greek Comedy which the Romans took as their model. This comedy, which represents scenes from Greek life, was called palliata, after the Greek pallium, or cloak. The dramatic satura, and the Atellana, which afterwards supplanted the satura as a concluding farce, continued to exist side by side. The Latin comedy was brought to perfection by Plautus and Terence, the only Roman dramatists from whose hands we still possess complete plays. We should also mention Naevius and Ennius (both of whom wrote tragedies as well as comedies) Caecilius, and Turpilius, with whom, towards the end of the 3nd century B.C., this style of composition died out. About the middle of the 2nd century B.C. a new kind of comedy, the togata, (from toga) made its appearance. The form of it was still Greek, but the life and the characters Italian. The togata was represented by Titinius, Atta, and Afranius, who was accounted the master in this kind of writing. At the beginning of the 1st century B.C. the Atellana assumed an artistic form in the hands of Pomponius and Novius; and some fifty years later the mimus, also an old form of popular farce, was similarly handled by Laberius and Publilius Syrus. The mimus drove all the other varieties of comedy from the field, and held its ground until late in the imperial period. The Roman comedy, like its model, the New Comedy of the Greeks, had no chorus, the intervals being filled up by performances on the flute. The play consisted, like the Roman tragedy, partly of passages of spoken dialogue in iambic trimeters, partly of musical scenes called cantica. (See CANTICUM)
PLINY 6.08%
The elder, Gaius Plinius Secundus. A Roman representative of encyclopaedic learning, born 23 A.D., at Novum Comum (Como), in Upper Italy. Although throughout his life he was almost uninterruptedly occupied in the service of the State, yet at the same time he carried on the most widely extended scientific studies. To these he most laboriously devoted all his leisure hours, and thus gained for himself the reputation of the most learned man of his age. Under Claudius he served as commander of a troop of cavalry (praefectus alae) in Germany; under Vespasian, with whom he was in the highest favour, he held several times the office of imperial governor in the provinces, and superintended the imperial finances in Italy. Finally, under Titus, he was in command of the fleet stationed at Misenum, when in 79, at the celebrated eruption of Vesuvius, his zeal for research led him to his death. For a detailed account of this event, as well as of his literary labours, we have to thank his nephew, the younger Pliny [Ep. iii 5 vi 16]. Besides writings upon military, grammatical, rhetorical, and biographical subjects, he composed two greater historical works: a history of the Germanic wars in twenty books, and a history of his own time in thirty-one books. His last work was the Natural History (Nataralis Historia), in thirty-seven books, which has been preserved to us. This was dedicated to Titus, and was published in 77; but he was indefatigably engaged in amplifying it up to the time of his death. This Encyclopaedia is compiled from 20,000 notices, which he had extracted from about 2,000 writings by 474 authors. Book i gives a list of contents and the names of the authors used. ii is on astronomy and physics. iii-vi, a general sketch of geography and ethnography, mainly a list of names. vii-xix, natural history proper (vii, anthropology; viii-xi, zoology of land and water animals, birds, and insects; xii-xix, botany). xx-xxxii, the pharmacology of the vegetable, kingdom (xx-xxvii) and of the animal kingdom (xxviii-xxxii). xxxiii-xxxvii, mineralogy and the use of minerals in medicine and in painting, sculpture, and the engraving of gems, besides valuable notices upon the history of art. A kind of comparative geography forms the conclusion. Considering the extent and varied character of the undertaking, the haste with which the work was done, the defective technical knowledge and small critical ability of the author, it cannot be surprising that it includes a large number of mistakes and misunderstandings, and that its contents are of very unequal value, details that are strange and wonderful, rather than really important, having often unduly attracted the writer's attention. Nevertheless, the work is a mine of inestimable value in the information it gives us respecting the science and art of the ancient world; and it is also a splendid monument of human industry. Even the unevenness of the style is explained by the mosaic-like character of the work. At one time it is dry and bald in expression; at another, rhetorically coloured and impassioned, especially in the carefully elaborated introductions to the several books. On account of its bulk, the work was in early times epitomized for more convenient use. An epitome of the geographical part of Pliny's Encyclopaedia, belonging to the time of Hadrian, and enlarged by additions from Pomponius Mela, and other authors, forms the foundation of the works of Solinus and Martianus Capella. Similarly the Medicina Plinii is an epitome prepared in the 4th century for the use of travellers.
The science of law is the one branch of Roman literature which had a purely national development. From an early date there were definite legal ordinances in Rome, and shortly after the expulsion of the kings a collection of leges regiae was made by a certain Gaius Papirius. These consisted of archaic customary laws of a strongly sacerdotal character, and arbitrarily attributed to individual kings (known as the Ius Papirianum). However, the foundation of the collective legal life of the Romans was primarily the well known law of the Twelve Tables, B.C. 451-450. (See TWELVE TABLES.) This put an end to the want of a generally known law; for the knowledge of previous legal decisions, like the whole of the judicial procedure, had been hitherto kept in the exclusive possession of the patricians. The administration of the law remained as formerly in the hands of the patricians alone, for they kept from the plebeians all knowledge of the dies fasti and nefasti, i.e. the days on which legal proceedings might or might not be taken, as also the forms of pleading which were regularly employed (legis actiones). The latter were so highly important that the least infraction of them would involve the loss of the cause. This condition of things existed for a long time, until Appius Claudius Caecus drew up a calendar of the days on which causes could be pleaded, and a list of ihe form of pleading. These were made public about 304 B.C. by his secretary, Gnaeus Flavius, after whom they were then called Ius Flavianum. By these means a knowledge of the law became generally attainable. It soon had eminent representatives among the plebeians in the persons of Publius Sempronius Sophus and Tiberius Coruncanius. In ancient days, however, the work of the jurists was purely practical. It was considered an honourable thing for men learned in the law to allow people to consult them (consulere, hence iuris, or iure consulti) either in the Forum or at appointed hours in their own houses, and to give them legal advice (responsa). It was mainly by a kind of oral tradition that the knowledge of law was handed down, as the most eminent jurists allowed younger men to be present at these consultations as listeners (auditores or discipuli). The beginning of literary activity in this department, as in others, dates from the second Punic War. It begins with the earliest exposition of existing law. Sextus Aelius Catus published in 204 B.C. a work named Tripertita (from its being divided into three parts) or Ius Aelianum, which consisted of the text of the laws of the Twelve Tables together with interpretations, and the legal formulae for carrying on suits. From the middie of the 2nd century it became common to make collections of the responsa of eminent jurists, and to use them as a source of legal information. Among others, Marcus Porcius Cato, the son of Cato the Elder, made a collection of this kind. In some families knowledge of the law was in a measure hereditary, as in those of the Aelii, Porcii, Sulpicii, and Mucii. A member of the last family, the pontifex Quintus Milcius Scoevola (died B.C. 82), was the first who, with the aid of the formal precision of the Stoic philosophy, gave a scientific and systematic account of all existing law, in his work, De Iure Civili. Servius Sulpicius Rufus, the contemporary and friend of Cicero, further advanced this new and more methodical treatment of law by his numerous writings and by training up pupils, such as Aulus Ofilius and Publius Alfenus Varus. The former rendered great assistance to Caesar in his scheme for forming the whole of the Ius Civile into a single code. Besides these there were several eminent jurists at the close of the Republic: Gaius Trebatius Testa, Quintus Aelius Tubero, Gaius Aelius Gallus, and Aulus Cascellius. While under the Republic the learned jurist had hold an inferior position to the orator in influence and importance, there is no doubt that under the Empire public eloquence became subordinate, and the position of the jurists was the most coveted end influential in the State, especially when Augustus decreed that the opinions of jurists authorized by the head of the State were to have the validity of law. It was from the jurists as advisers of the emperor that all legislation now proceeded. They had access to all the highest offices of the court and of the State. Accordingly the men of the highest gifts and character betook themselves naturally to this profession, and even introduced into the laws an increased unity, consistency, and systematic order. Under Augustus two jurists were pre-eminent, Quintus Antistius Labeo and Gaius Ateius Capito, the founders of the two later schools, named, after their pupils Sempronius Proculiani and Masurius Sabinus, the Proculiani and Sabini respectively. Labeo sought to extend his professional knowledge, whilst Capito held fast to the traditions of former jurists. The first scientific collection of laws was made under Hadrian by the Sabinian lawyer Salvius Iulianus, with his Edictum Perpetuum, a classified collection of the praetorian edicts from the times of the Republic. (See EDICTUM.) Sextus Pomponius, his somewhat younger contemporary, composed amongst other things a history of the law till the time of Hadrian. Under the Antonines jurisprudence was able to claim a remarkable representative in the Asiatic Gaius, but it received its completion and conclusion in the first half of the 3rd century A.D., through Aemilius Papinianus, Domitius Ulpianus, and Iulius Paulus. After their time there were no jurists of great and original capacity. In the 4th century literary activity revived again, but confined itself to the collection of legal authorities, especially that of imperial ordinances. Thus the Codex Theodosianus, finished in A.D. 438, contains an official record of all the enactments decreed by the emperors from the time of Constantine. Under Justinian I (527-565 A.D.) the last and most complete Roman collection of laws was made, under the name of the Corpus Iuris Civilis (q.v.).
Geographical research and literature took their rise, like historical literature, among the Ionians of Asia Minor. Their extended commerce and their activity in founding colonies enlarged their geographical horizon. The necessity was thus felt of utilizing and registering the knowledge already acquired for the purpose of discovering the form and constitution of the earth. The first attempt at sketching a map of the world was made by Aristagoras of Miletus about 550 B.C. His kinsman Hecataeus, one of the writers called Logographi, who flourished about fifty years later, corrected and enlarged this map, and added a commentary. (See LOGOGRAPHI.) This commentary, of which only fragments are preserved in quotations, is the oldest piece of purely geographical writing in Greek. The geographical chapters in the history of Herodotus (about 450 B.C.) compensate us to a certain extent for the loss of this work, and of the other works of the Logographi on history and geography. But they only treat the eastern half of the known world. It became indeed, in the absence of a regular tradition of geographical science, a usual thing for historians to insert geographical disquisitions into their works. The writings of Thucydides, Xenophon, Ctesias, Ephorus, Theopompus, Timaeus, and others down to Polybius, afford examples of this. The first purely geographical work which has come down to us in a complete state is the Periplus bearing the name of Scylax, written in the first part of the 4th century B.C. This is a description of the coast of the Mediterranean. About the same time the astronomer Eudoxus of Cnidus made a great advance in the theory of physical geography. He was the first who adduced mathematical proof of the spherical shape of the earth, which had been asserted before his time by Pythagoras. The division of the globe into five zones (two frigid, two temperate, and one torrid) is also due to him. About 330 B.C. Pytheas of Massilia explored towards the N.W. as far as the northern end of the British Islands and the coasts of the German Ocean. About the same time the campaigns of Alexander the Great opened up Asia as far as India to Greek research. Nearchus made a report of exceptional value on his coast voyage from the Indus to the Euphrates. All these discoveries were embodied, about 320 B.C. in a new map by Dicaearchus of Messana, a disciple of Aristotle. He was the first savant who treated physical geography in a scientific manner. He assumed the existence of a southern hemisphere, and made an estimate of the earth's circumference, to which he gave the exaggerated measurement of 40,000 miles. His map remained for a long time the standard work of the kind. The southern and eastern parts of India were still further opened out under Alexander's successors, in consequence of the campaigns of the Seleucidae, and several journeys undertaken by ambassadors, among which that of Megasthenes should be mentioned. The commercial expeditions of the Ptolemies brought in fresh knowledge of the coasts of Arabia and E. Africa. The first man who arranged the mass of geographical materials hitherto collected, into a really scientific system, was Eratosthenes of Cyrene (about 276-175 B.C.). His materials he found in the rich collections of the Alexandrian library, Alexandria being then the central point of the commerce of the world. He was fully equipped for his task by his acquirements both in physical science and mathematics, and in history and philology. He endeavoured for the first time to estimate the earth's circumference by a measurement of degrees carried out over a space of 16 degrees of latitude. The imperfection of his method brought out too large a quantity, 25,000 geographical miles. The name of Hipparchus of Nicaea (about 140 B.C.) marks a considerable advance. He may be called the founder of mathematical geography, as he applied geographical length and breadth to determine the position of places on the earth's surface. He also superseded the rectangular and equidistant projection of parallels and meridians, hitherto used in maps, by a projection which, with few modifications, is identical with the one now in use. The parallels were represented by segments of a circle, the meridians by straight lines or curves, corresponding with the portion of surface to be represented, drawn at distances corresponding to the actual distances on the surface of the globe. The estimate of the earth's circumference which was accepted as correct down to the 10th century A.D., was that of Posidonius of Apamea (about 90 B.C.). Taking as his basis the measurement of the shortest distance from Alexandria to Rhodes, he brought out the result as 18,000 geographical miles, instead of 21,600 (or about 25,000 English miles.) Only fragments remain of the writings of these geographers, and others contemporary with them. But we possess the great work of Strabo of Amaseia, finished about 20 A.D., the most important monument of descriptive geography and ethnology which has come down from Greek antiquity. Thanks to the Roman conquest, he was in a position to give a more accurate description of the West than his predecessors. Up to this time all that the Romans had done for geographical research was to open up Western Europe and Northern Africa to the Greek savants. An immense service was rendered to science by Agrippa, under the direction of Augustus. He measured and indicated on a map the distance between the stations on the great military roads and along the coasts of the Roman empire, thus contributing enormously to our knowledge of ancient topography, and laying a foundation for our maps. These data formed the basis of a new map of the world, which was first set up in Rome. Numerous copies were probably taken for the larger cities of the empire, and smaller portable ones distributed among the military and the administrating officials. It is probably upon copies of this kind that the Tabula Peutingeriana and the Iteneraria are based. (See PEUTINGER; ITENERARIA.) In the 1st century A.D. much was added to geographical knowledge by the expeditions of the Romans into the interior of North Africa and the North of Europe. The most important literary works of the Romans on geography belong to this period. These are (1) the compendium of Pomponius Mela; (2) the geographical books of Pliny the Elder's great encyclopaedia, a dreary uncritical compilation, but the only representative we have of a number of lost works; (3) the Germania of Tacitus, an essay mainly of an ethnographical character. The last great contribution made to geographical science in antiquity is the work of the Alexandrian astronomer Ptolemy (about 140 A.D.). This consists mainly of lists of the places marked in the current maps which he makes his authorities, with their latitude and longitude. After Ptolemy, the geographical literature of the Greeks and Romans alike has nothing to show but compilations and extracts. Towards the end of the 6th century, Stephanus of Byzantium compiled a dictionary of geography, which is valuable for the quantity of information taken from the older and lost writings which it embodies. The book of Pausanias (about 175 A.D.) is valuable as bearing on the special topography of Greece.
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