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SATIRE 100.00%
The word properly denotes a medley of heterogeneous things, and in particular a kind of dramatical farce, which consisted of a mixture of speech, song, music, and dancing. (See FESCENNINI.) Before the rise of an artistic type of Roman drama, these farces were performed on festive occasions by itinerant minstrels, the representation taking place upon the public stage erected at Rome in 390 B.C. After the introduction of the Greek drama by Livius Andronicus, 240 B.C., the saturae sank to the position of after-pieces (exodia) which were improvised by masked Roman youths after the conclusion of the performance proper; in this shape they lasted until they were entirely supplanted by the Atellanae. As an artistic composition the satura is wholly undramatical, and designates in the first instance a collection of miscellaneous pieces of poetry of heterogeneous contents and metres; in this form it seems to have been first introduced into literature by ENNIUS. A definite impress, fixing its character for all future time, was given to the satura in the 2nd century B.C. by LUCILIUS, who made it essentially what we now understand by satire, and is therefore designated by Horace [Sat. ii 1, 62] as the inventor of this branch of literature. Even his satires, as may be gathered from the fragments that survive, were of a very miscellaneous character, as regards matter and as regards form. All possible aspects of the life of the time were made the objects of a discussion, which might be serious, jocular, or censorious, as occasion required. It was composed in the form sometimes of an essay, sometimes of a letter, sometimes of a dialogue, and in the conversational style in vogue at the time. In his earlier poems he made use of various metres, afterwards almost exclusively of the hexameter. The significant example of Lucilius invited emulation all the more, because the prosaic and didactic element in satire was in the most thorough accordance with the Roman character and poetical capacities. Accordingly a number of imitators are mentioned reaching down to the end of the Republic, though, in the judgment of Horace, their endeavour to attain the level of their model was a vain one [Sat. i 10, 47]. A revival and development answering to the more refined taste of the time was given to the Lucilian saturo by Horace, who, however, confined himself to social and literary life, and used the hexameter alone. In the, latter respect his example was followed by PERSIUS and JUVENAL; but these treated the contrast between the ideal and the actual, which provokes the satire, not with the humour of Horace, but with bitterness and severity. An ancient (or pre-Lucilian) style of satura was revived towards the end of the Republic by the "most learned of the Romans," Terentins VARRO, with his Menippean Satires, in which, following the example of the Cynic Menippus of Gadara, he treated serious subjects in humorous fashion and in a mixed form of prose and poetry. This mixed form was also adopted in the time of Nero by PETRONIUS in his satirical romance of manners, and by SENECA in his satire on Claudius, as well as in later times by the emperor JULIAN in his Caesares, written in Greek. The satire is a thoroughly Roman species of poetry [Quintilian, x 1 § 93: Satura quidem tota nostra est]; for though there is much in the poetry of the Greeks which, in regard to subject-matter, corresponds in some degree to the satire, still they were never able to produce a literature of this kind stamped with a definite character of its own, and described by a distinctive name.
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.
Flavius Claudius, " the Apostate." Born at Constantinople A.D. 331; he was the son of Julius Constantius, a brother of Constantine the Great. In spite of his early monastic education, he was so strongly prepossessed against the Christian religion owing to the murderous deeds of his own family, the persecutious he suffered at the hands of his cousin Constantius, and his own intercourse with the most renowned Sophists both in Nicomedia and at Athens, that, on his elevation to the imperial throne in 361, he attempted to drive out Christianity, and to restore Paganism on the foundation of Neo-Platonic philosophy. His attempts were however cut short by his death in the war against the Persians. We still possess eight essays written by him in Greek, in the form of speeches; seventy-eight letters of the most varied contents, valuable as throwing light on his character and his aims; and two satirical writings: (i) The Caesars, or the Banquet, a brilliant criticism on the Roman emperors, from Caesar downwards, in the form of Varro's Menippean satires; (ii) the Misopogon (Beard-Hater), a satire directed against the inhabitants of Antioch, who had cast ridicule on his beard and his philosophic garb. Of his work directed against the Christians and their religion, which he composed in Antioch before the expedition against the Persians, only extracts and fragments survive. Julian is one of the cleverest, most cultivated and elegant writers of the period after the birth of Christ.
ECLOGUE 51.92%
A selected piece of writing. Properly a poem taken out of a larger collection, and so applied, under the Roman Empire, to a short poem, as an idyll or satire. The term was specially applied to the pastoral poems of Vergil and Calpurnius Siculus.
The great Roman Satirist, born at Aquinum, a town of the Volscians, about 47 A.D. According to the accounts of his life which have come down to us, he was the son, either real or adopted, of a wealthy freedman, and spent the first half of his life in Rome engaged in declamatory exercises, more for pleasure than as a preparation for the Forum or the schools. He continued there until he became a knight. In an inscription of the time of Domitian he is named as duumvir and as a flamen of Vespasian in his native town, and also as tribune of the first Dalmatian cohort. The command of a cohort is also specified in the accounts already mentioned. According to these he was sent into banishment under the pretence of military distinction, because in a satirical composition he had taken the liberty of denouncing the political influence of a favourite comedian of the emperor. As to the place and date of his banishment, the accounts vary between Britain and Egypt; and also between the last years of Domitian (against which theory there are weighty objections) and the reigns of either Trajan or Hadrian. In any case he died after 127 A.D., according to one account, in the eighty-second year of his life, or about 130, the cause being grief at his exile. By others he is made to return to Rome before his death. We possess sixteen satires by him, which the grammarians have divided into five books. In these he delineates with moral indignation and with pitiless scorn the universal corruption of society, particularly in the times of Domitian, painting its vices in all their nakedness and ugliness with the most glaring colours. His composition is often concise to the verge of obscurity, and by its strong rhetorical colouring betrays his earlier studies. In his own day, and afterwards, his satires enjoyed great popularity, and were hold in high repute even in the Middle Ages. Owing to his obscurity he early attracted the attention of learned men of old, and we still possess the remains of their industry in a collection of Scholia. [About the life of the poet nothing certain can be really ascertained except from the hints given in his own writings. The biographies which have come down to us must be used with extreme caution: and it is not at all certain that tie inscription mentioned above refers to him at all.]
HORACE 45.43%
The well-known Roman poet, born 8th Dec., B.C. 65, at Venusia, on the borders of Apulia and Lucania, where his father, who was a freedman, possessed a small property, and filled the office of a collector (coactor). To give his son a better education, he betook himself to Rome, and here Horace received a training similar to that of the sons of wealthy knights and senators, under his father's eye, who watched over him with a touching solicitude. At first he studied under the grammarian Orbillus Pupillus of Beneventum, whose flogging propensities Horace rendered proverbial. To complete his education, and especially to study philosophy, Horace resorted to Athens in B.C. 45; but towards the end of the summer of B.C. 44, when Brutus, after the murder of Caesar, appeared at Athens, Horace, like most of the young Romans studying there, joined him in his enthusiasm for the cause of liberty. At the defeat at Philippi in 42, where he fought as a military tribune, he saved himself by flight, and fortunately reached Italy in safety. It is true that he met with favour, but he found himself absolutely without means, as the property of his father, who had probably died in the interval, had been confiscated. To gain a livelihood, he managed to get a clerkship in the quaestor's office (see SCRIBAe). It was at this period that, emboldened (as he himself says) by his poverty, he first appeared as a poet. His own bent and predisposition led him at that time to satire, in which he took Lacilius for his model, and to iambic poetry after the manner of Archilochus. His first attempts gained him the acquaintance of Vergil and Varius, who commended him to their influential patron Maecenas. The latter allowed the poet to be introduced to him (about 38 B.C.,) but for fully nine months paid no attention to him, until he once more invited him to his house, and admitted him to the circle of his friends. In course of time there grew up a very intimate friendship between Maecenas and Horace. About 35 B.C. the poet dedicated to him, under the title of Sermones, the first collection of his Satires, which up to then had been published separately; and about 33 he received from Maecenas the gift of a small estate in the Sabine district, which from that time forward was his favourite abode. In the year B.C. 30, or perhaps in the beginning of B.C. 29, Horace published his second book of Satires; and (nearly simultaneously) his collection of iambic verses, or Epodes, appeared. In the following years he specially devoted himself to lyric poetry, taking the Aeolic poets for his model, and having the merit of being the first who found for their forms of verse a home on Roman ground. About 23, he published his first collection of Odes (Carmina) in three books, which were all dedicated to Maecenas. [But some of the Odes were written before B.C. 29, so that in respect to the date of composition, as distinguished from that of publication, the collections of Odes and Epodes overlap. See Prof. Nettleship's Lectures and Essays, pp. 156-163.] The Odes were followed by a continuation of the conversational Satires or Sermones in a now form, that of letters, each addressed to one person, and called the Epistulae. Through Maecenas Horace made the acquaintance of Augustus. The ex-republican and soldier of freedom had shown at first but little sympathy for him; but afterwards, having learned to recognise that the only chance of the salvation of the state lay in the rule of a monarch, and having seen Augustus successfully engaged in restoring the country to tranquillity and prosperity at home, and to its ancient prestige abroad, he was completely reconciled to the emperor, and in several of his Odes paid a high tribute to his merits. Nevertheless, he was always anxious to maintain an attitude of independence towards the emperor, and excused himself from accepting the tempting offer of Augustus to enter his service as private secretary and to form one of his suite. But he did not entirely decline to carry out his wishes. It was by his desire that (about B.C. 17) he composed, for the festival of the Secular Games, the hymn to Apollo and Diana, known as the Carmen Soeculare. He also celebrated the victories of the emperor's step-sons, Tiberius and Drasus, in several Odes (B.C. 15), which he published with some others as a fourth book of Odes (about 13 B.C.) As Augustus had complained that Horace had made no mention of him in his earlier Epistles, the poet addressed to him a composition which stands first in the second book of Epistles, probably published shortly before his death. The famous Epistula ad Pisones, commonly called the Ars Poetica, is often reckoned as the third epistle of the second book [but probably belongs to an earlier date]. The poet died 27th November, B.C. 8, and was buried on the Esquiline, near to his recently deceased friend, Maecenas. Horace, as he was himself aware, is not a poet who soars to lofty heights; on the contrary his nature is essentially reflective, and with him taste and fancy are always under the control of reason. In his lyrical poems he began with more or less free imitations of Greek models, and gradually advanced to independent compositions in the Greek form. Their merits do not consist in warmth of feeling or depth of thought, but in the perspicuity of their plan, the evenness of their execution, and the art with which both diction and metre are handled. In the poems of a higher style which he composed by desire of Augustus, or under the influence of the times in which he lived, the expression rises to actual loftiness, but the spirit of deliberate purpose is generally prominent. He succeeds best in those of his Odes in which, following his own bent, without any external prompting, he treats of some bright and simple theme, such as love or friendship. His personality reflects itself most vividly in his Satires and 'in his Epistles, which often have a similar aim. Following the method of Lucilius, he here gives his personal impressions of social and literary matters in a form that is more natural, and at the same time more artistic, than his predecessor's, and in a style that approaches the language of everyday life. At first his Satires, like his Epodes, were not without a pungency corresponding to a bitterness of feeling due to the circumstances of his life; but as his temper became calmer, they assume a more genial and less personal complexion. In the Epistles, the poet shows himself the exponent of a mild, if not very deep, philosophy of life. From, an early date Horace's poems were used in Roman schools as a text-book, and were expounded by Roman scholars, especially by Acron and Porphyrio (q.v., 6).
A Greek philosopher of Gadara in Syria, flourished about B.C. 250. He was originally a slave, and afterwards an adherent of the Cynic school of philosophy. His writings (now completely lost) treated of the follies of mankind, especially of philosophers, in a sarcastic tone. They were a medley of prose and verse, and became models for the satirical works of Varro, and afterwards for those of Lucian.
A Roman satirist; born 34 A.D. at Volaterrae, in Etruria, of a good equestrian family. Losing his father when six years old, at the age of twelve he went to Rome, and enjoyed the instructions of the most eminent teachers, more especially of one for whom he had the greatest reverence, Annaeus Cornutus, who initiated him in the Stoic philosophy, and introduced him to the acquaintance of Lucan. After the first poetic attempts of his youth, which be himself burnt, his energies were directed to satiric verse, under the influence of Lucilius and Horace. On his early death, in 62, the six satires which he left, after some slight revision by Cornutus, were published by his friend, the poet Caesius Bassus. In these Persius deals with the moral corruption of his age, from the standpoint of a Stoic preacher of ethics. Both in thought and expression a tendency to echo Horace is constantly apparent. He composed slowly, and was himself conscious that he had no true poetic faculty.[1] His mode of expression is frequently difficult and involved to the verge of obscurity. The need of explanations was accordingly felt in comparatively early times; but the collection of scholia bearing the name of Cornutus shows hardly any traces of ancient learning.
Several Roman poetesses bear this name. For the first, see TIBULLUS. A second, who is mentioned by Martial about the time of Domitian, wrote amatory poems which are lost. A poem in seventy hexameters and entitled a Satire, being a complaint to the Muse for the expulsion of the philosophers from Rome by Domitian (89 and 93 A.D.), is written in her name; but this puerile performance is of a later date, her name having been wrongly attached to it.
A native of Leptis, in Africa. A professor of the Stoic philosophy, who lived in Rome in the middle of the lat century A.D. He was a friend of the poets Lucan and Persius, especially of the latter, whose posthumous satires he prepared for publication. He was banished by Nero, in A.D. 68, for his uprightness and courage. He was the author of works on rhetoric, grammar and philosophy. Of his philosophical works one remains, an essay on the Nature of the Gods, written in Greek. This is perhaps only an extract from a larger work. Cassiodorus (q.v.) has pre served part of a grammatical treatise by Cornutus, entitled De Orthographia ("On Orthography").
SOTADES 32.31%
A Greek poet from Maroneia in Thrace, who lived at Alexandria under Ptolemy Philadelphus about 276 B.C. He is said to have been drowned in the sea in a leaden chest for some sarcastic remark about the marriage of the king with his own sister Arsinoe. He composed in Ionic dialect and in a peculiar metre named after him (Sotadeus or Sotadicus versus), poems called cinoedi, malicious satires partly on indelicate subjects, which were intended for recitation accompanied by a mimic dance, and also travesties of mythological subjects, such as the Iliad of Homer. He found numerous imitators.
Publius Terentius Varro Atacinus. A Roman poet, born 82 B.C. by the river Atax in Gallia Narbonensis; he died before 36 B.C. According to an ancient authority, he only began to study Greek literature in his 35th year. Accordingly his satires on the model of Lucilius, and his epic poem on Caesar's war with the Sequani (Bellum Sequanicum) must belong to his earlier years. He afterwards followed the fashion of imitating the Alexandrian School, which was just coming into vogne, and composed, besides elegies and didactic poems after Greek models, his epic poem, entitled the Argonautoe, in four books, a free imitation of the Argonautica by Apollonius Rhodius. This masterpiece, which has been much praised by later poets, and of which (as of his poems in general) only scattered fragments remain, appears to have been the most remarkable production in the domain of narrative epic poetry between the time of Ennius and that of Vergil.
Marcus Terentius Varro Reatinus (i.e. a native of Reate in the Sabine territory). The most learned of the Romans; born 116 B.C. of an ancient senatorial family. He devoted himself to study at an early age, under the direction chiefly of the learned antiquarian and philologist Aelius Stilo, without however withdrawing from public life either in time of peace or war. He held the public offices of tribune, curule aedile, and praetor. In 67 he was lieutenant to Pompey in the war against the pirates; in 49 he again held a command under Pompey in the province of Spain beyond the Iberus, but was taken prisoner by Caesar after the capitulation of Ilerda. Although he afterwards rejoined Pompey, Caesar received him into favour, and he returned to Rome in 46 B.C., where he is said to have had the superintendence of the great library which Caesar destined for the public use. In spite of his abstaining henceforward from taking any active part in public affairs, he was prescribed by Antony in 43, and only narrowly escaped with his life. Pardoned by Octavianus, he lived till the year 27, full of vigour and literary activity to the last. Varro's learning comprised all the provinces of literature known at that time, and in productivity he was equalled by no Romans, and only a few Greeks. According to his own statement, he had composed 490 books before his 78th year; the total number of his works, either in prose or verse, theoretical or practical, exceeded 70, in more than 600 books. Of these, the three books on agriculture (Rerum Rusticarum Libri), written in the form of a dialogue in his 80th year, in which he treats the subject exhaustively, drawing from his own experience as well as from more ancient sources, are the only ones that have been completely preserved. Further, of the original 25 books on the Latin language (De Lingua Latina) dedicated to Caesar, in which he systematically treats, under the head of etymology, inflexions and syntax, only books v-x exist, in a mutilated condition. This work was followed by a number of other grammatical writings. It is only through a series of extant titles of his works that we know of his literary and historical studies, which were especially directed to dramatic poetry, and in particular to the comedies of Plautus, as well as of his researches into the history and antiquities of his own nation. His principal work, of which much use has been made by later writers, the Antiquitatas Rerum Humanarum et Divinarum, in 41 books. This was the most important of his writings on these subjects, as it gave a complete account of the political and religious life of the Romans from the earliest times. The 15 books, entitled Imagines or Hebdomades, published about B.C. 39, contained 700 portraits of celebrated Greeks and Romans, in sets of seven in each group, with epigrams written beneath them. His nine Disciplinarum Libri gave an encyclopaedia of the arts pertaining to general culture (grammar, dialectics, rhetoric, geometry, arithmetic, astronomy, music, architecture, medicine). His 76 Libri Logistorici included shorter popular treatises of a historical and philosophical nature, described by titles appropriate to their contents, borrowed from the names of well-known persons (e.g. Sisenna de Historia). Among Varro's numerous and varied poetical works we will only mention, as the most original, the 150 books of Menippean Satires (Saturoe Menippeoe), which were completed before 45 B.C., a species of composition which he introduced into Roman literature in imitation of the Cynic Menippus of Gadara. In these Satires, written alternately in prose and different kinds of verse, he treats of philosophical questions, especially those relating to morality, science, etc., chiefly with the view of exposing the failings of the age. Only a number of titles and fragments of this work have been preserved.
of Madaura in Africa, apparently a pagan; a lawyer at Carthage. He compiled before 439 A.D. (When Genseric took Carthage) an encyclopaedia of the liberal arts, entitled, " The Marriage of Philology and Mercury " (Nuptioe Philologioe et Mercurii), in nine books, a medley of prose and verse on the pattern of the Menippean Satires of Varro, to whom he is also otherwise indebted. The first two books contain the allegory: Mercury marries the maiden Philologia, and among the presents he gives her are seven maidens, the liberal arts: Grammar, Dialectic, Rhetoric, Geometry, Arithmetic, Astronomy, and Harmony (Music); each of these delivers her teaching in the following books. The style is partly dry and partly bombastic. In the earlier Middle Ages the book was for a long time the principal basis of school education in general, and exerted great influence on the liberal culture of the time.
AELIUS 23.36%
Lucius Aelius Stilo Praeconinus, a Roman grammarian born at Lanuvium, about 150 B.C., an eques, and friend of the post Lucilius, to whom lie dedicated his first book of Satires: surnamed Stilo (from stilus, pencil) because he wrote speeches for public men, and Praeconinus because his father was a crier (praeco). He was so strongly attached to the party of Optimates, that in 100 B.C. be voluntarily accompanied Metellus Numidicus into exile. After his return he became the master of Varro and Cicero. Well versed in Greek and Latin literature, he applied himself chiefly to studying the oldest relics of his native tongue, commented on the Liturgies of the Salian priests and the Laws of the Twelve Tables, and earned the honour of having rescued the ancient Latin language from oblivion, and preserved some knowledge of it to posterity. Such scanty remnants of it as have come down to us in glossaries and the like seem to be taken chiefly from his writings, now all lost.
LUCIAN 23.30%
One of the most interesting of Greek writers, born about 120 A.D. at Samosata, on the Euphrates in Syria. Owing to the poverty of his parents, he was apprenticed to a stonemason; but, thanks to his irresistible eagerness for higher culture, contrived to devote himself to the art of rhetoric. After practising for some time as an advocate, he traversed Greece, Italy, and Southern Gaul in the guise of a sophist, and gained wealth and renown by his public declamations. In his fortieth year he removed to Athens, to devote himself to the study of philosophy, and attached himself closely to the Stoic Demonax. In his old age the state of his finances compelled him once more to travel as a professional orator. At last, when far advanced in years, he was given an important and influential post in the administration of justice in Egypt; this he seems to have retained till death. Under his name we still possess more than eighty works (including three collections of seventy-one shorter dialogues). Twenty of these are, however, either certainly spurious or of doubtful authenticity. They date from every period of his life, the best and cleverest from the time of his sojourn in Athens. They fall into two classes, rhetorical and satirical. Of the latter the majority are in dramatic form, recalling in dialogue and outward dress the Old Comedy, of which Lucian had a thorough knowledge, and to which his genius was closely akin. These writings present an admirable picture of the tendencies and the absurdities of the time. In the field of religion, he directed his mockery (especially in the Dialogues of the Gods) against the tenets of the popular religion, the artificial revival of which was attempted in the time of Hadrian and the Antonines. He further attacked the popular conceptions of life after death in the Dialogues of the Dead. He assails with special bitterness the superstitions which had penetrated from the East, among which he reckons, it is true, Christianity, but without any real knowledge of its nature. In Peregrinus Proteus, he attacks mystical enthusiasm; in Alexander, or the Prophet of Lies, the impostors and oracle-mongers who preyed upon the superstition of the time, which he portrays in a masterly style in his Lover of Lies and his True Stories (Veroe Historiae). Another object of his satiric lance was the current philosophy, in which he had sought relief when sated with rhetoric. He had only found in it, however, a petrified dogmatism, a passion for strife and disputation, with the most absolute contradiction between theoretical teaching and the practice of life. This was true even of the Stoics, and still more of the Cynics, whose meanness and love of pleasure, which they concealed under a pretended absence of personal wants, he is never weary of deriding. Especially instructive for his attitude towards philosophy and his general view of life are the Auction of Philosophers, the Fisherman (with his defence of the latter), and Charon, or the Spectator of the World. All these are works of marked ability. The last named is a brilliant exposition, from his negative point of view, of the vanity of all human existence. He even exposes his own class, the Sophists, for attempting to conceal their miserable poverty of intellect by their bold readiness of tongue, and by their patchwork of fragmentary quotations borrowed from the writers of antiquity. In fact, there is scarcely a side of the literary and social life of the time that he does not attack in its weak points, confining himself, however, for the most part to demonstrating what ought not to be, without showing how the existing evils were to be cured. To sit in judgment on the false culture and want of taste in his contemporaries,he was certainly fitted above all others; for, apart from a wide range of knowledge, he possessed keen observation, and an unusual measure of wit and humour. He had moreover an extraordinary gift of invention, remarkable aptitude for vivid delineation of character, and a singular grace and elegance. In spite of his Syrian origin, his zealous study of the best models gave him a purity of language which for his time is remarkable.
Author of a satiric romance, certainly of the time of Nero, and probably the Gains Petronius whose licentiousness and congenial tastes obtained for him the high favour of Nero, at whose court he played the part of arbiter elegantiae (maître de plaisir), until, in 66 A.D., in consequence of the intrigues of his rivals, he committed suicide by opening his veins [Tacitus, Ann. xvi 18, 19]. Of his social romance, entitled Saturae, which must originally have consisted of about twenty books, only fragments are left to us, being part of books xv and xvi. The most complete and famous is the "Banquet of Trimalchio " (Cena Trimalchionis). Judging from the fragments, the scene was laid under Tiberius, or possibly Augustus, in S. Italy, chiefly in an unnamed colony in Campania, partly in Croton. The work is astonishing for the truth with which both manners and men are painted. A masterly hand appears in the treatment of the dialogue, adapted as it is in every instance to the character of the speaker, now plebeian, in the mouth of Trimalchio, the freedman who has become a millionaire; now refined, in the cultivated Greek Encolpius; or again bombastic, in the case of the poet Eumolpus. All situations in life (with a preference for the filthiest), and even literature and art, come under discussion. In the prose are introduced numerous and sometimes extensive pieces of poetry, mostly intended to parody some particular style.
SENECA 19.64%
Lucius Anncaeus, the philosopher, son of (1), born at Corduba, about 5 B.C. In early youth he came to Rome, where, besides studying rhetoric, he devoted himself particularly to philosophy. While still young he entered active life as an orator, and in the service of the government. In 1 A.D. he was banished to Corsica by Claudius, at the instigation of Messalina, on the ostensible charge of being a participator and an accomplice in the debaucheries of Julia, the daughter of Germanicus. Not till eight years later did Claudius recall him at the request of Agrippina the younger, the emperor's niece and wife, and appoint him tutor to the youthful Nero, Agrippina's son by a former husband. After the young prince had ascended the throne in 54 A.D., Seneca still remained in the circle of those most closely attached to him, especially during the first five years of the reign, and exercised a beneficial influence over his former pupil, who manifested his thanks by making him valuable presents, and conferring upon him the consulship for 57. In 62 the intrigues of his opponents caused him to withdraw completely from the court and from public life. The conspiracy of Piso in 65 finally afforded Nero the early desired pretext for removing him. As the mode of his death was left to himself, he had his veins opened, and as death did not ensue with sufficient rapidity, he finally had himself put in a vapour-bath. During his lifetime he had often been reproached for finding more pleasure than a philosopher should in the good things of life. How little value he really set upon them was shown by the readiness with which he parted from them and the composure with which he met his end. Next to Cicero, he is the most famous philosophical writer of Rome, and one of the most gifted and original of Roman authors in general. As a philosopher, he was essentially a follower of the Stoics; but he directed his attention less to abstract speculation than to practical wisdom, which undoubtedly, as in his own instance, verges closely on mere prudence in the conduct of life. His writings are in a popular style, but they are characterized by copious knowledge and wide acquaintance with the human heart, and are remarkable for their richness in aphorisms that are at once profound in thought and terse in expression. The moral tone of his writings caused Christian tradition to represent him as a friend of the Apostle Paul, and even to invent a correspondence between them. [Cp. Lightfoot's Philippians, 1868, pp. 260-331] In versatility of genius, ease of production, and elegance of form, Seneca may be compared with Ovid. In style he accommodated himself completely to the taste of the times, which strained after rhetorical effect, though he fully recognised its degeneracy. Among his numerous prose writings are the following: (1) three letters of condolence (De Consolatione)--to his mother Helvia, to Polybius (the favourite of Claudius), and to Marcia (the daughter of Cremutius Cordus. The two first were composed in Corsica. (2) A series of discourses on philosophy and morals, the most important being those on Mercy (De Clementia), in two books, addressed to Nero; on Anger (De Ira), in three books; on Giving and Receiving Favours (De Beneficus), in seven books. (3) A collection in twenty books of 124 letters to his young friend Lucilius, mostly on questions of philosophy. (4) Investigations in Natural Science (Quaestiones Naturales,) in seven books, dedicated to the same Lucilius, the the first and only text-book on physics in Roman literature. In addition to these he wrote a biting satire on the death of the emperor Claudius (Ludus de Morte Claudii) entitled the Pumpkinification (Apocolocyntosis), instead of deification (apotheosis), in which prose and verse are mingled after the manner of Varro's Menippean Satires. We have express testimony that Seneca was also a poet [Tacitus, Ann., xix 52]. Besides certain epigrams, the following tragedies are ascribed to him: Hercules Furens, Thyestes, Phoedra, (Edipus Troades, Medea, Agamemnon, Herecules OEtoeus, three fragments upon the Theban myth united under the title of Thebais or Phoenissoe, and the fabula proetextata (q.v.) entitled Octavia. These are the only tragedies in all Roman literature that have come down to us. It may be taken as proved, that the last of these dramas, which treats of the tragic end of Octavia, the daughter of Claudius and wife of Nero, and in which Seneca himself appears, cannot be attributed to him, but belongs to a later date, though there are no decisive reasons for doubting the genuineness of the remainder. Their matter and form are borrowed from the Greek; [but their general character probably resembles that of the tragedies written in the Augustan age by Pollio and by Varius, rather than that of the ancient dramatists, such as Ennius and Pacuvius]. In their pointed expression they exhibit the same talent for style as his prose works, the same copiousness, philosophical bent, and rhetorical manner (the last frequently carried beyond the limits of taste). They seem to have been designed more as declamatory exercises than for actual performance on the stage.
A Greek philosopher and poet, born about 570 B.C. at Colophon in Asia Minor. At the age of 25, after the conquest of his native city by the Persians, he was expelled from his home, and thence-forth led an unsettled and wandering life, in the course of which he recited his own poems as rhapsodies. Accordingly, he lived from time to time at the court of the Pisistratidae at Athens, and at that of Hieron at Syracuse, and for a longer period at Zancle and Catana in Sicily. His later years he apparently spent at Elea (Lat. Velia) in South Italy, a colony of the Phocaeans, in the founding of which he took part. In one fragment he describes himself as an old man of 92; according to another account, he lived to be more than 100. He is the founder of the Eleatic philosophy and of pantheism, inasmuch as he combated the anthropomorphic view of the gods dominant in Homer and Hesiod, and in the popular belief in general. He asserted the doctrine of a one all-ruling divinity, who, as true existence: opposed to appearance or non-existence as the One and the All, the Whole, undivided, unmoved, and eternal, underlies the universe and is identical with it. He resembles man neither in form nor understanding; being all eye, all ear, all intellect, by the power of his mind and without extraneous effort he sways and governs all things. Apart from two elegiac poems, we possess only fragments of the writings of Xenophanes: viz. part of the didactic poem, Concerning Nature, his principal work, which he himself recited; part of an epic poem on the founding of Colophon and Elea; and fragments of the Silloi, or satires in which he attacked the opposing views of poets and philosophers.
Born about 130 A.D. at Madaura in Numidia, of a wealthy and honourable family; the most original Latin writer of his time. Educated at Carthage, he went to Atbens to study philosophy, especially that of Plato; then he travelled far and wide, everywhere obtaining initiation into the mysteries. For sometime he lived in Rome as an advocate. After returning to Africa, he married a lady considerably older than himself, the mother of a friend, Aemilia Pudentilla, whereupon her kinsmen charged him with having won the rich widow's hand by magic, and of having contrived the death of her son: a charge to which he replied with much wit in his oration De Magia (earlier than A.D. 161). He afterwards settled down at Carthage, and thence made excursions through Africa, delivering orations or lectures. Of the rest of his life and the year of his death nothing is known. Beside the Apologia above-mentioned, and a few rhetorical and philosophic writings, another work, his chief one, also survives, which was composed at a ripe age, with hints borrowed from a book of Lucian's. This is a satirical and fantastic moral romance, Metamorphoseon libri XI (de Asino Aureo), the adventures of one Lucius, who is transformed into an ass, and under that disguise has the amplest opportunities of observing, undetected, the preposterous doings of mankind. Then, enlightened by this experience, and with the enchantment taken off him by admission into the mysteries of Osiris, be becomes quite a new man. Of the many episodes interwoven into the story, the most interesting is the beautiful allegorical fairy tale of Cupid and Psyche, so much used by later poets and artists. Throughout the book Apuleius paints the moral and religious conditions of his time with much humour and in lifelike colours though his language, while clever, is often, affected, bombastic, and disfigured by obsolete and provincial phrases.
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