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Title: A Dialogue Concerning Oratory, Or The Causes Of Corrupt Eloquence - The Works Of Cornelius Tacitus, Volume 8 (of 8); With An Essay On - His Life And Genius, Notes, Supplements
Author: Tacitus, Caius Cornelius, 56-120
Language: English
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*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Dialogue Concerning Oratory, Or The Causes Of Corrupt Eloquence - The Works Of Cornelius Tacitus, Volume 8 (of 8); With An Essay On - His Life And Genius, Notes, Supplements" ***





     Præcipuum munus annalium reor, ne virtutes sileantur, utque pravis
     dictis factisque ex posteritate et infamiâ metus sit.
                                          TACITUS, Annales, iii. s. 65.










I. General introduction, with the reasons for writing an account of
the following discourse.

II. The persons engaged in the dialogue; at first, Curiatius Maternus,
Julius Secundus, and Marcus Aper.

III. Secundus endeavours to dissuade Maternus from thinking any more
of dramatic composition.

IV. Maternus gives his reasons for persisting.

V. Aper condemns his resolution, and, in point of utility, real
happiness, fame and dignity, contends that the oratorical profession
is preferable to the poetical.

VIII. He cites the example of Eprius Marcellus and Crispus Vibius, who
raised themselves by their eloquence to the highest honours.

IX. Poetical fame brings with it no advantage.

X. He exhorts Maternus to relinquish the muses, and devote his whole
to eloquence and the business of the bar.

XI. Maternus defends his favourite studies; the pleasures arising from
poetry are in their nature innocent and sublime; the fame is extensive
and immortal. The poet enjoys the most delightful intercourse with his
friends, whereas the life of the public orator is a state of warfare
and anxiety.

XIV. Vipstanius Messala enters the room. He finds his friends engaged
in a controversy, and being an admirer of ancient eloquence, he
advises Aper to adopt the model of the ancients in preference to the
plan of the modern rhetoricians.

XV. Hence a difference of opinion concerning the merit of the ancients
and the moderns. Messala, Secundus, and Maternus, profess themselves
admirers of the oratory that flourished in the time of the republic.
Aper launches out against the ancients, and gives the preference to
the advocates of his own time. He desires to know who are to be
accounted ancients.

XVIII. Eloquence has various modes, all changing with the conjuncture
of the times. But it is the nature of men to praise the past, and
censure the present. The period when Cassius Severus flourished, is
stated to be the point of time at which men cease to be ancients;
Cassius with good reason deviated from the ancient manner.

XX. Defects of ancient eloquence: the modern style more refined and

XXI. The character of Calvus, Cælius, Cæsar and Brutus, and also of
Asinius Pollio, and Messala Corvinus.

XXII. The praise and censure of Cicero.

XXIII. The true rhetorical art consists in blending the virtues of
ancient oratory with the beauties of the modern style.

XXIV. Maternus observes that there can be no dispute about the
superior reputation of the ancient orators: he therefore calls upon
Messala to take that point for granted, and proceed to an enquiry into
the causes that produced so great an alteration.

XXV. After some observations on the eloquence of Calvus, Asinius
Pollio, Cæsar, Cicero, and others, Messala praises Gracchus and Lucius
Crassus, but censures Mæcenas, Gallio, and Cassius Severus.

XXVII. Maternus reminds Messala of the true point in question; Messala
proceeds to assign the causes which occasioned the decay of eloquence,
such as the dissipation of the young men, the inattention of their
parents, the ignorance of rhetorical professors, and the total neglect
of ancient discipline.

XXXIV. He proceeds to explain the plan of study, and the institutions,
customs, and various arts, by which orators were formed in the time of
the republic.

XXXV. The defects and vices in the new system of education. In this
part of the dialogue, the sequel of Messala's discourse is lost, with
the whole of what was said by Secundus, and the beginning of Maternus:
the supplement goes on from this place, distinguished by inverted
commas [transcriber's note: not used], and the sections marked with
numerical figures.

1. Messala describes the presumption of the young advocates on their
first appearance at the bar; their want of legal knowledge, and the
absurd habits which they contracted in the schools of the

2. Eloquence totally ruined by the preceptors. Messala concludes with
desiring Secundus and Maternus to assign the reasons which have
occurred to them.

4. Secundus gives his opinion. The change of government produced a new
mode of eloquence. The orators under the emperors endeavoured to be
ingenious rather than natural. Seneca the first who introduced a false
taste, which still prevailed in the reign of Vespasian.

8. Licinius Largus taught the advocates of his time the disgraceful
art of hiring applauders by profession. This was the bane of all true
oratory, and, for that reason, Maternus was right in renouncing the
forum altogether.

10. Maternus acknowledges that he was disgusted by the shameful
practices that prevailed at the bar, and therefore resolved to devote
the rest of his time to poetry and the muses.

11. An apology for the rhetoricians. The praise of Quintilian. True
eloquence died with Cicero.

13. The loss of liberty was the ruin of genuine oratory. Demosthenes
flourished under a free government. The original goes on from this
place to the end of the dialogue.

XXXVI. Eloquence flourishes most in times of public tumult. The crimes
of turbulent citizens supply the orator with his best materials.

XXXVII. In the time of the republic, oratorical talents were necessary
qualifications, and without them no man was deemed worthy of being
advanced to the magistracy.

XXXVIII. The Roman orators were not confined in point of time; they
might extend their speeches to what length they thought proper, and
could even adjourn. Pompey abridged the liberty of speech, and limited
the time.

XXXIX. The very dress of the advocates under the emperors was
prejudicial to eloquence.

XL. True eloquence springs from the vices of men, and never was known
to exist under a calm and settled government.

XLI. Eloquence changes with the times. Every age has its own peculiar
advantages, and invidious comparisons are unnecessary.

XLII. Conclusion of the dialogue.

The time of this dialogue was the sixth of Vespasian's reign.

     Year of Rome--Of Christ     Consuls.

         828           75        Vespasian, 6th time; Titus his son,
                                                           4th time.


I. You have often enquired of me, my good friend, Justus Fabius [a],
how and from what causes it has proceeded, that while ancient times
display a race of great and splendid orators, the present age,
dispirited, and without any claim to the praise of eloquence, has
scarcely retained the name of an orator. By that appellation we now
distinguish none but those who flourished in a former period. To the
eminent of the present day, we give the title of speakers, pleaders,
advocates, patrons, in short, every thing but orators.

The enquiry is in its nature delicate; tending, if we are not able to
contend with antiquity, to impeach our genius, and if we are not
willing, to arraign our judgement. An answer to so nice a question is
more than I should venture to undertake, were I to rely altogether
upon myself: but it happens, that I am able to state the sentiments of
men distinguished by their eloquence, such as it is in modern times;
having, in the early part of my life, been present at their
conversation on the very subject now before us. What I have to offer,
will not be the result of my own thinking: it is the work of memory
only; a mere recital of what fell from the most celebrated orators of
their time: a set of men, who thought with subtilty, and expressed
themselves with energy and precision; each, in his turn, assigning
different but probable causes, at times insisting on the same, and, in
the course of the debate, maintaining his own proper character, and
the peculiar cast of his mind. What they said upon the occasion, I
shall relate, as nearly as may be, in the style and manner of the
several speakers, observing always the regular course and order of the
controversy. For a controversy it certainly was, where the speakers of
the present age did not want an advocate, who supported their cause
with zeal, and, after treating antiquity with sufficient freedom, and
even derision, assigned the palm of eloquence to the practisers of
modern times.

II. Curiatius Maternus [a] gave a public reading of his tragedy of
Cato. On the following day a report prevailed, that the piece had
given umbrage to the men in power. The author, it was said, had
laboured to display his favourite character in the brightest colours;
anxious for the fame of his hero, but regardless of himself. This soon
became the topic of public conversation. Maternus received a visit
from Marcus Aper [b] and Julius Secundus [c], both men of genius, and
the first ornaments of the forum. I was, at that time, a constant
attendant on those eminent men. I heard them, not only in their scenes
of public business, but, feeling an inclination to the same studies, I
followed them with all the ardour of youthful emulation. I was
admitted to their private parties; I heard their debates, and the
amusement of their social hours: I treasured up their wit, and their
sentiments on the various topics which they had discussed in
conversation. Respected as they were, it must, however, be
acknowledged that they did not escape the malignity of criticism. It
was objected to Secundus, that he had no command of words, no flow of
language; and to Aper, that he was indebted for his fame, not to art
or literature, but to the natural powers of a vigorous understanding.
The truth is, the style of the former was remarkable for its purity;
concise, yet free and copious; and the latter was sufficiently versed
in all branches of general erudition. It might be said of him, that he
despised literature, not that he wanted it. He thought, perhaps, that,
by scorning the aid of letters, and by drawing altogether from his own
fund, his fame would stand on a more solid foundation.

III. We went together to pay our visit to Maternus. Upon entering his
study, we found him with the tragedy, which he had read on the
preceding day, lying before him. Secundus began: And are you then so
little affected by the censure of malignant critics, as to persist in
cherishing a tragedy which has given so much offence? Perhaps you are
revising the piece, and, after retrenching certain passages, intend to
send your Cato into the world, I will not say improved, but certainly
less obnoxious. There lies the poem, said Maternus; you may, if you
think proper, peruse it with all its imperfections on its head. If
Cato has omitted any thing, Thyestes [a], at my next reading, shall
atone for all deficiencies. I have formed the fable of a tragedy on
that subject: the plan is warm in my imagination, and, that I may give
my whole time to it, I now am eager to dispatch an edition of Cato.
Marcus Aper interposed: And are you, indeed, so enamoured of your
dramatic muse, as to renounce your oratorical character, and the
honours of your profession, in order to sacrifice your time, I think
it was lately to Medea, and now to Thyestes? Your friends, in the mean
time, expect your patronage; the colonies [b] invoke your aid, and the
municipal cities invite you to the bar. And surely the weight of so
many causes may be deemed sufficient, without this new solicitude
imposed upon you by Domitius [c] or Cato. And must you thus waste all
your time, amusing yourself for ever with scenes of fictitious
distress, and still labouring to add to the fables of Greece the
incidents and characters of the Roman story?

IV. The sharpness of that reproof, replied Maternus, would, perhaps,
have disconcerted me, if, by frequent repetition, it had not lost its
sting. To differ on this subject is grown familiar to us both. Poetry,
it seems, is to expect no quarter: you wage an incessant war against
the followers of that pleasing art; and I, who am charged with
deserting my clients, have yet every day the cause of poetry to
defend. But we have now a fair opportunity, and I embrace it with
pleasure, since we have a person present, of ability to decide between
us; a judge, who will either lay me under an injunction to write no
more verses, or, as I rather hope, encourage me, by his authority, to
renounce for ever the dry employment of forensic causes (in which I
have had my share of drudgery), that I may, for the future, be at
leisure to cultivate the sublime and sacred eloquence of the tragic

V. Secundus desired to be heard: I am aware, he said, that Aper may
refuse me as an umpire. Before he states his objections, let me follow
the example of all fair and upright judges, who, in particular cases,
when they feel a partiality for one of the contending parties, desire
to be excused from hearing the cause. The friendship and habitual
intercourse, which I have ever cultivated with Saleius Bassus [a],
that excellent man, and no less excellent poet, are well known: and
let me add, if poetry is to be arraigned, I know no client that can
offer such handsome bribes.

My business, replied Aper, is not with Saleius Bassus: let him, and
all of his description, who, without talents for the bar, devote their
time to the muses, pursue their favourite amusement without
interruption. But Maternus must not think to escape in the crowd. I
single him out from the rest, and since we are now before a competent
judge, I call upon him to answer, how it happens, that a man of his
talents, formed by nature to reach the heights of manly eloquence, can
think of renouncing a profession, which not only serves to multiply
friendships, but to support them with reputation: a profession, which
enables us to conciliate the esteem of foreign nations, and (if we
regard our own interest) lays open the road to the first honours of
the state; a profession, which, besides the celebrity that it gives
within the walls of Rome, spreads an illustrious name throughout this
wide extent of the empire.

If it be wisdom to make the ornament and happiness of life the end and
aim of our actions, what can be more advisable than to embrace an art,
by which we are enabled to protect our friends; to defend the cause of
strangers; and succour the distressed? Nor is this all: the eminent
orator is a terror to his enemies: envy and malice tremble, while they
hate him. Secure in his own strength, he knows how to ward off every
danger. His own genius is his protection; a perpetual guard, that
watches him; an invincible power, that shields him from his enemies.

In the calm seasons of life, the true use of oratory consists in the
assistance which it affords to our fellow-citizens. We then behold the
triumph of eloquence. Have we reason to be alarmed for ourselves, the
sword and breast-plate are not a better defence in the heat of battle.
It is at once a buckler to cover yourself [b] and a weapon to brandish
against your enemy. Armed with this, you may appear with courage
before the tribunals of justice, in the senate, and even in the
presence of the prince. We lately saw [c] Eprius Marcellus arraigned
before the fathers: in that moment, when the minds of the whole
assembly were inflamed against him, what had he to oppose to the
vehemence of his enemies, but that nervous eloquence which he
possessed in so eminent a degree? Collected in himself, and looking
terror to his enemies, he was more than a match for Helvidius Priscus;
a man, no doubt, of consummate wisdom, but without that flow of
eloquence, which springs from practice, and that skill in argument,
which is necessary to manage a public debate. Such is the advantage of
oratory: to enlarge upon it were superfluous. My friend Maternus will
not dispute the point.

VI. I proceed to the pleasure arising from the exercise of eloquence;
a pleasure which does not consist in the mere sensation of the moment,
but is felt through life, repeated every day, and almost every hour.
For let me ask, to a man of an ingenuous and liberal mind, who knows
the relish of elegant enjoyments, what can yield such true delight, as
a concourse of the most respectable characters crowding to his levee?
How must it enhance his pleasure, when he reflects, that the visit is
not paid to him because he is rich, and wants an heir [a], or is in
possession of a public office, but purely as a compliment to superior
talents, a mark of respect to a great and accomplished orator! The
rich who have no issue, and the men in high rank and power, are his
followers. Though he is still young, and probably destitute of
fortune, all concur in paying their court to solicit his patronage for
themselves, or to recommend their friends to his protection. In the
most splendid fortune, in all the dignity and pride of power, is there
any thing that can equal the heartfelt satisfaction of the able
advocate, when he sees the most illustrious citizens, men respected
for their years, and flourishing in the opinion of the public, yet
paying their court to a rising genius, and, in the midst of wealth and
grandeur, fairly owning, that they still want something superior to
all their possessions? What shall be said of the attendants, that
follow the young orator from the bar, and watch his motions to his own
house? With what importance does he appear to the multitude! in the
courts of judicature, with what veneration! When he rises to speak,
the audience is hushed in mute attention; every eye is fixed on him
alone; the crowd presses round him; he is master of their passions;
they are swayed, impelled, directed, as he thinks proper. These are
the fruits of eloquence, well known to all, and palpable to every
common observer.

There are other pleasures more refined and secret, felt only by the
initiated. When the orator, upon some great occasion, comes with a
well-digested speech, conscious of his matter, and animated by his
subject, his breast expands, and heaves with emotions unfelt before.
In his joy there is a dignity suited to the weight and energy of the
composition which he has prepared. Does he rise to hazard himself [b]
in a sudden debate; he is alarmed for himself, but in that very alarm
there is a mingle of pleasure, which predominates, till distress
itself becomes delightful. The mind exults in the prompt exertion of
its powers, and even glories in its rashness. The productions of
genius, and those of the field, have this resemblance: many things are
sown, and brought to maturity with toil and care; yet that, which
grows from the wild vigour of nature, has the most grateful flavour.

VII. As to myself, if I may allude to my own feelings, the day on
which I put on the manly gown [a], and even the days that followed,
when, as a new man at Rome, born in a city that did not favour my
pretensions [b], I rose in succession to the offices of quæstor,
tribune, and prætor; those days, I say, did not awaken in my breast
such exalted rapture, as when, in the course of my profession, I was
called forth, with such talents as have fallen to my share, to defend
the accused; to argue a question of law before the centumviri [c], or,
in the presence of the prince, to plead for his freedmen, and the
procurators appointed by himself. Upon those occasions I towered above
all places of profit, and all preferment; I looked down on the
dignities of tribune, prætor, and consul; I felt within myself, what
neither the favour of the great, nor the wills and codicils [d] of the
rich, can give, a vigour of mind, an inward energy, that springs from
no external cause, but is altogether your own.

Look through the circle of the fine arts, survey the whole compass of
the sciences, and tell me in what branch can the professors acquire a
name to vie with the celebrity of a great and powerful orator. His
fame does not depend on the opinion of thinking men, who attend to
business and watch the administration of affairs; he is applauded by
the youth of Rome, at least by such of them as are of a well-turned
disposition, and hope to rise by honourable means. The eminent orator
is the model which every parent recommends to his children. Even the
common people [e] stand at gaze, as he passes by; they pronounce his
name with pleasure, and point at him as the object of their
admiration. The provinces resound with his praise. The strangers, who
arrive from all parts, have heard of his genius; they wish to behold
the man, and their curiosity is never at rest, till they have seen his
person, and perused his countenance.

VIII. I have already mentioned Eprius Marcellus and Crispus Vibius
[a]. I cite living examples, in preference to the names of a former
day. Those two illustrious persons, I will be bold to say, are not
less known in the remotest parts of the empire, than they are at
Capua, or Vercellæ [b], where, we are told, they both were born. And
to what is their extensive fame to be attributed? Not surely to their
immoderate riches. Three hundred thousand sesterces cannot give the
fame of genius. Their eloquence may be said to have built up their
fortunes; and, indeed, such is the power, I might say the inspiration,
of eloquence, that in every age we have examples of men, who by their
talents raised themselves to the summit of their ambition.

But I waive all former instances. The two, whom I have mentioned, are
not recorded in history, nor are we to glean an imperfect knowledge of
them from tradition; they are every day before our eyes. They have
risen from low beginnings; but the more abject their origin, and the
more sordid the poverty, in which they set out, their success rises in
proportion, and affords a striking proof of what I have advanced;
since it is apparent, that, without birth or fortune, neither of them
recommended by his moral character, and one of them deformed in his
person, they have, notwithstanding all disadvantages, made themselves,
for a series of years, the first men in the state. They began their
career in the forum, and, as long as they chose to pursue that road of
ambition, they flourished in the highest reputation; they are now at
the head of the commonwealth, the ministers who direct and govern, and
so high in favour with the prince, that the respect, with which he
receives them, is little short of veneration.

The truth is, Vespasian [c], now in the vale of years, but always open
to the voice of truth, clearly sees that the rest of his favourites
derive all their lustre from the favours, which his munificence has
bestowed; but with Marcellus and Crispus the case is different: they
carry into the cabinet, what no prince can give, and no subject can
receive. Compared with the advantages which those men possess, what
are family-pictures, statues, busts, and titles of honour? They are
things of a perishable nature, yet not without their value. Marcellus
and Vibius know how to estimate them, as they do wealth and honours;
and wealth and honours are advantages against which you will easily
find men that declaim, but none that in their hearts despise them.
Hence it is, that in the houses of all who have distinguished
themselves in the career of eloquence, we see titles, statues, and
splendid ornaments, the reward of talents, and, at all times, the
decorations of the great and powerful orator.

IX. But to come to the point, from which we started: poetry, to which
my friend Maternus wishes to dedicate all his time, has none of these
advantages. It confers no dignity, nor does it serve any useful
purpose. It is attended with some pleasure, but it is the pleasure of
a moment, springing from vain applause, and bringing with it no solid
advantage. What I have said, and am going to add, may probably, my
good friend Maternus, be unwelcome to your ear; and yet I must take
the liberty to ask you, if Agamemnon [a] or Jason speaks in your piece
with dignity of language, what useful consequence follows from it?
What client has been defended? Who confesses an obligation? In that
whole audience, who returns to his own house with a grateful heart?
Our friend Saleius Bassus [b] is, beyond all question, a poet of
eminence, or, to use a warmer expression, he has the god within him:
but who attends his levee? who seeks his patronage, or follows in his
train? Should he himself, or his intimate friend, or his near
relation, happen to be involved in a troublesome litigation, what
course do you imagine he would take? He would, most probably, apply to
his friend, Secundus; or to you, Maternus; not because you are a poet,
nor yet to obtain a copy of verses from you; of those he has a
sufficient stock at home, elegant, it must be owned, and exquisite in
the kind. But after all his labour and waste of genius, what is his

When in the course of a year, after toiling day and night, he has
brought a single poem to perfection, he is obliged to solicit his
friends and exert his interest, in order to bring together an audience
[c], so obliging as to hear a recital of the piece. Nor can this be
done without expence. A room must be hired, a stage or pulpit must be
erected; benches must be arranged, and hand-bills distributed
throughout the city. What if the reading succeeds to the height of his
wishes? Pass but a day or two, and the whole harvest of praise and
admiration fades away, like a flower that withers in its bloom, and
never ripens into fruit. By the event, however flattering, he gains no
friend, he obtains no patronage, nor does a single person go away
impressed with the idea of an obligation conferred upon him. The poet
has been heard with applause; he has been received with acclamations;
and he has enjoyed a short-lived transport.

Bassus, it is true, has lately received from Vespasian a present of
fifty thousand sesterces. Upon that occasion, we all admired the
generosity of the prince. To deserve so distinguished a proof of the
sovereign's esteem is, no doubt, highly honourable; but is it not
still more honourable, if your circumstances require it, to serve
yourself by your talents? to cultivate your genius, for your own
advantage? and to owe every thing to your own industry, indebted to
the bounty of no man whatever? It must not be forgotten, that the
poet, who would produce any thing truly excellent in the kind, must
bid farewell to the conversation of his friends; he must renounce, not
only the pleasures of Rome, but also the duties of social life; he
must retire from the world; as the poets say, "to groves and grottos
every muse's son." In other words, he must condemn himself to a
sequestered life in the gloom of solitude.

X. The love of fame, it seems, is the passion that inspires the poet's
genius: but even in this respect, is he so amply paid as to rival in
any degree the professors of the persuasive arts? As to the
indifferent poet, men leave him to his own [a] mediocrity: the real
genius moves in a narrow circle. Let there be a reading of a poem by
the ablest master of his art: will the fame of his performance reach
all quarters, I will not say of the empire, but of Rome only? Among
the strangers who arrive from Spain, from Asia, or from Gaul, who
enquires [b] after Saleius Bassus? Should it happen that there is one,
who thinks, of him; his curiosity is soon satisfied; he passes on,
content with a transient view, as if he had seen a picture or a

In what I have advanced, let me not be misunderstood: I do not mean to
deter such as are not blessed with the gift of oratory, from the
practice of their favourite art, if it serves to fill up their time,
and gain a degree of reputation. I am an admirer of eloquence [c]; I
hold it venerable, and even sacred, in all its shapes, and every mode
of composition. The pathetic of tragedy, of which you, Maternus, are
so great a master; the majesty of the epic, the gaiety of the lyric
muse; the wanton elegy, the keen iambic, and the pointed epigram; all
have their charms; and Eloquence, whatever may be the subject which
she chooses to adorn, is with me the sublimest faculty, the queen of
all the arts and sciences. But this, Maternus, is no apology for you,
whose conduct is so extraordinary, that, though formed by nature to
reach the summit of perfection [d], you choose to wander into devious
paths, and rest contented with an humble station in the vale beneath.

Were you a native of Greece, where to exhibit in the public games [e]
is an honourable employment; and if the gods had bestowed upon you the
force and sinew of the athletic Nicostratus [f]; do you imagine that I
could look tamely on, and see that amazing vigour waste itself away in
nothing better than the frivolous art of darting the javelin, or
throwing the coit? To drop the allusion, I summon you from the theatre
and public recitals to the business of the forum, to the tribunals of
justice, to scenes of real contention, to a conflict worthy of your
abilities. You cannot decline the challenge, for you are left without
an excuse. You cannot say, with a number of others, that the
profession of poetry is safer than that of the public orator; since
you have ventured, in a tragedy written with spirit, to display the
ardour of a bold and towering genius.

And for whom have you provoked so many enemies? Not for a friend; that
would have had alleviating circumstances. You undertook the cause of
Cato, and for him committed yourself. You cannot plead, by way of
apology, the duty of an advocate, or the sudden effusion of sentiment
in the heat and hurry of an unpremeditated speech. Your plan was
settled; a great historical personage was your hero, and you chose
him, because what falls from so distinguished a character, falls from
a height that gives it additional weight. I am aware of your answer:
you will say, it was that very circumstance that ensured the success
of your piece; the sentiments were received with sympathetic rapture:
the room echoed with applause, and hence your fame throughout the city
of Rome. Then let us hear no more of your love of quiet and a state of
security: you have voluntarily courted danger. For myself, I am
content with controversies of a private nature, and the incidents of
the present day. If, hurried beyond the bounds of prudence, I should
happen, on any occasion, to grate the ears of men in power, the zeal
of an advocate, in the service of his client, will excuse the honest
freedom of speech, and, perhaps, be deemed a proof of integrity.

XI. Aper went through his argument, according to his custom, with
warmth and vehemence. He delivered the whole with a peremptory tone
and an eager eye. As soon as he finished, I am prepared, said Maternus
smiling, to exhibit a charge against the professors of oratory, which
may, perhaps, counterbalance the praise so lavishly bestowed upon them
by my friend. In the course of what he said, I was not surprised to
see him going out of his way, to lay poor poetry prostrate at his
feet. He has, indeed, shewn some kindness to such as are not blessed
with oratorical talents. He has passed an act of indulgence in their
favour, and they, it seems, are allowed to pursue their favourite
studies. For my part, I will not say that I think myself wholly
unqualified for the eloquence of the bar. It may be true, that I have
some kind of talent for that profession; but the tragic muse affords
superior pleasure. My first attempt was in the reign of Nero, in
opposition to the extravagant claims of the prince [a], and in
defiance of the domineering spirit of Vatinius [b], that pernicious
favourite, by whose coarse buffoonery the muses were every day
disgraced, I might say, most impiously prophaned. The portion of fame,
whatever it be, that I have acquired since that time, is to be
attributed, not to the speeches which I made in the forum, but to the
power of dramatic composition. I have, therefore, resolved to take my
leave of the bar for ever. The homage of visitors, the train of
attendants, and the multitude of clients, which glitter so much in the
eyes of my friend, have no attraction for me. I regard them as I do
pictures, and busts, and statues of brass; things, which indeed are in
my family, but they came unlooked for, without my stir, or so much as
a wish on my part. In my humble station, I find that innocence is a
better shield than oratory. For the last I shall have no occasion,
unless I find it necessary, on some future occasion, to exert myself
in the just defence of an injured friend.

XII. But woods, and groves [a], and solitary places, have not escaped
the satyrical vein of my friend. To me they afford sensations of a
pure delight. It is there I enjoy the pleasures of a poetic
imagination; and among those pleasures it is not the least, that they
are pursued far from the noise and bustle of the world, without a
client to besiege my doors, and not a criminal to distress me with the
tears of affliction. Free from those distractions, the poet retires to
scenes of solitude, where peace and innocence reside. In those haunts
of contemplation, he has his pleasing visions. He treads on
consecrated ground. It was there that Eloquence first grew up, and
there she reared her temple. In those retreats she first adorned
herself with those graces, which have made mankind enamoured of her
charms; and there she filled the hearts of the wise and good with joy
and inspiration. Oracles first spoke in woods and sacred groves. As to
the species of oratory, which practises for lucre, or with views of
ambition; that sanguinary eloquence [b] now so much in vogue: it is of
modern growth, the offspring of corrupt manners, and degenerate times;
or rather, as my friend _Aper_ expressed it, it is a _weapon_ in the
hands of ill-designing men.

The early and more happy period of the world, or, as we poets call it,
the golden age, was the æra of true eloquence. Crimes and orators were
then unknown. Poetry spoke in harmonious numbers, not to varnish evil
deeds, but to praise the virtuous, and celebrate the friends of human
kind. This was the poet's office. The inspired train enjoyed the
highest honours; they held commerce with the gods; they partook of the
ambrosial feast: they were at once the messengers and interpreters of
the supreme command. They ranked on earth with legislators, heroes,
and demigods. In that bright assembly we find no orator, no pleader of
causes. We read of Orpheus [c], of Linus, and, if we choose to mount
still higher, we can add the name of Apollo himself. This may seem a
flight of fancy. Aper will treat it as mere romance, and fabulous
history: but he will not deny, that the veneration paid to Homer, with
the consent of posterity, is at least equal to the honours obtained by
Demosthenes. He must likewise admit, that the fame of Sophocles and
Euripides is not confined within narrower limits than that of Lysias
[d] or Hyperides. To come home to our own country, there are at this
day more who dispute the excellence of Cicero than of Virgil. Among
the orations of Asinius or Messala [e], is there one that can vie with
the Medea of Ovid, or the Thyestes of Varius?

XIII. If we now consider the happy condition of the true poet, and
that easy commerce in which he passes his time, need we fear to
compare his situation with that of the boasted orator, who leads a
life of anxiety, oppressed by business, and overwhelmed with care? But
it is said, his contention, his toil and danger, are steps to the
consulship. How much more eligible was the soft retreat in which
Virgil [a] passed his days, loved by the prince, and honoured by the
people! To prove this the letters of Augustus are still extant; and
the people, we know, hearing in the theatre some verses of that divine
poet [b], when he himself was present, rose in a body, and paid him
every mark of homage, with a degree of veneration nothing short of
what they usually offered to the emperor.

Even in our own times, will any man say, that Secundus Pomponius [c],
in point of dignity or extent of fame, is inferior to Domitius Afer
[d]? But Vibius and Marcellus have been cited as bright examples: and
yet, in their elevation what is there to be coveted? Is it to be
deemed an advantage to those ministers, that they are feared by
numbers, and live in fear themselves? They are courted for their
favours, and the men, who obtain their suit, retire with ingratitude,
pleased with their success, yet hating to be obliged. Can we suppose
that the man is happy, who by his artifices has wriggled himself into
favour, and yet is never thought by his master sufficiently pliant,
nor by the people sufficiently free? And after all, what is the amount
of all his boasted power? The emperor's freedmen have enjoyed the
same. But as Virgil sweetly sings, Me let the sacred muses lead to
their soft retreats, their living fountains, and melodious groves,
where I may dwell remote from care, master of myself, and under no
necessity of doing every day what my heart condemns. Let me no more be
seen at the wrangling bar, a pale and anxious candidate for precarious
fame; and let neither the tumult of visitors crowding to my levee, nor
the eager haste of officious freedmen, disturb my morning rest. Let me
live free from solicitude, a stranger to the art of promising legacies
[e], in order to buy the friendship of the great; and when nature
shall give the signal to retire, may I possess no more than may be
safely bequeathed to such friends as I shall think proper. At my
funeral let no token of sorrow be seen, no pompous mockery of woe.
Crown [f] me with chaplets; strew flowers on my grave, and let my
friends erect no vain memorial, to tell where my remains are lodged.

XIV. Maternus finished with an air of enthusiasm, that seemed to lift
him above himself. In that moment [a], Vipstanius Messala entered the
room. From the attention that appeared in every countenance, he
concluded that some important business was the subject of debate. I am
afraid, said he, that I break in upon you at an unseasonable time. You
have some secret to discuss, or, perhaps, a consultation upon your
hands. Far from it, replied Secundus; I wish you had come sooner. You
would have had the pleasure of hearing an eloquent discourse from our
friend Aper, who has been endeavouring to persuade Maternus to
dedicate all his time to the business of the bar, and to give the
whole man to his profession. The answer of Maternus would have
entertained you: he has been defending his art, and but this moment
closed an animated speech, that held more of the poetical than the
oratorical character.

I should have been happy, replied Messala, to have heard both my
friends. It is, however, some compensation for the loss, that I find
men of their talents, instead of giving all their time to the little
subtleties and knotty points of the forum, extending their views to
liberal science, and those questions of taste, which enlarge the mind,
and furnish it with ideas drawn from the treasures of polite
erudition. Enquiries of this kind afford improvement not only to those
who enter into the discussion, but to all who have the happiness of
being present at the debate. It is in consequence of this refined and
elegant way of thinking, that you, Secundus, have gained so much
applause, by the life of Julius Asiaticus [b], with which you have
lately obliged the world. From that specimen, we are taught to expect
other productions of equal beauty from the same hand. In like manner,
I see with pleasure, that our friend Aper loves to enliven his
imagination with topics of controversy, and still lays out his leisure
in questions of the schools [c], not, indeed, in imitation of the
ancient orators, but in the true taste of our modern rhetoricians.

XV. I am not surprised, returned Aper, at that stroke of raillery. It
is not enough for Messala, that the oratory of ancient times engrosses
all his admiration; he must have his fling at the moderns. Our talents
and our studies are sure to feel the sallies of his pleasantry [a]. I
have often heard you, my friend Messala, in the same humour. According
to you, the present age has not a single orator to boast of, though
your own eloquence, and that of your brother, are sufficient to refute
the charge. But you assert roundly, and maintain your proposition with
an air of confidence. You know how high you stand, and while in your
general censure of the age you include yourself, the smallest tincture
of malignity cannot be supposed to mingle in a decision, which denies
to your own genius, what by common consent is allowed to be your
undoubted right.

I have as yet, replied Messala, seen no reason to make me retract my
opinion; nor do I believe, that my two friends here, or even you
yourself (though you sometimes affect a different tone), can seriously
maintain the opposite doctrine. The decline of eloquence is too
apparent. The causes which have contributed to it, merit a serious
enquiry. I shall be obliged to you, my friends, for a fair solution of
the question. I have often reflected upon the subject; but what seems
to others a full answer, with me serves only to increase the
difficulty. What has happened at Rome, I perceive to have been the
case in Greece. The modern orators of that country, such as the priest
[b] Nicetes, and others who, like him, stun the schools of Mytelene
and Ephesus [c], are fallen to a greater distance from Æschines and
Demosthenes, than Afer and Africanus [d], or you, my friends, from
Tully or Asinius Pollio.

XVI. You have started an important question, said Secundus, and who so
able to discuss it as yourself? Your talents are equal to the
difficulty; your acquisitions in literature are known to be extensive,
and you have considered the subject. I have no objection, replied
Messala: my ideas are at your service, upon condition that, as I go
on, you will assist me with the lights of your understanding. For two
of us I can venture to answer, said Maternus: whatever you omit, or
rather, what you leave for us to glean after you, we shall be ready to
add to your observations. As to our friend Aper, you have told us,
that he is apt to differ from you upon this point, and even now I see
him preparing to give battle. He will not tamely bear to see us joined
in a league in favour of antiquity.

Certainly not, replied Aper, nor shall the present age, unheard and
undefended, be degraded by a conspiracy. But before you sound to arms,
I wish to know, who are to be reckoned among the ancients? At what
point of time [a] do you fix your favourite æra? When you talk to me
of antiquity, I carry my view to the first ages of the world, and see
before me Ulysses and Nestor, who flourished little less than [b]
thirteen hundred years ago. Your retrospect, it seems, goes no farther
back than to Demosthenes and Hyperides; men who lived in the times of
Philip and Alexander, and indeed survived them both. The interval,
between Demosthenes and the present age, is little more than [c] four
hundred years; a space of time, which, with a view to the duration of
human life, may be called long; but, as a portion of that immense
tract of time which includes the different ages of the world, it
shrinks into nothing, and seems to be but yesterday. For if it be
true, as Cicero says in his treatise called Hortensius, that the great
and genuine year is that period in which the heavenly bodies revolve
to the station from which their source began; and if this grand
rotation of the whole planetary system requires no less than twelve
thousand nine hundred and fifty-four years [d] of our computation, it
follows that Demosthenes, your boasted ancient, becomes a modern, and
even our contemporary; nay, that he lived in the same year with
ourselves; I had almost said, in the same month [e].

XVII. But I am in haste to pass to our Roman orators. Menenius Agrippa
[a] may fairly be deemed an ancient. I take it, however, that he is
not the person, whom you mean to oppose to the professors of modern
eloquence. The æra, which you have in view, is that of [b] Cicero and
Cæsar; of Cælius [c] and Calvus; of Brutus [d], Asinius, and Messala.
Those are the men, whom you place in the front of hour line; but for
what reason they are to be classed with the ancients, and not, as I
think they ought to be, with the moderns, I am still to learn. To
begin with Cicero; he, according to the account of Tiro, his freedman,
was put to death on the seventh of the ides of December, during the
consulship of Hirtius and Pansa [e], who, we know, were both cut off
in the course of the year, and left their office vacant for Augustus
and Quintus Pedius. Count from that time six and fifty years to
complete the reign of Augustus; three and twenty for that of Tiberius,
four for Caligula, eight and twenty for Claudius and Nero, one for
Galba, Otho, and Vitellius, and finally six from the accession of
Vespasian to the present year of our felicity, we shall have from the
death of Cicero a period of about [f] one hundred and twenty years,
which may be considered as the term allotted to the life of man. I
myself remember to have seen in Britain a soldier far advanced in
years, who averred that he carried arms in that very battle [g] in
which his countrymen sought to drive Julius Cæsar back from their
coast. If this veteran, who served in the defence of his country
against Cæsar's invasion, had been brought a prisoner to Rome; or, if
his own inclination, or any other accident in the course of things,
had conducted him thither, he might have heard, not only Cæsar and
Cicero, but even ourselves in some of our public speeches.

In the late public largess [h] you will acknowledge that you saw
several old men, who assured us that they had received more than once,
the like distribution from Augustus himself. If that be so, might not
those persons have heard Corvinus [i] and Asinius? Corvinus, we all
know, lived through half the reign of Augustus, and Asinius almost to
the end. How then are we to ascertain the just boundaries of a
century? They are not to be varied at pleasure, so as to place some
orators in a remote, and others in a recent period, while people are
still living, who heard them all, and may, therefore, with good reason
rank them as contemporaries.

XVIII. From what I have said, I assume it as a clear position, that
the glory, whatever it be, that accrued to the age in which those
orators lived, is not confined to that particular period, but reaches
down to the present time, and may more properly be said to belong to
us, than to Servius Galba [a], or to Carbo [b], and others of the same
or more ancient date. Of that whole race of orators, I may freely say,
that their manner cannot now be relished. Their language is coarse,
and their composition rough, uncouth, and harsh; and yet your Calvus
[c], your Cælius, and even your favourite Cicero, condescend to follow
that inelegant style. It were to be wished that they had not thought
such models worthy of imitation. I mean to speak my mind with freedom;
but before I proceed, it will be necessary to make a preliminary
observation, and it is this: Eloquence has no settled form: at
different times it puts on a new garb, and changes with the manners
and the taste of the age. Thus we find, that Gracchus [d], compared
with the elder Cato [e], is full and copious; but, in his turn, yields
to Crassus [f], an orator more polished, more correct, and florid.
Cicero rises superior to both; more animated, more harmonious and
sublime. He is followed by Corvinus [g], who has all the softer
graces; a sweet flexibility in his style, and a curious felicity in
the choice of his words. Which was the greatest orator, is not the

The use I make of these examples, is to prove that eloquence does not
always wear the same dress, but, even among your celebrated ancients,
has its different modes of persuasion. And be it remembered, that what
differs is not always the worst. Yet such is the malignity of the
human mind, that what has the sanction of antiquity is always admired;
what is present, is sure to be condemned. Can we doubt that there have
been critics, who were better pleased with Appius Cæcus [h] than with
Cato? Cicero had his adversaries [i]: it was objected to him, that his
style was redundant, turgid, never compressed, void of precision, and
destitute of Attic elegance. We all have read the letters of Calvus
and Brutus to your famous orator. In the course of that
correspondence, we plainly see what was Cicero's opinion of those
eminent men. The former [k] appeared to him cold and languid; the
latter [l], disjointed, loose, and negligent. On the other hand, we
know what they thought in return: Calvus did not hesitate to say, that
Cicero was diffuse luxuriant to a fault, and florid without vigour.
Brutus, in express terms, says, he was weakened into length, and
wanted sinew. If you ask my opinion, each of them had reason on his
side. I shall hereafter examine them separately. My business at
present, is not in the detail: I speak of them in general terms.

XIX. The æra of ancient oratory is, I think, extended by its admirers
no farther back than the time of Cassius Severus [a]. He, they tell
us, was the first who dared to deviate from the plain and simple style
of his predecessors. I admit the fact. He departed from the
established forms, not through want of genius, or of learning, but
guided by his own good sense and superior judgement. He saw that the
public ear was formed to a new manner; and eloquence, he knew, was to
find new approaches to the heart. In the early periods of the
commonwealth, a rough unpolished people might well be satisfied with
the tedious length of unskilful speeches, at a time when to make an
harangue that took up the whole day, was the orator's highest praise.
The prolix exordium, wasting itself in feeble preparation; the
circumstantial narration, the ostentatious division of the argument
under different heads, and the thousand proofs and logical
distinctions, with whatever else is contained in the dry precepts of
Hermagoras [b] and Apollodorus, were in that rude period received with
universal applause. To finish the picture, if your ancient orator
could glean a little from the common places of philosophy, and
interweave a few shreds and patches with the thread of his discourse,
he was extolled to the very skies. Nor can this be matter of wonder:
the maxims of the schools had not been divulged; they came with an air
of novelty. Even among the orators themselves, there were but few who
had any tincture of philosophy. Nor had they learned the rules of art
from the teachers of eloquence.

In the present age, the tenets of philosophy and the precepts of
rhetoric are no longer a secret. The lowest of our popular assemblies
are now, I will not say fully instructed, but certainly acquainted
with the elements of literature. The orator, by consequence, finds
himself obliged to seek new avenues to the heart, and new graces to
embellish his discourse, that he may not offend fastidious ears,
especially before a tribunal where the judge is no longer bound by
precedent, but determines according to his will and pleasure; not, as
formerly, observing the measure of time allowed to the advocate, but
taking upon himself to prescribe the limits. Nor is this all: the
judge, at present, will not condescend to wait till the orator, in his
own way, opens his case; but, of his own authority, reminds him of the
point in question, and, if he wanders, calls him back from his
digression, not without a hint that the court wishes to dispatch.

XX. Who, at this time, would bear to hear an advocate introducing
himself with a tedious preface about the infirmities of his
constitution? Yet that is the threadbare exordium of Corvinus. We have
five books against Verres [a]. Who can endure that vast redundance?
Who can listen to those endless arguments upon points of form, and
cavilling exceptions [b], which we find in the orations of the same
celebrated advocate for Marcus Tullius [c] and Aulus Cæcina? Our
modern judges are able to anticipate the argument. Their quickness
goes before the speaker. If not struck with the vivacity of his
manner, the elegance of his sentiments, and the glowing colours of his
descriptions, they soon grow weary of the flat insipid discourse. Even
in the lowest class of life, there is now a relish for rich and
splendid ornament. Their taste requires the gay, the florid, and the
brilliant. The unpolished style of antiquity would now succeed as ill
at the bar, as the modern actor who should attempt to copy the
deportment of Roscius [d], or Ambivius Turpio. Even the young men who
are preparing for the career of eloquence, and, for that purpose,
attend the forum and the tribunals of justice, have now a nice
discriminating taste. They expect to have their imaginations pleased.
They wish to carry home some bright illustration, some splendid
passage, that deserves to be remembered. What has struck their fancy,
they communicate to each other: and in their letters, the glittering
thought, given with sententious brevity, the poetical allusion that
enlivened the discourse, and the dazzling imagery, are sure to be
transmitted to their respective colonies and provinces. The ornaments
of poetic diction are now required, not, indeed, copied from the rude
obsolete style of Accius [e] and Pacuvius, but embellished with the
graces of Horace, Virgil, and [f] Lucan. The public judgement has
raised a demand for harmonious periods, and, in compliance with the
taste of the age, our orators grow every day more polished and
adorned. Let it not be said that what we gain in refinement, we lose
in strength. Are the temples, raised by our modern architects, of a
weaker structure, because they are not formed with shapeless stones,
but with the magnificence of polished marble, and decorations of the
richest gilding?

XXI. Shall I fairly own to you the impression which I generally
receive from the ancient orators? They make me laugh, or lull me to
sleep. Nor is this the case only, when I read the orations of Canutus
[a], Arrius, Furnius, Toranius and others of the same school, or
rather, the same infirmary [b]; an emaciated sickly race of orators;
without sinew, colour, or proportion. But what shall be said of your
admired Calvus [c]? He, I think, has left no less than one and twenty
volumes: in the whole collection, there is not more than one or two
short orations, that can pretend to perfection in the kind. Upon this
point there is no difference of opinion. Who now reads his
declamations against Asitius or Drusus? His speeches against Vatinius
are in the hands of the curious, particularly the second, which must
be allowed to be a masterpiece. The language is elegant; the
sentiments are striking, and the ear is satisfied with the roundness
of the periods. In this specimen we see that he had an idea of just
composition, but his genius was not equal to his judgement. The
orations of Cælius, though upon the whole defective, are not without
their beauties. Some passages are highly finished. In those we
acknowledge, the nice touches of modern elegance. In general, however,
the coarse expression, the halting period, and the vulgarity of the
sentiments, have too much of the leaven of antiquity.

If Cælius [d] is still admired, it is not, I believe, in any of those
parts that bear the mark of a rude illiterate age. With regard to
Julius Cæsar [e], engaged as he was in projects of vast ambition, we
may forgive him the want of that perfection which might, otherwise, be
expected from so sublime a genius. Brutus, in like manner, may be
excused on account of his philosophical speculations. Both he and
Cæsar, in their oratorical attempts, fell short of themselves. Their
warmest admirers acknowledge the fact, nor is there an instance to the
contrary, unless we except Cæsar's speech for Decius the Samnite [f],
and that of Brutus for king [g] Dejotarus. But are those performances,
and some others of the same lukewarm temper, to be received as works
of genius? He who admires those productions, may be left to admire
their verses also. For verses they both made, and sent them into the
world, I will not say, with more success than Cicero, but certainly
more to their advantage; for their poetry had the good fortune to be
little known.

Asinius lived near our own times [h]. He, seems to have studied in the
old school of Menenius and Appius. He composed tragedies as well as
orations, but in a style so harsh and ragged, that one would think him
the disciple of Accius and Pacuvius. He mistook the nature of
eloquence, which may then be said to have attained its true beauty,
when the parts unite with smoothness, strength, and proportion. As in
the human body the veins should not swell too high, nor the bones and
sinews appear too prominent; but its form is then most graceful, when
a pure and temperate blood gives animation [i] to the whole frame;
when the muscles have their proper play, and the colour of health is
diffused over the several parts. I am not willing to disturb the
memory of Corvinus Messala [k]. If he did not reach the graces of
modern composition, the defect does not seem to have sprung from
choice. The vigour of his genius was not equal to his judgement.

XXII. I now proceed to Cicero, who, we find, had often upon his hands
the very controversy, that engages us at present. It was the fashion
with his contemporaries to admire the ancients, while he, on the
contrary, contended for the eloquence of his own time. Were I to
mention the quality that placed him at the head of his rivals I should
say it was the solidity of his judgement. It was he that first shewed
a taste for polished and graceful oratory. He was happy in his choice
of words, and he had the art of giving weight and harmony to his
composition. We find in many passages a warm imagination, and luminous
sentences. In his later speeches, he has lively sallies of wit and
fancy. Experience had then matured his judgement, and after long
practice, he found the true oratorical style. In his earlier
productions we see the rough cast of antiquity. The exordium is
tedious; the narration is drawn into length; luxuriant passages are
not retouched with care; he is not easily affected, and he rarely
takes fire; his sentiments are not always happily expressed [a], nor
are the periods closed with energy. There is nothing so highly
finished, as to tempt you to avail yourself of a borrowed beauty. In
short, his speeches are like a rude building, which is strong and
durable, but wants that grace and consonance of parts which give
symmetry and perfection to the whole.

In oratory, as in architecture, I require ornament as well as use.
From the man of ample fortune, who undertakes to build, we expect
elegance and proportion. It is not enough that his house will keep out
the wind and the rain; it must strike the eye, and present a pleasing
object. Nor will it suffice that the furniture may answer all domestic
purposes; it should be rich, fashionable, elegant; it should have gold
and gems so curiously wrought, that they will bear examination, often
viewed, and always admired. The common utensils, which are either mean
or sordid, should be carefully removed out of sight. In like manner,
the true orator should avoid the trite and vulgar. Let him reject the
antiquated phrase, and whatever is covered with the rust of time; let
his sentiments be expressed with spirit, not in careless,
ill-constructed, languid periods, like a dull writer of annals; let
him banish low scurrility, and, in short, let him know how to
diversify his style, that he may not fatigue the ear with a monotony,
ending for ever with the same unvaried cadence [b].

XXIII. I shall say nothing of the false wit, and insipid play upon
words, which we find in Cicero's orations. His pleasant conceits about
the _wheel of fortune_ [a], and the arch raillery on the equivocal
meaning of the word _verres_ [b], do not merit a moment's attention. I
omit the perpetual recurrence of the phrase, _esse videatur_ [c],
which chimes in our ears at the close of so many sentences, sounding
big, but signifying nothing. These are petty blemishes; I mention them
with reluctance. I say nothing of other defects equally improper: and
yet those very defects are the delight of such as affect to call
themselves ancient orators. I need not single them out by name: the
men are sufficiently known; it is enough to allude, in general terms,
to the whole class.

We all are sensible that there is a set of critics now existing, who
prefer Lucilius [d] to Horace, and Lucretius [e] to Virgil; who
despise the eloquence of Aufidius Bassus [f] and Servilius Nonianus,
and yet admire Varro and [g] Sisenna. By these pretenders to taste,
the works of our modern rhetoricians are thrown by with neglect, and
even fastidious disdain; while those of Calvus are held in the highest
esteem. We see these men prosing in their ancient style before the
judges; but we see them left without an audience, deserted by the
people, and hardly endured by their clients. The truth is, their cold
and spiritless manner has no attraction. They call it sound oratory,
but it is want of vigour; like that precarious state of health which
weak constitutions preserve by abstinence. What physician will
pronounce that a strong habit of body, which requires constant care
and anxiety of mind? To say barely, that we are not ill, is surely not
enough. True health consists in vigour, a generous warmth, and a
certain alacrity in the whole frame. He who is only not indisposed, is
little distant from actual illness.

With you, my friends, the case is different: proceed, as you well can,
and in fact, as you do, to adorn our age with all the grace and
splendour of true oratory. It is with pleasure, Messala, that I see
you selecting for imitation the liveliest models of the ancient
school. You too, Maternus, and you, my friend, Secundus [h], you both
possess the happy art of adding to weight of sentiment all the dignity
of language. To a copious invention you unite the judgement that knows
how to distinguish the specific qualities of different authors. The
beauty of order is yours. When the occasion demands it, you can expand
and amplify with strength and majesty; and you know when to be concise
with energy. Your periods flow with ease, and your composition has
every grace of style and sentiment. You command the passions with
resistless sway, while in yourselves you beget a temperance so truly
dignified, that, though, perhaps, envy and the malignity of the times
may be unwilling to proclaim your merit, posterity will do you ample
justice [i].

XXIV. As soon as Aper concluded, You see, said Maternus, the zeal and
ardour of our friend: in the cause of the moderns, what a torrent of
eloquence! against the ancients, what a fund of invective! With great
spirit, and a vast compass of learning, he has employed against his
masters the arts for which he is indebted to them. And yet all this
vehemence must not deter you, Messala, from the performance of your
promise. A formal defence of the ancients is by no means necessary. We
do not presume to vie with that illustrious race. We have been praised
by Aper, but we know our inferiority. He himself is aware of it,
though, in imitation of the ancient manner [a], he has thought proper,
for the sake of a philosophical debate, to take the wrong side of the
question. In answer to his argument, we do not desire you to expatiate
in praise of the ancients: their fame wants no addition. What we
request is, an investigation of the causes which have produced so
rapid a decline from the flourishing state of genuine eloquence. I
call it rapid, since, according to Aper's own chronology, the period
from the death of Cicero does not exceed one hundred and twenty years

XXV. I am willing, said Messala, to pursue the plan which you have
recommended. The question, whether the men who flourished above one
hundred years ago, are to be accounted ancients, has been started by
my friend Aper, and, I believe, it is of the first impression. But it
is a mere dispute about words. The discussion of it is of no moment,
provided it be granted, whether we call them ancients, or our
predecessors, or give them any other appellation, that the eloquence
of those times was superior to that of the present age. When Aper
tells us, that different periods of time have produced new modes of
oratory, I see nothing to object; nor shall I deny, that in one and
the same period the style and manners have greatly varied. But this I
assume, that among the orators of Greece, Demosthenes holds the first
rank, and after him [a] Æschynes, Hyperides, Lysias, and Lycurgus, in
regular succession. That age, by common consent, is allowed to be the
flourishing period of Attic eloquence.

In like manner, Cicero stands at the head of our Roman orators, while
Calvus, Asinius, and Cæsar, Cælius and Brutus, follow him at a
distance; all of them superior, not only to every former age, but to
the whole race that came after them. Nor is it material that they
differ in the mode, since they all agree in the kind. Calvus is close
and nervous; Asinius more open and harmonious; Cæsar is distinguished
[b] by the splendour of his diction; Cælius by a caustic severity; and
gravity is the characteristic of Brutus. Cicero is more luxuriant in
amplification, and he has strength and vehemence. They all, however,
agree in this: their eloquence is manly, sound, and vigorous. Examine
their works, and you will see the energy of congenial minds, a
family-likeness in their genius, however it may take a distinct colour
from the specific qualities of the men. True, they detracted from each
other's merit. In their letters, which are still extant, we find some
strokes of mutual hostility. But this littleness does not impeach
their eloquence: their jealousy was the infirmity of human nature.
Calvus, Asinius, and Cicero, might have their fits of animosity, and,
no doubt, were liable to envy, malice, and other degrading passions:
they were great orators, but they were men.

Brutus is the only one of the set, who may be thought superior to
petty contentions. He spoke his mind with freedom, and, I believe,
without a tincture of malice. He did not envy Cæsar himself, and can
it be imagined that he envied Cicero? As to Galba [c], Lælius, and
others of a remote period, against whom we have heard Aper's
declamation, I need not undertake their defence, since I am willing to
acknowledge, that in their style and manner we perceive those defects
and blemishes which it is natural to expect, while art, as yet in its
infancy, has made no advances towards perfection.

XXVI. After all, if the best form of eloquence must be abandoned, and
some, new-fangled style must grow into fashion, give me the rapidity
of Gracchus [a], or the more solemn manner of Crassus [b], with all
their imperfections, rather than the effeminate delicacy of [c]
Mæcenas, or the tinkling cymbal [d] of Gallio. The most homely dress
is preferable to gawdy colours and meretricious ornaments. The style
in vogue at present, is an innovation, against every thing just and
natural; it is not even manly. The luxuriant phrase, the inanity of
tuneful periods, and the wanton levity of the whole composition, are
fit for nothing but the histrionic art, as if they were written for
the stage. To the disgrace of the age (however astonishing it may
appear), it is the boast, the pride, the glory of our present orators,
that their periods are musical enough either for the dancer's heel
[e], or the warbler's throat. Hence it is, that by a frequent, but
preposterous, metaphor, the orator is said to speak in melodious
cadence, and the dancer to move with expression. In this view of
things, even [f] Cassius Severus (the only modern whom Aper has
ventured to name), if we compare him with the race that followed, may
be fairly pronounced a legitimate orator, though it must be
acknowledged, that in what remains of his compositing, he is clumsy
without strength, and violent without spirit. He was the first that
deviated from the great masters of his art. He despised all method and
regular arrangement; indelicate in his choice of words, he paid no
regard to decency; eager to attack, he left himself unguarded; he
brandished his weapons without skill or address; and, to speak
plainly, he wrangled, but did not argue. And yet, notwithstanding
these defects, he was, as I have already said, superior to all that
came after him, whether we regard the variety of his learning, the
urbanity of his wit, or the vigour of his mind. I expected that Aper,
after naming this orator, would have drawn up the rest of his forces
in regular order. He has fallen, indeed, upon Asinius, Cælius, and
Calvus; but where are his champions to enter the lists with them? I
imagined that he had a phalanx in reserve, and that we should have
seen them man by man giving battle to Cicero, Cæsar, and the rest in
succession. He has singled out some of the ancients, but has brought
none of his moderns into the field. He thought it enough to give them
a good character in their absence. In this, perhaps, he acted with
prudence: he was afraid, if he selected a few, that the rest of the
tribe would take offence. For among the rhetoricians of the present
day, is there one to be found, who does not, in his own opinion, tower
above Cicero, though he has the modesty to yield to Gabinianus [g]?

XXVII. What Aper has omitted, I intend to perform. I shall produce his
moderns by name, to the end that, by placing the example before our
eyes, we may be able, more distinctly, to trace the steps by which the
vigour of ancient eloquence has fallen to decay. Maternus interrupted
him. I wish, he said, that you would come at once to the point: we
claim your promise. The superiority of the ancients is not in
question. We want no proof of it. Upon that point my opinion is
decided. But the causes of our rapid decline from ancient excellence
remain to be unfolded. We know that you have turned your thoughts to
this subject, and we expected from you a calm disquisition, had not
the violent attack which Aper made upon your favourite orators, roused
your spirit, and, perhaps, given you some offence. Far from it,
replied Messala; he has given me no offence; nor must you, my friends,
take umbrage, if at any time a word should fall from me, not quite
agreeable to your way of thinking. We are engaged in a free enquiry,
and you know, that, in this kind of debate, the established law allows
every man to speak his mind without reserve. That is the law, replied
Maternus; you may proceed in perfect security. When you speak of the
ancients, speak of them with ancient freedom, which, I fear, is at a
lower ebb than even the genius of those eminent men.

XXVIII. Messala resumed his discourse: The causes of the decay of
eloquence are by no means difficult to be traced. They are, I believe,
well known to you, Maternus, and also to Secundus, not excepting my
friend Aper. It seems, however, that I am now, at your request, to
unravel the business. But there is no mystery in it. We know that
eloquence, with the rest of the polite arts, has lost its former
lustre: and yet, it is not a dearth of men, or a decay of talents,
that has produced this fatal effect. The true causes are, the
dissipation of our young men, the inattention of parents, the
ignorance of those who pretend to give instruction, and the total
neglect of ancient discipline. The mischief began at Rome, it has
over-run all Italy, and is now, with rapid strides, spreading through
the provinces. The effects, however, are more visible at home, and
therefore I shall confine myself to the reigning vices of the capital;
vices that wither every virtue in the bud, and continue their baleful
influence through every season of life.

But before I enter on the subject, it will not be useless to look back
to the system of education that prevailed in former times, and to the
strict discipline of our ancestors, in a point of so much moment as
the formation of youth. In the times to which I now refer, the son of
every family was the legitimate offspring of a virtuous mother. The
infant, as soon as born, was not consigned to the mean dwelling of a
hireling nurse [a], but was reared and cherished in the bosom of a
tender parent. To regulate all household affairs, and attend to her
infant race, was, at that time, the glory of the female character. A
matron, related to the family, and distinguished by the purity of her
life, was chosen to watch the progress of the tender mind. In her
presence not one indecent word was uttered; nothing was done against
propriety and good manners. The hours of study and serious employment
were settled by her direction; and not only so, but even the
diversions of the children were conducted with modest reserve and
sanctity of manners. Thus it was that Cornelia [b], the mother of the
Gracchi, superintended the education of her illustrious issue. It was
thus that Aurelia [c] trained up Julius Cæsar; and thus Atia [d]
formed the mind of Augustus. The consequence of this regular
discipline was, that the young mind grew up in innocence, unstained by
vice, unwarped by irregular passions, and, under that culture,
received the seeds of science. Whatever was the peculiar bias, whether
to the military art, the study of the laws, or the profession of
eloquence, that engrossed the whole attention, and the youth, thus
directed, embraced the entire compass of one favourite science.

XXIX. In the present age, what is our practice? The infant is
committed to a Greek chambermaid, and a slave or two, chosen for the
purpose, generally the worst of the whole household train; all utter
strangers to every liberal notion. In that worshipful society [a] the
youth grows up, imbibing folly and vulgar error. Throughout the house,
not one servant cares what he says or does [b] in the presence of his
young master: and indeed how should it be otherwise? The parents
themselves are the first to give their children the worst examples of
vice and luxury. The stripling consequently loses all sense of shame,
and soon forgets the respect he owes to others as well as to himself.
A passion for horses, players, and gladiators [c], seems to be the
epidemic folly of the times. The child receives it in his mother's
womb; he brings it with him into the world; and in a mind so
possessed, what room for science, or any generous purpose?

In our houses, at our tables, sports and interludes are the topics of
conversation. Enter the places of academical lectures, and who talks
of any other subject? The preceptors themselves have caught the
contagion. Nor can this be wondered at. To establish a strict and
regular discipline, and to succeed by giving proofs of their genius,
is not the plan of our modern rhetoricians. They pay their court to
the great, and, by servile adulation, increase the number of their
pupils. Need I mention the manner of conveying the first elements of
school learning? No care is taken to give the student a taste for the
best authors [d]; the page of history lies neglected; the study of men
and manners is no part of their system; and every branch of useful
knowledge is left uncultivated. A preceptor is called in, and
education is then thought to be in a fair way. But I shall have
occasion hereafter to speak more fully of that class of men, called
rhetoricians. It will then be seen, at what period that profession
first made its appearance at Rome, and what reception it met with from
our ancestors.

XXX. Before I proceed, let us advert for a moment to the plan of
ancient discipline. The unwearied diligence of the ancient orators,
their habits of meditation, and their daily exercise in the whole
circle of arts and sciences, are amply displayed in the books which
they have transmitted to us. The treatise of Cicero, entitled Brutus
[a], is in all our hands. In that work, after commemorating the
orators of a former day, he closes the account with the particulars of
his own progress in science, and the method he took in educating
himself to the profession of oratory. He studied the civil law under
[b] Mucius Scævola; he was instructed in the various systems of
philosophy, by Philo [c] of the academic school, and by Diodorus the
stoic; and though Rome, at that time, abounded with the best
professors, he made a voyage to Greece [d], and thence to Asia, in
order to enrich his mind with every branch of learning. Hence that
store of knowledge which appears in all his writings. Geometry, music,
grammar, and every useful art, were familiar to him. He embraced the
whole science of logic [e] and ethics. He studied the operations of
nature. His diligence of enquiry opened to him the long chain of
causes and effects, and, in short, the whole system of physiology was
his own. From a mind thus replenished, it is no wonder, my good
friends, that we see in the compositions of that extraordinary man
that affluence of ideas, and that prodigious flow of eloquence. In
fact, it is not with oratory as with the other arts, which are
confined to certain objects, and circumscribed within their own
peculiar limits. He alone deserves the name of an orator, who can
speak in a copious style, with ease or dignity, as the subject
requires; who can find language to decorate his argument; who through
the passions can command the understanding; and, while he serves
mankind, knows how to delight the judgement and the imagination of his

XXXI. Such was, in ancient times, the idea of an orator. To form that
illustrious character, it was not thought necessary to declaim in the
schools of rhetoricians [a], or to make a vain parade in fictitious
controversies, which were not only void of all reality, but even of a
shadow of probability. Our ancestors pursued a different plan: they
stored their minds with just ideas of moral good and evil; with the
rules of right and wrong, and the fair and foul in human transactions.
These, on every controverted point, are the orator's province. In
courts of law, just and unjust undergo his discussion; in political
debate, between what is expedient and honourable, it is his to draw
the line; and those questions are so blended in their nature, that
they enter into every cause. On such important topics, who can hope to
bring variety of matter, and to dignify that matter with style and
sentiment, if he has not, beforehand, enlarged his mind with the
knowledge of human nature? with the laws of moral obligation? the
deformity of vice, the beauty of virtue, and other points which do not
immediately belong to the theory of ethics?

The orator, who has enriched his mind with these materials, may be
truly said to have acquired the powers of persuasion. He who knows the
nature of indignation, will be able to kindle or allay that passion in
the breast of the judge; and the advocate who has considered the
effect of compassion, and from what secret springs it flows, will best
know how to soften the mind, and melt it into tenderness. It is by
these secrets of his art that the orator gains his influence. Whether
he has to do with the prejudiced, the angry, the envious, the
melancholy, or the timid, he can bridle their various passions, and
hold the reins in his own hand. According to the disposition of his
audience, he will know when to check the workings of the heart, and
when to raise them to their full tumult of emotion.

Some critics are chiefly pleased with that close mode of oratory,
which in a laconic manner states the facts, and forms an immediate
conclusion: in that case, it is obvious how necessary it is to be a
complete master of the rules of logic. Others delight in a more open,
free, and copious style, where the arguments are drawn from topics of
general knowledge; for this purpose, the peripatetic school [b] will
supply the orator with ample materials. The academic philosopher [c]
will inspire him with warmth and energy; Plato will give the sublime,
and Xenophon that equal flow which charms us in that amiable writer.
The rhetorical figure, which is called exclamation, so frequent with
Epicurus [d] and Metrodorus, will add to a discourse those sudden
breaks of passion, which give motion, strength, and vehemence.

It is not for the stoic school, nor for their imaginary wise man, that
I am laying down rules. I am forming an orator, whose business it is,
not to adhere to one sect, but to go the round of all the arts and
sciences. Accordingly we find, that the great master of ancient
eloquence laid their foundation in a thorough study of the civil law,
and to that fund they added grammar, music, and geometry. The fact is,
in most of the causes that occur, perhaps in every cause, a due
knowledge of the whole system of jurisprudence is an indispensable
requisite. There are likewise many subjects of litigation, in which an
acquaintance with other sciences is of the highest use.

XXXII. Am I to be told, that to gain some slight information on
particular subjects, as occasion may require, will sufficiently answer
the purposes of an orator? In answer to this, let it be observed, that
the application of what we draw from our own fund, is very different
from the use we make of what we borrow. Whether we speak from digested
knowledge, or the mere suggestion of others, the effect is soon
perceived. Add to this, that conflux of ideas with which the different
sciences enrich the mind, gives an air of dignity to whatever we say,
even in cases where that depth of knowledge is not required. Science
adorns the speaker at all times, and, where it is least expected,
confers a grace that charms every hearer; the man of erudition feels
it, and the unlettered part of the audience acknowledge the effect
without knowing the cause. A murmur of applause ensues; the speaker is
allowed to have laid in a store of knowledge; he possesses all the
powers of persuasion, and then is called an orator indeed.

I take the liberty to add, if we aspire to that honourable
appellation, that there is no way but that which I have chalked out.
No man was ever yet a complete orator, and, I affirm, never can be,
unless, like the soldier marching to the field of battle, he enters
the forum armed at all points with the sciences and the liberal arts.
Is that the case in these our modern times? The style which we hear
every day, abounds with colloquial barbarisms, and vulgar phraseology:
no knowledge of the laws is heard; our municipal policy is wholly
neglected, and even the decrees of the senate are treated with
contempt and derision. Moral philosophy is discarded, and the maxims
of ancient wisdom are unworthy of their notice. In this manner,
eloquence is dethroned; she is banished from her rightful dominions,
and obliged to dwell in the cold regions of antithesis, forced
conceit, and pointed sentences. The consequence is, that she, who was
once the sovereign mistress of the sciences, and led them as handmaids
in her train, is now deprived of her attendants, reduced,
impoverished, and, stripped of her usual honours (I might say of her
genius), compelled to exercise a mere plebeian art.

And now, my friends, I think I have laid open the efficient cause of
the decline of eloquence. Need I call witnesses to support my opinion?
I name Demosthenes among the Greeks. He, we are assured, constantly
attended [a] the lectures of Plato. I name Cicero among the Romans: he
tells us (I believe I can repeat his words), that if he attained any
degree of excellence, he owed it, not so much to the precepts of
rhetoricians, as to his meditations in the walks of the academic
school. I am aware that other causes of our present degeneracy may be
added; but that task I leave to my friends, since I now may flatter
myself that I have performed my promise. In doing it, I fear, that, as
often happens to me, I have incurred the danger of giving offence.
Were a certain class of men to hear the principles which I have
advanced in favour of legal knowledge and sound philosophy, I should
expect to be told that I have been all the time commending my own
visionary schemes.

XXXIII. You will excuse me, replied Maternus, if I take the liberty to
say that you have by no means finished your part of our enquiry. You
seem to have spread your canvas, and to have touched the outlines of
your plan; but there are other parts that still require the colouring
of so masterly a hand. The stores of knowledge, with which the
ancients enlarged their minds, you have fairly explained, and, in
contrast to that pleasing picture, you have given us a true draught of
modern ignorance. But we now wish to know, what were the exercises,
and what the discipline, by which the youth of former times prepared
themselves for the honours of their profession. It will not, I
believe, be contended, that theory, and systems of art, are of
themselves sufficient to form a genuine orator. It is by practice, and
by constant exertion, that the faculty of speech improves, till the
genius of the man expands, and flourishes in its full vigour. This, I
think, you will not deny, and my two friends, if I may judge by their
looks, seem to give their assent. Aper and Secundus agreed without

Messala proceeded as follows: Having, as I conceive, shewn the
seed-plots of ancient eloquence, and the fountains of science, from
which they drew such copious streams; it remains now to give some idea
of the labour, the assiduity, and the exercises, by which they trained
themselves to their profession. I need not observe, that in the
pursuit of science, method and constant exercise are indispensable:
for who can hope, without regular attention, to master abstract
schemes of philosophy, and embrace the whole compass of the sciences?
Knowledge must be grafted in the mind by frequent meditation [a]; to
that must be added the faculty of conveying our ideas; and, to make
sure of our impression, we must be able to adorn our thoughts with the
colours of true eloquence. Hence it is evident that the same arts, by
which the mind lays in its stock of knowledge, must be still pursued,
in order to attain a clear and graceful manner of conveying that
knowledge to others. This may be thought refined and too abstruse. If,
however, we are still to be told that science and elocution are things
in themselves distinct and unrelated; this, at least, may be assumed,
that he, who, with a fund of previous knowledge, undertakes the
province of oratory, will bring with him a mind well seasoned, and
duly prepared for the study and exercise of real eloquence.

XXXIV. The practice of our ancestors was agreeable to this theory. The
youth, who was intended for public declamation, went forth, under the
care of his father, or some near relation, with all the advantages of
home-discipline; his mind was expanded by the fine arts, and
impregnated with science. He was conducted to the most eminent orator
of the time. Under that illustrious patronage he visited the forum; he
attended his patron upon all occasions; he listened with attention to
his pleadings in the tribunals of justice, and his public harangues
before the people; he heard him in the warmth of argument; he noted
his sudden replies, and thus, in the field of battle, if I may so
express myself, he learned the first rudiments of rhetorical warfare.
The advantages of this method are obvious: the young candidate gained
courage, and improved his judgement; he studied in open day, amidst
the heat of the conflict, where nothing weak or idle could be said
with impunity; where every thing absurd was instantly rebuked by the
judge, exposed to ridicule by the adversary, and condemned by the
whole bar.

In this manner the student was initiated in the rules of sound and
manly eloquence; and, though it be true, that he placed himself under
the auspices of one orator only, he heard the rest in their turn, and
in that diversity of tastes which always prevails in mixed assemblies,
he was enabled to distinguish what was excellent or defective in the
kind. The orator in actual business was the best preceptor: the
instructions which he gave, were living eloquence, the substance, and
not the shadow. He was himself a real combatant, engaged with a
zealous antagonist, both in earnest, and not like gladiators, in a
mock contest, fighting for prizes. It was a struggle for victory,
before an audience always changing, yet always full; where the speaker
had his enemies as well as his admirers; and between both, what was
brilliant met with applause; what was defective, was sure to be
condemned. In this clash of opinions, the genuine orator flourished,
and acquired that lasting fame, which, we all know, does not depend on
the voice of friends only, but must rebound from the benches filled
with your enemies. Extorted applause is the best suffrage.

In that school, the youth of expectation, such as I have delineated,
was reared and educated by the most eminent genius of the times. In
the forum, he was enlightened by the experience of others; he was
instructed in the knowledge of the laws, accustomed to the eye of the
judges, habituated to the looks of a numerous audience, and acquainted
with the popular taste. After this preparation, he was called forth to
conduct a prosecution, or to take upon himself the whole weight of the
defence. The fruit of his application was then seen at once. He was
equal, in his first outset, to the most arduous business. Thus it was
that Crassus, at the age of nineteen [a], stood forth the accuser of
Papirius Carbo: thus Julius Cæsar, at one and twenty, arraigned
Dolabella; Asinius Pollio, about the same age, attacked Caius Cato;
and Calvus, but a little older, flamed out against Vatinius. Their
several speeches are still extant, and we all read them with

XXXV. In opposition to this system of education, what is our modern
practice? Our young men are led [a] to academical prolusions in the
school of vain professors, who call themselves rhetoricians; a race of
impostors, who made their first appearance at Rome, not long before
the days of Cicero. That they were unwelcome visitors, is evident from
the circumstance of their being silenced by the two censors [b],
Crassus and Domitius. They were ordered, says Cicero, to shut up their
school of impudence. Those scenes, however, are open at present, and
there our young students listen to mountebank oratory. I am at a loss
how to determine which is most fatal to all true genius, the place
itself, the company that frequent it, or the plan of study universally
adopted. Can the place impress the mind with awe and respect, where
none are ever seen but the raw, the unskilful, and the ignorant? In
such an assembly what advantage can arise? Boys harangue before boys,
and young men exhibit before their fellows. The speaker is pleased
with his declamation, and the hearer with his judgement. The very
subjects on which they display their talents, tend to no useful
purpose. They are of two sorts, persuasive or controversial. The
first, supposed to be of the lighter kind, are usually assigned to the
youngest scholars: the last are reserved for students of longer
practice and riper judgement. But, gracious powers! what are the
compositions produced on these occasions?

The subject is remote from truth, and even probability, unlike any
thing that ever happened in human life: and no wonder if the
superstructure perfectly agrees with the foundation. It is to these
scenic exercises that we owe a number of frivolous topics, such as the
reward due to the slayer of a tyrant; the election to be made by [c]
violated virgins; the rites and ceremonies proper to be used during a
raging pestilence; the loose behaviour of married women; with other
fictitious subjects, hackneyed in the schools, and seldom or never
heard of in our courts of justice. These imaginary questions are
treated with gaudy flourishes, and all the tumor of unnatural
language. But after all this mighty parade, call these striplings from
their schools of rhetoric, into the presence of the judges, and to the
real business of the bar [d]:

1. What figure will they make before that solemn judicature? Trained
up in chimerical exercises, strangers to the municipal laws,
unacquainted with the principles of natural justice and the rights of
nations, they will bring with them that false taste which they have
been for years acquiring, but nothing worthy of the public ear,
nothing useful to their clients. They have succeeded in nothing but
the art of making themselves ridiculous. The peculiar quality of the
teacher [a], whatever it be, is sure to transfuse itself into the
performance of the pupil. Is the master haughty, fierce, and arrogant;
the scholar swells with confidence; his eye threatens prodigious
things, and his harangue is an ostentatious display of the
common-places of school oratory, dressed up with dazzling splendour,
and thundered forth with emphasis. On the other hand, does the master
value himself for the delicacy of his taste, for the foppery of
glittering conceits and tinsel ornament; the youth who has been
educated under him, sets out with the same artificial prettiness, the
same foppery of style and manner. A simper plays on his countenance;
his elocution is soft and delicate; his action pathetic; his sentences
entangled in a maze of sweet perplexity; he plays off the whole of his
theatrical skill, and hopes to elevate and surprise.

2. This love of finery, this ambition to shine and glitter, has
destroyed all true eloquence. Oratory is not the child of hireling
teachers; it springs from another source, from a love of liberty, from
a mind replete with moral science, and a thorough knowledge of the
laws; from a due respect for the best examples, from profound
meditation [a], and a style formed by constant practice. While these
were thought essential requisites, eloquence flourished. But the true
beauties of language fell into disuse, and oratory went to ruin. The
spirit evaporated; I fear, to revive no more. I wish I may prove a
false prophet, but we know the progress of art in every age and
country. Rude at first, it rises from low beginnings, and goes on
improving, till it reaches the highest perfection in the kind. But at
that point it is never stationary: it soon declines, and from the
corruption of what is good, it is not in the nature of man, nor in the
power of human faculties, to rise again to the same degree of

3. Messala closed with a degree of vehemence, and then turning to
Maternus and Secundus [a], It is yours, he said, to pursue this train
of argument; or if any cause of the decay of eloquence lies still
deeper, you will oblige us by bringing it to light. Maternus, I
presume, will find no difficulty: a poetic genius holds commerce with
the gods, and to him nothing will remain a secret. As for Secundus, he
has been long a shining ornament of the forum, and by his own
experience knows how to distinguish genuine eloquence from the corrupt
and vicious. Maternus heard this sally of his friend's good humour
with a smile. The task, he said, which you have imposed upon us, we
will endeavour to execute. But though I am the interpreter of the
gods, I must notwithstanding request that Secundus may take the lead.
He is master of the subject, and, in questions of this kind,
experience is better than inspiration.

4. Secundus [a] complied with his friend's request. I yield, he said,
the more willingly, as I shall hazard no new opinion, but rather
confirm what has been urged by Messala. It is certain, that, as
painters are formed by painters, and poets by the example of poets, so
the young orator must learn his art from orators only. In the schools
of rhetoricians [b], who think themselves the fountain-head of
eloquence, every thing is false and vitiated. The true principles of
the persuasive art are never known to the professor, or if at any time
there may be found a preceptor of superior genius, can it be expected
that he shall be able to transfuse into the mind of his pupil all his
own conceptions, pure, unmixed, and free from error? The sensibility
of the master, since we have allowed him genius, will be an
impediment: the uniformity of the same dull tedious round will give
him disgust, and the student will turn from it with aversion. And yet
I am inclined to think, that the decay of eloquence would not have
been so rapid, if other causes, more fatal than the corruption of the
schools, had not co-operated. When the worst models became the objects
of imitation, and not only the young men of the age, but even the
whole body of the people, admired the new way of speaking, eloquence
fell at once into that state of degeneracy, from which nothing can
recover it. We, who came afterwards, found ourselves in a hopeless
situation: we were driven to wretched expedients, to forced conceits,
and the glitter of frivolous sentences; we were obliged to hunt after
wit, when we could be no longer eloquent. By what pernicious examples
this was accomplished, has been explained by our friend Messala.

5. We are none of us strangers to those unhappy times, when Rome,
grown weary of her vast renown in arms, began to think of striking
into new paths of fame, no longer willing to depend on the glory of
our ancestors. The whole power of the state was centred in a single
ruler, and by the policy of the prince, men were taught to think no
more of ancient honour. Invention was on the stretch for novelty, and
all looked for something better than perfection; something rare,
far-fetched, and exquisite. New modes of pleasure were devised. In
that period of luxury and dissipation, when the rage for new
inventions was grown epidemic, Seneca arose. His talents were of a
peculiar sort, acute, refined and polished; but polished to a degree
that made him prefer affectation and wit to truth and nature. The
predominance of his genius was great, and, by consequence, he gave the
mortal stab to all true eloquence [a]. When I say this, let me not be
suspected of that low malignity which would tarnish the fame of a
great character. I admire the man, and the philosopher. The undaunted
firmness with which he braved the tyrant's frown, will do immortal
honour to his memory. But the fact is (and why should I disguise it?),
the virtues of the writer have undone his country.

6. To bring about this unhappy revolution, no man was so eminently
qualified [a]. His understanding was large and comprehensive; his
genius rich and powerful; his way of thinking ingenious, elegant, and
even charming. His researches in moral philosophy excited the
admiration of all; and moral philosophy is never so highly praised, as
when the manners are in a state of degeneracy. Seneca knew the taste
of the times. He had the art to gratify the public ear. His style is
neat, yet animated; concise, yet clear; familiar, yet seldom
inelegant. Free from redundancy, his periods are often abrupt, but
they surprise by their vivacity. He shines in pointed sentences; and
that unceasing persecution of vice, which is kept up with uncommon
ardour, spreads a lustre over all his writings. His brilliant style
charmed by its novelty. Every page sparkles with wit, with gay
allusions, and sentiments of virtue. No wonder that the graceful ease,
and sometimes the dignity of his expression, made their way into the
forum. What pleased universally, soon found a number of imitators. Add
to this the advantages of rank and honours. He mixed in the splendour,
and perhaps in the vices, of the court. The resentment of Caligula,
and the acts of oppression which soon after followed, served only to
adorn his name. To crown all, Nero was his pupil, and his murderer.
Hence the character and genius of the man rose to the highest
eminence. What was admired, was imitated, and true oratory was heard
no more. The love of novelty prevailed, and for the dignified
simplicity of ancient eloquence no taste remained. The art itself, and
all its necessary discipline, became ridiculous. In that black period,
when vice triumphed at large, and virtue had every thing to fear, the
temper of the times was propitious to the corruptors of taste and
liberal science. The dignity of composition was no longer of use. It
had no power to stop the torrent of vice which deluged the city of
Rome, and virtue found it a feeble protection. In such a conjuncture
it was not safe to speak the sentiments of the heart. To be obscure,
abrupt, and dark, was the best expedient. Then it was that the
affected sententious brevity came into vogue. To speak concisely, and
with an air of precipitation, was the general practice. To work the
ruin of a person accused, a single sentence, or a splendid phrase, was
sufficient. Men defended themselves in a short brilliant expression;
and if that did not protect them, they died with a lively apophthegm,
and their last words were wit. This was the fashion introduced by
Seneca. The peculiar, but agreeable vices of his style, wrought the
downfall of eloquence. The solid was exchanged for the brilliant, and
they, who ceased to be orators, studied to be ingenious.

7. Of late, indeed, we have seen the dawn of better times. In the
course of the last six years Vespasian has revived our hopes [a]. The
friend of regular manners, and the encourager of ancient virtue, by
which Rome was raised to the highest pinnacle of glory, he has
restored the public peace, and with it the blessings of liberty. Under
his propitious influence, the arts and sciences begin once more to
flourish, and genius has been honoured with his munificence. The
example of his sons [b] has helped to kindle a spirit of emulation. We
beheld, with pleasure, the two princes adding to the dignity of their
rank, and their fame in arms, all the grace and elegance of polite
literature. But it is fatally true, that when the public taste is once
corrupted, the mind which has been warped, seldom recovers its former
tone. This difficulty was rendered still more insurmountable by the
licentious spirit of our young men, and the popular applause, that
encouraged the false taste of the times. I need not, in this company,
call to mind the unbridled presumption, with which, as soon as genuine
eloquence expired, the young men of the age took possession of the
forum. Of modest worth and ancient manners nothing remained. We know
that in former times the youthful candidate was introduced in the
forum by a person of consular rank [c], and by him set forward in his
road to fame. That laudable custom being at an end, all fences were
thrown down: no sense of shame remained, no respect for the tribunals
of justice. The aspiring genius wanted no patronage; he scorned the
usual forms of a regular introduction; and, with full confidence in
his own powers, he obtruded himself on the court. Neither the
solemnity of the place, nor the sanctity of laws, nor the importance
of the oratorical character, could restrain the impetuosity of young
ambition. Unconscious of the importance of the undertaking, and less
sensible of his own incapacity, the bold adventurer rushed at once
into the most arduous business. Arrogance supplied the place of

8. To oppose the torrent, that bore down every thing, the danger of
losing all fair and honest fame was the only circumstance that could
afford a ray of hope. But even that slender fence was soon removed by
the arts of [a] Largius Licinius. He was the first that opened a new
road to ambition. He intrigued for fame, and filled the benches with
an audience suborned to applaud his declamations. He had his circle
round him, and shouts of approbation followed. It was upon that
occasion that Domitius Afer [b] emphatically said, Eloquence is now at
the last gasp. It had, indeed, at that time shewn manifest symptoms of
decay, but its total ruin may be dated from the introduction of a
mercenary band [c] to flatter and applaud. If we except a chosen few,
whose superior genius has not as yet been seduced from truth and
nature, the rest are followed by their partisans, like actors on the
stage, subsisting altogether on the bought suffrages of mean and
prostitute hirelings. Nor is this sordid traffic carried on with
secrecy: we see the bargain made in the face of the court; the bribe
is distributed with as little ceremony as if they were in a private
party at the orator's own house. Having sold their voices, this venal
crew rush forward from one tribunal to another, the distributors of
fame, and the sole judges of literary merit. The practice is, no
doubt, disgraceful. To brand it with infamy, two new terms have been
invented [d], one in the Greek language, importing the venders of
praise, and the other in the Latin idiom, signifying the parasites who
sell their applause for a supper. But sarcastic expressions have not
been able to cure the mischief: the applauders by profession have
taken courage, and the name, which was intended as a stroke of
ridicule, is now become an honourable appellation.

9. This infamous practice rages at present with increasing violence.
The party no longer consists of freeborn citizens; our very slaves are
hired. Even before they arrive at full age, we see them distributing
the rewards of eloquence. Without attending to what is said, and
without sense enough to understand, they are sure to crowd the courts
of justice, whenever a raw young man, stung with the love of fame, but
without talents to deserve it, obtrudes himself in the character of an
advocate. The hall resounds with acclamations, or rather with a kind
of bellowing; for I know not by what term to express that savage
uproar, which would disgrace a theatre.

Upon the whole, when I consider these infamous practices, which have
brought so much dishonour upon a liberal profession, I am far from
wondering that you, Maternus, judged it time to sound your retreat.
When you could no longer attend with honour, you did well, my friend,
to devote yourself entirely to the muses. And now, since you are to
close the debate, permit me to request, that, besides unfolding the
causes of corrupt eloquence, you will fairly tell us, whether you
entertain any hopes of better times, and, if you do, by what means a
reformation may be accomplished.

10. It is true [a], said Maternus, that seeing the forum deluged by an
inundation of vices, I was glad, as my friend expressed it, to sound
my retreat. I saw corruption rushing on with hasty strides, too
shameful to be defended, and too powerful to be resisted. And yet,
though urged by all those motives, I should hardly have renounced the
business of the bar, if the bias of my nature had not inclined me to
other studies. I balanced, however, for some time. It was, at first,
my fixed resolution to stand to the last a poor remnant of that
integrity and manly eloquence, which still lingered at the bar, and
shewed some signs of life. It was my intention to emulate, not,
indeed, with equal powers, but certainly with equal firmness, the
bright models of ancient times, and, in that course of practice, to
defend the fortunes, the dignity, and the innocence of my
fellow-citizens. But the strong impulse of inclination was not to be
resisted. I laid down my arms, and deserted to the safe and tranquil
camp of the muses. But though a deserter, I have not quite forgot the
service in which I was enlisted. I honour the professors of real
eloquence, and that sentiment, I hope, will be always warm in my

11. In my solitary walks, and moments of meditation, it often happens,
that I fall into a train of thinking on the flourishing state of
ancient eloquence, and the abject condition to which it is reduced in
modern times. The result of my reflections I shall venture to unfold,
not with a spirit of controversy, nor yet dogmatically to enforce my
own opinion. I may differ in some points, but from a collision of
sentiments it is possible that some new light may be struck out. My
friend Aper will, therefore, excuse me, if I do not, with him, prefer
the false glitter of the moderns to the solid vigour of ancient
genius. At the same time, it is not my intention to disparage his
friends. Messala too, whom you, Secundus, have closely followed, will
forgive me, if I do not, in every thing, coincide with his opinion.
The vices of the forum, which you have both, as becomes men of
integrity, attacked with vehemence, will not have me for their
apologist. But still I may be allowed to ask, have not you been too
much exasperated against the rhetoricians?

I will not say in their favour, that I think them equal to the task of
reviving the honours of eloquence; but I have known among them, men of
unblemished morals, of regular discipline, great erudition, and
talents every way fit to form the minds of youth to a just taste for
science and the persuasive arts. In this number one in particular [a]
has lately shone forth with superior lustre. From his abilities, all
that is in the power of man may fairly be expected. A genius like his
would have been the ornament of better times. Posterity will admire
and honour him. And yet I would not have Secundus amuse himself with
ill-grounded hopes: neither the learning of that most excellent man,
nor the industry of such as may follow him, will be able to promote
the interests of Eloquence, or to establish her former glory. It is a
lost cause. Before the vices, which have been so ably described, had
spread a general infection, all true oratory was at an end. The
revolutions in our government, and the violence of the times, began
the mischief, and, in the end, gave the fatal blow.

12. Nor are we to wonder at this event. In the course of human affairs
there is no stability, nothing secure or permanent. It is with our
minds as with our bodies: the latter, as soon as they have attained
their full growth, and seem to flourish in the vigour of health,
begin, from that moment, to feel the gradual approaches of decay. Our
intellectual powers proceed in the same manner; they gain strength by
degrees, they arrive at maturity, and, when they can no longer
improve, they languish, droop, and fade away. This is the law of
nature, to which every age, and every nation, of which we have any
historical records, have been obliged to submit. There is besides
another general law, hard perhaps, but wonderfully ordained, and it is
this: nature, whose operations are always simple and uniform, never
suffers in any age or country, more than one great example of
perfection in the kind [a]. This was the case in Greece, that prolific
parent of genius and of science. She had but one Homer, one Plato, one
Demosthenes. The same has happened at Rome: Virgil stands at the head
of his art, and Cicero is still unrivalled. During a space of seven
hundred years our ancestors were struggling to reach the summit of
perfection: Cicero at length arose; he thundered forth his immortal
energy, and nature was satisfied with the wonder she had made. The
force of genius could go no further. A new road to fame was to be
found. We aimed at wit, and gay conceit, and glittering sentences. The
change, indeed, was great; but it naturally followed the new form of
government. Genius died with public liberty.

13. We find that the discourse of men always conforms to the temper of
the times. Among savage nations [a] language is never copious. A few
words serve the purpose of barbarians, and those are always uncouth
and harsh, without the artifice of connection; short, abrupt, and
nervous. In a state of polished society, where a single ruler sways
the sceptre, the powers of the mind take a softer tone, and language
grows more refined. But affectation follows, and precision gives way
to delicacy. The just and natural expression is no longer the fashion.
Living in ease and luxury, men look for elegance, and hope by novelty
to give a grace to adulation. In other nations, where the first
principles of the civil union are maintained in vigour; where the
people live under the government of laws, and not the will of man;
where the spirit of liberty pervades all ranks and orders of the
state; where every individual holds himself bound, at the hazard of
his life, to defend the constitution framed by his ancestors; where,
without being guilty of an impious crime, no man dares to violate the
rights of the whole community; in such a state, the national eloquence
will be prompt, bold, and animated. Should internal dissensions shake
the public peace, or foreign enemies threaten to invade the land,
Eloquence comes forth arrayed in terror; she wields her thunder, and
commands all hearts. It is true, that upon those occasions men of
ambition endeavour, for their own purposes, to spread the flame of
sedition; while the good and virtuous combine their force to quell the
turbulent, and repel the menaces of a foreign enemy. Liberty gains new
strength by the conflict, and the true patriot has the glory of
serving his country, distinguished by his valour in the field, and in
debate no less terrible by his eloquence.

14. Hence it is that in free governments we see a constellation of
orators. Hence Demosthenes displayed the powers of his amazing genius,
and acquired immortal honour. He saw a quick and lively people,
dissolved in luxury, open to the seductions of wealth, and ready to
submit to a master; he saw a great and warlike monarch threatening
destruction to the liberties of his country; he saw that prince at the
head of powerful armies, renowned for victory, possessed of an opulent
treasury, formidable in battle, and, by his secret arts, still more so
in the cabinet; he saw that king, inflamed by ambition and the lust of
dominion, determined to destroy the liberties of Greece. It was that
alarming crisis that called forth the powers of Demosthenes. Armed
with eloquence, and with eloquence only, he stood as a bulwark against
a combination of enemies foreign and domestic. He roused his
countrymen from their lethargy: he kindled the holy flame of liberty;
he counteracted the machinations of Philip, detected his clandestine
frauds, and fired the men of Athens with indignation. To effect these
generous purposes, and defeat the policy of a subtle enemy, what
powers of mind were necessary! how vast, how copious, how sublime! He
thundered and lightened in his discourse; he faced every danger with
undaunted resolution. Difficulties served only to inspire him with new
ardour. The love of his country glowed in his heart; liberty roused
all his powers, and Fame held forth her immortal wreath to reward his
labours. These were the fine incentives that roused his genius, and no
wonder that his mind expanded with vast conceptions. He thought for
his country, and, by consequence, every sentiment was sublime; every
expression was grand and magnificent.

XXXVI. The true spirit of genuine eloquence [a], like an intense fire,
is kept alive by fresh materials: every new commotion gives it vigour,
and in proportion as it burns, it expands and brightens to a purer
flame. The same causes at Rome produced the same effect. Tempestuous
times called forth the genius of our ancestors. The moderns, it is
true, have taken fire, and rose above themselves, as often as a quiet,
settled, and uniform government gave a fair opportunity; but
eloquence, it is certain, flourishes most under a bold and turbulent
democracy, where the ambitious citizen, who best can mould to his
purposes a fierce and contentious multitude, is sure to be the idol of
the people. In the conflict of parties, that kept our ancestors in
agitation, laws were multiplied; the leading chiefs were the favourite
demagogues; the magistrates were often engaged in midnight debate;
eminent citizens were brought to a public trial; families were set at
variance; the nobles were split into factions, and the senate waged
incessant war against the people. Hence that flame of eloquence which
blazed out under the republican government, and hence that constant
fuel that kept the flame alive.

The state, it is true, was often thrown into convulsions: but talents
were exercised, and genius opened the way to public honours. He who
possessed the powers of persuasion, rose to eminence, and by the arts
which gave him popularity, he was sure to eclipse his colleagues. He
strengthened his interest with the leading men, and gained weight and
influence not only in the senate, but in all assemblies of the people.
Foreign nations [b] courted his friendship. The magistrates, setting
out for their provinces, made it their business to ingratiate
themselves with the popular speaker, and, at their return, took care
to renew their homage. The powerful orator had no occasion to solicit
for preferment: the offices of prætor and consul stood open to receive
him. He was invited to those exalted stations. Even in the rank of a
private citizen he had a considerable share of power, since his
authority swayed at once the senate and the people. It was in those
days a settled maxim, that no man could either rise to dignities, or
support himself in office, without possessing, in an eminent degree, a
power of words, and dignity of language.

Nor can this be a matter of wonder, when we recollect, that persons of
distinguished genius were, on various occasions, called forth by the
voice of the people, and in their presence obliged to act an important
part. Eloquence was the ruling passion of all. The reason is, it was
not then sufficient merely to vote in the senate; it was necessary to
support that vote with strength of reasoning, and a flow of language.
Moreover, in all prosecutions, the party accused was expected to make
his defence in person, and to examine the witnesses [c], who at that
time were not allowed to speak in written depositions, but were
obliged to give their testimony in open court. In this manner,
necessity, no less than the temptation of bright rewards, conspired to
make men cultivate the arts of oratory. He who was known to possess
the powers of speech, was held in the highest veneration. The mute and
silent character fell into contempt. The dread of shame was a motive
not less powerful than the ambition that aimed at honours. To sink
into the humiliating rank of a client, instead of maintaining the
dignity of a patron, was a degrading thought. Men were unwilling to
see the followers of their ancestors transferred to other families for
protection. Above all, they dreaded the disgrace of being thought
unworthy of civil honours; and, if by intrigue they attained their
wishes, the fear of being despised for incapacity was a spur to
quicken their ardour in the pursuit of literary fame and commanding

XXXVII. I do not know whether you have as yet seen the historical
memoirs which Mucianus [a] has collected, and lately published,
containing, in eleven volumes, the transactions of the times, and, in
three more, the letters of eminent men who figured on the stage of
public business. This portion of history is well authenticated by the
original papers, still extant in the libraries of the curious. From
this valuable collection it appears, that Pompey and Crassus [b] owed
their elevation as much to their talents as to their fame in arms; and
that Lentulus [c], Metellus, Lucullus, Curio, and others of that
class, took care to enlarge their minds, and distinguish themselves by
their powers of speech. To say all in one word, no man, in those
times, rose to eminence in the state, who had not given proof of his
genius in the forum and the tribunals of justice.

To this it may be added, that the importance, the splendour, and
magnitude of the questions discussed in that period, served to animate
the public orator. The subject, beyond all doubt, lifts the mind above
itself: it gives vigour to sentiment, and energy to expression. Let
the topic be a paltry theft, a dry form of pleading, or a petty
misdemeanor; will not the orator feel himself cramped and chilled by
the meanness of the question? Give him a cause of magnitude, such as
bribery in the election of magistrates, a charge for plundering the
allies of Rome, or the murder of Roman citizens, how different then
his emotions! how sublime each sentiment! what dignity of language!
The effect, it must be admitted, springs from the disasters of
society. It is true, that form of government, in which no such evils
occur, must, beyond all question, be allowed to be the best; but
since, in the course of human affairs, sudden convulsions must happen,
my position is, that they produced, at Rome, that flame of eloquence
which at this hour is so much admired. The mind of the orator grows
and expands with his subject. Without ample materials no splendid
oration was ever yet produced. Demosthenes, I believe, did not owe his
vast reputation to the speeches which he made against his guardians
[d]; nor was it either the oration in defence of Quinctius, or that
for Archias the poet, that established the character of Cicero. It was
Catiline, it was Verres, it was Milo and Mark Antony, that spread so
much glory round him.

Let me not be misunderstood: I do not say, that for the sake of
hearing a bright display of eloquence, it is fit that the public peace
should be disturbed by the machinations of turbulent and lawless men.
But, not to lose sight of the question before us, let it be
remembered, that we are enquiring about an art which thrives and
flourishes most in tempestuous times. It were, no doubt, better that
the public should enjoy the sweets of peace, than be harassed by the
calamities of war: but still it is war that produces the soldier and
great commander. It is the same with Eloquence. The oftener she is
obliged, if I may so express it, to take the field, the more frequent
the engagement, in which she gives and receives alternate wounds, and
the more formidable her adversary; the more she rises in pomp and
grandeur, and returns from the warfare of the forum crowned with
unfading laurels. He, who encounters danger, is ever sure to win the
suffrages of mankind. For such is the nature of the human mind, that,
in general, we choose a state of security for ourselves, but never
fail to gaze with admiration on the man, whom we see, in the conflict
of parties, facing his adversaries, and surmounting difficulties.

XXXVIII. I proceed to another advantage of the ancient forum; I mean
the form of proceeding and the rules of practice observed in those
days. Our modern custom is, I grant, more conducive to truth and
justice; but that of former times gave to eloquence a free career,
and, by consequence, greater weight and splendour. The advocate was
not, as now, confined to a few hours [a]; he might adjourn as often as
it suited his convenience; he might expatiate, as his genius prompted
him: and the number of days, like that of the several patrons, was
unlimited. Pompey was the first who circumscribed the genius of men
within narrower limits [b]. In his third consulship he gave a check to
eloquence, and, as it were, bridled its spirit, but still left all
causes to be tried according to law in the forum, and before the
prætors. The importance of the business, which was decided in that
court of justice, will be evident, if we compare it with the
transactions before the centumvirs [c], who at present have cognizance
of all matters whatever. We have not so much as one oration of Cicero
or Cæsar, of Brutus, Cælius, or Calvus, or any other person famous for
his eloquence, which was delivered before the last-mentioned
jurisdiction, excepting only the speeches of Asinius Pollio [d] for
the heirs of Urbinia. But those speeches were delivered about the
middle of the reign of Augustus, when, after a long peace with foreign
nations, and a profound tranquillity at home, that wise and politic
prince had conquered all opposition, and not only triumphed over party
and faction, but subdued eloquence itself.

XXXIX. What I am going to say will appear, perhaps, too minute; it may
border on the ridiculous, and excite your mirth: with all my heart; I
will hazard it for that very reason. The dress now in use at the bar
has an air of meanness: the speaker is confined in a close robe [a],
and loses all the grace of action. The very courts of judicature are
another objection; all causes are heard, at present, in little narrow
rooms, where spirit and strenuous exertion are unnecessary. The
orator, like a generous steed, requires liberty and ample space:
before a scanty tribunal his spirit droops, and the dullness of the
scene damps the powers of genius. Add to this, we pay no attention to
style; and indeed how should we? No time is allowed for the beauties
of composition: the judge calls upon you to begin, and you must obey,
liable, at the same time, to frequent interruptions, while documents
are read, and witnesses examined.

During all this formality, what kind of an audience has the orator to
invigorate his faculties? Two or three stragglers drop in by chance,
and to them the whole business seems to be transacted in solitude. But
the orator requires a different scene. He delights in clamour, tumult,
and bursts of applause. Eloquence must have her theatre, as was the
case in ancient times, when the forum was crowded with the first men
in Rome; when a numerous train of clients pressed forward with eager
expectation; when the people, in their several tribes; when
ambassadors from the colonies, and a great part of Italy; attended to
hear the debate; in short, when all Rome was interested in the event.
We know that in the cases of Cornelius, Scaurus, Milo, Bestia, and
Vatinius, the concourse was so great, that those several causes were
tried before the whole body of the people. A scene so vast and
magnificent was enough to inflame the most languid orator. The
speeches delivered upon those occasions are in every body's hands,
and, by their intrinsic excellence, we of this day estimate the genius
of the respective authors.

XL. If we now consider the frequent assemblies of the people, and the
right of prosecuting the most eminent men in the state; if we reflect
on the glory that sprung from the declared hostility of the most
illustrious characters; if we recollect, that even Scipio, Sylla, and
Pompey, were not sheltered from the storms of eloquence, what a number
of causes shall we see conspiring to rouse the spirit of the ancient
forum! The malignity of the human heart, always adverse to superior
characters, encouraged the orator to persist. The very players, by
sarcastic allusions to men in power, gratified the public ear, and, by
consequence, sharpened the wit and acrimony of the bold declaimer.

Need I observe to you, that in all I have said, I have not been
speaking of that temperate faculty [a] which delights in quiet times,
supported by its own integrity, and the virtues of moderation? I speak
of popular eloquence, the genuine offspring of that licentiousness, to
which fools and ill-designing men have given the name of liberty: I
speak of bold and turbulent oratory, that inflamer of the people, and
constant companion of sedition; that fierce incendiary, that knows no
compliance, and scorns to temporize; busy, rash, and arrogant, but, in
quiet and well regulated governments, utterly unknown. Who ever heard
of an orator at Crete or Lacedæmon? In those states a system of
rigorous discipline was established by the first principles of the
constitution. Macedonian and Persian eloquence are equally unknown.
The same may be said of every country, where the plan of government
was fixed and uniform.

At Rhodes, indeed, and also at Athens, orators existed without number,
and the reason is, in those communities the people directed every
thing; a giddy multitude governed, and, to say the truth, all things
were in the power of all. In like manner, while Rome was engaged in
one perpetual scene of contention; while parties, factions, and
internal divisions, convulsed the state; no peace in the forum, in the
senate no union of sentiment; while the tribunals of justice acted
without moderation; while the magistrates knew no bounds, and no man
paid respect to eminent merit; in such times it must be acknowledged
that Rome produced a race of noble orators; as in the wild
uncultivated field the richest vegetables will often shoot up, and
flourish with uncommon vigour. And yet it is fair to ask, Could all
the eloquence of the Gracchi atone for the laws which they imposed on
their country? Could the fame which Cicero obtained by his eloquence,
compensate for the tragic end to which it brought him [b]?

XLI. The forum, at present, is the last sad relic of ancient oratory.
But does that epitome of former greatness give the idea of a city so
well regulated, that we may rest contented with our form of
government, without wishing for a reformation of abuses? If we except
the man of guilt, or such as labour under the hard hand of oppression,
who resorts to us for our assistance? If a municipal city applies for
protection, it is, when the inhabitants, harassed by the adjacent
states, or rent and torn by intestine divisions, sue for protection.
The province, that addresses the senate for a redress of grievances,
has been oppressed and plundered, before we hear of the complaint. It
is true, we vindicate the injured, but to suffer no oppression would
surely be better than to obtain relief. Find, if you can, in any part
of the world a wise and happy community, where no man offends against
the laws: in such a nation what can be the use of oratory? You may as
well profess the healing art where ill health is never known. Let men
enjoy bodily vigour, and the practice of physic will have no
encouragement. In like manner, where sober manners prevail, and
submission to the authority of government is the national virtue, the
powers of persuasion are rendered useless. Eloquence has lost her
field of glory. In the senate, what need of elaborate speeches, when
all good men are already of one mind? What occasion for studied
harangues before a popular assembly, where the form of government
leaves nothing to the decision of a wild democracy, but the whole
administration is conducted by the wisdom of a single ruler? And
again; when crimes are rare, and in fact of no great moment, what
avails the boasted right of individuals to commence a voluntary
prosecution? What necessity for a studied defence, often composed in a
style of vehemence, artfully addressed to the passions, and generally
stretched beyond all bounds, when justice is executed in mercy, and
the judge is of himself disposed to succour the distressed?

Believe me, my very good, and (as far as the times will admit) my
eloquent friends, had it been your lot to live under the old republic,
and the men whom we so much admire had been reserved for the present
age; if some god had changed the period of theirs and your existence,
the flame of genius had been yours, and the chiefs of antiquity would
now be acting with minds subdued to the temper of the times. Upon the
whole, since no man can enjoy a state of calm tranquillity, and, at
the same time, raise a great and splendid reputation; to be content
with the benefits of the age in which we live, without detracting from
our ancestors, is the virtue that best becomes us.

XLII. Maternus concluded [a] his discourse. There have been, said
Messala, some points advanced, to which I do not entirely accede; and
others, which I think require farther explanation. But the day is well
nigh spent. We will, therefore, adjourn the debate. Be it as you think
proper, replied Maternus; and if, in what I have said, you find any
thing not sufficiently clear, we will adjust those matters in some
future conference. Hereupon he rose from his seat, and embracing Aper,
I am afraid, he said, that it will fare hardly with you, my good
friend. I shall cite you to answer before the poets, and Messala will
arraign you at the bar of the antiquarians. And I, replied Aper, shall
make reprisals on you both before the school professors and the
rhetoricians. This occasioned some mirth and raillery. We laughed, and
parted in good humour.



The scene of the following Dialogue is laid in the sixth year of
Vespasian, A.U.C. 828. A.D. 75. The commentators are much divided in
their opinions about the real author; his work they all agree is a
masterpiece in the kind; written with taste and judgement;
entertaining, profound, and elegant. But whether it is to be ascribed
to Tacitus, Quintilian, or any other person whom they cannot name, is
a question upon which they have exhausted a store of learning. They
have given us, according to their custom, much controversy, and little
decision. In this field of conjecture Lipsius led the way. He
published, in 1574, the first good edition of Tacitus, with
emendations of the text, and not removed; he still remains in
suspense. _Cum multa dixerim, claudo tamen omnia hoc responso; MIHI
NON LIQUERE._ Gronovius Pichena, Ryckius, Rhenanus, and others, have
entered warmly into the dispute. An elegant modern writer has hazarded
a new conjecture. The last of Sir Thomas Fitzosborne's Letters is a
kind of preface to Mr. Melmoth's Translation of the Dialogue before
us. He says; of all the conversation pieces, whether ancient or
modern, either of the moral or polite kind, he knows not one more
elegantly written than the little anonymous Dialogue concerning the
rise and decline of eloquence among the Romans. He calls it anonymous,
though he is aware, that it has been ascribed not only to Tacitus and
Quintilian, but even to Suetonius. The reasons, however, are so
inconclusive, that he is inclined to give it to the younger Pliny. He
thinks it perfectly coincides with Pliny's age; it is addressed to one
of his particular friends, and is marked with similar expressions and
sentiments. But, with all due submission to Mr. Melmoth, his new
candidate cannot long hold us in suspense. It appears in the account
of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, in which Pliny's uncle lost his
life. A.U.C. 832. A.D. 79, that Pliny was then eighteen years old,
and, as the Dialogue was in 828, he could then be no more than
fourteen; a time of life, when he was neither fit to be admitted to a
learned debate, nor capable of understanding it. Besides this, two
letters to his friend FABIUS are still extant; one in the first book,
epist. 11; the other, book vii. epist. 2. No mention of the Dialogue
occurs in either of those letters, nor in any other part of his works;
a circumstance, which could scarce have happened to a writer so
tenderly anxious about his literary character, if the work in question
had been the production of his part. Brotier, the last, and, it may be
said, the best of all the editors of Tacitus, is of opinion that a
tract, so beautiful and judicious, ought not, without better reasons
than have been as yet assigned, to be adjudged from Tacitus to any
other writer. He relies much on the first edition, which was published
at Venice (1468), containing the last six books of the Annals (the
first six not being then found), the five books of the History, and
the Dialogue, intitled, _Cornelii Taciti Equitis Romani Dialogus de
Oratoribus claris._ There were also in the Vatican, manuscript copies
of the Dialogue _de Oratoribus_. In 1515, when the six first Annals
were found in Germany, a new edition, under the patronage of Leo X.
was published by Beroaldus, carefully collated with the manuscript,
which was afterwards placed in the Florentine Library. Those early
authorities preponderate with Brotier against all modern conjecture;
more especially, since the age of Tacitus agrees with the time of the
Dialogue. He was four years older than his friend Pliny, and, at
eighteen, might properly be allowed by his friends to be of their
party. In two years afterwards (A.U. 830), he married Agricola's
daughter, and he expressly says, (Life of Agricola, sect. ix.) that he
was then a very young man. The arguments, drawn by the several
commentators from the difference of style, Brotier thinks are of no
weight. The style of a young author will naturally differ from what he
has settled by practice at an advanced period of life. This has been
observed in many eminent writers, and in none more than Lipsius
himself. His language, in the outset, was easy, flowing, and elegant;
but, as he advanced in years, it became stiff, abrupt, and harsh.
Tacitus relates a conversation on a literary subject; and in such a
piece, who can expect to find the style of an historian or an
annalist? For these reasons Brotier thinks that this Dialogue may,
with good reason, be ascribed to Tacitus. The translator enters no
farther into the controversy, than to say, that in a case where
certainty cannot be obtained, we must rest satisfied with the best
evidence the nature of the thing will admit. The dispute is of no
importance; for, as Lipsius says, whether we give the Dialogue to
Quintilian or to Tacitus, no inconvenience can arise. Whoever was the
author, it is a performance of uncommon beauty.

Before we close this introduction, it will not be improper to say a
word or two about Brotier's Supplement. In the wreck of ancient
literature a considerable part of this Dialogue has perished, and, by
consequence, a chasm is left, much to be lamented by every reader of
taste. To avoid the inconvenience of a broken context, Brotier has
endeavoured to compensate for the loss. What he has added, will be
found in the progress of the work; and as it is executed by the
learned editor with great elegance, and equal probability, it is hoped
that the insertion of it will be more agreeable to the reader, than a
dull pause of melancholy regret.

Section I.

[a] Justus Fabius was consul A.U.C. 864, A.D. 111. But as he did not
begin the year, his name does not appear in the FASTI CONSULARES.
There are two letters to him from his friend Pliny; the first, lib. i.
epist. 11; the other, lib. vii. ep. 2. it is remarkable, that in the
last, the author talks of sending some of his writings for his
friend's perusal; _quæram quid potissimum ex nugis meis tibi
exhibeam_; but not a word is said about the decline of eloquence.

Section II.

[a] Concerning Maternus nothing is known with any kind of certainty.
Dio relates that a sophist, of that name, was put to death by
Domitian, for a school declamation against tyrants: but not one of the
commentators ventures to assert that he was the _Curiatius Maternus_,
who makes so conspicuous a figure in the Dialogue before us.

[b] No mention is made of Marcus Aper, either by Quintilian or Pliny.
It is supposed that he was father of Marcus Flavius Aper, who was
substituted consul A.U.C. 883, A.D. 130. His oratorical character, and
that of Secundus, as we find them drawn in this section, are not
unlike what we are told by Cicero of Crassus and Antonius. Crassus, he
says, was not willing to be thought destitute of literature, but he
wished to have it said of him, that he despised it, and preferred the
good sense of the Romans to the refinements of Greece. Antonius, on
the other hand, was of opinion that his fame would rise to greater
magnitude, if he was considered as a man wholly illiterate, and void
of education. In this manner they both expected to increase their
popularity; the former by despising the Greeks, and the latter by not
knowing them. _Fuit hoc in utroque eorum, ut Crassus non tam
existimari vellet non didicisse, quam illa despicere, et nostrorum
hominum in omni genere prudentiam Græcis anteferre. Antonius autem
probabiliorem populo orationem fore censebat suam, si omninò didicisse
nunquam putaretur; atque ita se uterque graviorem fore, si alter
contemnere, alter ne nosse quidem Græcos videretur._ Cicero _De Orat._
lib. ii. cap. 1.

[c] Quintilian makes honourable mention of Julius Secundus, who, if he
had not been prematurely cut off, would have transmitted his name to
posterity among the most celebrated orators. He would have added, and
he was daily doing it, whatever was requisite to complete his
oratorical genius; and all that could be desired, was more vigour in
argument, and more attention to matter and sentiment, than to the
choice of words. But he died too soon, and his fame was, in some
degree, intercepted. He has, notwithstanding, left a considerable
name. His diction was rich and copious; he explained every thing with
grace and elegance; his periods flowed with a suavity that charmed
his audience; his language, when metaphorical, was bold, yet accurate;
and, if he hazarded an unusual phrase, he was justified by the energy
with which his meaning was conveyed. _Julio Secundo, si longior
contigisset ætas, clarissimum profecto nomen oratoris apud posteros
foret. Adjecisset enim, atque adjiciebat, cæteris virtutibus suis,
quod desiderari potest; id est autem, ut esset multo magis pugnax, et
sæpius ad curam rerum ab elocutione respiceret. Cæterum interceptus
quoque magnum sibi vindicat locum. Ea est facundia, tanta in
explicando, quod velit, gratia; tam candidum, et lene, et speciosum
dicendi genus; tanta verborum, etiam quæ assumpta sunt, proprietas;
tanta in quibusdam, ex periculo petitis, significantia._ Quintil. lib.
x. s. 1. It is remarkable, that Quintilian, in his list of Roman
orators, has neither mentioned Maternus, nor Marcus Aper. The
Dialogue, for that reason, seems to be improperly ascribed to him: men
who figure so much in the enquiry concerning oratory, would not have
been omitted by the critic who thought their conversation worth

Section III.

[a] Thyestes was a common and popular subject of ancient tragedy.

     Indignatur item privatis, et prope socco
     Dignis carminibus narrari coena Thyestæ.
                    HORAT. ARS POET. ver. 90.

[b] It was the custom of the colonies and municipal towns, to pay
their court to some great orator at Rome, in order to obtain his
patronage, whenever they should have occasion to apply to the senate
for a redress of grievances.

[c] Domitius was another subject of tragedy, taken from the Roman
story. Who he was, does not clearly appear. Brotier thinks it was
Domitius, the avowed enemy of Julius Cæsar, who moved in the senate
for a law to recall that general from the command of the army in Gaul,
and, afterwards, on the breaking out of the civil war, fell bravely
at the battle of Pharsalia. See Suetonius, Life of Nero, section 2.
Such a character might furnish the subject of a tragedy. The Roman
poets were in the habit of enriching their drama with domestic
occurrences, and the practice was applauded by Horace.

     Nec minimum meruêre decus, vestigia Græca
     Ausi deserere, et celebrare domestica facta.
                              ARS POET. ver. 286.

     No path to fame our poets left untried;
     Nor small their merit, when with conscious pride
     They scorn'd to take from Greece the storied theme,
     But dar'd to sing their own domestic fame.
                                       FRANCIS'S HORACE.

Section V.

[a] There were at Rome several eminent men of the name of Bassus.
With regard to the person here called Saleius Bassus, the commentators
have not been able to glean much information. Some have contended that
it was to him Persius addressed his sixth satire:

     Admovit jam bruma foco te, Basse, Sabino.

But if we may believe the old scholiast, his name was CÆSIUS BASSUS, a
much admired lyric poet, who was living on his own farm, at the time
when Mount Vesuvius discharged its torrents of fire, and made the
country round a scene of desolation. The poet and his house were
overwhelmed by the eruption of the lava, which happened A.U. 832, in
the reign of Titus. Quintilian says of him (b. x. chap. 1.), that if
after Horace any poet deserves to be mentioned, Cæsius Bassus was the
man. _Si quem adjicere velis, is erit Cæsius Bassus._ Saleius Bassus
is mentioned by Juvenal as an eminent poet in distress:

                ----At Serrano tenuique Saleio
     Gloria quantalibet quid erit, si gloria tantum est?
                                      SAT. vii. ver. 80.

     But to poor Bassus what avails a name,
     To starve on compliments and empty fame!
                            DRYDEN'S JUVENAL.

Quintilian says, he possessed a poetic genius, but so warm and
vehement, that, even in an advanced age, his spirit was not under the
control of sober judgement. _Vehemens et poeticum ingenium SALEII
BASSI fuit; nec ipsum senectute maturum._ This passage affords an
insuperable argument against Lipsius, and the rest of the critics who
named Quintilian as a candidate for the honour of this elegant
composition. Can it be imagined that a writer of fair integrity, would
in his great work speak of Bassus as he deserved, and in the Dialogue
overrate him beyond all proportion? Duplicity was not a part of
Quintilian's character.

[b] Tacitus, it may be presumed with good reason, was a diligent
reader of Cicero, Livy, Sallust, and Seneca. He has, in various parts
of his works, coincidences of sentiment and diction, that plainly shew
the source from which they sprung. In the present case, when he calls
eloquence a buckler to protect yourself, and a weapon to annoy your
adversary, can anyone doubt but he had his eye on the following
sentence in _Cicero de Oratore_? _Quid autem tam necessarium, quam
tenere semper arma, quibus vel tectus ipse esse possis, vel provocare
integros, et te ulcisci lacessitus?_

[c] Eprius Marcellus is often a conspicuous figure in the Annals and
the History of Tacitus. To a bad heart he united the gift of
eloquence. In the Annals, b. xvi. s. 28, he makes a vehement speech
against Pætus Thrasea, and afterwards wrought the destruction of that
excellent man. For that exploit, he was attacked, in the beginning of
Vespasian's reign, by Helvidius Priscus. In the History (book iv. s. 7
and 8) we see them both engaged in a violent contention. In the
following year (823), Helvidius in the senate opened an accusation in
form; but Marcellus, by using his eloquence as his buckler and his
offensive weapon, was able to ward off the blow. He rose from his
seat, and, "I leave you," he said, "I leave you to give the law to the
senate: reign, if you will, even in the presence of the prince." See
Hist. iv. s. 43. See also, Life of Agricola, s. 11. notes a and b.

Section VI.

[a] To be rich and have no issue, gave to the person so circumstanced
the highest consequence at Rome. All ranks of men paid their court to
him. To discourage a life of celibacy, and promote population,
Augustus passed a law, called _Papia Poppæa_, whereby bachelors were
subjected to penalties. Hence the compliment paid by Horace to his

     Diva producas sobolem, patrumque
     Prosperes decreta super jugandis
     Foeminis, prolisque novæ feraci
           Lege marita.
                     CARMEN SÆCULARE.

     Bring the springing birth to light,
       And with ev'ry genial grace
       Prolific of an endless race,
     Oh! crown our vows, and bless the nuptial rite.
                                   FRANCIS'S HORACE.

But marriage was not brought into fashion. In proportion to the rapid
degeneracy of the manners under the emperors, celibacy grew into
respect; insomuch, that we find (Annals xii. s. 52) a man too strong
for his prosecutors, because he was rich, old, and childless.
_Valuitque pecuniosâ orbitate et senectâ._

[b] The faculty of speaking on a sudden question, with unpremeditated
eloquence, Quintilian says, is the reward of study and diligent
application. The speech, composed at leisure, will often want the
warmth and energy, which accompany the rapid emotions of the mind. The
passions, when roused and animated, and the images which present
themselves in a glow of enthusiasm, are the inspirers of true
eloquence. Composition has not always this happy effect; the process
is slow; languor is apt to succeed; the passions subside, and the
spirit of the discourse evaporates. _Maximus vero studiorum fructus
est, et velut præmium quoddam amplissimum longi laboris, ex tempore
dicendi facultas. Pectus est enim quod disertos facit, et vis mentis.
Nam benè concepti affectus, et recentes rerum imagines, continuo
impetu feruntur, quæ nonnunquam morâ stili refrigescunt, et dilatæ won
revertuntur._ Quintilian. lib. x. cap. 7.

Section VII.

[a] The translation is not quite accurate in this place. The original
says, when I obtained the _laticlave_, and the English calls it the
_manly gown_, which, it must be admitted, is not the exact sense. The
_toga virilis_, or the _manly gown_, was assumed, when the youth came
to man's estate, or the age of seventeen years. On that occasion the
friends of the young man conducted him to the _forum_ (or sometimes to
the capitol), and there invested him with the new gown. This was
called _dies tirocinii_; the day on which he commenced a _tiro_, or a
candidate for preferment in the army. The _laticlave_, was an
additional honour often granted at the same time. The sons of senators
and patricians were entitled to that distinction, as a matter of
right: but the young men, descended from such as were not patricians,
did not wear the _laticlave_, till they entered into the service of
the commonwealth, and undertook the functions of the civil magistracy.
Augustus Cæsar changed that custom. He gave leave to the sons of
senators, in general, to assume the _laticlave_ presently after the
time of putting on the _toga virilis_, though they were not capable of
civil honours. The emperors who succeeded, allowed the same privilege,
as a favour to illustrious families. _Ovid_ speaks of himself and his
brother assuming the _manly gown_ and the _laticlave_ at the same

     Interea, tacito passu labentibus annis,
       Liberior fratri sumpta mihique toga;
     Induiturque humeris cum lato purpura clavo.

Pliny the younger shews, that the _laticlave_ was a favour granted by
the emperor on particular occasions. He says, he applied for his
friend, and succeeded: _Ego Sexto latumclavum a Cæsare nostro
impetravi._ Lib. ii. epist. 9. The _latusclavus_ was a robe worn by
consuls, prætors, generals in triumph, and senators, who were called
_laticlavii_. Their sons were admitted to the same honour; but the
emperors had a power to bestow this garment of distinction, and all
privileges belonging to it, upon such as they thought worthy of that
honour. This is what Marcus Aper says, in the Dialogue, that he
obtained; and, when the translation mentions the _manly gown_, the
expression falls short of the speaker's idea. Dacier has given an
account of the _laticlave_, which has been well received by the
learned. He tells us, that whatever was made to be put on another
thing, was called _clavus_, not because it had any resemblance to a
nail, but because it was made an adjunct to another subject. In fact,
the _clavi_ were purple galloons, with which the Romans bordered the
fore part of the tunic, on both sides, and when drawn close together,
they formed an ornament in the middle of the vestment. It was, for
that reason, called by the Greeks, [Greek: mesoporphuron]. The broad
galloons made the _laticlave_, and the narrow the _angusticlave_. The
_laticlave_, Dacier adds, is not to be confounded with the _prætexta_.
The latter was, at first, appropriated to the magistrates, and the
sacerdotal order; but, in time, was extended to the sons of eminent
families, to be worn as a mark of distinction, till the age of
seventeen, when it was laid aside for the _manly gown_. See Dacier's
_Horace_, lib. i. sat. 5; and see Kennet's _Roman Antiquities_, p.

[b] Marcus Aper, Julius Secundus, and Curiatius Maternus, according to
Brotier and others, were natives of Gaul. Aper (section x.) mentions
the Gauls as their common countrymen: _Ne quid de Gallis nostris
loquamur._ If that was the fact, a _new man_ at Rome would have
difficulties to surmount. Ammianus Marcellinus (a Latin historian of
the fourth century) says, that at Rome the people despised every thing
that did not grow before their eyes within the walls of the city,
except the rich who had no children; and the veneration paid to such
as had no heirs was altogether incredible. _Vile esse quidquid extra
urbis pomærium nascitur, æstimant; nec credi potest qua obsequiorum
diversitate coluntur homines sine liberis Romæ._ Lib. xiv. s. 5. In
such a city a young man and a stranger could not expect to be

[c] All causes of a private nature were heard before the _centumviri_.
Three were chosen out of every tribe, and the tribes amounted to five
and thirty, so that in fact 105 were chosen; but, for the sake of a
round number, they were called CENTUMVIRI. The causes that were heard
before that jurisdiction are enumerated by Cicero, _De Orat._ lib. i.
s. 38.

[d] The translation says, _the wills and codicils of the rich_; but it
is by no means certain that those words convey the meaning of the
text, which simply says, _nec codicillis datur_. After due enquiry, it
appears that _codicillus_ was used by the Latin authors, for what we
now call _the letters patent of a prince_. Codicils, in the modern
sense of the word, implying a supplement to a will, were unknown to
the intent Roman law. The Twelve Tables mention testaments only.
Codicils, in aid to wills, were first introduced in the time of
Augustus; but, whatever their operation was, legacies granted by those
additional writings were for some time of no validity. To confirm
this, we are told that the daughter of Lentulus discharged certain
legacies, which, being given by codicil, she was not bound to pay. In
time, however, codicils, as an addition made by the testator to his
will, grew into use, and the legacies thereby granted were confirmed.
This might be the case in the sixth year of Vespasian, when the
Dialogue passed between the parties; but it is, notwithstanding,
highly probable, that the word _codicilli_ means, in the passage
before us, the _letters patent of the prince_. It is used in that
sense by Suetonius, who relates, that Tiberius, after passing a night
and two days in revelling with Pomponius Flaccus and Lucius Piso,
granted to the former the province of Syria, and made the latter
prefect of the city; declaring them, _in the patents_, pleasant
companions, and _the friends of all hours_. _Codicillis quoque
jucundissimos et omnium horarum amicos professus._ Suet. _in Tib._ s.

[e] The common people are called, in the original, _tunicatus
populus_; that class of men, who wore the _tunic_, and not the _toga_,
or the _Roman gown_. The _tunica_, or close coat, was the common
garment worn within doors, and abroad, under the _toga_. Kennet says,
the _proletarii_, the _capite censi_, and the rest of the dregs of the
city, could not afford to wear the _toga_, and therefore went in
their _tunics_; whence Horace says (lib. i. epist. 7).

     Vilia vendentem tunicato scruta popello.

The TOGA, however, was the peculiar dress of the Roman people. VIRGIL
distinguishes his countrymen by their mode of apparel:

     Romanos rerum dominos, gentemque togatam.

But, though this was the Roman habit, the lower citizens were obliged
to appear abroad is their _tunica_, or close garment. The love of
praise is so eager a passion, that the public orator is here
represented as delighting in the applause of the rabble. Persius, the
satirist, has said the same thing:

     Pulchrum est digito monstrari, et dicier. HIC EST.

Section VIII.

[a] The character of Eprius Marcellus has been already stated, section
v. note [c]. Crispus Vibius is mentioned as a man of weight and
influence, _Annals_, book xiv. s. 28. Quintilian has mentioned him to
his advantage: he calls him, book v. chap. 13, a man of agreeable and
elegant talents, _vir ingenii jucundi et elegantis_; and again, Vibius
Crispus was distinguished by the elegance of his composition, and the
sweetness of his manner; a man born to please, but fitter for private
suits, than for the importance of public causes. _Et VIBIUS CRISPUS,
compositus, et jucundus, et delectationi natus; privatis tamen causis,
quam publicis, melior._ Lib. x. cap. 1.

[b] Which of these two men was born at Capua, and which at Vercellæ,
is not clearly expressed in the original. Eprius Marcellus, who has
been described of a prompt and daring spirit, ready to embark in
every mischief, and by his eloquence able to give colour to the worst
cause, must at this time have become a new man, since we find him
mentioned in this Dialogue with unbounded praise. He, it seems, and
Vibius Crispus were the favourites at Vespasian's court. Vercellæ, now
_Verceil_, was situated in the eastern part of Piedmont. _Capua_,
rendered famous by Hannibal, was a city in Campania, always deemed the
seat of pleasure.

[c] Vespasian is said to have been what is uncommon among sovereign
princes, a patient hearer of truth. His attention to men of letters
may be considered as a proof of that assertion. The younger Pliny
tells us, that his uncle, the author of the Natural History, used to
visit Vespasian before day-light, and gained admittance to the
emperor, who devoted his nights to study. _Ante lucem ibat ad
Vespasianum imperatorem: nam ille quoque noctibus utebatur._ Lib. iii.
epist. 5.

Section IX.

[a] Agamemnon and Jason were two favourite dramatic subjects with the
Roman poets. After their example, the moderns seem to have been
enamoured with those two Grecian heroes. Racine has displayed the
former, in his tragedy of Iphigenia, and the late Mr. Thomson in a
performance of great merit, entitled Agamemnon. Corneille, and, the
late Mr. Glover, thought Jason and Medea worthy of their talents.

[b] Saleius Bassus has been already mentioned, s. v. note [a]. It may
be added in this place, that the critics of his time concurred in
giving him the warmest praise, not only as a good and excellent man,
but also as an eminent and admirable poet. He was descended from a
family of distinction, but was poor and often distressed. Whether he
or Cæsius Bassus was the friend of Persius, is not perfectly clear. Be
the fact as it may, the satirist describes a fine poet, and his verses
were applicable to either of them:

     Jamne lyrâ, et tetrico vivunt tibi pectine chordæ?
     Mire opifex numeris veterum primordia rerum,
     Atque marem strepitum fidis intendisse Latinæ;
     Mox juvenes agitare jocos, et pollice honesto
     Egregios lusisse senes.
                                      PERSIUS, sat. vi.

[c] Before the invention of printing, copies were not easily
multiplied. Authors were eager to enjoy their fame, and the pen of the
transcriber was slow and tedious. Public rehearsals were the road to
fame. But an audience was to be drawn together by interest, by
solicitation, and public advertisements. Pliny, in one of his letters,
has given a lively description of the difficulties which the author
had to surmount. This year, he says, has produced poets in great
abundance. Scarce a day has passed in the month of April, without the
recital of a poem. But the greater part of the audience comes with
reluctance; they loiter in the lobbies, and there enter into idle
chat, occasionally desiring to know, whether the poet is in his
pulpit? has he begun? is his preface over? has he almost finished?
They condescended, at last, to enter the room; they looked round with
an air of indifference, and soon retired, some by stealth, and others
with open contempt. Hence the greater praise is due to those authors,
who do not suffer their genius to droop, but, on the contrary, amidst
the most discouraging circumstances, still persist to cultivate the
liberal arts. Pliny adds, that he himself attended all the public
readings, and, for that purpose, staid longer in the city than was
usual with him. Being, at length, released, he intended, in his rural
retreat, to finish a work of his own, but not to read it in public,
lest he should be thought to claim a return of the civility which he
had shewn to others. He was a bearer, and not a creditor. The favour
conferred, if redemanded, ceases to be a favour. _Magnum proventum
poetarum annus hic attulit. Toto mense Aprili nullus fere dies, quo
non recitaret aliquis. Tametsi ad audiendum pigre coitur. Plerique in
stationibus sedent, tempusque audiendis fabulis conterunt, ac subinde
sibi nuntiari jubent, an jam recitator intraverit, an dixerit
præfationem, an ex magná parte evolverit librum? Tum demum, ac tune
quoque lentè, cunctanterque veniunt, nec tamen remanent, sed ante
finem recedunt; alii dissimulanter, ac furtim, alii, simpliciter, ac
liberè. Sed tanto magis laudandi probandique sunt, quos a scribendi
recitandique studio hæc auditorum vel desidia, vel superbia non
retardat. Equidem prope nemini defui: his ex causis longius, quam
destinaveram, tempus in urbe consumpsi. Possum jam repetere secessum,
et scribere aliquid, quod non recitem, ne videar, quorum
recitationibus affui, non auditor fuisse, sed creditor. Nam, ut in
cæteris rebus, ita in audiendi officio, perit gratia si reposcatur._
Pliny, lib. i. ep. 13. Such was the state of literature under the
worst of the emperors. The Augustan age was over. In the reigns of
Tiberius and Caligula learning drooped, but in some degree revived
under the dull and stupid Claudius. Pliny, in the letter above cited,
says of that emperor, that, one day hearing a noise in his palace, he
enquired what was the cause, and, being informed that Nonianus was
reciting in public, went immediately to the place, and became one of
the audience. After that time letters met with no encouragement from
the great. Lord Shaftesbury says, he cannot but wonder how the Romans,
after the extinction of the _Cæsarean_ and _Claudian_ family, and a
short interval of princes raised and destroyed with much disorder and
public ruin, were able to regain their perishing dominion, and
retrieve their sinking state, by an after-race of wise and able
princes, successively adopted, and taken from a private state to rule
the empire of the world. They were men, who not only possessed the
military virtues, and supported that sort of discipline in the
highest degree; but as they sought the interest of the world, they
did what was in their power to restore liberty, and raise again the
perishing arts, and the decayed virtue of mankind. But the season was
past: _barbarity_ and _gothicism_ were already entered into the arts,
ere the savages made an impression on the empire. See _Advice to an
Author_, part. ii. s. 1. The _gothicism_, hinted at by Shaftesbury,
appears manifestly in the wretched situation to which the best authors
were reduced. The poets who could not hope to procure an audience,
haunted the baths and public walks, in order to fasten on their
friends, and, at any rate, obtain a hearing for their works. Juvenal
says, the plantations and marble columns of Julius Fronto resounded
with the vociferation of reciting poets:

     Frontonis platani convulsaque marmora clamant
     Semper, et assiduo ruptæ lectore columnæ.
     Expectes eadem a summo minimoque poetâ.
                                  SAT. i. ver. 12.

The same author observes, that the poet, who aspired to literary
fame, might borrow an house for the purpose of a public reading; and
the great man who accommodated the writer, might arrange his friends
and freedmen on the back seats, with direction not to be sparing of
their applause; but still a stage or pulpit, with convenient benches,
was to be procured, and that expence the patrons of letters would not

                ----At si dulcedine famæ
     Contentus recites, Maculonus commodat ædes.
     Scit dare libertos extremâ in parte sedentes
     Ordinis, et magnas comitum disponere voces.
     Nemo dabit procerum, quanti subsellia constent.
                                  SAT. vii. ver. 39.

Statius, in Juvenal's time, was a favourite poet. If he announced a
reading, his auditors went in crowds. He delighted all degrees and
ranks of men; but, when the hour of applause was over, the author was
obliged to sell a tragedy to Paris, the famous actor, in order to
procure a dinner,

     Curritur ad vocem jucundam, et carmen amicæ?
     Thebaidos, lætam fecit cum Statius urbem?
     Promisitque diem: tantâ dulcedine vulgi
     Auditur; sed cum fregit subsellia versu,
     Esurit, intactam Paridi nisi vendit Agaven.
                               SAT. vii. ver. 82.

This was the hard lot of poetry, and this the state of public reading,
which Aper describes to his friend Maternus.

Section X.

[a] Horace has the same observation:

               ----Mediocribus esse poetis
     Non Dii, non homines, non concessere columnæ.
                          ART OF POETRY, ver. 372.

     But God and man, and letter'd post denies,
     That poets ever are of middling size.
                              FRANCIS'S HORACE.

[b] Notwithstanding all that is said, in this Dialogue, of Saleius
Bassus, it does not appear, in the judgement of Quintilian, that he
was a poet whose fame could extend itself to the distant provinces.
Perfection in the kind is necessary. Livy, the historian, was at the
head of his profession. In consequence of his vast reputation, we know
from Pliny, the consul, that a native of the city of Cadiz was so
struck with the character of that great writer, that he made a journey
to Rome, with no other intent than to see that celebrated genius; and
having gratified his curiosity, without staying to view the wonders of
that magnificent city, returned home perfectly satisfied. _Nunquamne
legisti Gaditanum quemdam Titi Livii nomine gloriâque commotum, ad
visendum eum ab ultimo terrarum orbe venisse; statimque, ut viderat,
abiisse?_ Lib. ii. epist. 3.

[c] In Homer and Virgil, as well as in the dramatic poets of the first
order, we frequently have passages of real eloquence, with the
difference which Quintilian mentions: the poet, he says, is a slave to
the measure of his verse; and, not being able at all times to make use
of the true and proper word, he is obliged to quit the natural and
easy way of expression, and avail himself of new modes and turns of
phraseology, such as tropes, and metaphors, with the liberty of
transposing words, and lengthening or shortening syllables as he sees
occasion. _Quod alligati ad certam pedum necessitatem non semper
propriis uti possint, sed depulsi a rectâ viâ, necessario ad quædam
diverticula confugiant; nec mutare quædam modo verba, sed extendere,
corripere, convertere, dividere cogantur._ Quint, lib. x. cap. 1. The
speaker in the Dialogue is aware of this distinction, and, subject to
it, the various branches of poetry are with him so many different
modes of eloquence.

[d] The original has, the citadel of eloquence, which calls to mind an
admired passage in Lucretius:

     Sed nil dulcius est bene quam munita tenere
     Edita doctrinâ sapientum templa serena,
     Despicere unde queas alios, passimque videre
     Errare, atque viam pallantes quærere vitæ.
                                Lib. ii. ver. 7.

[e] It is a fact well known, that in Greece the most illustrious of
both sexes thought it honourable to exercise themselves in the
exhibitions of the theatre, and even to appear in the athletic games.
Plutarch, it is true, will have it, that all scenic arts were
prohibited at Sparta by the laws of Lycurgus; and yet Cornelius Nepos
assures us, that no Lacedæmonian matron, however high her quality, was
ashamed to act for hire on the public stage. He adds, that throughout
Greece, it was deemed the highest honour to obtain the prize in the
Olympic games, and no man blushed to be a performer in plays and
pantomimes, and give himself a spectacle to the people. _Nulla
Lacedæmoni tam est nobilis vidua, quæ non in scenam eat mercede
conducta. Magnis in laudibus totâ fuit Græciâ, victorem Olympiæ
citari. In scenam vero prodire, et populo esse spectaculo nemini in
iisdem gentibus fuit turpitudini._ Cor. Nep. _in Præfat._ It appears,
however, from a story told by Ælian and cited by Shaftesbury, _Advice
to an Author_, part ii. s. 3, that the Greek women were by law
excluded from the Olympic games. Whoever was found to transgress, or
even to cross the river Alpheus, during the celebration of that great
spectacle, was liable to be thrown from a rock. The consequence was,
that not one female was detected, except _Callipatria_, or, as others
called her, _Pherenicè_. This woman, disguised in the habit of a
teacher of gymnastic exercises, introduced her son, _Pisidorus_, to
contend for the victor's prize. Her son succeeded. Transported with
joy at a sight so glorious, the mother overleaped the fence, which
enclosed the magistrates, and, in the violence of that exertion, let
fall her garment. She was, by consequence, known to be a woman, but
absolved from all criminality. For that mild and equitable sentence,
she was indebted to the merit of her father, her brothers, and her
son, who all obtained the victor's crown. The incident, however, gave
birth to a new law, whereby it was enacted, that the masters of the
gymnastic art should, for the future, come naked to the Olympic games.
_Ælian_ lib. x. cap. 1; and see _Pausanias_, lib. v. cap. 6.

[f] Nicostratus is praised by Pausanias (lib. v. cap. 20), as a great
master of the athletic arts. Quintilian has also recorded his prowess.
"Nicostratus, whom in our youth we saw advanced in years, would
instruct his pupil in every branch of his art, and make him, what he
was himself, an invincible champion. Invincible he was, since, on one
and the same day, he entered the lists as a wrestler and a boxer, and
was proclaimed conqueror in both." _Ac si fuerit qui docebitur, ille,
quem adolescentes vidimus, Nicostratus, omnibus in eo docendi partibus
similiter uteretur; efficietque illum, qualis hic fuit, luctando
pugnandoque quorum utroque in certamine iisdem diebus coronabatur
invictum._ Quint. lib, ii. cap. 8.

Section XI.

[a] Nero's ambition to excel in poetry was not only ridiculous, but,
at the same time, destructive to Lucan, and almost all the good
authors of the age. See _Annals_, b. xv. According to the old
scholiast on the Satires of Persius, the following verses were either
written by Nero, or made in imitation of that emperor's style:

     Torva Mimalloneis implerunt cornua bombis,
     Et raptum vitulo caput ablatura superbo
     Bassaris, et lyncem Mænas flexura corymbis,
     Evion ingeminat: reparabilis adsonat echo.

The affectation of rhyme, which many ages afterwards was the
essential part of monkish verse, the tumour of the words, and the
wretched penury of thought, may be imputed to a frivolous prince, who
studied his art of poetry in the manner described by Tacitus,
_Annals_, b. xiv. s. 16. And yet it may be a question, whether the
satirist would have the hardiness to insert the very words of an
imperial poet, armed with despotic power. A burlesque imitation would
answer the purpose; and it may be inferred from another passage in the
same poem, that Persius was content to ridicule the mode of
versification then in vogue at court.

     Claudere sic versum didicit; Berecynthius Attin,
     Et qui cæruleum dirimebat Nerea Delphin.
     Sic costam longo subduximus Apennino.

[b] Vatinius was a favourite at the court of Nero. Tacitus calls him
the spawn of a cook's-shop and a tippling-house; _sutrinæ et tabernæ
alumnus_. He recommended himself to the favour of the prince by his
scurrility and vulgar humour. Being, by those arts, raised above
himself, he became the declared enemy of all good men, and acted a
distinguished part among the vilest instruments of that pernicious
court. See his character, _Annals_ xv. s. 34. When an illiberal and
low buffoon basks in the sunshine of a court, and enjoys exorbitant
power, the cause of literature can have nothing to expect. The liberal
arts must, by consequence, be degraded by a corrupt taste, and
learning will be left to run wild and grow to seed.

Section XII.

[a] That poetry requires a retreat from the bustle of the world, has
been so often repeated, that it is now considered as a truth, from
which there can be no appeal. Milton, it is true, wrote his Paradise
Lost in a small house near _Bunhill Fields_; and Dryden courted the
muse in the hurry and dissipation of a town life. But neither of them
fixed his residence by choice. Pope grew immortal on the banks of the
Thames. But though the country seems to be the seat of contemplation,
two great writers have been in opposite opinions. Cicero says, woods
and groves, and rivers winding through the meadows, and the refreshing
breeze, with the melody of birds, may have their attraction; but they
rather relax the mind into indolence, than rouse our attention, or
give vigour to our faculties. _Sylvarum amænitas, et præterlabentia
flumina, et inspirantes ramis arborum auræ, volucrumque cantus, et
ipsa late circumspiciendi libertas ad se trahunt; at mihi remittere
potius voluptas ista videtur cogitationem, quam intendere._ _De Orat._
lib. ii. This, perhaps, may be true as applied to the public orator,
whose scene of action lay in the forum or the senate. Pliny, on the
other hand, says to his friend Tacitus, there is something in the
solemnity of venerable woods, and the awful silence which prevails in
those places, that strongly disposes us to study and contemplation.
For the future, therefore, whenever you hunt, take along with you your
pen and paper, as well as your basket and bottle; for you will find
the mountains not more inhabited by Diana, than by Minerva. _Jam
undique sylvæ, et solitudo, ipsumque illud silentium, quod venationi
datur, magna cogitationis incitamenta sunt. Proinde, cum, venabere,
licebit, auctore me, ut panarium et lagunculam, sic etiam pugillares
feras. Experiaris non Dianam magis montibus quam Minervam inerrare._
Lib. i. epist. 6. Between these two different opinions, a true poet
may be allowed to decide. Horace describes the noise and tumult of a
city life, and then says,

     Scriptorum chorus omnis amat nemus, et fugit urbes.
                        Epist. lib. ii. ep. ii. ver. 77.

     Alas! to grottos and to groves we run,
     To ease and silence, ev'ry muse's son.

[b] The expression in the original is full and expressive, _lucrosæ
hujus et sanguinantis eloquentiæ_; that gainful and blood-thirsty
eloquence. The immoderate wealth acquired by Eprius Marcellus has been
mentioned in this Dialogue, section 8. Pliny gives us an idea of the
vast acquisitions gained by Regulus, the notorious informer. From a
state of indigence, he rose, by a train of villainous actions, to such
immense riches, that he once consulted the omens, to know how soon he
should be worth sixty millions of sesterces, and found them so
favourable, that he had no doubt of being worth double that sum.
_Aspice Regulum, qui ex paupere et tenui ad tantas opes per flagitia
processit, ut ipse mihi dixerit, cum consuleret, quam cito sestertium
sexcennies impleturus esset, invenisse se exta duplicata, quibus
portendi millies et ducenties habiturum._ Lib. ii. ep. 20. In another
epistle the same author relates, that Regulus, having lost his son,
was visited upon that occasion by multitudes of people, who all in
secret detested him, yet paid their court with as much assiduity as if
they esteemed and loved him. They retaliated upon this man his own
insidious arts: to gain the friendship of Regulus, they played the
game of Regulus himself. He, in the mean time, dwells in his villa on
the other side of the Tiber, where he has covered a large tract of
ground with magnificent porticos, and lined the banks of the river
with elegant statues; profuse, with all his avarice, and, in the depth
of infamy, proud and vain-glorious. _Convenitur ad eum mirâ
celebritate: cuncti detestantur, oderunt; et, quasi probent, quasi
diligant, cursant, frequentant, utque breviter, quod sentio, enunciem,
in Regulo demerendo, Regulum imitantur. Tenet se trans Tyberim in
hortis, in quibus latissimum solum porticibus immensis, ripam statuis
suis occupavit; ut est, in summâ avaritia sumptuosus, in summâ
infamiâ gloriosus._ Lib. iv. ep. 2. All this splendour, in which
Regulus lived, was the fruit of a gainful and blood-thirsty eloquence;
if that may be called eloquence, which Pliny says was nothing more
than a crazed imagination; _nihil præter ingenium insanum_. Lib. iv.
ep. 7.

[c] Orpheus, in poetic story, was the son of Calliope, and Linus
boasted of Apollo for his father.

            ----Nec Thracius Orpheus,
     Nec Linus; huic mater quamvis, atque huic pater adsit,
     Orphei Calliopea, Lino formosus Apollo.
                                    VIRG. ECL. iv. ver. 55.

     Not Orpheus' self, nor Linus, should exceed
     My lofty lays, or gain the poet's meed,
     Though Phœbus, though Calliope inspire,
     And one the mother aid, and one the sire.
                               WHARTON'S VIRGIL.

Orpheus embarked in the Argonautic expedition. His history of it,
together with his hymns, is still extant; but whether genuine, is much

[d] Lysias, the celebrated orator, was a native of Syracuse, the
chief town in Sicily. He lived about four hundred years before the
Christian æra. Cicero says, that he did not addict himself to the
practice of the bar; but his compositions were so judicious, so pure
and elegant, that you might venture to pronounce him a perfect orator.
_Tum fuit Lysias, ipse quidem in causis forensibus non versatus sed
egregiè subtilis scriptor, atque elegans, quem jam prope audeas
oratorem perfectum dicere._ Cicero _De Claris Orat._ s. 35. Quintilian
gives the same opinion. Lysias, he says, preceded Demosthenes: he is
acute and elegant, and if to teach the art of speaking were the only
business of an orator, nothing more perfect can be found. He has no
redundancy, nothing superfluous, nothing too refined, or foreign to
his purpose: his style is flowing, but more like a pure fountain, than
a noble river. _His ætate Lysias major, subtilis atque elegans, et quo
nihil, si oratori satis sit docere, quæras perfectius. Nihil enim est
inane, nihil arcessitum; puro tamen fonti, quam magno flumini
propior._ Quint, lib. x. cap. 1. A considerable number of his orations
is still extant, all written with exquisite taste and inexpressible
sweetness. See a very pleasing translation by Dr. Gillies.

Hyperides flourished at Athens in the time of Demosthenes, Æschynes,
Lycurgus, and other famous orators. That age, says Cicero, poured
forth a torrent of eloquence, of the best and purest kind, without the
false glitter of affected ornament, in a style of noble simplicity,
which lasted to the end of that period. _Huic Hyperides proximus, et
Æschynes fuit, et Lycurgus, aliique plures. Hæc enim ætas effudit hanc
copiam; et, ut opinio mea fert, succus ille et sanguis incorruptus
usque ad hanc ætatem oratorum fuit, in qua naturalis inesset, non
fucatus nitor._ _De Claris Orat._ s. 36. Quintilian allows to Hyperides a
keen discernment, and great sweetness of style; but he pronounces him
an orator designed by nature to shine in causes of no great moment.
_Dulcis in primis et acutus Hyperides; sed minoribus causis, ut non
dixerim utilior, magis par._ Lib. x. cap. 1. Whatever might be the
case when this Dialogue happened, it is certain, at present, that the
fame of Sophocles and Euripides has eclipsed the two Greek orators.

[e] For an account of Asinius Pollio and Corvinus Messala, see
_Annals_, b. xi. s. 6. Quintilian (b. xii. chap. 10) commends the
diligence of Pollio, and the dignity of Messala. In another part of
his Institutes, he praises the invention, the judgement, and spirit of
Pollio, but at the same time says, he fell so short of the suavity and
splendour of Cicero, that he might well pass for an orator of a former
age. He adds, that Messala was natural and elegant: the grandeur of
his style seemed to announce the nobility of his birth; but still he
wanted force and energy. _Malta in Asinio Pollione inventio, summa
diligentia, adeo ut quibusdam etiam nimia videatur; et consilii et
animi satis; a nitore et jucunditate Ciceronis ita longe abest, ut
videri possit sæculo prior. At Messala nitidus et candidus, et
quodammodo præ se ferens in dicendo nobilitatem suam, viribus minor._
Quintilian, lib. x. cap. 1. The two great poets of the Augustan age
have transmitted the name of Asinius Pollio to the latest posterity.
Virgil has celebrated him as a poet, and a commander of armies, in the
Illyrican and Dalmatic wars.

     Tu mihi, seu magni superas jam saxa Timavi,
     Sive oram Illyrici legis æquoris; en erit unquam
     Ille dies, mihi cum liceat tua dicere facta?
     En erit, ut liceat totum mihi ferre per orbem
     Sola Sophocleo tua carmina digna cothurno?
                                 ECLOG. viii. ver. 6.

     O Pollio! leading thy victorious bands
     O'er deep Timavus, or Illyria's sands;
     O when thy glorious deeds shall I rehearse?
     When tell the world how matchless is thy verse,
     Worthy the lofty stage of laurell'd Greece,
     Great rival of majestic Sophocles!
                                   WHARTON'S VIRGIL.

Horace has added the orator and the statesman:

     Paulum severæ musa tragediæ
     Desit theatris; mox, ubi publicas
       Res ordinaris, grande munus
         Cecropio repetes cothurno,
     Insigne mœstis præsidium reis,
     Et consulenti, Pollio, curiæ,
       Cui laurus æternos honores
         Dalmatico peperit triumpho.
                       Lib. ii. ode 1.

     Retard a while thy glowing vein,
     Nor swell the solemn tragic scene;
     And when thy sage, thy patriot cares
     Have form'd the train of Rome's affairs,
     With lofty rapture reinflam'd, diffuse
     Heroic thoughts, and wake the buskin'd muse.
                                FRANCIS'S HORACE.

But after all, the question put by Maternus, is, can any of their
orations be compared to the _Medea_ of Ovid, or the _Thyestes_ of
Varius? Those two tragedies are so often praised by the critics of
antiquity, that the republic of letters has reason to lament the loss.
Quintilian says that the _Medea_ of Ovid was a specimen of genius,
that shewed to what heights the poet could have risen, had he thought
fit rather to curb, than give the rein to his imagination. _Ovidii
Medea videtur mihi ostendere quantum vir ille præstare potuisset, si
ingenio suo temperare, quam indulgere maluisset._ Lib. x. cap. 1.

The works of Varius, if we except a few fragments, are wholly lost.
Horace, in his journey to Brundusium, met him and Virgil, and he
mentions the incident with the rapture of a friend who loved them

     Plotius, et Varius Sinuessæ, Virgiliusque
     Occurrunt; animæ quales neque candidiores
     Terra tulit, neque queis me sit devinctior alter.
                                       Lib. i. sat. 5.

Horace also celebrates Varius as a poet of sublime genius. He begins
his Ode to Agrippa with the following lines:

     Scriberis Vario fortis, et hostium
     Victor, Mæonii carminis alite,
     Quam rem cumque ferox navibus, aut equis
           Miles te duce gesserit.
                               Lib. i. ode 6.

     Varius, who soars on epic wing,
     Agrippa, shall thy conquests sing,
     Whate'er, inspir'd by thy command,
     The soldier dar'd on sea or land.
                           FRANCIS'S HORACE.

A few fragments only of his works have reached posterity. His tragedy
of THYESTES is highly praised by Quintilian. That judicious critic
does not hesitate to say, that it may be opposed to the best
productions of the Greek stage. _Jam Varii Thyestes cuilibet Græcorum
comparari potest._ Varius lived in high favour at the court of
Augustus. After the death of Virgil, he was joined with _Plotinus_
and _Tucca_ to revise the works of that admirable poet. The _Varus_ of
Virgil, so often celebrated in the Pastorals, was, notwithstanding
what some of the commentators have said, a different person from
Varius, the author of Thyestes.

Section XIII.

[a] The rural delight of Virgil is described by himself:

     Rura mihi et rigui placeant in vallibus amnes;
     Flumina amem, sylvasque inglorius. O ubi campi,
     Sperchiusque, et virginibus bacchata Lacænis
     Taygeta! O quis me gelidis sub montibus Hæmi
     Sistat, et ingenti ramorum protegat umbrâ?
                        GEORGICA, lib. ii. ver. 485.

     Me may the lowly vales and woodland please,
     And winding rivers, and inglorious ease;
     O that I wander'd by Sperchius' flood,
     Or on Taygetus' sacred top I stood!
     Who in cool Hæmus' vales my limbs will lay,
     And in the darkest thicket hide from day?
                                 WHARTON'S VIRG.

Besides this poetical retreat, which his imagination could command at
any time, Virgil had a real and delightful villa near Naples, where
he composed his Georgics, and wrote great part of the Æneid.

[b] When Augustus, or any eminent citizen, distinguished by his public
merit, appeared in the theatre, the people testified their joy by
acclamations, and unbounded applause. It is recorded by Horace, that
Mæcenas received that public honour.

               ----Datus in theatro
            Cum tibi plausus,
     Care Mæcenas eques, ut paterni
     Fluminis ripæ, simul et jocosa
     Redderet laudes tibi Vaticani
            Montis imago.
                    Lib. i. ode 20.

When Virgil appeared, the audience paid the same compliment to a man
whose poetry adorned the Roman story. The letters from Augustus, which
are mentioned in this passage, have perished in the ruins of ancient

[c] Pomponius Secundus was of consular rank, and an eminent writer of
tragedy. See _Annals_, b. ii. s. 13. His life was written by Pliny
the elder, whose nephew mentions the fact (book iii. epist. 5), and
says it was a tribute to friendship. Quintilian pronounces him the
best of all the dramatic poets whom he had seen; though the critics
whose judgement was matured by years, did not think him sufficiently
tragical. They admitted, however, that his erudition was considerable,
and the beauty of his composition surpassed all his contemporaries.
_Eorum, quos viderim, longe princeps Pomponius Secundus, quem senes
parum tragicum putabant, eruditione ac nitore præstare confitebantur._
Lib. x. cap. 1.

[d] Quintilian makes honourable mention of Domitius Afer. He says,
when he was a boy, the speeches of that orator for Volusenus Catulus
were held in high estimation. _Et nobis pueris insignes pro Voluseno
Catulo Domitii Afri orationes ferebantur._ Lib. x. cap 1. He adds, in
another part of the same chapter, that Domitius Afer and Julius
Africanus were, of all the orators who flourished in his time, without
comparison the best. But Afer stands distinguished by the splendour
of his diction, and the rhetorical art which he has displayed in all
his compositions. You would not scruple to rank him among the ancient
orators. _Eorum quos viderim, Domitius Afer et Julius Secundus longe
præstantissimi. Verborum arte ille, et toto genere dicendi
præferendus, et quem in numero veterum locare non timeas._ Lib. x.
cap. 1. Quintilian relates, that in a conversation which he had when a
young man, he asked Domitius Afer what poet was, in his opinion, the
next to Homer? The answer was, _Virgil is undoubtedly the second epic
poet, but he is nearer to the first than to the third. Utar enim
verbis, quæ ex Afro Domitio juvenis accepi; qui mihi interroganti,
quem Homero crederet maximè accedere: Secundus, inquit, est Virgilius,
propior tamen primo quam tertio._ Lib. x. cap. 1. We may believe that
Quintilian thought highly of the man whose judgement he cites as an
authority. Quintilian, however, had in view nothing but the talents of
this celebrated orator. Tacitus, as a moral historian, looked at the
character of the man. He introduces him on the stage of public
business in the reign of Tiberius, and there represents him in haste
to advance himself by any kind of crime. _Quoquo facinore properus
clare cere._ He tells us, in the same passage (_Annals_, b. iv. s.
52), that Tiberius pronounced him an orator in his own right, _suo
jure disertum_. Afer died in the reign of Nero, A.U.C. 812, A.D. 59.
In relating his death, Tacitus observes, that he raised himself by his
eloquence to the first civil honours; but he does not dismiss him
without condemning his morals. _Annals_, b. xiv. s. 19.

[e] We find in the Annals and the History of Tacitus, a number of
instances to justify the sentiments of Maternus. The rich found it
necessary to bequeath part of their substance to the prince, in order
to secure the remainder for their families. For the same reason,
Agricola made Domitian joint heir with his wife and daughter. _Life of
Agricola_, section 43.

[f] By a law of the Twelve Tables, a crown, when fairly earned by
virtue, was placed on the head of the deceased, and another was
ordered to be given to his father. The spirit of the law, Cicero says,
plainly intimated, that commendation was a tribute due to departed
virtue. A crown was given not only to him who earned it, but also to
the father, who gave birth to distinguished merit. _Illa jam
significatio est, laudis ornamenta ad mortuos pertinere, quod coronam
virtute partam, et ei qui peperisset, et ejus parenti, sine fraude lex
impositam esse jubet._ _De Legibus_, lib. ii. s. 24. This is the
reward to which Maternus aspires; and, that being granted, he desires,
as Horace did before him, to waive the pomp of funeral ceremonies.

     Absint inani funere næniæ,
     Luctusque turpes et querimoniæ;
       Compesce clamorem, ac sepulchri
         Mitte supervacuos honores.
                      Lib. ii. ode 20.

     My friends, the funeral sorrow spare,
     The plaintive song, and tender tear;
     Nor let the voice of grief profane,
     With loud laments, the solemn scene;
     Nor o'er your poet's empty urn
     With useless idle sorrow mourn.
                         FRANCIS'S HORACE.

Section XIV.

[a] Vipstanius Messala commanded a legion, and, at the head of it,
went over to Vespasian's party in the contention with Vitellius. He
was a man of illustrious birth, and equal merit; the only one, says
Tacitus, who entered into that war from motives of virtue. _Legioni
Vipstanius Messala præerat, claris majoribus, egregius ipse, et qui
solus ad id bellum artes bonas attulisset._ _Hist._ lib. iii. s. 9. He
was brother to Regulus, the vile informer, who has been mentioned. See
Life of Agricola, section 2. note a, and this tract, s. xii. note [b].
Messala, we are told by Tacitus, before he had attained the senatorian
age, acquired great fame by pleading the cause of his profligate
brother with extraordinary eloquence, and family affection. _Magnam eo
die pietatis eloquentiæque famam Vipstanius Messala adeptus est;
nondum senatoriâ ætate, ausus pro fratre Aquilio Regulo deprecari._
_Hist._ lib. iv. s. 42. Since Messala has now joined the company, the
Dialogue takes a new turn, and, by an easy and natural transition,
slides into the question concerning the causes of the decline of

[b] This is probably the same Asiaticus, who, in the revolt of the
provinces of Gaul, fought on the side of VINDEX. See _Hist._ b. ii. s.
94. Biography was, in that evil period, a tribute paid by the friends
of departed merit, and the only kind of writing, in which men could
dare faintly to utter a sentiment in favour of virtue and public

[c] In the declamations of Seneca and Quintilian, we have abundant
examples of these scholastic exercises, which Juvenal has placed in a
ridiculous light.

     Et nos ergo manum ferulæ subduximus, et nos
     Consilium dedimus Syllæ, privatus ut altum
                                Sat. i. ver. 15.

     Provok'd by these incorrigible fools,
     I left declaiming in pedantic schools;
     Where, with men-boys, I strove to get renown,
     Advising Sylla to a private gown.
                                 DRYDEN'S JUVENAL.

Section XV.

[a] The eloquence of Cicero, and the eminent orators of that age, was
preferred by all men of sound judgement to the unnatural and affected
style that prevailed under the emperors. Quintilian gives a decided
opinion. Cicero, he says, was allowed to be the reigning orator of his
time, and his name, with posterity, is not so much that of a man, as
of eloquence itself. _Quare non immerito ab hominibus ætatis suæ,
regnare in judiciis dictus est: apud posteros vero id consecutus, ut
Cicero jam non hominis, sed eloquentiæ nomen habeatur._ Lib. x. cap.
1. Pliny the younger professed that Cicero was the orator with whom he
aspired to enter into competition. Not content with the eloquence of
his own times, he held it absurd not to follow the best examples of a
former age. _Est enim mihi cum Cicerone æmulatio, nec sum contentus
eloquentiâ sæculi nostri. Nam stultissimum credo, ad imitandum non
optima quæque præponere._ Lib. i. epist. 5.

[b] Nicetes was a native of Smyrna, and a rhetorician in great
celebrity. Seneca says (_Controversiarum_, lib. iv. cap. 25), that his
scholars, content with hearing their master, had no ambition to be
heard themselves. Pliny the younger, among the commendations which he
bestows on a friend, mentions, as a praise-worthy part of his
character, that he attended the lectures of Quintilian and Nicetes
Sacerdos, of whom Pliny himself was at that time a constant follower.
_Erat non studiorum tantum, verum etiam studiosorum amantissimus, ac
prope quotidie ad audiendos, quos tunc ego frequentabam, Quintilianum
et Niceten Sacerdotem, ventitabat._ Lib. vi. epist. 6.

[c] Mitylene was the chief city of the isle of Lesbos, in the Ægean
Sea, near the coast of Asia. The place at this day is called
_Metelin_, subject to the Turkish dominion. _Ephesus_ was a city of
_Ionia_, in the Lesser Asia, now called _Ajaloue_ by the Turks, who
are masters of the place.

[d] Domitius Afer and Julius Africanus have been already mentioned,
section xiii. note [d]. Both are highly praised by Quintilian. For
Asinius Pollio, see s. xii. note [e].

Section XVI.

[a] Quintilian puts the same question; and, according to him,
Demosthenes is the last of the ancients among the Greeks, as Cicero
is among the Romans. See _Quintilian_, lib. viii. cap. 5.

[b] The siege of Troy is supposed to have been brought to a conclusion
eleven hundred and ninety-three years before Christian æra. From that
time to the sixth year of Vespasian (A.U.C. 828), when this Dialogue
was had, the number of years that intervened was about 1268; a period
which, with propriety, may be said to be little less than 1300 years.

[c] Demosthenes died, before Christ 322 years, A.U.C. 432. From that
time to the sixth of Vespasian, A.U.C. 828, the intervening space was
about 396 years. Aper calls it little more than 400 years; but in a
conversation-piece strict accuracy is not to be expected.

[d] In the rude state of astronomy, which prevailed during many ages
of the world, it was natural that mankind should differ in their
computation of time. The ancient Egyptians, according to Diodorus
Siculus, lib. i. and Pliny the elder, lib. vii. s. 48, measured time
by the new moons. Some called the summer one year, and the winter
another. At first thirty days were a lunar year; three, four, and six
months were afterwards added, and hence in the Egyptian chronology the
vast number of years from the beginning of the world. Herodotus
informs us, that the Egyptians, in process of time, formed the idea of
the solar or solstitial year, subdivided into twelve months. The Roman
year at first was lunar, consisting, in the time of Romulus, of ten
months. Numa Pompilius added two. Men saw a diversity in the seasons,
and wishing to know the cause, began at length to perceive that the
distance or proximity of the sun occasioned the various operations of
nature; but it was long before the space of time, wherein that
luminary performs his course through the zodiac, and returns to the
point from which he set out, was called a year. The great year (_annus
magnus_), or the PLATONIC YEAR, is the space of time, wherein the
seven planets complete their revolutions, and all set out again from
the same point of the heavens where their course began before.
Mathematicians have been much divided in their calculations. Brotier
observes, that Riccioli makes the great year 25,920 solar years;
Tycho Brahe, 25,816; and Cassini, 24,800. Cicero expressly calls it a
period of 12,954 years. _Horum annorum, quos in fastis habemus, MAGNUS
annos duodecim millia nonagentos quinquaginta quatuor amplectitur
solstitiales scilicet._ For a full and accurate dissertation on the
ANNUS MAGNUS, see the Memoirs of the Academy of Belles Lettres, tom.
xxii. 4to edit. p. 82.

Brotier, in his note on this passage, relates a fact not universally
known. He mentions a letter from one of the Jesuits on the mission,
dated _Peking_, 25th October 1725, in which it is stated, that in the
month of March preceding, when Jupiter, Mars, Venus, and Mercury were
in conjunction, the Chinese mathematicians fancied that an
approximation of Saturn was near at hand, and, in that persuasion,
congratulated the emperor YONG-TCHING on the renovation of the world,
which was shortly to take place. The emperor received the addresses of
the nobility, and gave credit to the opinion of the philosophers in
all his public edicts. Meanwhile, _Father Kegler_ endeavoured to
undeceive the emperor, and to convince him that the whole was a
mistake of the Chinese mathematicians: but he tried in vain; flattery
succeeded at court, and triumphed over truth.

[e] The argument is this: If the great year is the measure of time;
then, as it consists, according to Cicero, of 12,954 solar years, the
whole being divided by twelve, every month of the great year would be
clearly 1080 years. According to that calculation, Demosthenes not
only lived in the same year with the persons engaged in the Dialogue,
but, it may be said, in the same month. These are the months to which
Virgil alludes in the fourth eclogue:

     Incipient magni procedere menses.

Section XVII.

[a] Menenius Agrippa was consul A.U.C. 251. In less than ten years
afterwards, violent dissensions broke out between the patrician order
and the common people, who complained that they were harassed and
oppressed by their affluent creditors. One Sicinius was their
factious demagogue. He told them, that it was in vain they fought the
battles of their country, since they were no better than slaves and
prisoners at Rome. He added, that men are born equal; that the fruits
of the earth were the common birth-right of all, and an agrarian law
was necessary; that they groaned under a load of debts and taxes; and
that a lazy and corrupt aristocracy battened at ease on the spoils of
their labour and industry. By the advice of this incendiary, the
discontented citizens made a secession to the MONS SACER, about three
miles out of the city. The fathers, in the meantime, were covered with
consternation. In order, however, to appease the fury of the
multitude, they dispatched Menenius Agrippa to their camp. In the rude
unpolished style of the times (_prisco illo dicendi et horrido modo_,
says Livy), that orator told them:

     "At the time when the powers of man did not, as at present,
     co-operate to one useful end, and the members of the human
     body had their separate interest, their factions, and
     cabals; it was agreed among them, that the belly maintained
     itself by their toil and labour, enjoying, in the middle of
     all, a state of calm repose, pampered with luxuries, and
     gratified with every kind of pleasure. A conspiracy
     followed, and the several members of the body took the
     covenant. The hand would no longer administer food; the
     mouth would not accept it, and the drudgery of mastication
     was too much for the teeth. They continued in this
     resolution, determined to starve the TREASURY of the body,
     till they began to feel the consequences of their
     ill-advised revolt. The several members lost their former
     vigour, and the whole body was falling into a rapid decline.
     It was then seen that the belly was formed for the good of
     the whole; that it was by no means lazy, idle, and inactive;
     but, while it was properly supported, took care to
     distribute nourishment to every part, and having digested
     the supplies, filled the veins with pure and wholesome

The analogy, which this fable bore to the sedition of the Roman
people, was understood and felt. The discontented multitude saw that
the state of man described by Menenius, was _like to an
insurrection_. They returned to Rome, and submitted to legal
government. _Tempore, quo in homine non, ut nunc, omnia in unum
consentiebant, sed singulis membris suum cuique consilium, sum sermo
fuerat, indignatas reliquas partes, suâ curâ, suo labore, ac
ministerio, ventri omnia quæri; ventrem in medio quietum, nihil aliud,
quam datis voluptatibus frui; conspirasse inde, ne manus ad os cibum
ferrent, nec os acciperit datum, nec dentes conficerent. Hac irâ dum
ventrem fame domare vellent, ipsa unâ membra, totumque corpus ad
extremam tabem venisse. Inde apparuisse, ventris quoque haud segne
ministerium esse; nec magis ali quam alere eum; reddentem in omnes
corporis partes hunc, quo vivimus vigemusque, divisum, pariter in
venas, maturum confecto cibo sanguinem._ Livy, lib. ii. s. 32. St.
Paul has made use of a similar argument;

     "The body is not one member, but many: if the foot shall
     say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it,
     therefore, not of the body? and if the ear shall say,
     Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it,
     therefore, not of the body? If the whole body were an eye,
     where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where
     were the smelling? But now hath God set the members everyone
     of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they
     were all one member, where were the body? But now are they
     many members, yet but one body: and the eye cannot say unto
     the hand, I have no need of thee; nor again, the head to the
     feet, I have no need of you. And whether one member suffer,
     all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured,
     all the members rejoice with it."
                  _First Epistle to the Corinthians_, chap. xii.

This reasoning of St. Paul merits the attention of those friends of
innovation, who are not content with the station in which God has
placed them, and, therefore, object to all subordination, all ranks in

[b] Cæsar the dictator was, as the poet expresses it, graced with both
Minervas. Quintilian is of opinion, that if he had devoted his whole
time to the profession of eloquence, he would have been the great
rival of Cicero. The energy of his language, his strength of
conception, and his power over the passions, were so striking, that he
may be said to have harangued with the same spirit that he fought.
_Caius vero Cæsar si foro tantum vacasset, non alius ex nostris contra
Ciceronem nominaretur. Tanta in eo vis est, id acumen, ea concitatio,
ut illum eodem animo dixisse, quo bellavit, appareat._ Lib. x. cap. 1.
To speak of Cicero in this place, were to hold a candle to the sun. It
will be sufficient to refer to Quintilian, who in the chapter above
cited has drawn a beautiful parallel between him and Demosthenes. The
Roman orator, he admits, improved himself by a diligent study of the
best models of Greece. He attained the warmth and the sublime of
Demosthenes, the harmony of Plato, and the sweet flexibility of
Isocrates. His own native genius supplied the rest. He was not
content, as Pindar expresses it, to collect the drops that rained down
from heaven, but had in himself the living fountain of that copious
flow, and that sublime, that pathetic energy, which were bestowed upon
him by the bounty of Providence, that in one man eloquence might exert
all her powers. _Nam mihi videtur Marcus Tullius, cum se totum ad
imitationem Græcorum contulisset, effinxisse vim Demosthenis, copiam
Platonis, jucunditatem Isocratis. Nec vero quod in quoque optimum fuit
studio consecutus est tantum, sed plurimas vel potius omnes ex se ipso
virtutes extulit immortalis ingenii beatissimâ ubertate. Non enim
pluvias (ut ait Pindarus) aquas colligit sed vivo gurgite exundat,
dono quodam providentiæ genitus, in quo vires suas eloquentia
experiretur._ Lib. x. cap. 1.

[c] Marcus Cælius Rufus, in the judgement of Quintilian, was an orator
of considerable genius. In the conduct of a prosecution, he was
remarkable for a certain urbanity, that gave a secret charm to his
whole speech. It is to be regretted that he was not a man of better
conduct and longer life. _Multum ingenii in Cælio, et præcipuè in
accusando multa urbanitas; dignusque vir, cui et mens melior, et vita
longior contigisset._ Quint, lib. x. cap. 1. His letters to Cicero
make the eighth book of the _Epistolæ ad Familiares_. Velleius
Paterculus says of him, that his style of eloquence and his cast of
mind bore a resemblance to Curio, but raised him above that factious
orator. His genius for mischief and evil deeds was not inferior to
Curio, and his motives were strong and urgent, since his fortune was
worse than even his frame of mind. _Marcus Cælius, vir eloquio animoque
Curioni simillimus, sed in utroque perfectior; nec minus ingeniosè
nequam, cum ne in modicâ quidem servari posset, quippe pejor illi res
familiaris, quam mens._ Vell. Patere. lib. ii. s. 68.

Licinius Macer Calvus, we are told by Seneca, maintained a long but
unjust contention with Cicero himself for the palm of eloquence. He
was a warm and vehement accuser, insomuch that Vatinius, though
defended by Cicero, interrupted Calvus in the middle of his speech,
and said to the judges, "Though this man has a torrent of words, does
it follow that I must be condemned?" _Calvus diu cum Cicerone
iniquissimam litem de principatu eloquentiæ habuit; et usque eò
violentus accusator et concitatus fuit, ut in media actione ejus
surgeret Vatinius reus, et exclamaret, Rogo vos, judices, si iste
disertus est, ideo me damnari oportet?_ Seneca, _Controv._ lib. iii.
cap. 19. Cicero could not dread him as a rival, and it may therefore
be presumed, that he has drawn his character with an impartial hand.
Calvus was an orator more improved by literature than Curio. He spoke
with accuracy, and in his composition shewed great taste and delicacy;
but, labouring to refine his language, he was too attentive to little
niceties. He wished to make no bad blood, and he lost the good. His
style was polished with timid caution; but while it pleased the ear of
the learned, the spirit evaporated, and of course made no impression
in the forum, which is the theatre of eloquence. _Ad Calvum
revertamur; qui orator fuisset cum literis eruditior quam Curio, tum
etiam accuratius quoddam dicendi, et exquisitius afferebat genus; quod
quamquam scienter eleganterque tractabat, nimium tamen inquirens in
se, atque ipse sese observans, metuensque ne vitiosum colligeret,
etiam verum sanguinem deperdebat. Itaque ejus oratio nimiâ religione
attenuata, doctis et attentè audientibus erat illustris, a multitudine
autem, et a foro, cui nata eloquentia est, devorabatur._ _De Claris
Orat._ s. 288. Quintilian says, there were, who preferred him to all
the orators of his time. Others were of opinion that, by being too
severe a critic on himself, he polished too much, and grew weak by
refinement. But his manner was grave and solid; his style was chaste,
and often animated. To be thought a man of attic eloquence was the
height of his ambition. If he had lived to see his error, and to give
to his eloquence a true and perfect form, not by retrenching (for
there was nothing to be taken away), but by adding certain qualities
that were wanted, he would have reached the summit of his art. By a
premature death his fame was nipped in the bud. _Inveni qui Calvum
præferrent omnibus; inveni qui contrà crederent eum, nimiâ contra se
calumniâ, verum sanguinem perdidisse. Sed est et sancta et gravis
oratio, et castigata, et frequenter vehemens quoque. Imitator est
autem Atticorum; fecitque illi properata mors injuriam, si quid
adjecturus, non si quid detracturus fuit._ Quintil. lib. x. cap. 1.

[d] This was the famous Marcus Junius Brutus, who stood forth in the
cause of liberty, and delivered his country from the usurpation of
Julius Cæsar. Cicero describes him in that great tragic scene,
brandishing his bloody dagger, and calling on Cicero by name, to tell
him that his country was free. _Cæsare interfecto, statim cruentum
altè extollens Marcus Brutus pugionem, Ciceronem nominatim exclamavit,
atque ei recuperatam libertatem est gratulatus._ Philippic, ii. s. 28.
The late Doctor Akenside has retouched this passage with all the
colours of a sublime imagination.

     Look then abroad through nature, through the range
     Of planets, suns, and adamantine spheres,
     Wheeling unshaken through the void immense,
     And speak, O man! does this capacious scene
     With half that kindling majesty dilate
     Thy strong conception, as when Brutus rose
     Refulgent from the stroke of Cæsar's fate,
     Amid the crowd of patriots, and his arm
     Aloft extending, like eternal Jove
     When guilt brings down the thunder, call'd aloud
     On Tully's name, and shook his crimson steel,
     And bade the Father of his Country hail!
     For, lo! the tyrant prostrate in the dust,
     And Rome again is free.
                     PLEASURES OF IMAG. b. i. ver. 487.

According to Quintilian, Brutus was fitter for philosophical
speculations, and books of moral theory, than for the career of public
oratory. In the former he was equal to the weight and dignity of his
subject: you clearly saw that he believed what he said. _Egregius vero
multoque quam in orationibus præstantior Brutus, suffecit ponderi
rerum; scias eum sentire quæ dicit._ Quintil. lib. x. cap. 1.

For Asinius Pollio and Messala, see section xii. note [e].

[e] Hirtius and Pansa were consuls A.U.C. 711; before the Christian
æra 43. In this year, the famous _triple league_, called the
TRIUMVIRATE, was formed between Augustus, Lepidus, and Antony. The
_proscription_, or the list of those who were doomed to die for the
crime of adhering to the cause of liberty, was also settled, and
Cicero was one of the number. A band of assassins went in quest of him
to his villa, called _Astura_, near the sea-shore. Their leader was
one Popilius Lænas, a military tribune, whom Cicero had formerly
defended with success in a capital cause. They overtook Cicero in his
litter. He commanded his servants to set him down, and make no
resistance; then looking upon his executioners with a presence and
firmness which almost daunted them, and thrusting his neck as forward
as he could out of the litter, he bade them _do their work, and take
what they wanted_. The murderers cut off his head, and both his hands.
Popilius undertook to convey them to Rome, as the most agreeable
present to Antony; without reflecting on the _infamy of carrying that
head, which had saved his own_. He found Antony in the forum, and upon
shewing the spoils which he brought, was rewarded on the spot with the
_honour of a crown, and about eight thousand pounds sterling_. Antony
ordered the head to be _fixed upon the rostra, between the two
hands_; a sad spectacle to the people, who beheld those mangled
members, which used to exert themselves, from that place, in defence
of the lives, the fortunes, and the liberties of Rome. Cicero was
killed on the seventh of December, about ten days from the settlement
of the triumvirate, after he had lived _sixty-three years, eleven
months, and five days_. See Middleton's _Life of Cicero_, 4to edit.
vol. ii. p. 495 to 498. Velleius Paterculus, after mentioning Cicero's
death, breaks out in a strain of indignation, that almost redeems the
character of that time-serving writer. He says to Antony, in a
spirited apostrophe, you have no reason to exult: you have gained no
point by paying the assassin, who stopped that eloquent mouth, and cut
off that illustrious head. You have paid the wages of murder, and you
have destroyed a consul who was the conservator of the commonwealth.
By that act you delivered Cicero from a distracted world, from the
infirmities of old age, and from a life which, under your usurpation,
would have been worse than death. His fame was not to be crushed: the
glory of his actions and his eloquence still remains, and you have
raised it higher than ever. He lives, and will continue to live in
every age and nation. Posterity will admire and venerate the torrent
of eloquence, which he poured out against yourself, and will for ever
execrate the horrible murder which you committed. _Nihil tamen egisti,
Marce Antoni (cogit enim excedere propositi formam operis erumpens
animo ac pectore indignatio): nihil, inquam, egisti; mercedem
cælestissimi oris, et clarissimi capitis abscissi numerando;
auctoramentoque funebri ad conservatoris quondam reipublicæ tantique
consulis irritando necem. Rapuisti tu Marco Ciceroni lucem sollicitam
et ætatem senilem, et vitam miseriorem te principe, quam sub te
triumviro mortem. Famam vero, gloriamque factorum atque dictorum adeo
non abstulisti, ut auxeris. Vivit, vivetque per omnium sæculorum
memoriam; omnisque posteritas illius in te scripta mirabitur, tuum in
eum factum execrabitur._ Vell. Paterc. lib. ii. s. 66.

[f] Between the consulship of Augustus, which began immediately after
the destruction of Hirtius and Pansa, A.U.C. 711, and the death of
that emperor, which was A.U. 767, fifty-six years intervened, and to
the sixth of Vespasian (A.U.C. 828), about 118 years. For the sake of
a round number, it is called in the Dialogue a space of 120 years.

[g] Julius Cæsar landed in Britain in the years of Rome 699 and 700.
See _Life of Agricola_, s. 13. note a. It does not appear when Aper
was in Britain; it could not be till the year of Rome 796, when Aulus
Plautius, by order of the emperor Claudius, undertook the conquest of
the island. See _Life of Agricola_, s. 14. note a. At that time, the
Briton who fought against Cæsar, must have been far advanced in years.

[h] A largess was given to the people, in the fourth year of
Vespasian, when Domitian entered on his second consulship. This,
Brotier says, appears on a medal, with this inscription: CONG. II.
COS. II. _Congiarium alterum, Domitiano consule secundùm._ The custom
of giving large distributions to the people was for many ages
established at Rome. Brotier traces it from Ancus Martius, the fourth
king of Rome, when the poverty of the people called for relief. The
like bounty was distributed by the generals, who returned in triumph.
Lucullus and Julius Cæsar displayed, on those occasions, great pomp
and magnificence. Corn, wine, and oil, were plentifully distributed,
and the popularity, acquired by those means, was, perhaps, the ruin of
the commonwealth. Cæsar lavished money. Augustus followed the example,
and Tiberius did the same; but prodigality was not his practice. His
politic genius taught him all the arts of governing. The bounties thus
distributed, were called, when given to the people, CONGIARIA, and, to
the soldiers, DONATIVA. Whoever desires to form an idea of the number
of Roman citizens who, at different times, received largesses, and the
prodigious expence attending them, may see an account drawn up with
diligent attention by Brotier, in an elaborate note on this passage.
He begins with Julius Cæsar; and pursues the enquiry through the
several successive emperors, fixing the date and expence at every
period, as low down as the consulship of Constantius and Galerius
Maximianus; when, the empire being divided into the eastern and
western, its former magnificence was, by consequence, much diminished.

[i] The person here called Corvinus was the same as Corvinus Messala,
who flourished in the reign of Augustus, at the same time with Asinius
Pollio. See s. xii. note [e].

Section XVIII.

[a] Servius Sulpicius Galba was consul A.U.C. 610, before the
Christian æra 144. Cicero says of him, that he was, in his day, an
orator of eminence. When he spoke in public, the natural energy of his
mind supported him, and the warmth of his imagination made him
vehement and pathetic; his language was animated, bold, and rapid; but
when he, afterwards, took his pen in hand to correct and polish, the
fit of enthusiasm was over; his passions ebbed away, and the
composition was cold and languid. _Galbam fortasse vis non ingenii
solum, sed etiam animi, et naturalis quidam dolor, dicentem
incendebat, efficiebatque, ut et incitata, et gravis, et vehemens
esset oratio; dein cum otiosus stilum prehenderat, motusque omnis
animi, tanquam ventus, hominem defecerat, flaccescebat oratio. Ardor
animi non semper adest, isque cum consedit, omnis illa vis, et quasi
flamma oratoris extinguitur._ _De Claris Orat._ s. 93. Suetonius says,
that the person here intended was of consular dignity, and, by his
eloquence, gave weight and lustre to his family. _Life of Galba_, s.

[b] Caius Papirius Carbo was consul A.U.C. 634. Cicero wishes that he
had proved himself as good a citizen, as he was an orator. Being
impeached for his turbulent and seditious conduct, he did not choose
to stand the event of a trial, but escaped the judgement of the
senate by a voluntary death. His life was spent in forensic causes.
Men of sense, who heard him have reported, that he was a fluent,
animated, and harmonious speaker; at times pathetic, always pleasing,
and abounding with wit. _Carbo, quoad vita suppeditavit, est in multis
judiciis causisque cognitus. Hunc qui audierant prudentes homines,
canorum oratorem, et volubilem, et satis acrem, atque eundem et
vehementem, et valde dulcem, et perfacetum fuisse dicebant._ _De Claris
Orat._ s. 105.

[c] Calvus and Cælius have been mentioned already. See s. xvii. note

[d] Caius Gracchus was tribune of the people A.U.C. 633. In that
character he took the popular side against the patricians; and,
pursuing the plan of the agrarian law laid down by his brother,
Tiberius Gracchus, he was able by his eloquence to keep the city of
Rome in violent agitation. Amidst the tumult, the senate, by a decree,
ordered the consul, Lucius Opimius, _to take care that the
commonwealth received no injury_; and, says Cicero, not a single night
intervened, before that magistrate put Gracchus to death. _Decrevit
senatus, ut Lucius Opimius, consul, videret, ne quid detrimenti
respublica caperet: nox nulla intercessit; interfectus est propter
quasdam seditionum suspiciones Caius Gracchus, clarissimo patre natus,
avis majoribus. Orat. i. in Catilinam._ His reputation as an orator
towers above all his contemporaries. Cicero says, the commonwealth and
the interests of literature suffered greatly by his untimely end. He
wishes that the love of his country, and not zeal for the memory of
his brother, had inspired his actions. His eloquence was such as left
him without a rival: in his diction, what a noble splendour! in his
sentiments, what elevation! and in the whole of his manner, what
weight and dignity! His compositions, it is true, are not retouched
with care; they want the polish of the last hand; what is well begun,
is seldom highly finished; and yet he, if any one, deserves to be the
study of the Roman youth. In him they will find what can, at once,
quicken their genius, and enrich the understanding. _Damnum enim,
illius immaturo interitu, res Romanæ, Latinæque literæ fecerunt.
Utinam non tam fratri pietatem, quam patriæ præstare voluisset.
Eloquentia quidem nescio an habuisset parem: grandis est verbis,
sapiens sententiis, genere toto gravis. Manus extrema non accessit
operibus ejus; præclare inchoata multa, perfecta non plane. Legendus
est hic orator, si quisquam alius, juventuti; non enim solum acuere,
sed etiam alere ingenium potest._ _De Claris Orat._ s. 125, 126.

[e] This is the celebrated Marcus Portius Cato, commonly known by the
name of Cato the censor. He was quæstor under Scipio, who commanded
against the Carthaginians, A.U.C. 548. He rose through the regular
gradations of the magistracy to the consulship. When prætor, he
governed the province of Sardinia, and exerted himself in the reform
of all abuses introduced by his predecessors. From his own person, and
his manner of living, he banished every appearance of luxury. When he
had occasion to visit the towns that lay within his government, he
went on foot, clothed with the plainest attire, without a vehicle
following him, or more than one servant, who carried the robe of
office, and a vase, to make libations at the altar. He sat in
judgement with the dignity of a magistrate, and punished every offence
with inflexible rigour. He had the happy art of uniting in his own
person two things almost incompatible; namely, strict severity and
sweetness of manners. Under his administration, justice was at once
terrible and amiable. Plutarch relates that he never wore a dress that
cost more than thirty shillings; that his wine was no better than what
was consumed by his slaves; and that by leading a laborious life, he
meant to harden his constitution for the service of his country. He
never ceased to condemn the luxury of the times. On this subject a
remarkable apophthegm is recorded by Plutarch; _It is impossible_,
said Cato, _to save a city, in which a single fish sells for more
money than an ox._ The account given of him by Cicero in the Cato
Major, excites our veneration of the man. He was master of every
liberal art, and every branch of science, known in that age. Some men
rose to eminence by their skill in jurisprudence; others by their
eloquence; and a great number by their military talents. Cato shone in
all alike. The patricians were often leagued against him, but his
virtue and his eloquence were a match for the proudest connections. He
was chosen CENSOR, in opposition to a number of powerful candidates,
A.U.C. 568. He was the adviser of the third Punic war. The question
occasioned several warm debates in the senate. Cato always insisted on
the demolition of Carthage: DELENDA EST CARTHAGO. He preferred an
accusation against Servius Sulpicius Galba on a charge of peculation
in Spain, A.U.C. 603; and, though he was then ninety years old,
according to Livy (Cicero says he lived to eighty-five), he conducted
the business with so much vigour, that Galba, in order to excite
compassion, produced his children before the senate, and by that
artifice escaped a sentence of condemnation. Quintilian gives the
following character of Cato the censor: His genius, like his learning,
was universal: historian, orator, lawyer, he cultivated the three
branches; and what he undertook, he touched with a master-hand. The
science of husbandry was also his. Great as his attainments were, they
were acquired in camps, amidst the din of arms; and in the city of
Rome, amidst scenes of contention, and the uproar of civil discord.
Though he lived in rude unpolished times, he applied himself, when far
advanced in the vale of years, to the study of Greek literature, and
thereby gave a signal proof that even in old age the willing mind may
be enriched with new stores of knowledge. _Marcus Censorius Cato, idem
orator, idem historiæ conditor, idem juris, idem rerum rusticarum
peritissimus fuit. Inter tot opera militiæ, tantas domi contentions,
ridi sæculo literas Græcas, ætate jam declinatâ didicit, ut esset
hominibus documento, ea quoque percipi posse, quæ senes concupissent._
Lib. xii. cap. 11.

[f] Lucius Licinius Crassus is often mentioned, and always to his
advantage, by Cicero DE CLARIS ORATORIBUS. He was born, as appears in
that treatise (sect. 161), during the consulship of Lælius and Cæpio,
A.U.C. 614: he was contemporary with Antonius, the celebrated orator,
and father of Antony the triumvir. Crassus was about four and thirty
years older than Cicero. When Philippus the consul shewed himself
disposed to encroach on the privileges of the senate, and, in the
presence of that body, offered indignities to Licinius Crassus, the
orator, as Cicero informs us, broke out in a blaze of eloquence
against that violent outrage, concluding with that remarkable
sentence: He shall not be to me A CONSUL, to whom I am not A SENATOR.
_Non es mihi consul, quia nec ego tibi senator sum._ See _Valerius
Maximus_, lib. xli. cap. 2. Cicero has given his oratorical character.
He possessed a wonderful dignity of language, could enliven his
discourse with wit and pleasantry, never descending to vulgar humour;
refined, and polished, without a tincture of scurrility. He preserved
the true Latin idiom; in his selection of words accurate, with
apparent facility; no stiffness, no affectation appeared; in his train
of reasoning always clear and methodical; and, when the cause hinged
upon a question of law, or the moral distinctions of good and evil, no
man possessed such a fund of argument, and happy illustration. _Crasso
nihil statuo fieri potuisse perfectius: erat summa gravitas; erat cum
gravitate junctus facetiarum et urbanitatis oratorius, non scurrilis,
lepos. Latinè loquendi accurata, et, sine molestiâ, diligens
elegantia; in disserendo mira explicatio; cum de jure civili, cum de
æquo et bono disputaretur, argumentorum et similitudinum copia._ _De
Claris Orat._ s. 143. In Cicero's books DE ORATORE, Licinius Crassus
supports a capital part in the dialogue; but in the opening of the
third book, we have a pathetic account of his death, written, as the
Italians say, _con amore_. Crassus returned from his villa, where the
dialogue passed, to take part in the debate against Philippus the
consul, who had declared to an assembly of the people, that he was
obliged to seek new counsellors, for with such a senate he could not
conduct the affairs of the commonwealth. The conduct of Crassus, upon
that occasion, has been mentioned already. The vehemence, with which
he exerted himself, threw him into a violent fever, and, on the
seventh day following, put a period to his life. Then, says Cicero,
that tuneful swan expired: we hoped once more to hear the melody of
his voice, and went, in that expectation, to the senate-house; but all
that remained was to gaze on the spot where that eloquent orator spoke
for the last time in the service of his country. _Illud immortalitate
dignum ingenium, illa humanitas, illa virtus Lucii Crassi morte
extincta subitâ est, vix diebus decem post eum diem, qui hoc et
superiore libra continetur. Illa tanquam cycnea fuit divini hominis
vox, et oratio, quam quasi expectantes, post ejus interitum veniebamus
in curiam, ut vestigium illud ipsum, in quo ille postremum
institisset, contueremur._ _De Orat._ lib, iii. s. 1. and 6. This
passage will naturally call to mind the death of the great earl of
Chatham. He went, in a feeble state of health, to attend a debate of
the first importance. Nothing could detain him from the service of his
country. The dying notes of the BRITISH SWAN were heard in the House
of Peers. He was conveyed to his own house, and on the eleventh of May
1778, he breathed his last. The news reached the House of Commons late
in the evening, when Colonel BARRE had the honour of being the first
to shed a patriot tear on that melancholy occasion. In a strain of
manly sorrow, and with that unprepared eloquence which the heart
inspires, he moved for a funeral at the public expence, and a monument
to the memory of virtue and departed genius. By performing that pious
office, Colonel BARRE may be said to have made his own name immortal.
History will record the transaction.

[g] Messala Corvinus is often, in this Dialogue, called Corvinus only.
See s. xii. note [e].

[h] Appius Claudius was censor in the year of Rome 442; dictator, 465;
and, having at a very advanced age lost his sight, he became better
known by the name of Appius Cæcus. Afterwards, A.U. 472, when Pyrrhus,
by his ambassador, offered terms of peace, and a treaty of alliance,
Appius, whom blindness, and the infirmities of age, had for some time
withheld from public business, desired to be conveyed in a litter to
the senate-house. Being conducted to his place, he delivered his
sentiments in so forcible a manner, that the fathers resolved to
prosecute the war, and never to hear of an accommodation, till Italy
was evacuated by Pyrrhus and his army. See Livy, b. xiii. s. 31.
Cicero relates the same fact in his CATO MAJOR, and further adds, that
the speech made by APPIUS CÆCUS was then extant. Ovid mentions the
temple of Bellona, built and dedicated by Appius, who, when blind, saw
every thing by the light of his understanding, and rejected all terms
of accommodation with Pyrrhus.

     Hac sacrata die Tusco Bellona duello
       Dicitur, et Latio prospera semper adest.
     Appius est auctor, Pyrrho qui pace negatâ
       Multum animo vidit, lumine cæcus erat.
                     FASTORUM lib vi. ver. 201.

[i] Quintilian acknowledges this fact, with his usual candour. The
question concerning Attic and Asiatic eloquence was of long standing.
The style of the former was close, pure, and elegant; the latter was
said to be diffuse and ostentatious. In the ATTIC, nothing was idle,
nothing redundant: the ASIATIC swelled above all bounds, affecting to
dazzle by strokes of wit, by affectation and superfluous ornament.
Cicero was said by his enemies to be an orator of the last school.
They did not scruple to pronounce him turgid, copious to a fault,
often redundant, and too fond of repetition. His wit, they said, was
the false glitter of vain conceit, frigid, and out of season; his
composition was cold and languid; wire-drawn into amplification, and
fuller of meretricious finery than became a man. _Et antiqua quidem
illa divisio inter Asianos et Atticos fuit; cum hi pressi, et integri,
contra, inflati illi et inanes haberentur; et in his nihil
superflueret, illis judicium maximè ac modus deesset. Ciceronem tamen
et suorum homines temporum incessere audebant ut tumidiorem, et
Asianum, et redundantem, et in repetitionibus nimium, et in salibus
aliquando frigidum, et in compositione fractum, exultantem, ac penè
(quod procul absit) viro molliorem._ Quintil. lib. xii. cap. 10. The
same author adds, that, when the great orator was cut off by Marc
Antony's proscription, and could no longer answer for himself, the men
who either personally hated him, or envied his genius, or chose to pay
their court to the, triumvirate, poured forth their malignity without
reserve. It is unnecessary to observe, that Quintilian, in sundry
parts of his work, has vindicated Cicero from these aspersions. See s.
xvii. note [b].

[k] For Calvus, see s. xvii. note [c]. For Brutus, see the same
section, note [d]. What Cicero thought of Calvus has been already
quoted from the tract _De Claris Oratoribus_, in note [c], s. xvii. By
being too severe a critic on himself, he lost strength, while he aimed
at elegance. It is, therefore, properly said in this Dialogue, that
Cicero thought Calvus cold and enervated. But did he think Brutus
disjointed, loose and negligent--_otiosum atque disjunctum_? That he
often thought him disjointed is not improbable. Brutus was a close
thinker, and he aimed at the precision and brevity of Attic eloquence.
The sententious speaker is, of course, full and concise. He has no
studied transitions, above the minute care of artful connections. To
discard the copulatives for the sake of energy was a rule laid down by
the best ancient critics. Cicero has observed that an oration may be
said to be disjointed, when the copulatives are omitted, and strokes
of sentiment follow one another in quick succession. _Dissolutio sive
disjunctio est, quæ conjunctionibus e medio sublatis, partibus
separatis effertur, hoc modo: Gere morem parenti; pare cognatis;
obsequere amicis; obtempera legibus. Ad Herennium_, lib. iv. s. 41.
In this manner, Brutus might appear disjointed, and that figure, often
repeated, might grow into a fault. But how is the word OTIOSUS to be
understood? If it means a neglect of connectives, it may, perhaps,
apply to Brutus. There is no room to think that Cicero used it in a
worse sense, since we find him in a letter to Atticus declaring, that
the oratorical style of Brutus was, in language as well as sentiment,
elegant to a degree that nothing could surpass. _Est enim oratio ejus
scripta elegantissimè, sententiis et verbis, ut nihil possit ultra._ A
grave philosopher, like Brutus, might reject the graces of transition
and regular connection, and, for that reason, might be thought
negligent and abrupt. This disjointed style, which the French call
_style coupé_, was the manner cultivated by Seneca, for which Caligula
pronounced him, sand without lime; _arenam sine calce_. Sueton. _Life
of Calig._ s. 53. We know from Quintilian, that a spirit of emulation,
and even jealousy, subsisted between the eminent orators of Cicero's
time; that he himself was so far from ascribing perfection to
Demosthenes, that he used to say, he often found him napping; that
Brutus and Calvus sat in judgement on Cicero, and did not wish to
conceal their objections; and that the two Pollios were so far from
being satisfied with Cicero's style and manner, that their criticisms
were little short of declared hostility. _Quamquam neque ipsi Ciceroni
Demosthenes videatur satis esse perfectus, quem dormitare interdum
dicit; nec Cicero Bruto Calvoque, qui certè compositionem illius etiam
apud ipsum reprehendunt; ne Asinio utrique, qui vitia orationis ejus
etiam inimicè pluribus locis insequuntur._ Quintil. lib. xii. cap. 1.

Section XIX.

[a] Cassius Severus lived in the latter end of the reign of Augustus,
and through a considerable part of that of Tiberius. He was an orator,
according to Quintilian, who, if read with due caution, might serve as
a model worthy of imitation. It is to be regretted, that to the many
excellent qualities of his style he did not add more weight, more
strength and dignity, and thereby give colour and a body to his
sentiments. With those requisites, he would have ranked with the most
eminent orators. To his excellent genius he united keen reflection,
great energy, and a peculiar urbanity, which gave a secret charm to
his speeches. But the warmth of his temper hurried him on; he listened
more to his passions than to his judgement; he possessed a vein of
wit, but he mingled with it too much acrimony; and wit, when it misses
its aim, feels the mortification and the ridicule which usually attend
disappointed malice. _Multa, si cum judicio legatur, dabit imitatione
digna CASSIUS SEVERUS, qui, si cæteris virtutibus colorem et
gravitatem orationis adjecisset, ponendus inter præcipuos foret, Nam
et ingenii plurimum est in eo, et acerbitas mira, et urbanitas, et vis
summa; sed plus stomacho quàm consilio dedit; præterea ut amari sales,
ita frequenter amaritudo ipsa ridicula est._ Lib. x. cap. 1. We read
in Suetonius (_Life of Octavius_, s. 56), that Cassius had the
hardiness to institute a prosecution for the crime of poisoning
against Asprenas Nonius, who was, at the time, linked in the closest
friendship with Augustus. Not content with accusations against the
first men in Rome, he chose to vent his malevolence in lampoons and
defamatory libels, against the most distinguished of both sexes. It
was this that provoked Horace to declare war against Cassius, in an
ode (lib, v. ode 6), which begins, _Quid immerentes hospites vexas,
canis_. See an account of his malevolent spirit, _Annals_, b, i. s.
72. He was at length condemned for his indiscriminate abuse, and
banished by Augustus to the isle of Crete. But his satirical rage was
not to be controlled. He continued in exile to discharge his
malignity, till, at last, at the end of ten years, the senate took
cognizance of his guilt, and Tiberius ordered him to be removed from
Crete to the Rock of Seriphos, where he languished in old age and
misery. See _Annals_, b. iv. s. 21. The period of ancient oratory
ended about the time when Cassius began his career. He was the first
of the new school.

[b] These two rhetoricians flourished in the time of Augustus.
Apollodorus, we are told by Quintilian (b. iii. chap. 1), was the
preceptor of Augustus. He taught in opposition to Theodorus Gadareus,
who read lectures at Rhodes, and was attended by Tiberius during his
retreat in that island. The two contending masters were the founders
of opposite sects, called the _Apollodorean_ and _Theodorian_. But
true eloquence, which knows no laws but those of nature and good
sense, gained nothing by party divisions. Literature was distracted by
new doctrines; rhetoric became a trick in the hands of sophists, and
all sound oratory disappeared. Hermagoras, Quintilian says, in the
chapter already cited, was the disciple of Theodorus.

Section XX.

[a] Doctor Middleton says, "Of the seven excellent orations, which now
remain on the subject of VERRES, the first two only were spoken; the
one called, _The Divination_; the other, _The first Action_, which is
nothing more than a general preface to the whole cause. The other five
were published afterwards, as they were prepared and intended to be
spoken, if Verres had made a regular defence: for as this was the only
cause in which Cicero had yet been engaged, or ever designed to be
engaged, as _an accuser_, so he was willing to leave those orations as
a specimen of his abilities in that way, and the _pattern of a just
and diligent impeachment of a great and corrupt magistrate." Life of
Cicero_, vol. i. p. 86, 4to edit.

[b] The Digest enumerates a multitude of rules concerning _exceptions_
to persons, things, the form of the action, the niceties of pleading,
and, as the phrase is, motions in arrest of judgement. _Formula_, was
the set of words necessary to be used in the pleadings. See the
_Digest_, lib. xliv. tit. 1. _De Exceptionibus, Præscriptionibus, et
Præjudiciis_. See also Cujacius, _observat._ xxiii.

[c] The oration for Marcus Tullius is highly praised by Macrobius, but
is not to be found in Cicero's works. The oration for Aulus Cæcina is
still extant. The cause was about the right of succession to a private
estate, which depended on a subtle point of law, arising from the
interpretation of the prætor's interdict. It shews Cicero's exact
knowledge and skill in the civil law, and that his public character
and employment gave no interruption to his usual diligence in pleading
causes. Middleton's _Life of Cicero_, vol. i. p. 116, 4to edit.

[d] Roscius, in the last period of the republic, was the comedian,
whom all Rome admired for his talents. The great esteemed and loved
him for his morals. Æsop, the tragedian, was his contemporary. Horace,
in the epistle to Augustus, has mentioned them both with their proper
and distinctive qualities.

        ----Ea cum reprehendere coner

A certain measured gravity of elocution being requisite in tragedy,
that quality is assigned to the former, and the latter is called
DOCTUS, because he was a complete master of his art; so truly learned
in the principles of his profession, that he possessed, in a wonderful
degree, the secret charm that gave inimitable graces to his voice and
action. Quintilian, in a few words, has given a commentary on the
passage in Horace. Grief, he says, is expressed by slow and deliberate
accents; for that reason, Æsop spoke with gravity; Roscius with
quickness; the former being a tragedian, the latter a comedian. _Plus
autem affectus habent lentiora; ideoque Roscius citatior, Æsopus
gravior fuit, quod ille comœdias, his tragœdias egit._ Lib. xi. cap.
1. Cicero was the great friend and patron of Roscius. An elegant
oration in his behalf is still extant. The cause was this: One FANNIUS
had made over to Roscius a young slave, to be formed by him to the
stage, on condition of a partnership in the profits which the slave
should acquire by acting. The slave was afterwards killed. Roscius
prosecuted the murderer for damages, and obtained, by composition, a
little farm, worth about eight hundred pounds, for his particular
share. FANNIUS also sued separately, and was supposed to have gained
as much; but, pretending to have recovered nothing, he sued ROSCIUS
for the moiety of what he had received. One cannot but observe, says
Dr. Middleton, from Cicero's pleading, the wonderful esteem and
reputation in which Roscius then flourished. Has Roscius, says he,
defrauded his partner? Can such a stain stick upon such a man; a man
who, I speak it with confidence, has more integrity than skill, more
veracity than experience? a man whom the people of Rome know to be a
better citizen than he is an actor; and, while he makes the first
figure on the stage for his art, is worthy of a seat in the senate for
his virtue. _Quem populus Romanus meliorem virum quam histrionem esse
arbitratur; qui ita dignissimus est scená propter artificium, ut
dignissimus sit curiá propter abstinentiam. Pro Roscio Comœdo_, s. 17
In another place, Cicero says, he was such an artist, as to seem the
only one fit to appear on the stage; yet such a man, as to seem the
only one who should not come upon it at all. _Cum artifex ejusmodi
sit, ut solus dignus videatur esse qui in scená spectetur; tum vir
ejusmodi est, ut solus dignus videatur, qui eo non accedat. Pro Publ.
Quinctio_, s. 78. What Cicero has said in his pleadings might be
thought oratorical, introduced merely to serve the cause, if we did
not find the comedian praised with equal warmth in the dialogue DE
ORATORE. It is there said of Roscius, that every thing he did was
perfect in the kind, and executed with consummate grace, with a secret
charm, that touched, affected, and delighted the whole audience:
insomuch, that when a man excelled in any other profession, it was
grown into a proverb to call him, THE ROSCIUS OF HIS ART. _Videtisne,
quam nihil ab eo nisi perfectè, nihil nisi cum summâ venustate fiat?
nihil, nisi ita ut deceat, et uti omnes moveat, atque delectet? Itaque
hoc jam diu est consecutus, ut in quo quisque artificio excelleret, is
in suo genere Roscius diceretur._ _De Orat._ lib. i. s. 130. After so
much honourable testimony, one cannot but wonder why the DOCTUS
ROSCIUS of Horace is mentioned in this Dialogue with an air of
disparagement. It may be, that APER, the speaker in this passage, was
determined to degrade the orators of antiquity; and the comedian was,
therefore, to expect no quarter. Dacier, in his notes on the Epistle
to Augustus, observes that Roscius wrote a book, in which he undertook
to prove to Cicero, that in all the stores of eloquence there were not
so many different expressions for one and the same thing, as in the
dramatic art there were modes of action, and casts of countenance, to
mark the sentiment, and convey it to the mind with its due degree of
emotion. It is to be lamented that such a book has not come down to
us. It would, perhaps, be more valuable than the best treatise of

Ambivius Turpio acted in most of Terence's plays, and seems to have
been a manager of the theatre. Cicero, in the treatise _De Senectute_,
says: He, who sat near him in the first rows, received the greatest
pleasure; but still, those, who were at the further end of the
theatre, were delighted with him. _Turpione Ambivio magis delectatur,
qui in primâ caveâ spectat; delectatur tamen etiam qui in ultimâ._

[e] ACCIUS and PACUVIUS flourished at Rome about the middle of the
sixth century from the foundation of the city. Accius, according to
Horace, was held to be a poet of a sublime genius, and Pacuvius (who
lived to be ninety years old) was respected for his age and profound

     Ambigitur quoties uter utro sit prior, aufert
     PACUVIUS docti famam senis, ACCIUS alti.
                           EPIST. AD AUG. ver. 56.

Velleius Paterculus says, that ACCIUS was thought equal to the best
writers of the Greek tragedy. He had not, indeed, the diligent touches
of the polishing hand, which we see in the poets of Athens, but he had
more spirit and vigour. _Accius usque in Græcorum comparationem
erectus. In illis limæ in hoc penè plus videri fuisse sanguinis._ He
is often quoted by Cicero in his book _De Naturâ Deorum_. But after
all, it is from the great critic, who gives the best account of the
Roman poets, orators, and historians, that we are to take the genuine
character of ACCIUS and PACUVIUS, since their works are lost in the
general mass of ancient literature. They were both excellent tragic
poets: elevation of sentiment, grandeur of expression, and dignity of
character, stamped a value on their productions; and yet, we must not
expect to find the grace and elegance of genuine composition. To give
the finishing hand to their works was not their practice: the defect,
however, is not to be imputed to them; it was the vice of the age.
Force and dignity are the characteristics of ACCIUS; while the
critics, who wish to be thought deep and profound, admire PACUVIUS for
his extensive learning. _Tragœdiæ scriptores Accius atque Pacuvius,
clarissimi sententiarum verborumque pondere, et auctoritate
personarum. Cæterum nitor, et summa in excolendis operibus manus,
magis videri potest temporibus, quam ipsis defuisse. Virium tamen
Accio plus tribuitur; Pacuvium videri doctiorem, qui esse docti
affectant, volunt._ Quintil. lib. x. cap. 1. It was the fashion in
Horace's time to prefer the writers of the old school to the new race
that gave so much lustre to the Augustan age. In opposition to such
erroneous criticism, the poet pronounces a decided judgement, which
seems to be confirmed by the opinion of Quintilian.

     Si quædam nimis antiquè, si pleraque durè
     Dicere credit eos, ignavè multa fatetur,
     Et sapit, et mecum facit, et Jove judicat æquo.
                          EPIST. AD AUGUST. ver. 66.

     But that sometimes their style uncouth appears,
     And their harsh numbers rudely hurt our ears;
     Or that full flatly flows the languid line,
     He, who owns this, has Jove's assent and mine.
                                   FRANCIS'S HORACE.

[f] Lucan was nephew to Seneca, and a poet of great celebrity. He was
born, in the reign of Caligula, at Corduba in Spain. His superior
genius made Nero his mortal enemy. He was put to death by that inhuman
emperor, A.U.C. 818, in the twenty-seventh year of his age. See the
_Annals_, b. xv. s. 70. As a writer, Quintilian says, that he
possessed an ardent genius, impetuous, rapid, and remarkable for the
vigour of his sentiments: but he chooses to class him with the
orators, rather than the poets. _Lucanus ardens, et concitatus, et
sententiis clarissimus; et, ut dicam quod sentio, magis oratoribus
quam poetis annumerandus._ Lib. x. cap. 1. Scaliger, on the other
hand, contends that Lucan was a true poet, and that the critics do but
trifle, when they object that he wrote history, not an epic poem.
STRADA in his Prolusions, has given, among other imitations, a
narrative in Lucan's manner; and, though he thinks that poet has not
the skill of Virgil, he places him on the summit of Parnassus,
managing his Pegasus with difficulty, often in danger of falling from
the ridge of a precipice, yet delighting his reader with the pleasure
of seeing him escape. This is the true character of Lucan. The love of
liberty was his ruling passion. It is but justice to add, that his
sentiments, when free from _antithesis_ and the _Ovidian_ manner, are
not excelled by any poet of antiquity. From him, as well as from
Virgil and Horace, the orator is required to cull such passages as
will help to enrich his discourse; and the practice is recommended by
Quintilian, who observes, that Cicero, Asinius Pollio, and others,
frequently cited verses from Ennius, Accius, Pacuvius, and Terence, in
order to grace their speeches with polite literature, and enliven the
imagination of their hearers. By those poetic insertions, the ear is
relieved from the harsh monotony of the forum; and the poets, cited
occasionally, serve by their authority to establish the proposition
advanced by the speaker. _Nam præcipue quidem apud Ciceronem,
frequenter tamen apud Asinium etiam, et cæteros, qui sunt proximi,
vidimus ENNII, ACCII, PACUVII, TERENTII et aliorum inseri versus,
summâ non eruditionis modò gratiâ, sed etiam jucunditatis; cum
poeticis voluptatibus aures a forensi asperitate respirent, quibus
accedit non mediocris utilitas, cum sententiis eorum, velut quibusdam
testimoniis, quæ proposuere confirmant._ Quintil. lib. i. cap. 8.

Section XXI.

[a] There is in this place a blunder of the copyists, which almost
makes the sentence unintelligible. The translator, without entering
into minute controversies, has, upon all such occasions, adopted what
appeared, from the context, to be the most probable sense. It remains,
therefore, to enquire, who were the several orators here enumerated.
CANUTIUS may be the person mentioned by Suetonius _De Claris
Rhetoribus_. Cicero says of ARRIUS, that he was a striking proof of
what consequence it was at Rome to be useful to others, and always
ready to be subservient to their honour, or to ward off danger. For,
by that assiduity, Arrius raised himself from a low beginning to
wealth and honours, and was even ranked in the number of orators,
though void of learning, and without genius, or abilities. _Loco
infimo natus, et honores, et pecuniam, et gratiam consecutus, etiam in
patronorum, sine doctrinâ, sine ingenio, aliquem numerum pervenerat.
De Claris Orat._ s. 243. FURNIUS may be supposed, not without
probability, to be the person with whom Cicero corresponded. _Epist.
ad Familiares_, lib. x. ep. 25, 26. With regard to Terrianus we are
left in the dark. The commentators offer various conjectures; but
conjecture is often a specious amusement; the ingenious folly of men,
who take pains to bewilder themselves, and reason only to shew their
useless learning.

[b] The puny orators are said to be in an infirmary, like sickly men,
who were nothing but skin and bone. These, says Cicero, were admirers
of the Attic manner; but it were to be wished that they had the
wholesome blood, not merely the bones, of their favourite declaimers.
_Attico genere dicendi se gaudere dicunt; atqui utinam imitarentur nec
ossa solum, sed etiam et sanguinem._ Cicero _De Claris Oratoribus_.

[c] What is here said of Calvus is not confirmed by the judgement of
Quintilian. See s. xvii. note [c]. His orations, which were extant at
the time of this Dialogue, are now totally lost.

[d] For Quintilian's opinion of Cælius, see s. xvii. note [c].

[e] Here again Quintilian, that candid and able judge, has given a
different opinion. See s. xvii. note [b]. It may be proper to add the
testimony of Velleius Paterculus. Cæsar, he says, had an elevation of
soul, that towered above humanity, and was almost incredible; the
rapid progress of his wars, his firmness in the hour of danger, and
the grandeur of his vast conceptions, bore a near affinity to
Alexander, but to Alexander neither drunk, nor mad with passion.
_Animo super humanam et naturam, et fidem evectus, celeritate
bellandi, patientiâ periculorum, magnitudine cogitationum; magno illi
Alexandro, sed sobrio neque iracundo, simillimus. Vel. Patercul._ lib.
ii. s. 41. Even Cicero tells us, that, of all the eminent orators, he
was the person who spoke the Latin language in the greatest purity,
and arrived at that consummate perfection by study, by diligent
application, and his thorough knowledge of all polite literature.
_Illum omnium ferè oratorum Latinè loqui elegantissimè: ut esset
perfecta illa benè loquendi laus, multis litteris, et iis quidem
reconditis et exquisitis, summoque studio et diligentiâ est
consecutus._ _De Claris Orat._ s. 252.

[f] Cæsar's speech for Decius the Samnite, and all his other
productions (except the Commentaries), are totally lost.

[g] This speech of Brutus is also lost with his other works. Cicero
says, he heard him plead the cause of Dejotarus with great elegance,
and a flow of harmonious periods. _Causam Dejotari, fidelissimi atque
optimi regis, ornatissimè et copiosissimè a Bruto me audisse defensam.
De Claris Orat._ s. 21. He tells us in another place, that Cæsar
observed of Brutus, that whatever he desired, he desired with ardour;
and therefore, in the cause of Dejotarus, he exerted himself with
warmth, with vehemence, and great freedom of language. _Quidquid vult,
valdè vult; ideoque, cum pro rege Dejotaro dixerit, valdè vehementer
eum visum, et liberè dicere. Ad Attic._ lib. xiv. ep. 1. The same
Dejotarus was afterwards defended by Cicero before Cæsar himself. See
the Oration _pro Rege Dejotaro_.

[h] See what is said of Asinius Pollio, s. xii. note [e].

[i] Pliny the younger has the same metaphorical allusions, which we
here find in the Dialogue. Speaking of the difference between the
oratorial and historical style; the latter, he says, may be content
with the bones, the muscles, and the nerves; the former must have the
prominence of the flesh, the brawny vigour, and the flowing mane.
_Habent quidem oratio et historia multa communia, sed plura diversa in
his ipsis, quæ communia videntur. Narrat sane illa, narrat hæc, sed
aliter. Huic pleraque humilia, et sordida, et ex medio petita: illi
omnia recondita, splendida, excelsa conveniunt. Hanc sæpius ossa,
musculi, nervi; illam tori quidam, et quasi jubæ decent._ Lib. v. ep.

[k] Messala Corvinus has been often mentioned. See for him s. xii.
note [e].

Section XXII.

[a] The words _sententia_ and _sensus_ were technical terms with the
critics of antiquity. Quintilian gives the distinct meaning of each,
with his usual precision. According to the established usage, the
word _sensus_ signified our ideas or conceptions, as they rise in the
mind: by _sententia_ was intended, a proposition, in the close of a
period, so expressed, as to dart a sudden brilliancy, for that reason
called _lumen orationis_. He says, these artificial ornaments, which
the ancients used but sparingly, were the constant practice of the
modern orators. _Consuetudo jam tenuit, ut mente concepta_, SENSUS
_vocaremus; lumina autem, præcipuèque in clausulis posita_,
SENTENTIAS. _Quæ minus crebra apud antiquos, nostris temporibus modo
carent._ Lib. viii. cap. 5. These luminous sentences, Quintilian says,
may be called the eyes of an oration; but eyes are not to be placed in
every part, lest the other members should lose their function. _Ego
vero hæc lumina orationis velut oculos quosdam esse eloquentiæ credo:
sed neque oculos esse toto corpore velim, ne cætera membra suum
officium perdant._ Lib. viii, cap. 5. As Cowley says,

     Jewels at nose and lips but ill appear;
     Rather than all things, wit let none be there.

[b] In order to form a good style, the sentence should always be
closed with variety, strength, and harmony. The ancient rhetoricians
held this to be so essentially requisite, that Quintilian has given it
a full discussion. That, he says, which offends the ear, will not
easily gain admission to the mind. Words should be fitted to their
places, so that they may aptly coalesce with one another. In building,
the most ill shapen stones may be conveniently fixed; and in like
manner, a good style must have proper words in proper places, all
arranged in order, and closing the sentence with grace and harmony.
_Nihil intrare potest in affectum, quod in aure, velut quodam
vestibulo, statim offendit. Non enim ad pedes verba dimensa sunt;
ideoque ex loco transferuntur in locum, ut jungantur quo congruunt
maximè; sicut in structurâ saxorum rudium etiam ipsa enormitas invenit
cui applicari, et in quo possit insistere. Felicissimus tamen sermo
est, cui et rectus ordo, et apta junctura, et cum his numerus
opportunè cadens contingit._ Quintil. lib. ix. cap. 4.

Section XXIII.

[a] The remark in this place alludes to a passage in the oration
against PISO, where we find a frivolous stroke of false wit. Cicero
reproaches Piso for his dissolute manners, and his scandalous
debauchery. Who, he says, in all that time, saw you sober? Who beheld
you doing any one thing, worthy of a liberal mind? Did you once appear
in public? The house of your colleague resounded with songs and
minstrels: he himself danced naked in the midst of his wanton company;
and while he _wheeled_ about with alacrity in the _circular motion_ of
the dance, he never once thought of THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE. _Quis te
illis diebus sobrium, quis agentem aliquid, quod esset libero dignum?
Quis denique in publico vidit? Cum collegæ tui domus cantu et cymbalis
personaret; cumque ipse nudus in convivio saltaret, in quo ne tum
_pertimescebat. Oratio in Pisonem_, prima pars, s. 22. Delph. edit.
vol. iii.

[b] The passage here alluded to, presents us with a double pun. The
word _Verres_ is the name of a man, and also signifies a _boar pig_,
as we read in Horace, _Verris obliquum meditantis ictum_. Lib. iii.
ode 22. The word _jus_ is likewise of twofold meaning, importing _law_
and _sauce_, or broth; _tepidumque ligurierit jus_. Lib. i. sat. 3. The
objection to Cicero is, that playing on both the words, and taking
advantage of their ambiguous meaning, he says it could not be matter
of wonder that the _Verrian jus_ was such bad HOG-SOUP. The wit (if it
deserves that name) is mean enough; but, in justice to Cicero, it
should be remembered, that he himself calls it frigid, and says, that
the men, who in their anger could be so very facetious, as to blame
the priest who did not sacrifice such a hog (_Verres_), were idle and
ridiculous. He adds, that he should not descend to repeat such sayings
(for they were neither witty, nor worthy of notice in such a cause),
had he not thought it material to shew, that the iniquity of VERRES
was, in the mouth of the vulgar, a subject of ridicule, and a
proverbial joke. _Hinc illi homines erant, qui etiam ridiculi
inveniebantur ex dolore: quorum alii, ut audistis, negabant mirandum
esse_, JUS _tam nequam esse_ VERRINUM: _alii etiam frigidiores erant;
sed quia stomachabantur, ridiculi videbantur esse, cum_ SACERDOTEM
_execrabantur, qui_ VERREM _tam nequam reliquisset, Quæ ego non
commemorarem (neque enim perfacetè dicta, neque porro hac severitate
digna sunt) nisi vos id vellem recordari, istius nequitiam et
iniquitatem tum in ore vulgi, atque communibus proverbiis esse
versatam. In Verrem_, lib. i. pars tertia, s. 121.

[c] Quintilian acknowledges that the words _esse videatur (it seems to
be)_ occur frequently in Cicero's Orations. He adds, that he knew
several, who fancied that they had performed wonders, when they placed
that phrase in the close of a sentence. _Noveram quosdam, qui se
pulchrè expressisse genus illud cælestis hujus in dicendo viri sibi
viderentur, si in clausulâ posuissent esse videatur._ Quintil. lib. x.
cap. 2.

[d] The species of composition, called satire, was altogether of Roman
growth. Lucilius had the honour of being the inventor; and he
succeeded so well, that even in Quintilian's time, his admirers
preferred him not only to the writers who followed in the same way,
but to all poets of every denomination. _Lucilius quosdam ita deditos
sibi adhuc habet imitatores, ut eum non ejusdem modo operis, sed
omnibus poetis præferre non dubitent._ Lib. x. cap. 1. The great
critic, however, pronounces judgement in favour of Horace, who, he
says, is more terse and pure; a more acute observer of life, and
qualified by nature to touch the ridicule of the manners with the
nicest hand. _Multo est tersior, ac purus magis Horatius, et ad
notandos hominum mores præcipuus._

[e] Lucretius is not without his partisans at this hour. Many of the
French critics speak of him with rapture; and, in England, Dr. Wharton
of Winchester seems to be at the head of his admirers. He does not
scruple to say that Lucretius had more spirit, fire, and energy, more
of the _vivida vis animi_, than any of the Roman poets. It is neither
safe nor desirable to differ from so fine a genius as Dr. Wharton. The
passages which he has quoted from his favourite poet, shew great taste
in the selection. It should be remembered, however, that Quintilian
does not treat Lucretius with the same passionate fondness. He places
Virgil next to Homer; and the rest, he says, of the Roman poets
follow at a great distance. MACER and LUCRETIUS deserve to be read:
they have handled their respective subjects with taste and elegance;
but Macer has no elevation, and Lucretius is not easily understood.
_Cæteri omnes longe sequuntur. Nam MACER et LUCRETIUS legendi quidem;
elegantes in suâ quisque materiâ, sed alter humilis, alter
difficilis._ Lib. x. cap. 1. Statius, the poet, who flourished in the
reign of Domitian, knew the value of Lucretius, and, in one line,
seems to have given his true character; _et docti furor arduus
Lucreti_; but had he been to decide between him and Virgil, it is
probable, that he would say to Lucretius, as he did to himself,

           ----Nec tu divinam Æneida tenta,
     Sed longe sequere, et vestigia semper adora.
                    THEBAIDOS lib. xii. ver. 816.

[f] Aufidius Bassus and Servilius Nonianus were writers of history.
Bassus, according to Quintilian, deserved great commendation,
particularly in his History of the German war. In some of his other
works he fell short of himself. Servilius Nonianus was known to
Quintilian, and, in that critic's judgement, was an author of
considerable merit, sententious in his manner, but more diffuse than
becomes the historic character. See Quintilian, lib. x. cap. 1. The
death of SERVILIUS, an eminent orator and historian, is mentioned by
Tacitus in the _Annals_, b. xiv. s. 19; but the additional name of
NONIANUS is omitted. The passage, however, is supposed to relate to
the person commended by Quintilian. He died in the reign of Nero,
A.U.C. 812; of the Christian æra 59.

[g] Varro was universally allowed to be the most learned of the
Romans. He wrote on several subjects with profound erudition.
Quintilian says, he was completely master of the Latin language, and
thoroughly conversant in the antiquities of Greece and Rome. His works
will enlarge our sphere of knowledge, but can add nothing to
eloquence. _Peritissimus linguæ Latinæ, et omnis antiquitatis, et
rerum Græcarum, nostrarumque; plus tamen scientiæ collaturus, quam
eloquentiæ._ Lib. x. cap. 1.

Sisenna, we are told by Cicero, was a man of learning, well skilled in
the Roman language, acquainted with the laws and constitution of his
country, and possessed of no small share of wit; but eloquence was not
his element, and his practice in the forum was inconsiderable. See _De
Claris Oratoribus_, s. 228. In a subsequent part of the same work,
Cicero says, that Sisenna was of opinion, that to use uncommon words
was the perfection of style. To prove this he relates a pleasant
anecdote. One Caius Rufus carried on a prosecution. Sisenna appeared
for the defendant; and, to express his contempt of his adversary, said
that many parts of the charge deserved to be spit upon. For this
purpose he coined so strange a word, that the prosecutor implored the
protection of the judges. I do not, said he, understand Sisenna; I am
circumvented; I fear that some snare is laid for me. What does he mean
by _sputatilica?_ I know that _sputa_ is spittle: but what is
_tilica?_ The court laughed at the oddity of a word so strangely
compounded. _Rufio accusante Chritilium, Sisenna defendens dixit
quædam ejus SPUTATILICA esse crimina. Tum Caius Rufius, Circumvenior,
inquit, judices, nisi subvenitis. Sisenna quid dicat nescio; metuo
insidias. SPUTATILICA! quid est hoc?_ Sputa _quid sit, scio_; tilica
_nescio. Maximi risus, De Claris Oratoribus_, s. 260. Whether this
was the same Sisenna, who is said in the former quotation to have been
a correct speaker, does not appear with any degree of certainty.

[h] For the character of Secundus, see s. ii. note [c].

[i] Quintilian says, the merit of a fine writer flourishes after his
death, for envy does not go down to posterity. _Ad posteros enim
virtus durabit, nec perveniet invidia._ Lib. iii. c. 1. Envy is always
sure to pursue living merit; and therefore, Cleo observes to
Alexander, that Hercules and Bacchus were not numbered among the gods,
till they conquered the malignity of their contemporaries. _Nec
Herculem, nec Patrem Liberum, prius dicatos deos, quàm vicissent secum
viventium invidiam._ Quintus Curtius, lib. viii. s. 18. Pliny the
younger has a beautiful epistle on this subject. After praising, in
the highest manner, the various works of Pompeius Saturninus, he says
to his correspondent, Let it be no objection to such an author, that
he is still living. If he flourished in a distant part of the world,
we should not only procure his books, but we should have his picture
in our houses: and shall his fame be tarnished, because we have the
man before our eyes? Shall malignity make us cease to admire him,
because we see him, hear him, esteem and love him? _Neque enim debet
operibus ejus obesse, QUOD VIVIT. An si inter eos, quos nunquam
vidimus, floruisset, non solum libros ejus, verum etiam imagines
conquireremus, ejusdem nunc honor præsentis et gratia quasi satietate
languescet? At hoc pravum malignumque est, non admirari hominem
admiratione dignissimum, quia videre, alloqui, audire, complecti, nec
laudare tantum, verum etiam amare contingit._ Lib. i. ep. 16.

Section XXIV.

[a] In the Dialogues of Plato, and others of the academic school, the
ablest philosophers occasionally supported a wrong hypothesis, in
order to provoke a thorough discussion of some important question.

[b] Cicero was killed on the seventh of December, in the consulship of
Hirtius and Pansa, A.U.C. 711; before Christ, 43. From that time to
the sixth of Vespasian the number of years is exactly 117; though in
the Dialogue said to be 120. See s. xvii. note [e].

Section XXV.

[a] See Plutarch's Lives of Lysias, Lycurgus, Demosthenes, and
Hyperides. See also the elegant translation of the Orations of Lysias,
by Dr. Gillies.

[b] For Quintilian's opinion of Cæsar's eloquence, see s. xvii. note
[b]. To what is there said may be added the authority of Cicero, who
fairly owns, that Cæsar's constant habit of speaking his language with
purity and correctness, exempted him from all the vices of the
corrupt style adopted by others. To that politeness of expression
which every well-bred citizen, though he does not aspire to be an
orator, ought to practise, when Cæsar adds the splendid ornaments of
eloquence, he may then be said to place the finest pictures in the
best light. In his manner there is nothing mechanical, nothing of
professional craft: his voice is impressive, and his action dignified.
To air these qualities he unites a certain majesty of mien and figure,
that bespeaks a noble mind. _Cæsar autem rationem adhibens,
consuetudinem vitiosam et corruptam purâ et incorruptâ consuetudine
emendat. Itaque cum ad hanc elegantiam verborum Latinorum, quæ etiam
si orator non sis, et sis ingenuus civis Romanus, tamen necessaria
est, adjungit illa oratorio, ornamenta dicendi; tum videtur tanquam
tabulas bene pictas collocare in bono lumine. Hanc cum habeat
præcipuam laudem in communibus, non video cui debeat cedere.
Splendidam quamdam, minimeque veteratoriam rationem dicendi tenet,
voce, motu: formâ etiam magnificâ, et generosâ quodammodo._ _De Claris
Oratoribus_, s. 261.

For Cælius, see s. xvii. note [c]; and for Brutus, the same section,
note [d].

[c] Servius Galba has been already mentioned, s. xviii. note [a].
Caius Lælius was consul A.U.C. 614; before the Christian æra, 140. He
was the intimate friend of Scipio, and the patron of Lucilius, the
first Roman satirist. See Horace, lib. ii. sat. i. ver. 71.

     Quin ubi se a vulgo et scenâ in secretâ remôrant
     Virtus Scipiadæ, et mitis sapientia Lælî,
     Nugari cum illo, et discincti ludere, donec
     Decoqueretur olus, soliti.

     When Scipio's virtue, and of milder vein
     When Lælius' wisdom, from the busy scene
     And crowd of life, the vulgar and the great.
     Could with their favourite satirist retreat,
     Lightly they laugh'd at many an idle jest,
     Until their frugal feast of herbs was drest.
                                FRANCIS'S HORACE.

It is probable, that the harsh manner of Lucilius, _durus componere
versus_, infected the eloquence of Lælius, since we find in Cicero,
that his style was unpolished, and had much of the rust of antiquity.
_Multo tamen vetustior et horridior ille quam Scipio, et, cum sint in
dicendo variæ, voluntates, delectari mihi magis antiquitate videtur,
et lubenter verbis etiam uti paulo magis priscis Lælius._ _De Claris
Oratoribus_, s. 83.

Section XXVI.

[a] For an account of Caius Gracchus, see s. xviii. note [d].

[b] For Lucius Crassus, see s. xviii. note [f].

[c] The false taste of Mæcenas has been noted by the poets and critics
who flourished after his death. His affected prettinesses are compared
to the prim curls, in which women and effeminate men tricked out their
hair. Seneca, who was himself tainted with affectation, has left a
beautiful epistle on the very question that makes the main subject of
the present Dialogue. He points out the causes of the corrupt taste
that debauched the eloquence of those times and imputes the mischief
to the degeneracy of the manners. Whatever the man was, such was the
orator. _Talis oratio quails vita._ When ancient discipline relaxed,
luxury succeeded, and language became delicate, brilliant, spangled
with conceits. Simplicity was laid aside, and quaint expressions grew
into fashion. Does the mind sink into languor, the body moves
reluctantly. Is the man softened into effeminacy, you see it in his
gait. Is he quick and eager, he walks with alacrity. The powers of the
understanding are affected in the same manner. Having laid this down
as his principle, Seneca proceeds to describe the soft delicacy of
Mæcenas, and he finds the same vice in his phraseology. He cites a
number of the lady-like terms, which the great patron of letters
considered as exquisite beauties. In all this, says he, we see the man
who walked the streets of Rome in his open and flowing robe. _Nonne
statim, cum hæc legis, occurrit hunc esse, qui solutis tunicis in urbe
semper incesserit?_ Seneca, epist. cxiv. What he has said of Mæcenas
is perfectly just. The fopperies of that celebrated minister are in
this Dialogue called CALAMISTRI; an allusion borrowed from Cicero,
who praises the beautiful simplicity of _Cæsar's Commentaries_, and
says there were men of a vicious taste, who wanted to apply the
_curling-iron_, that is, to introduce the glitter of conceit and
antithesis in the place of truth and nature. _Commentarios quosdam
scripsit rerum suarum, valde quidem probandos: nudi enim sunt, et
recti, et venusti, omni ornatu orationis, tanquam veste, detracto.
Ineptis gratum fortasse fecit, qui volunt illa_ CALAMISTRIS _inurere._
Cicero _De Claris Orat._ s. 262.

[d] Who Gallio was, is not clearly settled by the commentators.
Quintilian, lib. iii. cap. 1, makes mention of Gallio, who wrote a
treatise of eloquence; and in the _Annals_, b. xv. s. 73, we find
Junius Gallio, the brother of Seneca; but whether either of them is
the person here intended, remains uncertain. Whoever he was, his
eloquence was a tinkling cymbal. Quintilian says of such orators, who
are all inflated, tumid, corrupt, and jingling, that their malady does
not proceed from a full and rich constitution, but from mere
infirmity; for,

     As in bodies, thus in souls we find,
     What wants in blood and spirits, swell'd with wind.

_Nam tumidos, et corruptos, et tinnulos, et quocumque alio cacozeliæ
genere peccantes, certum habeo, non virium, sed infirmitatis vitio
laborare: ut corpora non robore, sed valetudine inflantur._ Quintil.
lib. ii. cap. 3.

[e] Pliny declares, without ceremony, that he was ashamed of the
corrupt effeminate style that disgraced the courts of justice, and
made him think of withdrawing from the forum. He calls it sing-song,
and says that nothing but musical instruments could be added. _Pudet
referre, quæ quam fractâ pronunciatione dicantur; quibus quam teneris
clamoribus excipiantur. Plausus tantum, ac sola cymbala et tympana,
illis canticis desunt._ Pliny, lib. ii. epist. 14. The chief aim of
Persius in his first satire is levelled against the bad poets of his
time, and also the spurious orators, who enervated their eloquence by
antithesis, far-fetched metaphors, and points of wit, delivered with
the softest tone of voice, and ridiculous airs of affectation.

     Fur es, ait Pedio: Pedius quid? Crimina rasis
     Librat in antithetis; doctus posuisse figuras
     Laudatur. Bellum hoc! hoc bellum! an Romule ceves?
     Men' moveat quippe, et, cantet si naufragus, assem
     Protulerim? Cantas, cum fractâ te in trabe pictum
     Ex humero portes?
                              PERSIUS, sat. i. ver. 85.

     Theft, says the accuser, to thy charge I lay,
     O Pedius. What does gentle Pedius say?
     Studious to please the genius of the times,
     With periods, points, and tropes, he slurs his crimes.
     He lards with flourishes his long harangue:
     'Tis fine, say'st thou. What! to be prais'd, and hang?
     Effeminate Roman! shall such stuff prevail,
     To tickle thee, and make thee wag thy tail?
     Say, should a shipwreck'd sailor sing his woe,
     Wouldst thou be mov'd to pity, and bestow
     An alms? What's more prepost'rous than to see
     A merry beggar? wit in misery!
                                          DRYDEN'S PERSIUS.

[f] For Cassius Severus, see s. xix. note [a].

[g] Gabinianus was a teacher of rhetoric in the reign of Vespasian.
Eusebius, in his Chronicon, eighth of Vespasian, says that Gabinianus,
a celebrated rhetorician, was a teacher of eloquence in Gaul.
_Gabinianus, celeberrimi nominis rhetor, in Galliâ docuit._ His
admirers deemed him another Cicero, and, after him, all such orators

Section XXVIII.

[a] In order to brand and stigmatise the Roman matrons who committed
the care of their infant children to hired nurses, Tacitus observes,
that no such custom was known among the savages of Germany. See
_Manners of the Germans_, s. xx. See also Quintilian, on the subject
of education, lib. i. cap. 2 and 3.

[b] Cornelia, the mother of the two Gracchi, was daughter to the first
Scipio Africanus. The sons, Quintilian says, owed much of their
eloquence to the care and institutions of their mother, whose taste
and learning were fully displayed in her letters, which were then in
the hands of the public. _Nam Gracchorum eloquentiæ multum contulisse
accepimus Corneliam matrem, cujus doctissimus sermo in posteros quoque
est epistolis traditus._ Quint. lib. i. cap. 1. To the same effect
Cicero: _Fuit Gracchus diligentiâ Corneliæ matris a puero doctus, et
Græcis litteris eruditus._ _De Claris Orat._ s. 104. Again, Cicero says,
We have read the letters of Cornelia, the mother of the Gracchi, from
which it appears, that the sons were educated, not so much in the lap
of their mother, as her conversation. _Legimus epistolas Corneliæ,
matris Gracchorum: apparet filios non tam in gremio educatos, quam in
sermone matris._ _De Claris Orat._ s. 211. Pliny the elder informs us
that a statue was erected to her memory, though Cato the Censor
declaimed against shewing so much honour to women, even in the
provinces. But with all his vehemence he could not prevent it in the
city of Rome. Pliny, lib. xxxiv. s. 14.

[c] For Aurelia, the mother of Julius Cæsar, see _The Genealogical
Table of the Cæsars_, No. 2.

[d] For Atia, the mother of Augustus, see _Genealogical Table of the
Cæsars_, No. 14. As another instance of maternal care, Tacitus informs
us that Julia Procilla superintended the education of her son. See
_Life of Agricola_, s. iv.

Section XXIX.

[a] Quintilian thinks the first elements of education so highly
material, that he has two long chapters on the subject. He requires,
in the first place, that the language of the nurses should be pure and
correct. Their manners are of great importance, but, he adds, let them
speak with propriety. It is to them that the infant first attends; he
listens, and endeavours to imitate them. The first colour, imbibed by
yarn or thread, is sure to last. What is bad, generally adheres
tenaciously. Let the child, therefore, not learn in his infancy, what
he must afterwards take pains to unlearn. _Ante omnia, ne sit vitiosus
sermo nutricibus. Et morum quidem in his haud dubiè prior ratio est;
rectè tamen etiam loquantur. Has primùm audiet puer; harum verba
effingere imitando conabitur. Et naturâ tenacissimi sumus eorum, quæ
rudibus annis percipimus; nec lanarum colores, quibus simplex ille
candor mutatus est, elui possunt. Et hæc ipsa magis pertinaciter
hærent, quæ deteriora sunt. Non assuescat ergo, ne dum infans quidem
est, sermoni, qui dediscendus est._ Quint. lib. i. cap. 1. Plutarch
has a long discourse on the breeding of children, in which all
mistakes are pointed out, and the best rules enforced with great
acuteness of observation.

[b] Juvenal has one entire satire on the subject of education:

     Nil dictu fœdum visuque hæc limina tangat,
     Intra quæ puer est. Procul hinc, procul inde puellæ
     Lenonum, et cantus pernoctantis parasiti.
     Maxima debetur puero reverentia.
                                      SAT. xiv. ver. 44.

     Suffer no lewdness, no indecent speech,
     Th' apartment of the tender youth to reach.
     Far be from thence the glutton parasite,
     Who sings his drunken catches all the night.
     Boys from their parents may this rev'rence claim.
                                     DRYDEN'S JUVENAL.

[c] The rage of the Romans for the diversions of the theatre, and
public spectacles of every kind, is often mentioned by Horace,
Juvenal, and other writers under the emperors. Seneca says, that, at
one time, three ways were wanted to as many different theatres:
_tribus eodem tempore theatris viæ postulantur_. And again, the most
illustrious of the Roman youth are no better than slaves to the
pantomimic performers. _Ostendam nobilissimos juvenes mancipia
pantomimorum._ Epist. 47. It was for this reason that Petronius lays
it down as a rule to be observed by the young student, never to list
himself in the parties and factions of the theatre:

         ----Neve plausor in scenâ
     Sedeat redemptus, histrioniæ addictus.

It is well known, that theatrical parties distracted the Roman
citizens, and rose almost to phrensy. They were distinguished by the
_green_ and the _blue_, Caligula, as we read in Suetonius, attached
himself to the former, and was so fond of the charioteers, who wore
green liveries, that he lived for a considerable time in the stables,
where their horses were kept. _Prasinæ factioni ita addictus et
deditus, ut cœnaret in stabulo assidue et maneret. Life of Caligula_,
s. 55. Montesquieu reckons such party-divisions among the causes that
wrought the downfall of the empire. Constantinople, he says, was split
into two factions, the _green_ and the _blue_, which owed their origin
to the inclination of the people to favour one set of charioteers in
the circus rather than another. These two parties raged in every city
throughout the empire, and their fury rose in proportion to the number
of inhabitants. Justinian favoured the _blues_, who became so elate
with pride, that they trampled on the laws. All ties of friendship,
all natural affection, and all relative duties, were extinguished.
Whole families were destroyed; and the empire was a scene of anarchy
and wild contention. He, who felt himself capable of the most
atrocious deeds, declared himself a BLUE, and the GREENS were
massacred with impunity. _Montesquieu, Grandeur et Décadence des
Romains_, chap. xx.

[d] Quintilian, in his tenth book, chap. 1. has given a full account
of the best Greek and Roman poets, orators, and historians; and in b.
ii. ch. 6, he draws up a regular scheme for the young student to
pursue in his course of reading. There are, he says, two rocks, on
which they may split. The first, by being led by some fond admirer of
antiquity to set too high a value on the manner of Cato and the
Gracchi; for, in that commerce, they will be in danger of growing dry,
harsh, and rugged. The strong conception of those men will be beyond
the reach of tender minds. Their style, indeed, may be copied; and the
youth may flatter himself, when he has contracted the rust of
antiquity, that he resembles the illustrious orators of a former age.
On the other hand, the florid decorations and false glitter of the
moderns may have a secret charm, the more dangerous, and seductive, as
the petty flourishes of our new way of writing may prove acceptable to
the youthful mind. _Duo autem genera maximè cavenda pueris puto: unum,
ne quis eos antiquitatis nimius admirator in Gracchorum, Catonisque,
et aliorum similium lectione durescere velit. Erunt enim horridi atque
jejuni. Nam neque vim eorum adhuc intellectu consequentur; et
elocutione, quæ tum sine dubio erat optima, sed nostris temporibus
aliena, contenti, quod est pessimum, similes sibi magnis viris
videbuntur. Alterum, quod huic diversum est, ne recentis hujus
lasciviæ flosculis capti, voluptate quâdam pravâ deliniantur, ut
prædulce illud genus, et puerilibus ingeniis hoc gratius, quo propius
est, adament._ Such was the doctrine of Quintilian. His practice, we
may be sure, was consonant to his own rules. Under such a master the
youth of Rome might be initiated in science, and formed to a just
taste for eloquence and legitimate composition; but one man was not
equal to the task. The rhetoricians and pedagogues of the age
preferred the novelty and meretricious ornaments of the style then in

Section XXX.

[a] This is the treatise, or history of the most eminent orators (DE
CLARIS ORATORIBUS), which has been so often cited in the course of
these notes. It is also entitled BRUTUS; a work replete with the
soundest criticism, and by its variety and elegance always charming.

[b] Quintus Mucius Scævola was the great lawyer of his time. Cicero
draws a comparison between him and Crassus. They were both engaged, on
opposite sides, in a cause before the CENTUMVIRI. Crassus proved
himself the best lawyer among the orators of that day, and Scævola the
most eloquent of the lawyers. _Ut eloquentium juris peritissimus
Crassus; jurisperitorum eloquentissimus Scævola putaretur._ _De Claris
Orat._ s. 145. During the consulship of Sylla, A.U.C. 666, Cicero
being then in the nineteenth year of his age, and wishing to acquire a
competent knowledge of the principles of jurisprudence, attached
himself to Mucius Scævola, who did not undertake the task of
instructing pupils, but, by conversing freely with all who consulted
him, gave a fair opportunity to those who thirsted after knowledge.
_Ego autem juris civilis studio, multum operæ dabam Q. Scævolæ, qui
quamquam nemini se ad docendum dabat, tamen, consulentibus
respondendo, studiosos audiendi docebat._ _De Claris Orat._ s. 306.

[c] Philo was a leading philosopher of the academic school. To avoid
the fury of Mithridates, who waged a long war with the Romans, he fled
from Athens, and, with some of the most eminent of his
fellow-citizens, repaired to Rome. Cicero was struck with his
philosophy, and became his pupil. _Cùm princeps academiæ Philo, cum
Atheniensium optimatibus, Mithridatico bello, domo profugisset,
Romamque venisset, totum ei me tradidi, admirabili quodam ad
philosophiam studio concitatus._ _De Claris Orat._ s. 306.

Cicero adds, that he gave board and lodging, at his own house, to
Diodotus the stoic, and, under that master, employed himself in
various branches of literature, but particularly in the study of
logic, which may be considered as a mode of eloquence, contracted,
close, and nervous. _Eram cum stoico Diodoto: qui cum habitavisset
apud me, mecumque vixisset, nuper est domi meæ mortuus. A quo, cum in
aliis rebus, tum studiosissime in dialecticâ exercebar, quæ quasi
contracta et adstricta eloquentia putanda est._ _De Claris Orat._ s.

[d] Cicero gives an account of his travels, which he undertook, after
having employed two years in the business of the forum, where he
gained an early reputation. At Athens, he passed six months with
Antiochus, the principal philosopher of the old academy, and, under
the direction of that able master, resumed those abstract
speculations which he had cultivated from his earliest youth. Nor did
he neglect his rhetorical exercises. In that pursuit, he was assisted
by Demetrius, the Syrian, who was allowed to be a skilful preceptor.
He passed from Greece into Asia; and, in the course of his travels
through that country, he lived in constant habits with Menippus of
Stratonica; a man eminent for his learning; who, if to be neither
frivolous, nor unintelligible, is the character of Attic eloquence,
might fairly be called a disciple of that school. He met with many
other professors of rhetoric, such as Dionysius of Magnesia, Æschylus
of Cnidos, and Zenocles of Adramytus; but not content with their
assistance, he went to Rhodes, and renewed his friendship with MOLO,
whom he had heard at Rome, and knew to be an able pleader in real
causes; a fine writer, and a judicious critic, who could, with a just
discernment of the beauties as well as the faults of a composition,
point out the road to excellence, and improve the taste of his
scholars. In his attention to the Roman orator, the point he aimed at
(Cicero will not say that he succeeded) was, to lop away superfluous
branches, and confine within its proper channel a stream of
eloquence, too apt to swell above all bounds, and overflow its banks.
After two years thus spent in the pursuit of knowledge, and
improvement in his oratorical profession, Cicero returned to Rome
almost a new man. _Is (MOLO) dedit operam (si modo id consequi potuit)
ut nimis redundantes nos, et superfluentes juvenili quadam dicendi
impunitate, et licentiâ, reprimeret, et quasi extra ripas diffluentes
cœrceret. Ita recepi me biennio post, non modo exercitatior, sed propè
mutatus._ See _De Claris Oratoribus_, s. 315 and 316.

[e] Cicero is here said to have been a complete master of philosophy,
which, according to Quintilian, was divided into three branches,
namely, physics, ethics, and logic. It has been mentioned in this
section, note [c], that Cicero called logic a contracted and close
mode of eloquence. That observation is fully explained by Quintilian.
Speaking of logic, the use, he says, of that contentious art, consists
in just definition, which presents to the mind the precise idea; and
in nice discrimination, which marks the essential difference of
things. It is this faculty that throws a sudden light on every
difficult question, removes all ambiguity, clears up what was
doubtful, divides, develops, and separates, and then collects the
argument to a point. But the orator must not be too fond of this close
combat. The minute attention, which logic requires, will exclude what
is of higher value; while it aims at precision, the vigour of the mind
is lost in subtlety. We often see men, who argue with wonderful craft;
but, when petty controversy will no longer serve their purpose, we see
the same men without warmth or energy, cold, languid, and unequal to
the conflict; like those little animals, which are brisk in narrow
places, and by their agility baffle their pursuers, but in the open
field are soon overpowered. _Hæc pars dialectica, sive illam dicere
malimus disputatricem, ut est utilis sæpe et finitionibus, et
comprehensionibus, et separandis quæ sunt differentia, et resolvendâ
ambiguitate, et distinguendo, dividendo, illiciendo, implicando; ita
si totum sibi vindicaverit in foro certamen, obstabit melioribus, et
sectas ad tenuitatem vires ipsâ subtilitate consumet. Itaque reperias
quosdam in disputando mirè callidos; cum ab illâ verò cavillatione
discesserint, non magis sufficere in aliquo graviori actu, quam parva
quædam animalia, quæ in angustiis mobilia, campo deprehenduntur._
Quint. lib. xii. cap. 2.

Ethics, or moral philosophy, the same great critic holds to be
indispensably requisite. _Jam quidem pars illa moralis, quæ dicitur
ethice, certè tota oratori est accommodata. Nam in tantâ causarum
varietate, nulla ferè dici potest, cujus non parte aliquâ tractatus
æqui et boni reperiantur._ Lib. xii. Unless the mind be enriched with
a store of knowledge, there may he loquacity, but nothing that
deserves the name of oratory. Eloquence, says Lord Bolingbroke, must
flow like a stream that is fed by an abundant spring, and not spout
forth a little frothy stream, on some gaudy day, and remain dry for
the rest of the year. See _Spirit of Patriotism_.

With regard to natural philosophy, Quintilian has a sentiment so truly
sublime, that to omit it in this place would look like insensibility.
If, says he, the universe is conducted by a superintending Providence,
it follows that good men should govern the nations of the earth. And
if the soul of man is of celestial origin, it is evident that we
should tread in the paths of virtue, all aspiring to our native
source, not slaves to passion, and the pleasures of the world. These
are important topics; they often occur to the public orator, and
demand all his eloquence. _Nam si regitur providentiâ mundus,
administranda certè bonis viris erit respublica. Si divina nostris
animis origo, tendendum ad virtutem, nec voluptatibus terreni corporis
serviendum. An hoc non frequenter tractabit orator?_ Quint. lib. xii.
cap. 2.

Section XXXI.

[a] Quintilian, as well as Seneca, has left a collection of
school-declamations, but he has given his opinion of all such
performances. They are mere imitation, and, by consequence, have not
the force and spirit which a real cause inspires. In public harangues,
the subject is founded in reality; in declamations, all is fiction.
_Omnis imitatio ficta est; quo fit ut minus sanguinis ac virium
declamationes habeant, quam orationes; quod in his vera, in illis
assimulata materia est._ Lib. x. cap. 2. Petronius has given a lively
description of the rhetoricians of his time. The consequence, he says,
of their turgid style, and the pompous swell of sounding periods, has
ever been the same: when their scholars enter the forum, they look as
if they were transported into a new world. The teachers of rhetoric
have been the bane of all true eloquence. _Hæc ipsa tolerabilia
essent, si ad eloquentiam ituris viam facerent: nunc et rerum tumore,
et sententiarum vanissimo strepitu, hoc tantum proficiunt, ut quum in
forum venerint, putent se in alium terrarum orbem delatos. Pace vestrâ
liceat dixisse, primi omnium eloquentiam perdidistis._ Petron. _in
Satyrico_, cap. 1 and 2. That gay writer, who passed his days in
luxury and voluptuous pleasures (see his character, _Annals_, b. xvi.
s. 18), was, amidst all his dissipation, a man of learning, and, at
intervals, of deep reflection. He knew the value of true philosophy,
and, therefore, directs the young orator to the Socratic school, and
to that plan of education which we have before us in the present
Dialogue. He bids his scholar begin with Homer, and there drink deep
of the Pierian spring: after that, he recommends the moral system;
and, when his mind is thus enlarged, he allows him to wield the arms
of Demosthenes.

                  ----Det primos versibus annos,
     Mæoniumque bibat felici pectore fontem:
     Mox et Socratico plenus grege mutet habenas
     Liber, et ingentis quatiat Demosthenis arma.

[b] Cicero has left a book, entitled TOPICA, in which he treats at
large of the method of finding proper arguments. This, he observes,
was executed by Aristotle, whom he pronounces the great master both of
invention and judgement. _Cum omnis ratio diligens disserendi duas
habeat partes; unam INVENIENDI, alteram JUDICANDI; utriusque princeps,
ut mihi quidem videtur, Aristoteles fuit._ Ciceronis _Topica_, s. vi.
The sources from which arguments may be drawn, are called LOCI
COMMUNES, COMMON PLACES. To supply the orator with ample materials,
and to render him copious on every subject, was the design of the
Greek preceptor, and for that purpose he gave his TOPICA. _Aristoteles
adolescentes, non ad philosophorum morem tenuiter disserendi, sed ad
copiam rhetorum in utramque partem, ut ornatius et uberius dici
posset, exercuit; idemque locos (sic enim appellat) quasi argumentorum
notas tradidit, unde omnis in utramque partem traheretur oratio._
Cicero, _De Oratore_. Aristotle was the most eminent of Plato's
scholars: he retired to a _gymnasium_, or place of exercise, in the
neighbourhood of Athens, called the _Lyceum_, where, from a custom,
which he and his followers observed, of discussing points of
philosophy, as they walked in the _porticos_ of the place, they
obtained the name of Peripatetics, or the walking philosophers. See
Middleton's _Life of Cicero_, vol. ii. p. 537, 4to edit.

[c] The academic sect derived its origin from Socrates, and its name
from a celebrated _gymnasium_, or place of exercise, in the suburbs of
Athens, called the _Academy_, after _Ecademus_, who possessed it in
the time of the _Tyndaridæ_. It was afterwards purchased, and
dedicated to the public, for the convenience of walks and exercises
for the citizens of Athens. It was gradually improved with
plantations, groves and porticos for the particular use of the
professors or masters of the academic school; where several of them
are said to have spent their lives, and to have resided so strictly,
as scarce ever to have come within the city. See Middleton's _Life of
Cicero_, 4to edit. vol. ii. p. 536. Plato, and his followers,
continued to reside in the porticos of the academy. They chose

                        ----The green retreats
     Of Academus, and the thymy vale,
     Where, oft inchanted with Socratic sounds,
     Ilyssus pure devolv'd his tuneful stream
     In gentle murmurs.
                      AKENSIDE, PLEAS. OF IMAG.

For dexterity in argument, the orator is referred to this school, for
the reason given by Quintilian, who says that the custom of supporting
an argument on either side of the question, approaches nearest to the
orator's practice in forensic causes. _Academiam quidam utilissimam
credunt, quod mos in utramque partem disserendi ad exercitationem
forensium causarum proximè accedat._ Lib. xii. cap. 2 Quintilian
assures us that we are indebted to the academic philosophy for the
ablest orators, and it is to that school that Horace sends his poet
for instruction:

     Rem tibi Socraticæ poterunt ostendere chartæ,
     Verbaque provisam rem non invita sequentur.
                               ARS POET. ver. 310.

     Good sense, that fountain of the muse's art,
     Let the rich page of Socrates impart;
     And if the mind with clear conception glow,
     The willing words in just expressions flow.
                                FRANCIS'S HORACE.

[d] Epicurus made frequent use of the rhetorical figure called
exclamation; and in his life, by Diogenes Lærtius, we find a variety
of instances. It is for that manner of giving animation to a discourse
that Epicurus is mentioned in the Dialogue. For the rest, Quintilian
tells us what to think of him. Epicurus, he says, dismisses the orator
from his school, since he advises his pupil to pay no regard to
science or to method. _Epicurus imprimis nos a se ipse dimittit, qui
fugere omnem disciplinam navigatione quam velocissima jubet._ Lib.
xii. cap. 2. Metrodorus was the favourite disciple of Epicurus.
Brotier says that a statue of the master and the scholar, with their
heads joined together, was found at Rome in the year 1743.

It is worthy of notice, that except the stoics, who, without aiming at
elegance of language, argued closely and with vigour, Quintilian
proscribes the remaining sects of philosophers. Aristippus, he says,
placed his _summum bonum_ in bodily pleasure, and therefore could be
no friend to the strict regimen of the accomplished orator. Much less
could Pyrrho be of use, since he doubted whether there was any such
thing in existence as the judges before whom the cause must be
pleaded. To him the party accused, and the senate, were alike
non-entities. _Neque vero Aristippus, summum in voluptate corpora
bonum ponens, ad hunc nos laborem adhortetur. Pyrrho quidem, quas in
hoc opere partes habere potest? cui judices esse apud quos verba
faciat, et reum pro quo loquatur, et senatum, in quo sit dicenda
sententia, non liquebat._ Quintil. lib. xii. cap. 2.

Section XXXII.

[a] We are told by Quintilian, that Demosthenes, the great orator of
Greece, was an assiduous hearer of Plato: _Constat Demosthenem,
principem omnium Græciæ oratorum, dedisse operam Platoni._ Lib. xii.
cap. 2. And Cicero expressly says, that, if he might venture to call
himself an orator, he was made so, not by the manufacture of the
schools of rhetoric, but in the walks of the Academy. _Fateor me
oratorem, si modo sim, aut etiam quicumque sim, non ex rhetorum
officinis, sed ex Academiæ spatiis extitisse. Ad Brutum Orator_, s.

Section XXXIII.

[a] The ancient critics made a wide distinction, between a mere
facility of speech, and what they called the oratorical faculty. This
is fully explained by Asinius Pollio, who said of himself, that by
pleading at first with propriety, he succeeded so far as to be often
called upon; by pleading frequently, he began to lose the propriety
with which he set out; and the reason was, by constant practice he
acquired rashness, not a just confidence in himself; a fluent
facility, not the true faculty of an orator. _Commodè agenda factum
est, ut sæpe agerem; sæpe agenda, ut minus commodè; quia scilicet
nimia facilitas magis quam facultas, nec fiducia, sed temeritas,
paratur._ Quintil. lib. xii.

Section XXXIV.

[a] There is in this place a trifling mistake, either in Messala, the
speaker, or in the copyists. Crassus was born A.U.C. 614. See s.
xviii. note [f]. Papirius Carbo, the person accused, was consul A.U.C.
634, and the prosecution was in the following year, when Crassus
expressly says, that he was then only one and twenty. _Quippe qui
omnium maturrimè ad publicas causas accesserim, annosque natus UNUM ET
VIGINTI, nobilissimum hominem et eloquentissimum in judicium vocârim._
Cicero, _De Orat._ lib. iii. s. 74. Pliny the consul was another
instance of early pleading. He says himself, that he began his career
in the forum at the age of nineteen, and, after long practice, he
could only see the functions of an orator as it were in a mist.
_Undevicessimo ætatis anno dicere in foro cœpi, et nunc demum, quid
præstare debeat orator, adhuc tamen per caliginem video._ Lib. v.
epist. 8. Quintilian relates of Cæsar, Calvus, and Pollio, that they
all three appeared at the bar, long before they arrived at their
quæstorian age, which was seven and twenty. _Calvus, Cæsar, Pollio,
multum ante quæstoriam omnes ætatem gravissima judicia susceperunt._
Quintilian, lib. xii. cap. 6.

Section XXXV.

[a] Lipsius, in his note on this passage, says, that he once thought
the word _scena_ in the text ought to be changed to _schola_; but he
afterwards saw his mistake. The place of fictitious declamation and
spurious eloquence, where the teachers played a ridiculous part, was
properly called a theatrical scene.

[b] Lucius Licinius Crassus and Domitius Ænobarbus were censors A.U.C.
662. Crassus himself informs us, that, for two years together, a new
race of men, called Rhetoricians, or masters of eloquence, kept open
schools at Rome, till he thought fit to exercise his censorian
authority, and by an edict to banish the whole tribe from the city of
Rome; and this, he says, he did, not, as some people suggested, to
hinder the talents of youth from being cultivated, but to save their
genius from being corrupted, and the young mind from being confirmed
in shameless ignorance. Audacity was all the new masters could teach;
and this being the only thing to be acquired on that stage of
impudence, he thought it the duty of a Roman censor to crush the
mischief in the bud. _Latini (sic diis placet) hoc biennio magistri
dicendi extiterunt; quos ego censor edicto meo sustuleram; non quo (ut
nescio quos dicere aiebant) acui ingenia adolescentium nollem, sed,
contra, ingenia obtundi nolui, corroborari impudentiam. Hos vero novos
magistros nihil intelligebam posse docere, nisi ut auderent. Hoc cum
unum traderetur, et cum impudentiæ ludus esset, putavi esse censoris,
ne longius id serperet, providere._ _De Orat._ lib. iii. s. 93 and 94.
Aulus Gellius mentions a former expulsion of the rhetoricians, by a
decree of the senate, in the consulship of Fannius Strabo and Valerius
Messala, A.U.C. 593. He gives the words of the decree, and also of the
edict, by which the teachers were banished by Crassus, several years
after. See _A. Gellius, Noctes Atticæ_, lib. xv. cap. 2. See also
Suetonius, _De Claris Rhet._ s. 1.

[c] Seneca has left a collection of declamations in the two kinds,
viz. the persuasive, and controversial. See his SUASORIÆ, and
CONTROVERSIÆ. In the first class, the questions are, Whether Alexander
should attempt the Indian ocean? Whether he should enter Babylon, when
the augurs denounced impending danger? Whether Cicero, to appease the
wrath of Marc Antony, should burn all his works? The subjects in the
second class are more complex. A priestess was taken prisoner by a
band of pirates, and sold to slavery. The purchaser abandoned her to
prostitution. Her person being rendered venal, a soldier made his
offers of gallantry. She desired the price of her prostituted charms;
but the military man resolved to use force and insolence, and she
stabbed him in the attempt. For this she was prosecuted, and
acquitted. She then desired to be restored to her rank of priestess:
that point was decided against her. These instances may serve as a
specimen of the trifling declamations, into which such a man as Seneca
was betrayed by his own imagination. Petronius has described the
literary farce of the schools. Young men, he says, were there trained
up in folly, neither seeing nor hearing any thing that could be of
use in the business of life. They were taught to think of nothing, but
pirates loaded with fetters on the sea-shore; tyrants by their edicts
commanding sons to murder their fathers; the responses of oracles
demanding a sacrifice of three or more virgins, in order to abate an
epidemic pestilence. All these discourses, void of common sense, are
tricked out in the gaudy colours of exquisite eloquence, soft, sweet,
and seasoned to the palate. In this ridiculous boy's-play the scholars
trifle away their time; they are laughed at in the forum, and still
worse, what they learn in their youth they do not forget at an
advanced age. _Ego adolescentulos existimo in scholis stultissimos
fieri, quia nihil ex iis, quæ in usu habemus, aut audiunt aut vident;
sed piratas cum catenis in littore stantes, et tyrannos edicta
scribentes, quibus imperent filiis, ut patrum suorum capita præcidant;
sed responsa in pestilentiâ data, ut virgines tres aut plures
immolentur; sed mellitos verborum globos, et omnia dicta factaque
quasi papavere et sesamo sparsa. Nunc pueri in scholis ludunt; juvenes
ridentur in foro; et, quod utroque turpius est, quod quisque perperam
discit, in senectute confiteri non vult._ Petron. _in Satyrico_, cap.
3 and 4.

[d] Here unfortunately begins a chasm in the original. The words are,
_Cum ad veros judices ventum est, * * * * rem cogitare * * * * nihil
humile, nihil abjectum eloqui poterat._ This is unintelligible. What
follows from the words _magna eloquentia sicut flamma_, palpably
belongs to Maternus, who is the last speaker in the Dialogue. The
whole of what Secundus said is lost. The expedient has been, to divide
the sequel between Secundus and Maternus; but that is mere patch-work.
We are told in the first section of the Dialogue, that the several
persons present spoke their minds, each in his turn assigning
different but probable causes, and at times agreeing on the same.
There can, therefore, be no doubt but Secundus took his turn in the
course of the enquiry. Of all the editors of Tacitus, Brotier is the
only one who has adverted to this circumstance. To supply the loss, as
well as it can now be done by conjecture, that ingenious commentator
has added a Supplement, with so much taste, and such a degree of
probability, that it has been judged proper to adopt what he has
added. The thread of the discourse will be unbroken, and the reader,
it is hoped, will prefer a regular continuity to a mere vacant space.
The inverted comma in the margin of the text [transcriber's note: not
used, but numbered with decimal rather than Roman numerals] will mark
the supplemental part, as far as section 36, where the original
proceeds to the end of the Dialogue. The sections of the Supplement
will be marked, for the sake of distinction, with figures, instead of
the Roman numeral letters.


Section 1.

[a] Petronius says, you may as well expect that the person, who is for
ever shut up in a kitchen, should be sweet and fresh, as that young
men, trained up in such absurd and ridiculous interludes, should
improve their taste or judgement. _Qui inter hæc nutriuntur, non magis
sapere possunt, quam bene olere, qui in culiná habitant._ Petronius,
_in Satyrico_, s. 2.

Section 2.

[a] The means by which an orator is nourished, formed, and raised to
eminence, are here enumerated. These are the requisites, that lead to
that distinguished eloquence, which is finely described by Petronius,
when he says, a sublime oration, but sublime within due bounds, is
neither deformed with affectation, nor turgid in any part, but,
depending on truth and simplicity, rises to unaffected grandeur.
_Grandis, et, ut ita dicam, pudica oratio, non est maculosa, nec
turgida, sed naturali pulchritudine exsurgit._ Petronius, _in
Satyrico_, s. 2.

Section 3.

[a] Maternus engaged for himself and Secundus, that they would
communicate their sentiments: see s. 16. In consequence of that
promise, Messala now calls upon them both. They have already declared
themselves admirers of ancient eloquence. It now remains to be known,
whether they agree with Messala as to the cause that occasioned a
rapid decline: or whether they can produce new reasons of their own.

Section 4.

[a] Secundus proceeds to give his opinion. This is managed by Brotier
with great art and judgement, since it is evident in the original text
that Maternus closed the debate. According to what is said in the
introduction to the Dialogue, Secundus agrees with Messala upon most
points, but still assigns different, but probable reasons. A
revolution, he says, happened in literature; a new taste prevailed,
and the worst models were deemed worthy of imitation. The emotions of
the heart were suppressed. Men could no longer yield to the impulse of
genius. They endeavoured to embellish their composition with novelty;
they sparkled with wit, and amused their readers with point,
antithesis, and forced conceits. They fell into the case of the man,
who, according to Martial, was ingenious, but not eloquent:

     Cum sexaginta numeret Casselius annos;
     Ingeniosus homo est: quando disertus erit?
                             Lib. vii. epig. 8.

[b] Enough, perhaps, has been already said in the notes, concerning
the teachers of rhetoric; but it will not be useless to cite one
passage more from Petronius, who in literature, as well as convivial
pleasure, may be allowed to be _arbiter elegantiarum_. The
rhetoricians, he says, came originally from Asia; they were, however,
neither known to Pindar, and the nine lyric poets, nor to Plato, or
Demosthenes. They arrived at Athens in evil hour, and imported with
them that enormous frothy loquacity, which at once, like a pestilence,
blasted all the powers of genius, and established the rules of corrupt
eloquence. _Nondum umbraticus doctor ingenia deleverat, cum Pindarus
novemque lyrici Homericis versibus canere non timuerunt. Certe neque
Platona, neque Demosthenem, ad hoc genus exercitationis accessisse
video. Nuper ventosa isthæc et enormis loquacitas Athenas ex Asia
commigravit, animosque juvenum ad magna surgentes veluti pestilenti
quodam sidere afflavit; simulque corruptæ eloquentiæ regula stetit et
obtinuit._ Petron. _Satyricon_, s. 2.

Section 5.

[a] When the public taste was vitiated, and to _elevate and surprise_,
as Bayes says, was the _new way of writing_, Seneca is, with good
reason, ranked in the class of ingenious, but affected authors. Menage
says, if all the books in the world were in the fire, there is not
one, whom he would so eagerly snatch from the flames as Plutarch. That
author never tires him; he reads him often, and always finds new
beauties. He cannot say the same of Seneca; not but there are
admirable passages in his works, but when brought to the test they
lose their apparent beauty by a close examination. Seneca serves to be
quoted in the warmth of conversation, but is not of equal value in the
closet. Whatever be the subject, he wishes to shine, and, by
consequence, his thoughts are too refined, and often _false.
Menagiana_, tom. ii. p. 1.

Section 6.

[a] This charge against Seneca is by no means new. Quintilian was his
contemporary; he saw and heard the man, and, in less than twenty
years after his death, pronounced judgement against him. In the
conclusion of the first chapter of his tenth book, after having given
an account of the Greek and Roman authors, he says, he reserved Seneca
for the last place, because, having always endeavoured to counteract
the influence of a bad taste, he was supposed to be influenced by
motives of personal enmity. But the case was otherwise. He saw that
Seneca was the favourite of the times, and, to check the torrent that
threatened the ruin of all true eloquence, he exerted his best efforts
to diffuse a sounder judgement. He did not wish that Seneca should be
laid aside: but he could not in silence see him preferred to the
writers of the Augustan age, whom that writer endeavoured to
depreciate, conscious that, having chosen a different style, he could
not hope to please the taste of those who were charmed with the
authors of a former day. But Seneca was still in fashion; his
partisans continued to admire, though it cannot be said that they
imitated him. He fell short of the ancients, and they were still more
beneath their model. Since they were content to copy, it were to be
wished that they had been able to vie with him. He pleased by his
defects, and the herd of imitators chose the worst. They acquired a
vicious manner, and flattered themselves that they resembled their
master. But the truth is, they disgraced him. Seneca, it must be
allowed, had many great and excellent qualities; a lively imagination,
vast erudition, and extensive knowledge. He frequently employed others
to make researches for him, and was often deceived. He embraced all
subjects; in his philosophy, not always profound, but a keen censor of
the manners, and on moral subjects truly admirable. He has brilliant
passages, and beautiful sentiments; but the expression is in a false
taste, the more dangerous, as he abounds with delightful vices. You
would have wished that he had written with his own imagination, and
the judgement of others. To sum up his character; had he known how to
rate little things, had he been above the petty ambition of always
shining, had he not been fond of himself, had he not weakened his
force by minute and dazzling sentences, he would have gained, not the
admiration of boys, but the suffrage of the judicious. At present he
may be read with safety by those who have made acquaintance with
better models. His works afford the fairest opportunity of
distinguishing the beauties of fine writing from their opposite vices.
He has much to be approved, and even admired: but a just selection is
necessary, and it is to be regretted that he did not choose for
himself. Such was the judgement of Quintilian: the learned reader
will, perhaps, be glad to have the whole passage in the author's
words, rather than be referred to another book. _Ex industriâ Senecam,
in omni genere eloquentiæ versatum, distuli, propter vulgatam falso de
me opinionem, quâ damnare eum, et invisum quoque habere sum creditus.
Quod, accidit mihi, dum corruptum, et omnibus vitiis fractum dicendi
genus revocare ad severiora judicia contendo. Tum autem solus hic fere
in manibus adolescentium fuit. Quem non equidem omnino conabar
excutere, sed potioribus præferri non sinebam, quos ille non
destiterat incessere, cum, diversi sibi conscius generis, placere se
in dicendo posse iis quibus illi placerent, diffideret. Amabant autem
eum magis, quàm imitabantur; tantumque ab illo defluebant, quantum
ille ab antiquis descenderat. Foret enim optandum, pares, aut saltem
proximos, illi viro fieri. Sed placebat propter sola vitia, et ad ea
se quisque dirigebat effingenda, quæ poterat. Deinde cum se jactaret
eodem modo dicere, Senecam infamabat. Cujus et multæ alioqui et magnæ
virtutes fuerunt; ingenium facile et copiosum; plurimum studii; et
multarum rerum cognitio, in quâ tamen aliquando ab iis, quibus
inquirenda quædam mandabat, deceptus est. Tractavit etiam omnem ferè
studiorum materiam; In philosophiâ parum diligens, egregius tamen
vitiorum insectator. Multa in eo claræque sententiæ; multa etiam morum
gratiâ legenda; sed in eloquendo corrupta pleraque, atque eo
perniciosissima, quod abundat dulcibus vitiis. Velles eum suo ingenio
dixisse, alieno judicio. Nam si aliqua contempsisset; si parum
concupisset, si non omnia sua amasset; si rerum pondera minutissimis
sententiis non fregisset, consensu potius eruditorum, quàm puerorum
amore comprobaretur. Verùm sic quoque jam robustis, et severiore
genere satis firmatis, legendus, vel ideo, quod exercere potest
utrimque judicium. Multa enim (ut dixi) probanda in eo, multa etiam
admiranda sunt; eligere modo curæ sit, quod utinam ipse fecisset._
Quintil. lib. x. cap. 1. From this it is evident, that Seneca, even in
the meridian of his fame and power, was considered as the grand
corrupter of eloquence. The charge is, therefore, renewed in this
Dialogue, with strict propriety. Rollin, who had nourished his mind
with ancient literature, and was, in his time, the Quintilian of
France, has given the same opinion of Seneca, who, he says, knew how
to play the critic on the works of others, and to condemn the strained
metaphor, the forced conceit, the tinsel sentence, and all the
blemishes of a corrupt style, without desiring to weed them out of his
own productions. In a letter to his friend (epist. 114), which has
been mentioned section xxvi. note [c], Seneca admits a general
depravity of taste, and with great acuteness, and, indeed, elegance,
traces it to its source, to the luxury and effeminate manners of the
age; he compares the florid orators of his time to a set of young
fops, well powdered and perfumed, just issuing from their toilette:
_Barbâ et comâ nitidos, de capsulâ totos_; he adds, that such affected
finery is not the true ornament of a man. _Non est ornamentum virile,
concinnitas._ And yet, says Rollin, he did not know that he was
sitting to himself for the picture. He aimed for ever at something
new, far fetched, ingenious, and pointed. He preferred wit to truth
and dignified simplicity. The marvellous was with him better than the
natural; and he chose to surprise and dazzle, rather than merit the
approbation of sober judgement. His talents placed him at the head of
the fashion, and with those enchanting vices which Quintilian ascribes
to him, he was, no doubt, the person who contributed most to the
corruption of taste and eloquence. See Rollin's _Belles Lettres_, vol.
i. _sur le Gout_. Another eminent critic, L'ABBE GEDOYN, who has given
an elegant translation of Quintilian, has, in the preface to that
work, entered fully into the question concerning the decline of
eloquence. He admits that Seneca did great mischief, but he takes the
matter up much higher. He traces it to OVID, and imputes the taste for
wit and spurious ornament, which prevailed under the emperors, to the
false, but seducing charms of that celebrated poet. Ovid was,
undoubtedly, the greatest wit of his time; but his wit knew no bounds.
His fault was, exuberance. _Nescivit quod bene cessit relinquere_,
says Seneca, who had himself the same defect. Whatever is Ovid's
subject, the redundance of a copious fancy still appears. Does he
bewail his own misfortunes; he seems to think, that, unless he is
witty, he cannot be an object of compassion. Does he write letters to
and from disappointed lovers; the greatest part flows from fancy, and
little from the heart. He gives us the brilliant for the pathetic.
With these faults, Ovid had such enchanting graces, that his style and
manner infected every branch of literature. The tribe of imitators had
not the genius of their master; but being determined to shine in spite
of nature, they ruined all true taste and eloquence. This is the
natural progress of imitation, and Seneca was well aware of it. He
tells us that the faults and blemishes of a corrupt style are ever
introduced by some superior genius, who has risen to eminence in bad
writing; his admirers imitate a vicious manner, and thus a false taste
goes round from one to another. _Hæc vitia unus aliquis inducit, sub
quo tunc eloquentia est: cæteri imitantur; et alter alteri tradunt._
Epist. 114. Seneca, however, did not know that he was describing
himself. Tacitus says he had a genius suited to the taste of the age.
_Ingenium amœnum et temporis ejus auribus accommodatum._ He adopted
the faults of Ovid, and was able to propagate them. For these reasons,
the Abbé Gedoyn is of opinion, that Ovid began the mischief, and
Seneca laid the axe to the root of the tree. It is certain, that,
during the remaining period of the empire, true eloquence never

Section 7.

[a] Historians have concurred in taxing Vespasian with avarice, in
some instances, mean and sordid; but they agree, at the same time,
that the use which he made of his accumulated riches, by encouraging
the arts, and extending liberal rewards to men of genius, is a
sufficient apology for his love of money.

[b] Titus, it is needless to say, was the friend of virtue and of
every liberal art. Even that monster Domitian was versed in polite
learning, and by fits and starts capable of intense application: but
we read in Tacitus, that his studies and his pretended love of poetry
served as a cloak to hide his real character. See _History_, b. iv. s.

[c] Pliny the younger describes the young men of his time rushing
forward into the forum without knowledge or decency. He was told, he
says, by persons advanced in years, that, according to ancient usage,
no young man, even of the first distinction, was allowed to appear at
the bar, unless he was introduced by one of consular dignity. But, in
his time, all fences of respect and decency were thrown down. Young
men scorned to be introduced; they forced their way, and took
possession of the forum without any kind of recommendation. _At
hercule ante memoriam meam (majores natu ita solent dicere), ne
nobilissimis quidem adolescentibus locus erat, nisi aliquo consulari
producente; tantâ veneratione pulcherrimum opus celebrabatur. Nunc
refractis pudoris et reverentiæ claustris, omnia patent omnibus. Nec
inducuntur, sed irrumpunt._ Plin. lib. ii. epist. 14.

Section 8.

[a] This want of decorum before the tribunals of justice would appear
incredible, were it not well attested by the younger Pliny. The
audience, he says, was suited to the orators. Mercenary wretches were
hired to applaud in the courts, where they were treated at the
expence of the advocate, as openly as if they were in a
banqueting-room. _Sequuntur auditores actoribus similes, conducti et
redempti mancipes. Convenitur in mediâ basilicâ, ubi tam palam
sportulæ quam in triclinio dantur._ Plin. lib, ii. epist. 14. He adds
in the same epistle, LARGIUS LICINIUS first introduced this custom,
merely that he might procure an audience. _Primus hunc audiendi morem
induxit Largius Licinius, hactenus tamen ut auditores corrogaret._

[b] This anecdote is also related by Pliny, in the following manner:
Quintilian, his preceptor, told him that one day, when he attended
Domitius Afer in a cause before the _centumviri_, a sudden and
outrageous noise was heard from the adjoining court. Afer made a
pause; the disturbance ceased, and he resumed the thread of his
discourse. He was interrupted a second and a third time. He asked, who
was the advocate that occasioned so much uproar? Being told, that
Licinius was the person, he addressed himself to the court in these
words: _Centumvirs! all true eloquence is now at an end. Ex
Quintiliano, præceptore meo, audisse memini: narrabat ille, Assectabar
Domitium Afrum, cum apud centumviros diceret graviter et lentè (hoc
enim illi actionis genus erat), audiit ex proximo immodicum
insolitumque clamorem; admiratus reticuit; ubi silentium factum est,
repetit quod abruperat; iterum clamor, iterum reticuit; et post
silentium, cœpit idem tertio. Novissimè quis diceret quæsivit.
Responsum est, Licinius. Tum intermissâ causâ_, CENTUMVIRI, _inquit_,
HOC ARTIFICIUM PERIIT. Lib. ii. ep. 14. Domitius Afer has been
mentioned, s. xiii. note [d]. To what is there said of him may be
added a fact related by Quintilian, who says that Afer, when old and
superannuated, still continued at the bar, exhibiting the decay of
genius, and every day diminishing that high reputation which he once
possessed. Hence men said of him, he had rather _decline_ than
_desist_. _Malle eum deficere, quam desinere._ Quint. lib. xii. cap.

[c] The men who applauded for hire, went from court to court to bellow
forth their venal approbation. Pliny says, No longer ago than
yesterday, two of my _nomenclators_, both about the age of seventeen,
were bribed to play the part of critics. Their pay was about three
_denarii_: that at present is the price of eloquence. _Ex judicio in
judicium pari mercede transitur. Heri duo nomenclatores mei (habent
sane ætatem eorum, qui nuper togas sumpserunt), ternis denariis ad
laudandum trahebantur. Tanti constat, ut sis disertus._ Lib. ii.
epist. 14.

[d] The whole account of the trade of puffing is related in the
Dialogue, on the authority of Pliny, who tells us that those wretched
sycophants had two nick-names; one in Greek, [Greek: Sophokleis], and
the other in Latin, LAUDICÆNI; the former from _sophos_, the usual
exclamation of applause, as in Martial: _Quid tam grande sophos clamat
tibi turba, togata_; the Latin word importing _parasites_ who sold
their praise for a supper. _Inde jam non inurbanè [Greek: Sophokleis]
vocantur; iisdem nomen Latinum impositum est_, LAUDICÆNI. _Et tamen
crescit indies fœditas utrâque linguâ notata._ Lib. ii. epist. 14.

Section 10.

[a] Pliny tells us, that he employed much of his time in pleading
causes before the _centumviri_; but he grew ashamed of the business,
when he found those courts attended by a set of bold young men, and
not by lawyers of any note or consequence. But still the service of
his friends, and his time of life, induced him to continue his
practice for some while longer, lest he should seem, by quitting it
abruptly, to fly from fatigue, not from the indecorum of the place. He
contrived however to appear but seldom, in order to withdraw himself
by degrees. _Nos tamen adhuc et utilitas amicorum, et ratio ætatis,
moratur ac retinet. Veremur enim ne fortè non has indignitates
reliquisse, sed laborem fugisse videamur. Sumus tamen solito rariores,
quod initium est gradatim desinendi._ Lib. ii. epist. 14.

Section 11.

[a] The person here distinguished from the rest of the rhetoricians,
is the celebrated Quintilian, of whose elegant taste and superior
judgement it were superfluous to say a word. Martial has given his
character in two lines:--

     Quintiliane, vagæ moderator summe juventæ,
       Gloria Romanæ, Quintiliane, togæ.
                             Lib. ii. epig. 90.

It is generally supposed that he was a native of _Calaguris_ (now
_Calahorra_), a city in Spain, rendered famous by the martial spirit
of Sertorius, who there stood a siege against Pompey. Vossius,
however, thinks that he was born a Roman; and GEDOYN, the elegant
translator mentioned section 6. note [a], accedes to that opinion,
since Martial does not claim him as his countryman. The same writer
says, that it is still uncertain when Quintilian was born, and when he
died; but, after a diligent enquiry, he thinks it probable that the
great critic was born towards the latter end of Tiberius; and, of
course, when Domitius Afer died in the reign of Nero, A.U.C. 812, A.D.
59, that he was then two and twenty. His Institutions of an Orator
were written in the latter end of Domitian, when Quintilian, as he
himself says, was far advanced in years. The time of his death is no
where mentioned, but it probably was under Nerva or Trajan. It must
not be dissembled, that this admirable author was not exempt from the
epidemic vice of the age in which he lived. He flattered Domitian, and
that strain of adulation is the only blemish in his work. The love of
literature may be said to have been his ruling passion; but, in his
estimation, learning and genius are subordinate to honour, truth, and

Section 12.

[a] Maternus, without contradicting Messala or Secundus, gives his
opinion, viz. that the decline of eloquence, however other causes
might conspire, was chiefly occasioned by the ruin of a free
constitution. To this he adds another observation, which seems to be
founded in truth, as we find that, since the revival of letters, Spain
has produced one CERVANTES; France, one MOLIERE; England, one

Section 13.

[a] Examples of short, abrupt, and even sublime speeches out of the
mouth of Barbarians, might, if the occasion required it, be produced
in great abundance. Mr. Locke has observed, that the humours of a
people may be learned from their usage of words. Seneca has said the
same, and, in epistle cxiv. has explained himself on the subject with
acute reasoning and beautiful illustration. The whole letter merits
the attention of the judicious critic. The remainder of this, and the
whole of the following section, serve to enforce the proposition of
the speaker, viz. that Roman eloquence died with public liberty. The
Supplement ends here. The original text is resumed in the next
section, and proceeds unbroken to the end of the Dialogue.

Section XXXVI.

[a] When great and powerful eloquence is compared to a flame, that
must be supported by fresh materials, it is evident that the sentence
is a continuation, not the opening of a new argument. It has been
observed, and it will not be improper to repeat, that the two former
speakers (Messala and Secundus) having stated, according to their way
of thinking, the causes of corrupt eloquence, Maternus, as was
promised in the outset of the Dialogue, now proceeds to give another
reason, and, perhaps, the strongest of all; namely, the alteration of
the government from the old republican form to the absolute sway of a
single ruler.

[b] The colonies, the provinces, and the nations that submitted to the
Roman arms, had their patrons in the capital, whom they courted with
assiduity. It was this mark of distinction that raised the ambitious
citizen to the first honours in the state. To have a number of
clients, as well at home as in the most important colonies, was the
unremitting desire, the study, and constant labour of all who aimed at
pre-eminence; insomuch that, in the time of the old republic, the men
who wished to be distinguished patrons, impoverished, and often ruined
their families, by their profusion and magnificence. They paid court
to the common people, to the provinces, and states in alliance with
Rome; and, in their turn, they received the homage of their clients.
See _Annals_, b. iii. s. 55.

[c] We read in Quintilian, that oral testimony, and depositions signed
by the witnesses, were both in use in his time. Written evidence, he
observes, was easily combated; because the witness who chose to speak
in the presence of a few who signed his attestation, might be guilty
of a violation of truth with greater confidence; and besides, not
being cited to speak, his being a volunteer in the cause was a
circumstance against him, since it shewed that he acted with ill-will
to the opposite party. With regard to the witness who gives his
testimony in open court, the advocate has more upon his hands: he must
press him with questions, and in a set speech observe upon his
evidence. He must also support his own witnesses, and, therefore, must
draw up two lines of battle. _Maximus patronis circa testimonia sudor
est. Ea dicuntur aut per tabulas, aut a præsentibus. Simplicior contra
tabulas pugna. Nam et minus obstitisse videtur pudor inter paucos
signatores, et pro diffidentiâ premitur absentia. Tacitâ præterea
quâdam significatione refragatur his omnibus, quod nemo per tabulas
dat testimonium, nisi suâ voluntate; quo ipso non esse amicum ei se,
contra quem dicit, fatetur. Cum præsentibus verò ingens dimicatio est:
ideoque velut duplici contra eos, proque his, acie confligitur,
actionum et interrogationum._ Quint. lib. v. cap. 7.

Section XXXVII.

[a] For an account of Mucianus, see section 7, note c [transcriber's
note: reference does not match]; also _the History_, b. ii. s. 5.
Suetonius relates that Vespasian, having undertaken to restore three
thousand brazen plates, which had perished in the conflagration of the
capital (see the _Hist. of Tacitus_, b. iii. s. 71), ordered a
diligent search to be made for copies, and thereby furnished the
government with a collection of curious and ancient records,
containing the decrees of the senate, acts of the commons, and
treaties of alliance, almost from the building of the city. Suetonius,
_Life of Vespasian_, s. 8. This, with the addition of speeches and
letters composed by men of eminence, was, most probably, the
collection published by Mucianus. We may be sure that it contained a
fund of information, and curious materials for history; but the whole
is unfortunately lost.

[b] The person intended in this place must not be confounded with
Lucius Crassus, the orator celebrated by Cicero in the Dialogue DE
ORATORE. What is here said, relates to Marcus Crassus, who was joined
in the triumvirate with Pompey and Cæsar; a man famous for his riches,
his avarice, and his misfortunes. While Cæsar was engaged in Gaul, and
Pompey in Spain, Crassus invaded Asia, where, in a battle with the
Parthians, his whole army was cut to pieces. He himself was in danger
of being taken prisoner, but he fell by the sword of the enemy. His
head was cut off, and carried to Orodes, the Parthian king, who
ordered liquid gold to be infused into his mouth, that he, who
thirsted for gold, might be glutted with it after his death. _Caput
ejus recisum ad regem reportatum, ludibrio fuit, neque indigno. Aurum
enim liquidum in rictum oris infusum est, ut cujus animus arserat auri
cupiditate, ejus etiam mortuum et exangue corpus auro uteretur._
Florus, lib. iii. cap. 11. Cicero says, that with slender talents, and
a small stock of learning, he was able for some years, by his
assiduity and interest, to maintain his rank in the list of eminent
orators. _Mediocriter a doctrinâ instructus, angustius etiam a naturâ,
labore et industriâ, et quod adhibebat ad obtinendas causas curam
etiam, et gratiam, in principibus patronis aliquot annos fuit. In
hujus oratione sermo Latinus erat, verba non abjecta, res compositæ
diligenter; nullus flos tamen, neque lumen ullum: animi magna, vocis
parva contentio; omnia ferè ut similiter, atque uno modo dicerentur._
Cicero, _De Claris Oratoribus_, s. 233.

[c] Lentulus succeeded more by his action than by real ability. With a
quick and animated countenance, he was not a man of penetration;
though fluent in speech, he had no command of words. His voice was
sweet and melodious; his action graceful; and with those advantages he
was able to conceal all other defects. _Cneius autem Lentulus multo
majorem opinionem dicendi actione faciebat, quam quanta in eo facultas
erat; qui cum esset nec peracutus (quamquam et ex facie et ex vultu
videbatur) nec abundans verbis, etsi fallebat in eo ipso; sed voce
suavi et canorâ calebat in agendo, ut ea, quæ deerant, non
desiderarentur._ Cicero, _De Claris Oratoribus_, s. 234. Metellus,
Lucullus, and Curio, are mentioned by Cicero in the same work. Curio
was a senator of great spirit and popularity. He exerted himself with
zeal and ardour for the legal constitution and the liberties of his
country against the ambition of Julius Cæsar, but afterwards sold
himself to that artful politician, and favoured his designs. The
calamities that followed are by the best historians laid to his
charge. Lucan says of him,

     Audax venali comitatur Curio linguâ;
     Vox quondam populi, libertatemque tueri
     Ausus, et armatos plebi miscere potentes.
                             Lib. i. ver. 269.

And again,

     Moméntumque fuit mutatus Curio rerum,
     Gallorum captus spoliis, et Cæsaris auro.
                 PHARSALIA, lib. iv. ver. 819.

[d] Demosthenes, when not more than seven years old, lost his father,
and was left under the care of three guardians, who thought an orphan
lawful prey, and did not scruple to embezzle his effects. In the mean
time Demosthenes pursued a plan of education, without the aid or
advice of his tutors. He became the scholar of Isocrates, and he was
the hearer of Plato. Under those masters his progress was such, that
at the age of seventeen he was able to conduct a suit against his
guardians. The young orator succeeded so well in that prelude to his
future fame, that the plunderers of the orphan's portion were
condemned to refund a large sum. It is said that Demosthenes,
afterwards, released the whole or the greatest part.

Section XXXVIII.

[a] The rule for allowing a limited space of time for the hearing of
causes, the extent of which could not be known, began, as Pliny the
younger informs us, under the emperors, and was fully established for
the reasons which he gives. The custom, he says, of allowing two
water-glasses (_i.e. two hour-glasses_) or only one, and sometimes
half a one, prevailed, because the advocates grew tired before the
business was explained, and the judges were ready to decide before
they understood the question. Pliny, with some indignation, asks, Are
we wiser than our ancestors? are the laws more just at present? Our
ancestors allowed many hours, many days, and many adjournments, in
every cause; and for my part, as often as I sit in judgement, I allow
as much time as the advocate requires; for would it not be rashness to
guess what space of time is necessary in a cause which has not been
opened? But some unnecessary things may be said; and is it not better,
that what is unnecessary should be spoken, than that what is necessary
should be omitted? And who can tell what is necessary, till he has
heard? Patience in a judge ought to be considered as one of the chief
branches of his duty, as it certainly is of justice. See Plin. b. vi.
ep. 2. In England, there is no danger of arbitrary rules, to gratify
the impatience of the court, or to stifle justice. The province of
juries, since the late declaratory act in the case of libels, is now
better understood; and every judge is taught, that a cause is tried
_before him_, not BY HIM. It is his to expound the law, and wait, with
temper, for the verdict of those whom the constitution has intrusted.

[b] Pompey's third consulship was A.U.C. 702; before Christ, 52. He
was at first sole consul, and in six or seven months Metellus Scipio
became his colleague.

[c] The centumviri, as mentioned s. vii. note [c], were a body of men
composed of three out of every tribe, for the decision of such matters
as the prætors referred to their judgement. The nature of the several
causes, that came before that judicature, may be seen in the first book

[d] The question in this cause before the centumviri was, whether
Clusinius Figulus, the son of Urbinia, fled from his post in battle,
and, being taken prisoner, remained in captivity during a length of
time, till he made his escape into Italy; or, as was contended by
Asinius Pollio, whether the defendant did not serve under two masters,
who practised physic, and, being discharged by them, voluntarily sell
himself as a slave? See Quintilian, lib. vii. cap. 2.

Section XXXIX.

[a] The advocates, at that time, wore a tight cloak, or mantle, like
that which the Romans used on a journey. Cicero, in his oration for
Milo, argues that he who wore that inconvenient dress, was not likely
to have formed a design against the life of any man. _Apparet uter
esset insidiator; uter nihil cogitaret mali: cum alter veheretur in
rheda, penulatus, unà sederet uxor. Quid horum non impeditissimum?
Vestitus? an vehiculum? an comes?_ A travelling-cloak could give
neither grace nor dignity to an orator at the bar. The business was
transacted in a kind of chat with the judges: what room for eloquence,
and that commanding action which springs from the emotions of the
soul, and inflames every breast with kindred passions? The cold
inanimate orator is described, by Quintilian, speaking with his hand
under his robe; _manum intra pallium continens._ Section XL.

[a] Maternus is now drawing to a conclusion, and, therefore, calls to
mind the proposition with which he set out; viz. that the flame of
oratory is kept alive by fresh materials, and always blazes forth in
times of danger and public commotion. The unimpassioned style, which
suited the _areopagus_ of Athens, or the courts of Rome, where the
advocate spoke by an hour-glass, does not deserve the name of genuine
eloquence. The orations of Cicero for Marcellus, Ligarius, and king
Dejotarus, were spoken before Cæsar, when he was master of the Roman
world. In those speeches, what have we to admire, except delicacy of
sentiment, and elegance of diction? How different from the _torrent,
tempest, and whirlwind of passion_, that roused, inflamed, and
commanded the senate, and the people, against Catiline and Marc

[b] For the account of Cicero's death by Velleius Paterculus, see s.
xvii. note [e]. Juvenal ascribes the murder of the great Roman orator
to the second Philippic against Antony.

                     ----Ridenda poemata malo,
     Quam te conspicuæ divina Philippica famæ,
     Volveris a primâ quæ proxima.
                             SAT. x. ver. 124.

     I rather would be Mævius, thrash for rhymes
     Like his, the scorn and scandal of the times,
     Than the _Philippic_, fatally divine,
     Which is inscrib'd the second, should be mine.
                                  DRYDEN'S JUVENAL.

What Cicero says of Antonius, the celebrated orator, may be applied to
himself: That head, which defended the commonwealth, was shewn from
that very rostrum, where the heads of so many Roman citizens had been
saved by his eloquence. _In his ipsis rostris, in quibus ille
rempublicam constantissime consul defenderat, positum caput illud
fuit, a quo erant multorum civium capita servata._ Cicero _De
Oratore_, lib. iii. s. 10.

Section XLII.

[a] The urbanity with which the Dialogue is conducted, and the perfect
harmony with which the speakers take leave of each other, cannot but
leave a pleasing impression on the mind of every reader of taste. It
has some resemblance to the conclusion of Cicero's Dialogue DE NATURA
DEORUM. In both tracts, we have a specimen of the politeness with
which the ancients managed a conversation on the most interesting
subjects, and by the graces of style brought the way of instructing by
dialogue into fashion. A modern writer, whose poetical genius cannot
be too much admired, chooses to call it a _frippery way of writing_.
He advises his countrymen to abandon it altogether; and this for a
notable reason: because the Rev. Dr. Hurd (now Bishop of Worcester)
has shewn the true use of it. That the dialogues of that amiable
writer have an intrinsic value, cannot be denied: they contain a fund
of reflection; they allure by the elegance of the style, and they
bring us into company with men whom we wish to hear, to know, and to
admire. While we have such conversation-pieces, not to mention others
of the same stamp, both ancient and modern, the public taste, it may
be presumed, will not easily be tutored to reject a mode of
composition, in which the pleasing and useful are so happily blended.
The present Dialogue, it is true, cannot be proved, beyond a
controversy, to be the work of Tacitus; but it is also true, that it
cannot, with equal probability, be ascribed to any other writer. It
has been retained in almost every edition of Tacitus; and, for that
reason, claims a place in a translation which professes to give all
the works of so fine a writer.


The Author of these volumes has now gone through the difficult task
of translating Tacitus, with the superadded labour of supplements to
give continuity to the narrative, and notes to illustrate such
passages as seemed to want explanation; but he cannot lay down his
pen, without taking the liberty of addressing a few words to the
reader. As what he has to offer relates chiefly to himself, it shall
be very short. He has dedicated many years of his life to this
undertaking; and though, during the whole time, he had the pleasure
and the honour of being acquainted with many gentlemen of taste and
learning, he had no opportunity of appealing to their opinion, or
guiding himself by their advice. Amidst the hurry of life, and the
various pursuits in which all are engaged, how could he hope that any
one would be at leisure to attend to the doubts, the difficulties, and
minute niceties, which must inevitably occur in a writer of so
peculiar a genius as Tacitus? He was unwilling to be a troublesome
visitor, and, by consequence, has been obliged, throughout the whole
of his work, to trust to his own judgement, such as it is. He spared
no pains to do all the justice in his power to one of the greatest
writers of antiquity; but whether he has toiled with fruitless
industry, or has in any degree succeeded, must be left to the
judgement of others.

He is now at the end of his labours, and ready, after the example of
Montesquieu, to cry out with the voyager in Virgil, _Italiam!
Italian!_ But whether he is to land on a peaceful shore; whether the
men who delight in a wreck, are to rush upon him with hostile pens,
which in their hands are pitch-forks; whether his cargo is to be
condemned, and he himself to be wounded, maimed, and lacerated; a
little time will discover. Such critics will act as their nature
prompts them. Should they _cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war_,
it may be said,

       Quod genus hoc hominum, quæve hunc tam barbara morem
     Permittit patria? Hospitio prohibemur arenæ;
     Bella cient, primâque vetant consistere terrâ.

This, they may say, is anticipating complaint; but, in the worst that
can happen, it is the only complaint this writer will ever make, and
the only answer they will ever receive from his pen.

It is from a very different quarter that the translator of Tacitus
waits for solid criticism. The men, as Pliny observes, who read with
malignity, are not the only judges. _Neque enim soli judicant, qui
malignè legunt._ The scholar will see defects, but he will pronounce
with temper: he will know the difficulty, and, in some cases, perhaps
the impossibility, of giving in our language the sentiments of Tacitus
with the precision and energy of the original; and, upon the whole, he
will acknowledge that an attempt to make a considerable addition to
English literature, carries with it a plea of some merit. While the
French could boast of having many valuable translations of Tacitus,
and their most eminent authors were still exerting themselves, with
emulation, to improve upon their predecessors, the present writer saw,
with regret, that this country had not so much as one translation
which could be read, without disgust, by any person acquainted with
the idiom and structure of our language. To supply the deficiency has
been the ambition of the translator. He persevered with ardour; but,
his work being finished, ardour subsides, and doubt and anxiety take
their turn. Whatever the event may be, the conscious pleasure of
having employed his time in a fair endeavour will remain with him.
For the rest, he submits his labours to the public; and, at that
tribunal, neither flushed with hope, nor depressed by fear, he is
prepared, with due acquiescence, to receive a decision, which, from
his own experience on former occasions, he has reason to persuade
himself will be founded in truth and candour.





ACHAIA, often taken for part of Peloponnesus, but in Tacitus generally
for all Greece.

ACTIUM, a promontory of Epirus, now called the _Cape of Tigolo_,
famous for the victory of Augustus over M. Antony.

ADDUA, a river rising in the country of the _Grisons_, and in its
course separating Milan from the territory of the Venetians, till it
falls into the Po, about six miles to the west of Cremona. It is now
called the _Adda_.

ADIABENE, a district of Assyria, so called from the river Adiaba;
_Adiabeni_, the people.

ADRANA, now the _Eder_; a river that flows near _Waldeck_, in the
landgravate of _Hesse_, and discharges itself into the _Weser_.

ADRIATIC, now the gulf of Venice.

ADRUMETUM, a Phœnician colony in Africa, about seventeen miles from
Leptis Minor.

ÆDUI, a people of Ancient Gaul, near what is now called _Autun_, in
Lower Burgundy.

ÆGEÆ, a maritime town of Cilicia; now _Aias Kala_.

ÆGEAN SEA, a part of the Mediterranean which lies between Greece and
Asia Minor; now the _Archipelago_.

ÆGIUM, a city of Greece, in the Peloponnesus; now the _Morea_.

ÆNUS, a river rising in the country of the _Grisons_, and running
thence into the Danube.

ÆQUI, a people of Ancient Latium.

AFRICA generally means in Tacitus that part which was made a
proconsular province, of which Carthage was the capital; now the
territory of _Tunis_.

AGRIPPINENSIS COLONIA, so called from Agrippina, the daughter of
Germanicus, mother of Nero, and afterwards wife of the emperor
Claudius. This place is now called _Cologne_, situate on the Rhine.

ALBA, a town of Latium, in Italy, the residence of the Alban kings;
destroyed by Tullus Hostilius.

ALBANIA, a country of Asia, bounded on the west by Iberia, on the east
by the Caspian Sea, on the south by Armenia, and on the north by Mount

ALBINGANUM; now _Albinga_, to the west of the territory of Genoa, at
the mouth of the river _Cente_.

ALBIS, now the _Elbe_; a river that rises in the confines of
_Silesia_, and, after a wide circuit, falls into the German sea below

ALBIUM INTEMELIUM; now _Vintimiglia_, south-west of the territory of
Genoa, with a port on the Mediterranean, between _Monaco_ and _S.

ALESIA, a town in Celtic Gaul, situate on a hill. It was besieged by
Julius Cæsar. See his Commentaries, lib. vii. s. 77.

ALEXANDRIA, a principal city of Egypt, built by Alexander the Great,
on the Mediterranean; famous for the library begun by Ptolemy
Philadelphus, and consisting at last of seven hundred thousand
volumes, till in Cæsar's expedition it was destroyed by fire.

ALISO, a fort built by Drusus, the father of Germanicus, in the part
of Germany now called Westphalia, near the city of _Paderborn_.

ALLIA, river of Italy, running into the Tiber, about forty miles from
Rome; famous for the slaughter of the Romans by the Gauls, under

ALLOBROGES, a people of Narbon Gaul, situate between the Rhodanus and
the Lacus Lemanus.

ALPS, a range of high mountains separating Italy from Gaul and
Germany. They are distinguished into different parts, under several
names: such as the _Maritime Alps_, near Genoa; the _Cottian Alps_,
separating Dauphiné from Piedmont; the _Graian Alps_, beginning from
Mount Cenis, where the _Cottian_ terminate, and extending to Great St.
Bernard; the _Pennine Alps_, extending from west to east to the
_Rhetian Alps_, the _Alpes Noricæ_, and the _Pannonian Alps_, as far
as the springs of the _Kulpe_. Their height in some places is almost
incredible. They are called _Alps_, from _Alpen_, a Celtic term for
high mountains.

ALTINUM, a town in the territory of Venice, on the Adriatic; now in
ruins, except a tower, still retaining the name of _Altino_.

AMANUS, a mountain of Syria, separating it from Cilicia; now called
_Montagna Neros_ by the inhabitants; that is, the watery mountain,
abounding in springs and rivulets.

AMATHUS, a maritime town of Cyprus, consecrated to Venus, with an
ancient temple of Adonis and Venus: it is now called _Limisso_.

AMAZONIA, a country near the river Thermodon, in Pontus.

AMISIA, now the _Ems_; a river of Germany that falls into the German
sea, near Embden.

AMORGOS, an island in the Egean sea, now Amorgo.

AMYDIS, a town near the gulf of that name, on the coast of Latium in

ANAGNIA, a town of ancient Latium, now _Anagni_, thirty-six miles to
the east of Rome.

ANCONA, a port town in Italy, situate on the gulf of Venice.

ANDECAVI, now _Anjou_.

ANEMURIUM, a promontory of Cilicia, with a maritime town of the same
name near it. See Pomponius Mela.

ANGRIVARIANS, a German people, situate on the west side of the Weser,
near _Osnaburg_ and _Minden_.

ANSIBARII, a people of Germany.

ANTIOCH, or ANTIOCHIA, the capital of Syria, called _Epidaphne_, to
distinguish it from other cities of the name of Antioch. It is now
called _Antakia_.

ANTIPOLIS, now _Antibes_, on the coast of Provence, about three
leagues to the west of _Nice_.

ANTIUM, a city of the ancient Volsci, situate on the Tuscan Sea; the
birth-place of Nero. Two Fortunes were worshipped there, which
Suetonius calls _Fortunæ Antiates_, and Martial, _Sorores Antii_.
Horace's Ode to Fortune is well known--

_O Diva gratum quæ regis Antium._

The place is now called _Capo d'Anzo_.

ANTONA, now the _Avon_. See Camden.

AORSI, a people inhabiting near the Palus Mæotis; now the eastern part
of Tartary, between the _Neiper_ and the _Don_.

APAMEA, a city of Phrygia, near the banks of the Mæander; now

APENNINUS, now the _Apennine_, a ridge of mountains running through
the middle of Italy, extremely high, yet short of the _Alps_. Its name
is Celtic, signifying a high mountain.

APHRODISIUM, a town of _Caria_ in Thrace, on the Euxine.

APOLLONIDIA, a city of Lydia.

APULIA, a territory of Italy, along the gulf of Venice; now
_Capitanate, Otranto_, &c.

AQUILEIA, a large city of the Veneti, and formerly a Roman colony,
near the river _Natiso_, which runs into the gulf of Venice.

AQUINUM, a town of the Ancient Latins; now _Aquino_, but almost in

AQUITANIA, a division of Ancient Gaul, bounded by the _Garumna_ (now
_Garonne_), by the Pyrenees, and the ocean.

ARABIA, an extensive country of Asia, reaching from Egypt to Chaldea.
It is divided into three parts, _Arabia Petræa_, _Deserta_, and

ARAR, or ARARIS, a river of Gaul; now the _Saone_.

ARAXES, a river of Mesopotamia, which runs from north to south, and
falls into the Euphrates.

ARBELA, a city of Assyria, famous for the battle between Alexander and

ARCADIA, an inland district in the heart of Peloponnesus; mountainous,
and only fit for pasture; therefore celebrated by bucolic or pastoral

ARDEN, _Arduenna_, in Tacitus; the forest of Arden.

ARENACUM, an ancient town in the island of Batavia; now _Arnheim_, in

ARICIA, a town of Latium in Italy, at the foot of Mons Albanus, about
a hundred and sixty stadia from Rome. The grove, called _Aricinum
Nemus_, was in the vicinity.

ARII, a people of Asia.

ARIMINUM, a town of Umbria, at the mouth of the river Ariminus, on the
gulf of Venice.

ARMENIA, a kingdom of Asia, having Albania and Iberia to the north,
and Mount Taurus and Mesopotamia to the south: divided into the
GREATER, which extends astward to the Caspian Sea; and the LESSER, to
the west of the GREATER, and separated from it by the Euphrates; now
called _Turcomania_.

ARNUS, a river of Tuscany, which visits Florence in its course, and
falls into the sea near Pisa.

ARSANIAS, a river of the GREATER ARMENIA, running between Tigranocerta
and Artaxata, and falling into the Euphrates.

ARTAXATA, the capital of Armenia, situate on the river Araxes.

ARVERNI, a people of Ancient Gaul, inhabiting near the Loire; their
chief city _Arvernum_ now _Clermont_, the capital of _Auvergne_.

ASCALON, an ancient city of the Philistines, situate on the
Mediterranean; now _Scalona_.

ASCIBURGIUM, a citadel on the Rhine, where the Romans stationed a camp
and a garrison.

ATESTE, a town in the territory of Venice, situate to the south of

ATRIA, a town of the Veneti, on the river Tartarus, between the Padus
and the Athesis, now the _Adige_.

AUGUSTA TAURINORUM, a town of the Taurini, at the foot of the Alps;
now _Turin_, the capital of _Piedmont_.

AUGUSTODUNUM, the capital of the Ædui; now _Autun_, in the duchy of
Burgundy. It took its name from Augustus Cæsar.

AURIA, an ancient town of Spain; now _Orense_, in Galicia.

AUZEA, a strong castle in Mauritania.

AVENTICUM, the capital of the Helvetii; by the Germans called
_Wiflisburg_, by the French _Avenches_.


BACTRIANI, a people inhabiting a part of Asia, to the south of the
river _Oxus_, which rains from east to west into the Caspian Sea.

BAIÆ, a village of Campania, between the promontory of Misenum and
Puteoli (now _Pozzuolo_), nine miles to the west of Naples.

BALEARES, a cluster of islands in the Mediterranean, of which
_Majorca_ and _Minorca_ are the chief.

BASTARNI, a people of Germany, who led a wandering life in the vast
regions between the Vistula and the Pontic sea.

BATAVIA, an island formed by two branches of the Rhine and the German
sea. See Annals, book ii. s. 6; and Manners of the Germans, s. 29.
note a.

BATAVODURUM, a town in the island of Batavia; now, as some of the
commentators say, _Wyk-te-Duurstede_.

BEBRYACUM, or BEDRYACUM, a village situate between Verona and Cremona;
famous for two successive defeats; that of Otho, and soon after that
of Vitellius.

BELGIC GAUL, the country between the Seine and the Marne to the west,
the Rhine to the east, and the German sea to the north.

BERYTUS, now _Barut_, in Phœnicia.

BETASII, the people inhabiting the country now called _Brabant_.

BITHYNIA, a proconsular province of Asia Minor, bounded on the north
by the Euxine and the Propontic, adjoining to Troas, over-against
Thrace; now _Becsangial_.

BŒTICA, one of the provinces into which Augustus Cæsar divided the
Farther Spain.

BOII, a people of Celtic Gaul, in the country now called Bourbonnois.
There was also a nation of the same name in Germany. See Manners of
the Germans, s. 28.

BONNA, now _Bonn_, in the electorate of _Cologne_.

BONONIA, called by Tacitus _Bononiensis_; now _Bologna_, capital of
the _Bolognese_ in Italy.

BOSPHORANI, a people bordering on the Euxine; the _Tartars_.

BOSPHORUS, two straits of the sea so called; one _Bosphorus Thracius_,
now _the straits of Constantinople_; the other _Bosphorus Cimmerius_,
now _the straits of Caffa_.

BOVILLÆ, a town of Latium, near Mount Albanus; about ten miles from
Rome, on the Appian Road.

BRIGANTES, the ancient inhabitants of _Yorkshire_, _Lancashire_,
_Durham_, _Westmoreland_, and _Cumberland_.

BRIXELLUM, the town where Otho dispatched himself after the defeat at
_Bedriacum_; now _Bresello_, in the territory of _Reggio_.

BRIXIA, a town of Italy, on this side of the Po; now _Brescia_.

BRUCTERIANS, a people of Germany, situate in Westphalia. See the
Manners of the Germans, s. 33. note a.

BRUNDUSIUM, a town of Calabria, with an excellent harbour, at the
entrance of the Adriatic, affording to the Romans a commodious passage
to Greece. The Via Appia ended at this town. Now _Brindisi_, in the
territory of _Otranto_, in the kingdom of Naples.

BYZANTIUM, a city of Thrace, on the narrow strait that separates
Europe from Asia; now _Constantinople_. See Annals, xii. s. 63.


CÆLALETÆ, a people of Thrace, near Mount Hæmus.

CÆRACATES, probably the diocese of _Mayence_.

CÆSAREA, a maritime town in Palestine; now _Kaisarié_.

CÆSIAN FOREST, now the Forest of _Heserwaldt_, in the duchy of Cleves.
It is supposed to be a part of the Hercynian Forest.

CALABRIA, a peninsula of Italy, between Tarentum and Brundusium; now
the territory of Otranto, in the kingdom of Naples.

CAMELODUNUM, said by some to be _Malden_ in Essex, but by Camden, and
others, _Colchester_. It was made a Roman colony under the emperor
Claudius; a place of pleasure rather than of strength, adorned with
splendid works, a theatre, and a temple of Claudius.

CAMERIUM, a city in the territory of the Sabines; now destroyed.

CAMPANIA, a territory of Italy, bounded on the west by the Tuscan sea.
The most fertile and delightful part of Italy; now called _Terra di

CANGI, the inhabitants of Cheshire, and part of Lancashire.

CANINEFATES, a people of the Lower Germany, from the same origin as
the Batavians, and inhabitants of the west part of the isle of

CANOPUS, a city of the Lower Egypt, situate on a branch of the Nile
called by the same name.

CAPPADOCIA, a large country in Asia Minor, between Cilicia the Euxine
sea. Being made a Roman province, the inhabitants had an offer made
them of a free and independent government; but their answer was,
Liberty might suit the Romans, but the Cappadocians would neither
receive liberty, nor endure it.

CAPREA, an island on the coast of Campania, about four miles in length
from east to west, and about one in breadth. It stands opposite to the
promontory of _Surrentum_, and has the bay of Naples in view. It was
the residence of Tiberius for several years.

CAPUA, now _Capoa_, a city in the kingdom of Naples; the seat of
pleasure, and the ruin of Hannibal.

CARMEL, a mountain in Galilee, on the Mediterranean.

CARSULÆ, a town of Umbria, about twenty miles from Mevania; now in

CARTHAGO, once the most famous city of Africa, and the rival of Rome;
supposed by some to have been built by queen Dido, seventy years after
the foundation of Rome; but Justin will have it before Rome. It was
the capital of what is now the kingdom of _Tunis_.

CARTHAGO NOVA, a town of _Hispania Tarraconensis_, or the Hither
Spain; now _Carthagena_.

CASPIAN SEA, a vast lake between Persia, Great Tartary, Muscovy and
Georgia, said to be six hundred miles long, and near as broad.

CASSIOPE, a town in the island of Corcyra (now _Corfou_), called at
present _St. Maria di Cassopo_.

CATTI, a people of Germany, who inhabited part of the country now
called _Hesse_, from the mountains of _Hartz_, to the Weser and the


CELENDRIS, a place on the coast of Cilicia, near the confines of

CENCHRIÆ, a port of Corinth, situate about ten miles towards the east;
now _Kenkri_.

CENCHRIS, a river running through the Ortygian Grove.

CEREINA, an island in the Mediterranean, to the north of the Syrtis
Minor in Africa; now called _Kerkeni_.

CHALCEDON, a city of Bithynia, situate at the mouth of the Euxine,
over-against Byzantium. It was called the _City of the Blind_. See
Annals, xii. s. 63.

CHAUCI, a people of Germany, inhabiting what we now call _East
Friesland_, _Bremen_, and _Lunenburg_. See Manners of the Germans, s.

CHERUSCANS, a great and warlike people of Ancient Germany, to the
north of the _Catti_, between the _Elbe_ and the _Weser_.

CIBYRA, formerly a town of Phrygia, near the banks of the Mæander, but
now destroyed.

CILICIA, an extensive country in the Hither Asia, bounded by Mount
Taurus to the north, by the Mediterranean to the south, by Syria to
the east, and by Pamphylia to the west. It was one of the provinces
reserved for the management of the emperor.

CINITHIANS, a people of Africa.

CIRRHA, a town of Phocis, near Delphi, sacred to Apollo.

CIRRHUS, a town of Syria, in the district of Commagene, and not far
from Antioch.

CIRTA, formerly the capital of Numidia, and the residence of the king.
It is now called _Constantina_, in the kingdom of Algiers.

CLITÆ, a people of Cilicia, near Mount Taurus.

CLUNIA, a city in the Hither Spain.

COLCHOS, a country of Asia, on the east of the Euxine, famous for the
fable of the Golden Fleece, the Argonautic Expedition, and the Fair
Enchantress, Medea.

COLOPHON, a city of Ionia, in the Hither Asia. One of the places that
claimed the birth of Homer; now destroyed.

COMMAGENE, a district of Syria, bounded on the east by the Euphrates,
on the west by Amanus, and on the north by Mount Taurus.

COOS. See Cos.

CORCYRA, an island in the Adriatic; now _Corfou_.

CORINTHUS, a city of Achaia, on the south part of the isthmus which
joins Peloponnesus to the continent. From its situation between two
seas, Horace says,

     _Bimarisve Corinthi mœnia._

The city was taken and burnt to the ground by Mummius the Roman
general, A.U.C. 608. It was afterwards restored to its ancient
splendour, and made a Roman colony. It retains the name of _Corinth_.

CORMA, a river in Asia; mentioned by Tacitus only.

CORSICA, an island in the part of the Mediterranean called the Sea of
Liguria, in length from north to south about a hundred and fifty
miles, and about fifty where broadest. To the south it is separated
from Sardinia by a narrow channel.

COS, or COOS, one of the islands called the Cyclades, in the Ægean
sea, famous for being the birth-place of Apelles; now _Stan Co_.

COSA, a promontory of Etruria; now _Mont Argentaro_, in Tuscany.

CREMERA, a river of Tuscany, falling into the Tiber a little to the
north of Rome, rendered famous by the slaughter of the Fabii.

CREMONA, a city of Italy, built A.U.C. 536, and afterwards, in the
year 822, rased to the ground by the army of Vespasian, in the war
with Vitellius. It was soon rebuilt by the citizens, with the
exhortations of Vespasian. It is now a flourishing city in the duchy
of Milan, and retains the name of Cremona.

CUMÆ, a town of Campania, near Cape Misenum, famous for the cave of
the Cumæan Sibyl.

CUSUS, a river in Hungary, that falls into the Danube.

CYCLADES, a cluster of islands in the Ægean sea, so called from
_Cyclus_, the orb in which they lie. Their names and number are not
ascertained. Strabo reckons sixteen.

CYME, a maritime town of Æolia in Asia.

CYPRUS, a noble island opposite to the coast of Syria, formerly sacred
to Venus, whence she was called the Cyprian goddess.

CYRENE (now called _Curin_), the capital of Cyrenaica, a district of
Africa, now the _Desert of Barca_. It stood about eleven miles from
the sea, and had an excellent harbour.

CYTHERA, an island situated on the coast of Peloponnesus formerly
sacred to Venus, and thence her name of _Cytherea_. The island is now
called _Cerigo_.

CYTHNUS, one of the islands called the Cyclades, in the Ægean Sea.

CYZICUS, a city of Mysia, in the Hither Asia, rendered famous by the
long siege of Mithridates, which at last was raised by Lucullus.


DACIA, a country extending between the Danube and the Carpathian
mountains to the mouth of the Danube, and to the Euxine, comprising a
part of Upper Hungary, Transylvania, and Moldavia. The inhabitants to
the west, towards Germany, were called _Daci_; those to the east
towards the Euxine were called _Getæ_. The whole country was reduced
by Trajan to a Roman province.

DAHÆ, a people of Scythia, to the south of the Caspian, with the
Massagetæ on the east. Virgil calls them _indomitique Dahæ_.

DALMATIA, an extensive country bordering on Macedonia and Mæsia, and
having the Adriatic to the south.

DANDARIDÆ, a people bordering on the Euxine. Brotier says that some
vestiges of the nation, and its name, still exist at a place called

DANUBE, the largest river in Europe. It rises in Suabia, and after
visiting Bavaria, Austria, Hungary, and taking thence a prodigious
circuit, falls at last into the Black or Euxine sea. See Manners of
the Germans, s. 1. note g.

DELOS, the central island of the Cyclades, famous in mythology for the
birth of Apollo and Diana.

DELPHI, a famous inland town of Phocis in Greece, with a temple and
oracle of Apollo, situate near the foot of Mount Parnassus.

DENTHELIATE LANDS, a portion of the Peloponnesus that lay between
Laconia and Messenia; often disputed by those states.

DERMONA, a river of Gallia Transpadana; it runs into the Ollius (now
_Oglio_), and through that channel into the Po.

DIVODURUM, a town in Gallia Belgica, situate on the Moselle, on the
spot where _Metz_ now stands.

DONUSA, or DONYSA, an island in the Ægean sea, not far from _Naxos_.
Virgil has, _Bacchatamque jugis Naxon, viridemque Donysam_.

DYRRACHIUM, a town on the coast of Illyricum. Its port answered to
that of Brundusium, affording a convenient passage to Italy.


ECBATANA, the capital of Media; now _Hamedan_.

EDESSA, a town of Mesopotamia; now _Orrhoa_, or _Orfa_.

ELEPHANTINE, an island in the Nile, not far from Syene; at which last
place stood the most advanced Roman garrison, _Notitia Imperii_.

ELEUSIS, a district of Attica near the sea-coast, sacred to Ceres,
where the Eleusinian mysteries were performed; now in ruins.

ELYMÆI, a people bordering on the gulf of Persia.

EMERITA, a city of Spain; now _Merida_ in the province of

EPHESUS, an ancient and celebrated city of Ionia, in Asia Minor; now
_Efeso_. It was the birth-place of Heraclitus, the weeping

EPIDAPHNE, a town in Syria, not far from Antioch.

EPOREDIA, a town at the foot of the Alps, afterwards a Roman colony;
now _Jurea_, or _Jura_, a city of Piedmont.

ERINDE, a river of Asia, mentioned by Tacitus only.

ERITHRÆ, a maritime town of Ionia, in Asia Minor.

ETRURIA, a district of Italy, extending from the boundary of Liguria
to the Tiber; now _Tuscany_.

EUBŒA, an island near the coast of _Attica_; now _Negropont_.

EUPHRATES, a river of Asia, universally allowed to take its rise in
Armenia Major. It divides into two branches, one running through
Babylon, and the other through Seleucia. It bounds Mesopotamia on the

EUXINE, or PONTUS EUXINUS; now the Black Sea.


FERENTINUM, a town of Latium, in Italy; now _Ferentino_, in the
Campania of Rome.

FERENTUM, a town of Etruria; now _Ferenti_.

FERONIA, a town in Etruria.

FIDENÆ, a small town in the territory of the Sabines, about six miles
to the north of Rome. The place where the ruins of Fidenæ are seen, is
now called _Castello Giubileo_.

FLAMMINIAN WAY, made by Flamminius A.U.C. 533, from Rome to
_Ariminum_, a town of Umbria, or Romana, at the mouth of the river
Ariminus, on the gulf of Venice. It is now called _Rimini_.

FLEVUS, a branch of the Rhine, that emptied itself into the lakes
which have been long since absorbed by the _Zuyderzee_. A castle,
called _Flevum Castellum_, was built there by Drusus, the father of

FORMIÆ, a maritime town of Italy, to the south-east of _Cajeta_. The
ruins of the place are still visible.


FORUM ALLIENI, now _Ferrare_, on the Po.

FORUM JULIUM, a Roman colony in Gaul, founded by Julius Cæsar, and
completed by Augustus, with a harbour at the mouth of the river
_Argens_, capable of receiving a large fleet. The ruins of two moles
at the entrance of the harbour are still to be seen. See Life of
Agricola, s. 4. note a. The place is now called _Frejus_.

FRISII, the ancient inhabitants of _Friesland_. See Manners of the

FUNDANI MONTES, now _Fondi_, a city of Naples, on the confines of the
Pope's dominions.


GABII, a town of Latium, between Rome and Preneste. A particular
manner of tucking up the gown, adopted by the Roman consuls when they
declared war or attended a sacrifice, was called _Cinctus Gabinus_.
The place now extinct.

GÆTULI, a people of Africa, bordering on Mauritania.

GALATIA, or GALLOGRÆCIA, a country of Asia Minor, lying between
_Cappadocia, Pontus_, and _Pophlagonia_; now called _Chiangare_.

GALILÆA, the northern part of Canaan, or Palestine, bounded on the
north by _Phœnicia_, on the south by _Samaria_, on the east by the
_Jordan_, and on the west by the _Mediterranean_.

GALLIA, the country of ancient Gaul, now _France_. It was divided by
the Romans into _Gallia Cisalpina_, viz. Gaul on the Italian side of
the Alps, with the _Rubicon_ for its boundary to the south. It was
also called _Gallia Togata_, from the use made by the inhabitants of
the Roman _Toga_. It was likewise called _Gallia Transpadana_, or
_Cispadana_, with respect to Rome. The second great division of Gaul
was _Gallia Transalpina_, or _Ulterior_, being, with respect to Rome,
on the other side of the Alps. It was also called _Gallia Comata_,
from the people wearing their hair long, which the Romans wore short.
The southern part was GALLIA NARBONENSIS, _Narbon Gaul_, called
likewise _Braccata_, from the use of _braccæ_, or breeches, which were
no part of the Roman dress; now _Languedoc_, _Dauphiny_, and
_Provence_. For the other divisions of Gaul on this side of the Alps,
into the _Gallia Belgica, Celtica, Aquitanica_, further subdivided by
Augustus, see the Manners of the Germans, s. 1. note a.

GARAMANTES, a people in the interior part of Africa, extending over a
vast tract of country at present little known.

GARIZIM, a mountain of Samaria, famous for a temple built on it by
permission of Alexander the Great.

GELDUBA, not far from Novesium (now _Nuys_, in the electorate of
Cologne) on the west side of the Rhine.

GEMONIÆ, a place at Rome, into which were thrown the bodies of

GERMANIA, Ancient Germany, bounded on the east by the Vistula (the
_Weissel_), on the north by the Ocean, on the west by the Rhine, and
on the south by the Danube. A great part of Gaul, along the west side
of the Rhine, was also called Germany by Augustus Cæsar, _Germania
Cisrhenana_, and by him distinguished into _Upper_ and _Lower

GOTHONES, a people of ancient Germany, who inhabited part of Poland,
and bordered on the Vistula.

GRAIAN ALPS, Graiæ Alpes, supposed to be so called from the Greeks who
settled there. See ALPS.

GRINNES, a town of the Batavi, on the right side of the Vahalis (now
the _Waal_), in the territory of Utrecht.

GUGERNI, a people originally from Germany, inhabiting part of the
duchy of Cleves and Gueldre, between the Rhine and the Meuse.

GYARUS, one of the islands called the _Cyclades_, rendered famous by
being allotted for the banishment of Roman citizens. Juvenal says,
_Aude aliquid brevibus Gyaris, et carcere dignum, si vis esse


HÆMUS, MOUNT, a ridge of mountains running from Illyricum towards the
Euxine sea; now _Mont Argentaro_.

HÆMONADENSIANS, a people bordering on Cilicia.

HALICARNASSUS, the capital of Caria, in Asia Minor, famous for being
the birth-place of Herodotus and Dionysius, commonly called _Dionysius

HELVETII, a people in the neighbourhood of the Allobroges, situate on
the south-west side of the Rhine, and separated from Gaul by the
Rhodanus and Lacus Lemanus.

HENIOCHIANS, a people dwelling near the Euxine Sea.

HERCULANEUM, a town of Campania, near Mount Vesuvius, swallowed up by
an earthquake. Several antiquities have been lately dug out of the

HERCYNIAN FOREST: in the time of Julius Cæsar, the breadth could not
be traversed in less than nine days; and after travelling lengthways
for sixty days, no man reached the extremity. Cæsar, De Bell. Gal.
lib. vi. s. 29.

HERMUNDURI, a people of Germany, in part of what is now called Upper
Saxony, bounded on the north by the river _Sala_, on the east by the
_Elbe_, and on the south by the _Danube_.

HIERO-CÆSAREA, a city in Lydia, famous for a temple to the Persian
Diana, supposed to have been built by Cyrus.

HISPALIS, a town of Bœtica in the Farther Spain; now _Seville_ in

HISPANIA, Spain, otherwise called _Iberia_, from the river _Iberus_.
It has the sea on every side except that next to _Gaul_, from which it
is separated by the _Pyrenees_. During the time of the republic, the
whole country was divided into two provinces, _Ulterior_ and
_Citerior_, the _Farther_ and _Hither_ Spain. Augustus divided the
Farther Spain into two provinces; _Bœtica_, and _Lusitania_. The
Hither Spain he called _Tarraconensis_, and then Spain was formed into
three provinces; _Bœtica_, under the management of the senate; and the
other two reserved for officers appointed by the prince.

HOSTILIA, a village on the Po: now _Ostiglia_, in the neighbourhood of

HYPÆPA, a small city in _Lydia_, now rased to the ground.

HYRCANIA, a country of the Farther Asia, to the east of the Caspian
Sea, with Media on the west, and Parthia on the south; famous for its
tigers. There was a city of the same name in Lydia.


IBERIA, an inland country of Asia, bounded by Mount Caucasus on the
north, by Albania on the cast, by Colchis and part of Pontus on the
west, and by Armenia on the south. Spain was also called Iberia, from
the river Iberus; now the _Ebro_.

IBERUS, a noble river of the Hither Spain; now the _Ebro_.

ICENI, a people of Britain; now _Essex, Suffolk_, and _Norfolk_.

ILIUM, another name for ancient Troy. A new city, nearer to the sea,
was built after the famous siege of Troy, and made a Roman colony.
But, as was said of the old city, _Etiam periere ruinæ_.

ILLYRICUM, the country between Pannonia to the north, and the Adriatic
to the south. It is now comprised by _Dalmatia_ and _Sclavonia_, under
the respective dominion of the Venetians and the Turks.

INSUBRIA, a country of Gallia Cisalpina; now the _Milanese_.


INTERAMNA, an ancient town of the Volsci in Latium, not far from the
river Liris. It is now in ruins.

IONIAN SEA, the sea that washes the western coast of Greece, opposite
to the gulf of Venice.

ISICHI, a people bordering on the Euxine, towards the east.

ISTRIA, an island in the gulf of Venice, still retaining its ancient
name. There was also a town of the same name near the mouth of the
Ister, on the Euxine Sea.

ITURÆA, a _Transjordan_ district of Palestine, now _Bacar_.


JAPHA, a strong place, both by nature and art, in the Lower Galilee,
not far from _Jotapata_; now _Saphet_.

JAZYGES, a people of Sarmatia Europæa, situate on this side of the
Palus Mæotis, near the territory of Maroboduus, the German king.

JUGANTES, said by Camden to be the same as the _Brigantes_, but
Brotier thinks it probable that they were a distinct, people.


LACUS LEMANUS, now the _Lake of Geneva_.

LANGOBARDI, a people of Germany, between the _Elbe_ and the _Oder_, in
part of what is now called _Brandenburg_.

LANUVIUM, a town of Latium, about sixteen miles from Rome; now _Civita

LAODICEA, a town of Phrygia, called, to distinguish it from other
cities of the same name, _Laodicea ad Lycum_. Spon, in his account of
his travels, says it is rased to the ground, except four theatres
built, with marble, finely polished, and in as good condition as if
they were modern structures; now called _Ladik_.

LAODICEA AD MARE, a considerable town on the coast of Syria, well
built, with a commodious harbour.

LATIUM, the country of the Latini, so called from king Latinus;
contained at first within narrow bounds, but greatly enlarged under
the Alban kings and the Roman consuls, by the accession of the Æqui,
Volsci, Hernici, &c.

LECHÆUM, the west port of Corinth, which the people used for their
Italian trade, as they did _Cenchræ_ for their eastern or Asiatic.

LEPTIS, there were in Africa two ancient cities of the name, _Leptis
magna_, and _Leptis parva_. The first (now called _Lebeda_) was in the
territory of Tripoli; the second, a town on the Mediterranean, not far
from Carthage.

LESBOS, an island in the Egean Sea, near the coast of Asia; the
birth-place of Sappho: now called _Metelin_.

LEUCI, a people of Gallia Belgica, to the north of the Lingones,
between the Moselle and the Meuse.

LIBYA, the name given by the Greeks to all Africa; but, properly
speaking, it was an interior part of Africa.

LIGERIS; now the _Loire_.

LIGURIA, a country of Italy, divided into the maritime, _Ligus Ora_;
and the inland _Liguria_; both between the Apennine to the south, the
Maritime Alps to the west, and the Po to the north. It contained what
is now called _Ferrara_, and the _territories of Genoa_.

LINGONES, a people of Gallia Belgica, inhabiting the country about
_Langres_ and _Dijon_.

LONGOBARDI, or LANGOBORDI, a people of Germany, between the Elbe and
the Oder. See Manners of the Germans, s. 40 note a.

LUCANIA, a country of ancient Italy; now called the _Basilicate_.

LUGDUNUM, a city of ancient Gaul; now _Lyons_.

LUGDUNUM BATAVORUM, a town of the Batavi, now _Leyden_ in Holland.
There was another town of the name in Gallia Celtica, at the
confluence of the Arar (the _Saone_) and the Rhodanus (the _Rhone_).
The place is now called Lyons.

LUPPIA, a river of Westphalia; now the _Lippe_.

LUSITANIA, now the kingdom of _Portugal_, on the west of Spain,
formerly a part of it.

LYCIA, a country in Asia Minor, bounded by Pamphylia, Phrygia, and the

LYDIA, an inland country of Asia Minor, formerly governed by Crœsus;
now _Carasia_.

LYGII, an ancient people of Germany, who inhabited the country now
called _Silesia_, and also part of _Poland_.


MACEDONIA, a large country, rendered famous by Philip of Macedon and
his son Alexander; now a province of the Turkish empire, bounded by
Servia and Bulgaria to the north, by Greece to the south, by Thrace
and the Archipelago to the east, and by Epirus to the west.

MÆOTIS PALUS, a lake of Sarmatia Europæa, still known by the same
name, and reaching from Crim Tartary to the mouth of the _Tanais_ (the

MÆSIA, a district of the ancient Illyricum, bordering on Pannonia,
containing what is now called _Bulgaria_, and part of _Servia_.

MAGNESIA: there were anciently three cities of the name; one in Ionia,
on the Mæander, which, it is said, was given to Themistocles by
Artaxerxes, with these words, _to furnish his table with bread_; it is
now called _Guzel-Hissard_, in Asiatic Turkey: the second was at the
foot of Mount Sipylus, in Lydia; but has been destroyed by
earthquakes: the third Magnesia was a maritime town of Thessaly, on
the Egean Sea.

MAGONTIACUM, a town of Gallia Belgica; now _Mentz_, situate at the
confluence of the Rhine and the Maine.

MARCODURUM, a village of Gallia Belgica; now _Duren_ on the _Roer_.

MARCOMANIANS, a people of Germany, between the Rhine, the Danube, and
the Neckar. They removed to the country of the Boii, and having
expelled the inhabitants, occupied the country now called _Bohemia_.
See Manners of the Germans, s. 42.

MARDI, a people of the Farther Asia, near the Caspian Sea.


MARSACI, a people in the north of Batavia, inhabiting the sea-coast.

MARSI, a people of Italy, who dwelt round the Lacus Fucinus. Another
people called Marsi, in Germany, to the south of the Frisii, in the
country now called _Paderborne_ and _Munster_.

MASSILLIA, a town of Gallia Narbonensis, formerly celebrated for
polished manners and learning; now _Marseilles_, a port town of

MATTIACI, a branch of the Catti in Germany. Their capital town was

MATTIUM, supposed now to be _Marpourg_ in _Hesse_.

MAURITANIA, a large region of Africa, extending from east to west
along the Mediterranean, divided by the emperor Claudius into
_Cæsariensis_, the eastern part, and _Tingitana_, the western. It had
Numidia to the east, and Getulia to the south; and was also bounded by
the Atlantic ocean, the straits of Gibraltar, and the Mediterranean to
the north. The natives were called Mauri, and thence the name of
_Mauritania_; now _Barbary_.

MEDIA, a country of the Farther Asia, bounded on the west by Armenia,
on the east by Parthia, on the north by the Caspian Sea, on the south
by Persia. _Ecbatana_ was the capital.

MEDIOLANUM, now _Milan_ in Italy.

MEDIOMATRICI, a people of Gallia Belgica; now the diocese of _Metz_.

MELITENE, a city of Cappadocia.

MEMPHIS, a city of Egypt, famous for its pyramids.

MENAPII, a people of Belgia; now _Brabant_ and _Flanders_.

MESOPOTAMIA, a large country in the middle of Asia; so called, because
it lies, [Greek: mesae potamon], between two rivers, the Euphrates on
the west, and the Tigris on the east.

MESSENA, or MESSANA, an ancient and celebrated city of Sicily, on the
strait between that island and Italy. It still retains the name of

MEVANIA, a town of Umbria, near the Clitumnus, a river that runs from
east to west into the Tiber.

MILETUS, an ancient city of Ionia, in Asia Minor; now totally

MILVIUS PONS, a bridge over the Tiber, at the distance of two miles
from Rome, on the _Via Flamminia_; now called _Ponte-Molle_.

MINTURNÆ, a town on the confines of Campania, near the river Liris.

MISENUM, a promontory of Campania, with a good harbour, near the
_Sinus Puteolanus_, or the bay of Naples, on the north side. It was
the station for the Roman fleets. Now _Capo di Miseno_.

MITYLENE, the capital city of the isle of Lesbos, and now gives name
to the whole island.

MONA, an island separated from the coast of the Ordovices by a narrow
strait, the ancient seat of the Druids. Now the isle of _Anglesey_.

MONÆCI PORTUS, now _Monaco_, a port town in the territory of _Genoa_.

MORINI, a people of Belgia, inhabiting the diocese of _Tournay_, and
the country about _St. Omer_ and _Boulogne_.

MOSA, a large river of Belgic Gaul; it receives a branch of the Rhine,
called _Vahalis_, and falls into the German Ocean below the Briel. It
is now the _Mæse_, or _Meuse_.

MOSELLA, a river, which, running through Lorrain, falls into the Rhine
at _Coblentz_, now called the _Moselle_.

MOSTENI, the common name of the people and their town on the river
Hermus, in Lydia.

MUSULANI, an independent savage people in Africa, on the confines of
Carthage, Numidia, and Mauritania.

MUTINA, now _Modena_, a city of Lombardy, in Italy.

MYRINA, a town of _Æolis_, or _Æolia_, in the Hither Asia; now


NABALIA, the name of the channel made by Drusus from the Rhine to the
river Sala; now the _Ysell_. See Annals, ii. s. 8.

NABATHÆI, a people between the Euphrates and the Red Sea;
comprehending Arabia Petræa, and bounded by Palestine on the north.

NAR, a river which rises in Umbria, and, falling into the lake
_Velinus_, rushes thence with a violent and loud cascade, and empties
itself into the Tiber.

NARBON GAUL, the southern part of Gaul, bounded by the Pyrenees to the
west, the Mediterranean to the south, and the Alps and the Rhine to
the east.

NARNIA, a town of Umbria, on the river _Nar_; now _Narni_, in the
territory of the Pope.

NAUPORTUM, a town on a cognominal river in Pannonia.

NAVA, a river of Gallia Belgica, which runs north-east into the west
side of the Rhine; now the _Nahe_.

NAVARIA, now _Novara_, a city of Milan.

NEMETES, a people originally of Germany, removed to the diocese of
_Spire_, on the Rhine.

NICEPHORUS, a river of Asia that washes the walls of _Tigranocerta_,
and runs into the _Tigris_; _D'Anville_ says, now called _Khabour_.

NICOPOLIS: there were several towns of this name, viz. in Egypt,
Armenia, Bithynia, on the Euxine, &c. A town of the same name was
built by Augustus, on the coast of Epirus, as a monument of his
victory at Actium.

NINOS, the capital of _Assyria_; called also _Nineve_.

NISIBIS, a city of Mesopotamia, at this day called _Nesibin_.

NOLA, a city of Campania, on the north-east of Vesuvius. At this
place Augustus breathed his last: it retains its old name to this day.

NORICUM, a Roman province, bounded by the Danube on the north, by the
_Alpes Noricæ_ on the south, by Pannonia on the east, and Vindelicia
on the west; now containing a great part of Austria, Tyrol, Bavaria,

NOVESIUM, a town of the Ubii in Gallia Belgica; now _Nuys_, on the
west side of the Rhine, in the electorate of _Cologne_.

NUCERIA, a city of Campania; now _Nocera_.

NUMIDIA, a celebrated kingdom of Africa, bordering on Mauritania, and
bounded to the north by the Mediterranean; now _Algiers, Tunis,
Tripoli_, &c. the eastern part of the kingdom of _Algiers_. Syphax was
king of one part, and Masinissa of the other.


OCRICULUM, a town of Umbria, near the confluence of the Nar and the
Tiber; now _Otricoli_, in the duchy of _Spoletto_.

ODRYSÆ, a people situated in the western part of Thrace, how a
province of European Turkey.

OEENSES, a people of Africa, who occupied the country between the two
Syrtes on the Mediterranean. Their city was called _Oea_, now

OPITERGIUM, now _Oderzo_, in the territory of Venice.

ORDOVICES, a people who inhabited what we now call _Flintshire,
Denbighshire, Carnarvon_, and _Merionethshire_, in North Wales.

OSTIA, formerly a town of note, at the mouth of the Tiber (on the
south side), whence its name; at this day it lies in ruins.


PADUS, anciently called _Eridanus_ by the Greeks, famous for the
fable of Phæton; it receives several rivers from the Alps and
Apennine, and, running from west to east, discharges itself into the
Adriatic. It is now called the Po.

PAGIDA, a river in Numidia; its modern name is not ascertained.
D'Anville thinks it is now called _Fissato_, in the territory of


PAMPHYLIA, a country of the Hither Asia, bounded by Pisidia to the
north, and by the Mediterranean to the south.

PANDA, a river of Asia, in the territory of the _Siraci_; not well

PANDATARIA, an island of the Tuscan Sea, in the Sinus Puteolanus (now
_il Golfo di Napoli_), the place of banishment for illustrious exiles,
viz. Julia the daughter of Augustus, Agrippina the wife of Germanicus,
Octavia the daughter of Claudius, and many others. It is now called
_L'lsle Sainte-Marie_, or _Santa Maria_.

PANNONIA, an extensive country of Europe, bounded by Mæsia on the
east, by Noricum on the west, Dalmatia on the south, and by the Danube
to the north; containing part of _Austria_ and _Hungary_.


PAPHOS: there were two towns of the name, both on the west side of the
island of Cyprus, and dedicated to Venus, who was hence the _Paphian_
and the _Cyprian_ goddess.

PARTHIA, a country of the Farther Asia, with Media on the west, Asia
on the east, and Hyrcania on the north.

PATAVIUM, now _Padua_, in the territory of Venice.

PELIGNI, a people of Samaium, near Naples.

PELOPONNESUS, the large peninsula to the south of Greece, so called
after _Pelops_, viz. _Pelopis Nesus_. It is joined to the rest of
Greece by the isthmus of Corinth, which lies between the Egean and
Ionian seas. It is now called the _Morea_.


PERGAMOS, an ancient and famous city of _Mysia_, situate on the
Caicus, which runs through it. It was the residence of Attalus and his
successors. This place was famous for a royal library, formed, with
emulation, to vie with that of Alexandria in Egypt. The kings of the
latter, stung with paltry jealousy, prohibited the exportation of
paper. Hence the invention of parchment, called _Pergamana charta_.
Plutarch assures us, that the library at Pergamos contained two
hundred thousand volumes. The whole collection was given by Marc
Antony as a present to Cleopatra, and thus the two libraries were
consolidated into one. In about six or seven centuries afterwards, the
volumes of science, by order of the calif Omar, served for a fire to
warm the baths of Alexandria; and thus perished _all the physic of the
soul_. The town subsists at this day, and retains the name of
_Pergamos_. See Spon's Travels, vol. i.

PERINTHUS, a town of Thrace, situate on the Propontis, now called

PERUSIA, formerly a principal city of Etruria, on the north side of
the Tiber, with the famous _Lacus Trasimenus_ to the east. It was
besieged by Augustus, and reduced by famine. Lucan has, _Perusina
fames_. It is now called _Perugia_, in the territory of the Pope.

PHARSALIA, a town in Thessaly, rendered famous by the last battle
between Pompey and Julius Cæsar.

PHILADELPHIA: there were several ancient towns of this name. That
which Tacitus mentions was in Lydia, built by Attalus Philadelphus; it
is now called by the Turks, _Alah Scheyr_.

PHILIPPI, a city of Macedonia, on the confines of Thrace; built by
Philip of Macedon, and famous for the battle fought on its plains
between Augustus and the republican party. It is now in ruins.

PHILIPPOPOLIS, a city of Thrace, near the river _Hebrus_. It derived
its name from Philip of Macedon, who enlarged it, and augmented the
number of inhabitants.

PICENTIA, the capital of the _Picentini_, on the Tuscan Sea. not far
from Naples.

PICENUM, a territory of Italy, to the east of Umbria, and in some
parts extending from the Apennine to the Adriatic. It is now supposed
to be the _March of Ancona_.

PIRÆEUS, a celebrated port near Athens. It is much frequented at this
day; its name, _Porto Lione_.

PISÆ, a town of Etruria, which gave name to the bay of Pisa, _Sinus

PLACENTIA, a town in Italy, now called _Placenza_, in the duchy of

PLANASIA, a small island near the coast of Etruria, in the Tuscan Sea;
now _Pianosa_.

POMPEII, a town of Campania, near Herculaneum. It was destroyed by an
earthquake in the reign of Nero.

POMPEIOPOLIS: there were anciently two cities of the name; one in
Cilicia, another in Paphlagonia.

PONTIA, an island in the Tuscan sea; a place of relegation or

PONTUS, an extensive country of Asia Minor, lying between Bithynia and
Paphlagonia, and extending along the _Pontus Euxinus_, the Euxine or
the Pontic Sea, from which it took its name. It had that sea to the
east, the mouth of the Ister to the north, and Mount Hæmus to the
south. The wars between Mithridates, king of Pontus, and the Romans,
are well known.

PRÆNESTE, a town of Latium to the south-east of Rome, standing very
high, and said to be a strong place. The town that succeeded it,
stands low in a valley, and is called _Palestrina_.

PROPONTIS, near the Hellespont and the Euxine; now the Sea of

PUTEOLI, a town of Campania, so called from its number of wells; now
_Pozzuolo_, nine miles to the west of Naples.

PYRAMUS, a river of Cilicia, rising in Mount Taurus, and running from
east to west into the Sea of Cilicia.

PYRGI, a town of Etruria, on the Tuscan Sea; now St. _Marinella_,
about thirty-three miles distant from Rome.


QUADI, a people of Germany, situate to the south-east of Bohemia, on
the banks of the Danube. See Manners, of the Germans, s. 42. note b.


RAVENNA, an ancient city of Italy, near the coast of the Adriatic. A
port was constructed at the mouth of the river Bedesis, and by
Augustus made a station for the fleet that guarded the Adriatic. It is
still called _Ravenna_.

REATE, a town of the Sabines in Latium, situate near the lake Velinus.


REMI, a people of Gaul, who inhabited the northern part of
_Champagne_; now the city of _Rheims_.

RHACOTIS, the ancient name of Alexandria in Egypt.

RHÆTIA, a country bounded by the Rhine to the west, the Alps to the
east, by Italy to the south, and _Vindelicia_ to the north. Horace
says _Videre Rhæti bella sub Alpibus Drusum gerentem, et Vindelici_.
Now the country of the _Grisons_.

RHEGIUM, an ancient city at the extremity of the Apennine, on the
narrow strait between Italy and Sicily. It is now called _Reggio_, in
the farther Calabria.

RHINE, the river that rises in the Rhætian Alps, and divides Gaul from
Germany. See Manners of the Germans, s. 1. note f; and s. 29. note

RHODANUS, a famous river of Gaul, rising on Mount Adula, not far from
the head of the Rhine. After a considerable circuit it enters the
_Lake of Geneva_, and in its course visits the city of Lyons, and from
that place traverses a large tract of country, and falls into the
Mediterranean. It is now called the _Rhone_.

RHODUS, a celebrated island in the Mediterranean, near the coast of
Asia Minor, over-against _Caria_. The place of retreat for the
discontented Romans. Tiberius made that use of it.

RHOXOLANI, a people on the north of the _Palus Mæotis_, situate along
the Tanais, now the _Don_.

RICODULUM, a town of the Treviri on the Moselle.


SABRINA, now the _Severn_; a river that rises in _Montgomeryshire_,
and running by _Shrewsbury_, _Worcester_, and _Glocester_, empties
itself into the Bristol Channel, separating Wales from England.

SALA. It seems that two rivers of this name were intended by Tacitus,
One, now called the Issel, which had a communication with the Rhine,
by means of the canal made by Drusus, the father of Germanicus. The
other SALA was a river in the country now called _Thuringia_,
described by Tacitus as yielding salt, which the inhabitants
considered as the peculiar favour of heaven. The salt, however, was
found in the salt springs near the river, which runs northward into
the Albis, or Elbe.

SALAMIS, an island near the coast of Attica, opposite to _Eleusis_.
There was also a town of the name of Salamis, on the eastern coast of
Cyprus, built by Teucer, when driven by his father from his native
island. Horace says, _Ambiguam tellure novâ Salamina futuram_.

SAMARIA, the capital of the country of that name in Palestine; the
residence of the kings of Israel, and afterwards of Herod. Samaritans,
the name of the people. Some magnificent ruins of the place are still

SAMBULOS, a mountain in the territory of the Parthians, with the river
_Corma_ near it. The mountain and the river are mentioned by Tacitus

SAMNIS, or SAMNITES, a people of ancient Italy, extending on both
sides of the Apennine, famous in the Roman wars.

SAMOS, an island of Asia Minor, opposite to Ephesus; the birth-place
of Pythagoras, who was thence called the _Samian Sage_.

SAMOTHRACIA, an island of Thrace, in the Egean Sea, opposite to the
mouth of the Hebrus. There were mysteries of initiation celebrated in
this island, held in as high repute as those of Eleusis; with a sacred
and inviolable asylum.

SARDES, the capital of Lydia, at the foot of Mount Tmolus, from which
the Pactolus ran down through the heart of the city. The inhabitants
were called _Sardicni_.

SARDINIA, an island on the Sea of Liguria, lying to the south of
Corsica. It is said that an herb grew there, which, when eaten,
produced a painful grin, called _Sardonius risus_. The island now
belongs to the Duke of Saxony, with the title of king.

SARMATIA, called also _Scythia_, a northern country of vast extent,
and divided into _Europæa_ and _Asiatica_; the former beginning at the
Vistula (its western boundary), and comprising Russia, part of Poland,
Prussia, and Lithuania; and the latter bounded on the west by Sarmatia
Europæa and the Tanais (the _Don_), extending south as far as Mount
Caucasus and the Caspian Sea, containing Tartary, Circassia, &c.

SAXA RUBRA, a place on the Flamminian road in Etruria, nine miles from

SCEPTEUCI, a people of Asiatic Sarmatia, between the Euxine and the
Caspian Sea.

SCYTHIA, a large country, now properly Crim Tartary; in ancient
geography divided in Scythia Asiatica, on either side of Mount Imaus;
and Scythia Europæa, about the Euxine Sea and the Mæotic Lake. See

SEGESTUM, a town of Sicily, near Mount _Eryx_, famous for a temple
sacred to the _Erycinian_ Venus.

SELEUCIA, a city of Mesopotamia, situate at the confluence of the
_Euphrates_ and the _Tigris_; now called _Bagdad_. We find in ancient
geography several cities of this name.

SEMNONES, a people of Germany, called by Tacitus the most illustrious
branch of the Suevi. They inhabited between the Albis and Viadrus.

SENENSIS COLONIA, now Sienna, in Tuscany.

SENONES, inhabitants of Celtic Gaul, situate on the _Sequana_ (now the
Seine); a people famous for their invasion of Italy, and taking and
burning Rome A.U.C. 364.

SEQUANI, a people of Belgic Gaul, inhabiting the country now called
_Franche Comté_ or the _Upper Burgundy_, and deriving their name from
the _Sequana_ (now the _Seine_), which, rising near _Dijon_ in
Burgundy, runs through Paris, and, traversing Normandy, falls into the
British Channel near _Havre de Grace_.

SERIPHOS, a small island in the Ægean Sea, one of the Cyclades: now
_Serfo_, or _Serfanto_.

SICAMBRI, an ancient people of Lower Germany, between the Mæse and the
Rhine, where _Guelderland_ is. They were transplanted by Augustus to
the west side of the Rhine. Horace says to that emperor, _Te cæde
gaudentes Sicambri compositis venerantur armis_.

SILURES, a people of Britain, situate on the _Severn_ and the Bristol
Channel; now _South Wales_, comprising _Glamorgan_, _Radnorshire_,
_Hereford_, and _Monmouth_. See Camden.

SIMBRUINI COLLES, the Simbruine Hills, so called from the _Simbruina
Stagna_, or lakes formed by the river _Anio_, which gave the name of
Sublaqueum to the neighbouring town.

SINOPE, one of the most famous cities in the territory of Pontus. It
was taken by Lucullus in the Mithridatic war, and afterwards received
Roman colonies. It was the birth-place of Diogenes the cynic, who was
banished from his country. The place is still called _Sinope_, a port
town of Asiatic Turkey, on the Euxine.

SINUESSA, a town of Latium, on the confines of Campania, beyond the
river Liris (now called _Garigliano_). The place was much frequented
for the salubrity of its waters.

SIPYLUS, a mountain of Lydia, near which Livy says the Romans obtained
a complete victory over Antiochas.

SIRACI, a people of Asia, between the _Euxine_ and the _Caspian_ Seas.

SMYRNA, a city of Ionia in the Hither Asia, which laid a claim to the
birth of Homer. The name of Smyrna still remains in a port town of
Asiatic Turkey.

SOPHENE, a country between the Greater and the Lesser Armenia; now
called _Zoph_.

SOZA, a city of the _Dandaridæ_.

SPELUNCA, a small town near _Fondi_, on the coast of Naples.

STÆCHADES, five islands, now called the _Hieres_, on the coast of

STRATONICE, a town of Caria in the Hither Asia, so called after
_Stratonice_, the wife of Antiochus.

SUEVI, a great and warlike people of ancient Germany, who occupied a
prodigious tract of country. See Manners of the Germans, s. 38. and
note a.

SUNICI, a people removed from Germany to Gallia Belgica. According to
Cluverius, they inhabited the duchy of _Limburg_.

SWINDEN, a liver that flows on the confines of the _Dahæ_. It is
mentioned by Tacitus only. Brotier supposes it to be what is now
called _Herirud_, or _La Riviere d'Herat_.

SYENE, a town in the Higher Egypt, towards the borders of Ethiopia,
situate on the Nile. It lies under the tropic of Cancer, as is
evident, says Pliny the elder, from there being no shadow projected at
noon at the summer solstice. It was, for a long time, the boundary of
the Roman empire. A garrison was stationed there: Juvenal was sent to
command there by Domitian, who, by conferring that unlocked for
honour, meant, with covered malice, to punish the poet for his
reflection on Paris the comedian, a native of Egypt, and a favourite
at court.

SYRACUSE, one of the noblest cities in Sicily. The Romans took it
during the second Punic war, on which occasion the great Archimedes
lost his life. It is now destroyed, and no remains of the place are
left. _Etiam periere ruinæ_.

SYRIA, a country of the Hither Asia, between the Mediterranean and the
Euphrates, so extensive that Palestine, or the Holy Land, was deemed a
part of Syria.

SYRTES, the _deserts of Barbary_: also two dangerous sandy gulfs in
the Mediterranean, on the coast of Barbary; one called _Syrtis Magna_,
now the _Gulf of Sidra_; the other _Syrtis Parva_, now the _Gulf of


TANAIS, the _Don_, a very large river in Scythia, dividing Asia from
Europe. It rises in Muscovy, and flowing through _Crim Tartary_, runs
into the _Palus Mæotis_, near the city now called Azoff, in the hands
of the Turks.

TARENTUM, now Tarento, in the province of _Otranto_. The Lacedemonians
founded a colony there, and thence it was called by Horace,
_Lacedæmonium Tarentum_.

TARICHÆA, a town of Galilee. It was besieged and taken by Vespasian,
who sent six thousand of the prisoners to assist in cutting a passage
through the isthmus of Corinth.

TARRACINA, a city of the Volsci in Latium, near the mouth of the
_Ufens_, in the Campania of Rome. Now _Terracina_, on the Tuscan Sea.

TARRACO, the capital of a division of Spain, called by the Romans
_Tarraconensis_; now Taragon, a port town in Catalonia, on the
Mediterranean, to the west of _Barcelona_. See HISPANIA.

TARTARUS, a river running between the Po and the Athesis, (the
_Adige_) from west to east, into the Adriatic; now _Tartaro_.

TAUNUS, a mountain of Germany, on the other side of the Rhine; now
Mount _Heyrick_, over-against _Mentz_.

TAURANNITII, a people who occupied a district of _Armenia Major_, not
far from _Tigranocerta_.

TAURI, a people inhabiting the _Taurica Chersonesus_, on the _Euxine_.
The country is now called _Crim Tartary_.

TAURINI, a people dwelling at the foot of the Alps. Their capital was
called, after Augustus Cæsar, who planted a colony, there, _Augusta
Taurinorum_. The modern name is _Turin_, the capital of Piedmont.

TAURUS, the greatest mountain in Asia, extending from the Indian to
the Ægean Sea; said to be fifty miles over, and fifteen hundred long.
Its extremity to the north is called _Imaus_.

TELEBOÆ, a people of Æolia or Acarnania in Greece, who removed to
Italy, and settled in the isle of Capreæ.

TEMNOS, an inland town of Æolia, in the Hither Asia.

TENCTERI, a people of Germany. See the Manners of the Germans, s. 32.

TENOS, one of the Cyclades.

TERMES, a city in the Hither Spain; now a village called _Tiermes_, in

TERRACINA, a city of the _Volsci_ in Latium, near the mouth of the
_Ufens_, on the Tuscan Sea; now called _Terracina_, in the territory
of Rome.

TEUTOBURGIUM, a forest in Germany, rendered famous by the slaughter of
Varus and his legions. It began in the country of the Marsi, and
extended to Paderborn, Osnaburg, and Munster, between the _Ems_ and
the _Luppia_.

THALA, a town in Numidia, destroyed in the war of Julius Cæsar against

THEBÆ, a very ancient town in the Higher Egypt, on the east side of
the Nile, famous for its hundred gates. Another city of the same name
in Bœotia, in Greece, said to have been built by Cadmus. It had the
honour of producing two illustrious chiefs, Epaminondas and
Pelopidas, and Pindar the celebrated poet. Alexander rased it to the
ground; but spared the house and family of Pindar.

THERMES otherwise THERMA, a town in Macedonia, afterwards called
_Thessalonica_, famous for two epistles of St. Paul to the
Thessalonians. The city stood at the head of a large bay, called
_Thermæus Sinus_; now _Golfo di Salonichi_.

THESSALY, a country of Greece, formerly a great part of Macedonia.

THRACIA, an extensive region, bounded to the north by Mount Hæmus, to
the south by the Ægean Sea, and by the Euxine and Propontis to the
east. In the time of Tiberius it was an independent kingdom, but
afterwards made a Roman province.

THUBASCUM, a town of Mauritania in Africa.

THURII, a people of ancient Italy, inhabiting a part of Lucania,
between the rivers Crathis (now _Crate_), and Sybaris (now _Sibari_).

TIBER, a town of ancient Latium, situate on the Anio, about twenty
miles from Rome. Here Horace had his villa, and it was the frequent
retreat of Augustus. Now _Tivoli_.

TICINUM, a town of _Insubria_, situate on the river Ticinus, near its
confluence with the Po; now _Pavia_, in Milan.

TICINUS, a river of Italy falling into the Po, near the city of
_Ticinum_, or Pavia; now _Tesino_.

TIGRANOCERTA, a town of Armenia Major, built by Tigranes in the time
of the Mithridatic war. The river _Nicephorus_ washes one side of the
town. Brotier says, it is now called _Sert_ or _Sered_.

TIGRIS, a great river bounding the country called Mesopotamia to the
east, while the Euphrates incloses it to the west. Pliny gives an
account of the Tigris, in its rise and progress, till it sinks under
ground near Mount Taurus, and breaks forth again with a rapid current,
falling at last into the Persian Gulf. It divides into two channels at

TMOLUS, a mountain of Lydia, commended for its vines, its saffron, its
fragrant shrubs, and the fountain-head of the Pactolus. It appears
from Tacitus, that there was a town of the same name, that stood near
the mountain.

TOLBIACUM, a town of Gallia Belgica; now _Zulpich_, or _Zulch_, a
small town in the duchy of Juliers.

TRALLES, formerly a rich and populous city of Lydia, not far from the
river Meander. The ruins are still visible.

TRAPEZUS, now _Trapezond_ or _Trebizond_, a city with a port in the
Lesser Asia, on the Euxine.

TREVIRI, the people of _Treves_; an ancient city of the Lower Germany,
on the Moselle. It was made a Roman colony by Augustus, and became the
most famous city of Belgic Gaul. It is now the capital of an
electorate of the same name.

TRIBOCI, a people of Belgica, originally Germans. They inhabited
_Alsace_, and the diocese of _Strasbourg_.

TRIMETUS, an island in the Adriatic; one of those which the ancients
called _Insulæ Diomedeæ_; it still retains the name of _Tremiti_. It
lies near the coast of the _Capitanate_, a province of the kingdom of
Naples, on the Gulf of Venice.

TRINOBANTES, a people of Britain, who inhabited _Middlesex_ and

TUBANTES, an ancient people of Germany, about _Westphalia_.

TUNGRI, a people of Belgia. Their city, according to Cæsar, _Atuaca_;
now _Tongeren_, in the bishopric of Liege.

TURONII, a people of ancient Gaul, inhabiting the east side of the
_Ligeris_ (now the _Loire_). Hence the modern name of _Tours_.

TUSCULUM, a town of Latium, to the north of _Alba_, about twelve miles
from Rome. It gave the name of _Tusculanum_ to Cicero's villa, where
that great orator wrote his Tusculan Questions.

TYRUS, an ancient city of Phœnicia, situate on an island so near the
continent, that Alexander the Great formed it into a peninsula, by the
mole or causey which he threw up during the siege. See Curtius, lib.
iv. s. 7.


UBIAN ALTAR, an altar erected by the Ubii, on their removal to the
western side of the Rhine, in honour of Augustus; but whether this was
at a different place, or the town of the Ubii, is not known.

UBII, a people originally of Germany, but transplanted by Augustus to
the west side of the Rhine, under the conduct of _Agrippa_. Their
capital was then for a long time called _Oppidum Ubiorum_, and, at
last, changed by the empress Agrippina to _Colonia Agrippinensis_; now
_Cologne_, the capital of the electorate of that name.

UMBRIA, a division of Italy, to the south-east of Etruria, between the
Adriatic and the Nar.

UNSINGIS, a river of Germany, running into the sea, near _Groningen_;
now the _Hunsing_.

URBINUM, now _Urbino_, a city for ever famous for having given birth
to Raphael, the celebrated painter.

USIPII, or USIPETES, a people of Germany, who, after their expulsion
by the Catti, settled near _Paderborn_. See Manners of the Germans, s.
32. and note a.

USPE, a town in the territory of the _Siraci_; now destroyed.


VADA, a town on the left-hand side of the Nile, in the island of

VAHALIS, a branch of the Rhine; now the Waal. See Manners of the
Germans, s. 29. and note a.

VANGIONES, originally inhabitants of Germany, but afterwards settled
in Gaul; now the diocese of _Worms_.

VASCONES, a people who inhabited near the Pyrenees, occupying lands
both in Spain and Gaul.

VELABRUM, a place at Rome, between Mount Aventine and Mount Palatine,
generally under water, from the overflowing of the Tiber. Propertius
describes it elegantly, lib. iv. eleg. x.

     Qua Velabra suo stagnabant flumine, quáque
       Nauta per urbanas velificabat aquas.

VELINUS, a lake in the country of the Sabines.

VENETI, a people of Gallia Celtica, who inhabited what is now called
_Vannes_, in the south of Britanny, and also a considerable tract on
the other side of the Alps, extending from the Po along the Adriatic,
to the mouth of the _Ister_.

VERCELLÆ, now _Vercelli_ in Piedmont.

VERONA, now _Verona_, in the territory of Venice, on the _Adige_.

VESONTIUM, the capital of the Sequani; now _Besançon_, the chief city
of Burgundy.

VETERA, i.e. Vetera Castra. The Old Camp, which was a fortified
station for the legions; now _Santen_, in the duchy of Cleves, not far
from the Rhine.

VIA SALARIA, a road leading from the salt-works at Ostia to the
country of the Sabines.

VIADRUS, now the _Oder_, running through _Silesia_, _Brandenburg_,
_Pomerania_, and discharging itself into the Baltic.

VICETIA, now _Vicenza_, a town in the territory of Venice.

VIENNÆ, a city of Narbonese Gaul; now _Vienne_, in _Dauphiné_.

VINDELICI, a people inhabiting the country of _Vindelicia_, near the
Danube, with the Ræhti to the south; now part of _Bavaria_ and

VINDONISSA, now _Windisch_, in the canton of Bern, in Swisserland.

VISURGIS, a river of Germany, made famous by the slaughter of Varus
and his legions; now the _Weser_, running north between Westphalia and
Lower Saxony, into the German Sea.

VOCETIUS MONS, a mountain of the Helvetii, thought to be the roughest
part of Mount _Jura_, to which the Helvetii fled when defeated by
Cæcina. See Hist. i. s. 67.

VOLSCI, a powerful people of ancient Latium, extending from _Antium_,
their capital, to the _Upper Liris_, and the confines of _Campania_.

VULSINII, or VOLSINII, a city of Etruria, the native place of Sejanus;
now _Bolseno_, or _Bolsenna_.


ZEUGMA, a town on the _Euphrates_, famous for a bridge over the river.
See Pliny, lib, v. s. 24.

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