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Title: History of Roman Literature from its Earliest Period to the Augustan - Age. Volume II
Author: Dunlop, John
Language: English
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                          *ROMAN LITERATURE,*


                          *ITS EARLIEST PERIOD*

                            THE AUGUSTAN AGE.

                            IN TWO VOLUMES.

                              JOHN DUNLOP,




                       _James Kay, Jun. Printer,_
                 _S. E. Corner of Race & Sixth Streets,_


   Marcus Porcius Cato
   Marcus Terentius Varro
   Nigidius Figulus
   Quintus Fabius Pictor
   Julius Cæsar
   Livius Andronicus, Nævius
   Laberius—Publilius Syrus
Chronological Table
Transcriber’s note



                         *ROMAN LITERATURE, &C.*



                         *ROMAN LITERATURE, &c.*

In almost all States, poetical composition has been employed and
considerably improved before prose. First, because the imagination expands
sooner than reason or judgment; and, secondly, because the early language
of nations is best adapted to the purposes of poetry, and to the
expression of those feelings and sentiments with which it is conversant.

Thus, in the first ages of Greece, verse was the ordinary written
language, and prose was subsequently introduced as an art and invention.
In like manner, at Rome, during the early advances of poetry, the progress
of which has been detailed in the preceding volume, prose composition
continued in a state of neglect and barbarism.

The most ancient prose writer, at least of those whose works have
descended to us, was a man of little feeling or imagination, but of sound
judgment and inflexible character, who exercised his pen on the subject of
_Agriculture_, which, of all the peaceful arts, was most highly esteemed
by his countrymen.

The long winding coast of Greece, abounding in havens, and the innumerable
isles with which its seas were studded, rendered the Greeks, from the
earliest days, a trafficking, seafaring, piratic people: And many of the
productions of their oldest poets, are, in a great measure, addressed to
what may be called the maritime taste or feeling which prevailed among
their countrymen. This sentiment continued to be cherished as long as the
chief literary state in Greece preserved the sovereignty of the
seas—compelled its allies to furnish vessels of war, and trusted to its
naval armaments for the supremacy it maintained during the brightest ages
of Greece. In none either of the Doric or Ionian states, was agriculture
of such importance as to exercise much influence on manners or literature.
Their territories were so limited, that the inhabitants were never removed
to such a distance from the capital as to imbibe the ideas of husbandmen.
In Thessaly and Lacedæmon, agriculture was accounted degrading, and its
cares were committed to slaves. The vales of Bœotia were fruitful, but
were desolated by floods. Farms of any considerable extent could scarcely
be laid down on the limited, though lovely isles of the Ægean and Ionian
seas. The barren soil and mountains of the centre of Peloponnesus confined
the Arcadians to pasturage—an employment bearing some analogy to
agriculture, but totally different in its mental effects, leading to a
life of indolence, contemplation, and wandering, instead of the
industrious, practical, and settled habits of husbandmen. Though the
Athenians breathed the purest air beneath the clearest skies, and their
long summer was gilded by the brightest beams of Apollo, the soil of
Attica was sterile and metallic; while, from the excessive inequalities in
its surface, all the operations of agriculture were of the most difficult
and hazardous description. The streams were overflowing torrents, which
stripped the soil, leaving nothing but a light sand, on which grain would
scarcely grow. But it was with the commencement of the Peloponnesian war
that the exercise of agriculture terminated in Attica. The country being
left unprotected, owing to the injudicious policy of Pericles, was
annually ravaged by the Spartans, and the husbandmen were forced to seek
refuge within the walls of Athens. In the early part of the age of
Pericles, the Athenians possessed ornamented villas in the country; but
they always returned to the city in the evening(1). We do not hear that
the great men in the early periods of the republic, as Themistocles and
Aristides, were farmers; and the heroes of its latter ages, as Iphicrates
and Timotheus, chose their retreats in Thrace, the islands of the
Archipelago, or coast of Ionia.

A picture, in every point of view the reverse of this, is presented to us
by the _Agreste Latium_. The ancient Italian mode of life was almost
entirely agricultural and rural; and with exception, perhaps, of the
Etruscans, none of the Italian states were in any degree maritime or
commercial. Italy was well adapted for every species of agriculture, and
was most justly termed by her greatest poet, _magna parens frugum_.
Dionysius of Halicarnassus(2), Strabo(3), and Pliny(4), talk with
enthusiasm of its fertile soil and benignant climate. Where the ground was
most depressed and marshy, the meadows were stretched out for the
pasturage of cattle. In the level country, the rich arable lands, such as
the Campanian and Capuan plains, extended in vast tracts, and produced a
profusion of fruits of every species, while on the acclivities, where the
skirts of the mountains began to break into little hills and sloping
fields, the olive and vine basked on soils famed for Messapian oil, and
for wines of which the very names cheer and revive us. The mountains
themselves produced marble and timber, and poured from their sides many a
delightful stream, which watered the fields, gladdened the pastures, and
moistened the meads to the very brink of the shore. Well then might Virgil
exclaim, in a burst of patriotism and poetry which has never been

  “Sed neque Medorum sylvæ, ditissima terra,
  Nec pulcher Ganges, atque auro turbidus Hermus,
  Laudibus Italiæ certent; non Bactra, neque Indi,
  Totaque thuriferis Panchaia pinguis arenis.
  Hic ver assiduum, atque alienis mensibus æstas;
  Bis gravidæ pecudes, bis pomis utilis arbor.
    *  *  *  *
  Salve, magna parens frugum, Saturnia tellus(5)!”

One would not suppose that agricultural care was very consistent, at least
in a small state, with frequent warfare. But in no period of their
republic did the Romans neglect the advantages which the land they
inhabited presented for husbandry. Romulus, who had received a rustic
education, and had spent his youth in hunting, had no attachment to any
peaceful arts, except to rural labours; and this feeling pervaded his
legislation. His Sabine successor, Numa Pompilius, who well understood and
discharged the duties of sovereignty, divided the whole territory of Rome
into different cantons. An exact account was rendered to him of the manner
in which these were cultivated; and he occasionally went in person to
survey them, in order to encourage those farmers whose lands were well
tilled, and to reproach others with their want of industry(6). By the
institution, too, of various religious festivals, connected with
agriculture, it came to be regarded with a sort of sacred reverence. Ancus
Martius, who trod in the steps of Numa, recommended to his people the
assiduous cultivation of their lands. After the expulsion of the kings, an
Agrarian law, by which only seven acres were allotted to each citizen, was
promulgated, and for some time rigidly enforced. Exactness and economy in
the various occupations of agriculture were the natural consequences of
such regulations. Each Roman having only a small portion of land assigned
to him, and the support of his family depending entirely on the produce
which it yielded, its culture necessarily engaged his whole attention.

In these early ages of the Roman commonwealth, when the greatest men
possessed but a few acres, the lands were laboured by the proprietors
themselves. The introduction of commerce, and the consequent acquisition
of wealth, had not yet enabled individuals to purchase the estates of
their fellow-citizens, and to obtain a revenue from the rent of land
rather than from its cultivation.

The patricians, who, in the city, were so distinct from the plebeian
orders, were thus confounded with them in the country, in the common
avocations of husbandry. After having presided over the civil affairs of
the republic, or commanded its armies, the most distinguished citizens
returned, without repining, to till the lands of their forefathers.
Cincinnatus, who was found at labour in his fields by those who came to
announce his election to the dictatorship, was not a singular example of
the same hand which held the plough guiding also the helm of the state,
and erecting the standard of its legions. So late as the time of the first
Carthaginian war, Regulus, in the midst of his victorious career in
Africa, asked leave from the senate to return to Italy, in order to
cultivate his farm of seven acres, which had been neglected during his
absence(7). Many illustrious names among the Romans originated in
agricultural employments, or some circumstances of rustic skill and
labour, by which the founders of families were distinguished. The Fabii
and Lentuli were supposed to have been celebrated for the culture of
pulses, and the Asinii and Vitellii for the art of rearing animals. In the
time of the elder Cato, though the manual operations were performed for
the most part by servants, the great men resided chiefly on their
farms(8); and they continued to apply to the study and practice of
agriculture long after they had carried the victorious arms of their
country beyond the confines of Italy. They did not, indeed, follow
agriculture as their sole avocation; but they prosecuted it during the
intervals of peace, and in the vacations of the Forum. The art being thus
exercised by men of high capacity, received the benefit of all the
discoveries, inventions, or experiments suggested by talents and force of
intellect. The Roman warriors tilled their fields with the same
intelligence as they pitched their camps, and sowed corn with the same
care with which they drew up their armies for battle. Hence, as a modern
Latin poet observes, dilating on the expression of Pliny, the earth
yielded such an exuberant return, that she seemed as it were to delight in
being ploughed with a share adorned with laurels, and by a ploughman who
had earned a triumph:—

  “Hanc etiam, ut perhibent, sese formabat ad artem,
  Cùm domito Fabius Dictator ab hoste redibat:
  Non veritus, medio dederat qui jura Senatu,
  Ferre idem arboribusque suis, terræque colendæ,
  Victricesque manus ruri præstare serendo.
  Ipsa triumphales tellus experta colonos,
  Atque ducum manibus quondam versata suorum,
  Majores fructus, majora arbusta ferebat(9).”

Nor were the Romans contented with merely labouring the ground: They also
delivered precepts for its proper cultivation, which, being committed to
writing, formed, as it were, a new science, and, being derived from actual
experience, had an air of originality rarely exhibited in their literary
productions. Such maxims were held by the Romans in high respect, since
they were considered as founded on the observation of men who had
displayed the most eminent capacity and knowledge in governing the state,
in framing its laws, and leading its armies.

These precepts which formed the works of the agricultural writers—the
_Rusticæ rei scriptores_—are extremely interesting and comprehensive. The
Romans had a much greater variety than we, of grain, pulse, and roots;
and, besides, had vines, olives, and other plantations, which were
regarded as profitable crops. The situation, too, and construction of a
villa, with the necessary accommodation for slaves and workmen, the wine
and oil cellars, the granaries, the repositories for preserving fruit, the
poultry yard, and aviaries, form topics of much attention and detail.
These were the appertenancies of the _villa rustica_, or complete
farm-house, which was built for the residence only of an industrious
husbandman, and with a view towards profit from the employments of
agriculture. As luxury, indeed, increased, the villa was adapted to the
accommodation of an opulent Roman citizen, and the country was resorted to
rather for recreation than for the purpose of lucrative toil. What would
Cato the Censor, distinguished for his industry and unceasing attention to
the labours of the field, have thought of the following lines of Horace?

  “O rus, quando ego te aspiciam? quandoque licebit
  Nunc veterum libris, nunc somno et inertibus horis,
  Ducere sollicitæ jucunda oblivia vitæ?”

It was this more refined relish for the country, so keenly enjoyed by the
Romans in the luxurious ages of the state, that furnished the subject for
the finest passages and allusions in the works of the Latin poets, who
seem to vie with each other in their praises of a country life, and the
sweetness of the numbers in which they celebrate its simple and tranquil
enjoyments. The Epode of Horace, commencing,

  “Beatus ille, qui procul negotiis,”

which paints the charms of rural existence, in the various seasons of the
year—the well-known passages in Virgil’s _Georgics_, and those in the
second book of Lucretius, are the most exquisite and lovely productions of
these triumvirs of Roman poetry. But the ancient prose writers, with whom
we are now to be engaged, regarded agriculture rather as an art than an
amusement, and a country life as subservient to profitable employment, and
not to elegant recreation. In themselves, however, these compositions are
highly curious; they are curious, too, as forming a commentary and
illustration of the subjects,

  “Quas et facundi tractavit Musa Maronis.”

It is likewise interesting to compare them with the works of the modern
Italians on husbandry, as the _Liber Ruralium Commodorum_ of Crescenzio,
written about the end of the thirteenth century,—the _Coltivazione
Toscana_ of Davanzati,—Vittorio’s treatise, _Degli Ulivi_,—and even
Alamanni’s poem _Coltivazione_, which closely follows, particularly as to
the situation and construction of a villa, the precepts of Cato, Varro,
and Columella. The plough used at this day by the peasantry in the
Campagna di Roma, is of the same form as that of the ancient Latian
husbandmen(10); and many other points of resemblance may be discovered, on
a perusal of the most recent writers on the subject of Italian
cultivation(11). Dickson, too, who, in his _Husbandry of the Ancients_,
gives an account of Roman agriculture so far as connected with the labours
of the British farmer, has shown, that, in spite of the great difference
of soil and climate, many maxims of the old Roman husbandmen, as delivered
by Cato and Varro, corresponded with the agricultural system followed in
his day in England.

Of the distinguished Roman citizens who practised agriculture, none were
more eminent than Cato and Varro; and by them the precepts of the art were
also committed to writing. Their works are original compositions, founded
on experience, and not on Grecian models, like so many other Latin
productions. Varro, indeed, enumerates about fifty Greek authors, who,
previous to his time, had written on the subject of agriculture; and Mago,
the Carthaginian, composed, in the Punic language, a much-approved
treatise on the same topic, in thirty-two books, which was afterwards
translated into Latin by desire of the senate. But the early Greek works,
with the exception of Xenophon’s _Œconomics_ and the poem of Hesiod called
_Works and Days_, have been entirely lost; the tracts published in the
collection entitled _Geoponica_, being subsequent to the age of Varro.

                           MARCUS PORCIUS CATO,

better known by the name of Cato the Censor, wrote the earliest book on
husbandry which we possess in the Latin language. This distinguished
citizen was born in the 519th year of Rome. Like other Romans of his day,
he was brought up to the profession of arms. In the short intervals of
peace he resided, during his youth, at a small country-house in the Sabine
territory, which he had inherited from his father. Near it there stood a
cottage belonging to Manius Curius Dentatus, who had repeatedly triumphed
over the Sabines and Samnites, and had at length driven Pyrrhus from
Italy. Cato was accustomed frequently to walk over to the humble abode of
this renowned commander, where he was struck with admiration at the
frugality of its owner, and the skilful management of the farm which was
attached to it. Hence it became his great object to emulate his
illustrious neighbour, and adopt him as his model(12). Having made an
estimate of his house, lands, slaves, and expenses, he applied himself to
husbandry with new ardour, and retrenched all superfluity. In the morning
he went to the small towns in the vicinity, to plead and defend the causes
of those who applied to him for assistance. Thence he returned to his
fields; where, with a plain cloak over his shoulders in winter, and almost
naked in summer, he laboured with his servants till they had concluded
their tasks, after which he sat down along with them at table, eating the
same bread, and drinking the same wine(13). At a more advanced period of
life, the wars, in which he commanded, kept him frequently at a distance
from Italy, and his forensic avocations detained him much in the city; but
what time he could spare was still spent at the Sabine farm, where he
continued to employ himself in the profitable cultivation of the land. He
thus became by the universal consent of his contemporaries, the best
farmer of his age, and was held unrivalled for the skill and success of
his agricultural operations(14). Though everywhere a rigid economist, he
lived, it is said, more hospitably at his farm than in the city. His
entertainments at his villa were at first but sparing, and seldom given;
but as his wealth increased, he became more nice and delicate. “At first,”
says Plutarch, “when he was but a poor soldier, he was not difficult in
anything which related to his diet; but afterwards, when he grew richer,
and made feasts for his friends, presently, when supper was done, he
seized a leathern thong, and scourged those who had not given due
attendance, or dressed anything carelessly(15).” Towards the close of his
life, he almost daily invited some of his friends in the neighbourhood to
sup with him; and the conversation at these meals turned not chiefly, as
might have been expected, on rural affairs, but on the praises of great
and excellent men among the Romans(16).

It may be supposed, that in the evenings after the agricultural labours of
the morning, and after his friends had left him, he noted down the
precepts suggested by the observations and experience of the day. That he
wrote such maxims for his own use, or the instruction of others, is
unquestionable; but the treatise _De Re Rustica_, which now bears his
name, appears to have been much mutilated, since Pliny and other writers
allude to subjects as treated of by Cato, and to opinions as delivered by
him in this book, which are nowhere to be found in any part of the work
now extant.

In its present state, it is merely the loose unconnected journal of a
plain farmer, expressed with rude, sometimes with almost oracular brevity;
and it wants all those elegant topics of embellishment and illustration
which the subject might have so naturally suggested. It solely consists of
the dryest rules of agriculture, and some receipts for making various
kinds of cakes and wines. Servius says, it is addressed to the author’s
son; but there is no such address now extant. It begins rather abruptly,
and in a manner extremely characteristic of the simple manners of the
author: “It would be advantageous to seek profit from commerce, if that
were not hazardous; or by usury, if that were honest: but our ancestors
ordained, that the thief should forfeit double the sum he had stolen, and
the usurer quadruple what he had taken, whence it may be concluded, that
they thought the usurer the worst of the two. When they wished highly to
praise a good man, they called him a good farmer. A merchant is zealous in
pushing his fortune, but his trade is perilous and liable to reverses. But
farmers make the bravest men, and the stoutest soldiers. Their gain is the
most honest, the most stable, and least exposed to envy. Those who
exercise the art of agriculture, are of all others least addicted to evil

Our author then proceeds to his rules, many of which are sufficiently
obvious. Thus, he advises, that when one is about to purchase a farm, he
should examine if the climate, soil, and exposure be good: he should see
that it can be easily supplied with plenty of water,—that it lies in the
neighbourhood of a town,—and near a navigable river, or the sea. The
directions for ascertaining the quality of the land are not quite so clear
or self-evident. He recommends the choice of a farm where there are few
implements of labour, as this shews the soil to be easily cultivated; and
where there are, on the other hand, a number of casks and vessels, which
testify an abundant produce. With regard to the best way of laying out a
farm when it is purchased, supposing it to be one of a hundred acres, the
most profitable thing is a vineyard; next, a garden, that can be watered;
then a willow grove; 4th, an olive plantation; 5th, meadow-ground; 6th,
corn fields; and, lastly, forest trees and brushwood. Varro cites this
passage, but he gives the preference to meadows: These required little
expense; and, by his time, the culture of vines had so much increased in
Italy, and such a quantity of foreign wine was imported, that vineyards
had become less valuable than in the days of the Censor. Columella,
however, agrees with Cato: He successively compares the profits accruing
from meadows, pasture, trees, and corn, with those of vineyards; and, on
an estimate, prefers the last.

When a farm has been purchased, the new proprietor should perambulate the
fields the day he arrives, or, if he cannot do so, on the day after, for
the purpose of seeing what has been done, and what remains to be
accomplished. Rules are given for the most assiduous employment without
doors, and the most rigid economy within. When a servant is sick he will
require less food. All the old oxen and the cattle of delicate frame, the
old wagons, and old implements of husbandry, are to be sold off. The
sordid parsimony of the Censor leads him to direct, that a provident
_paterfamilias_ should sell such of his slaves as are aged and infirm; a
recommendation which has drawn down on him the well-merited indignation of
Plutarch(17). These are some of the duties of the master; and there
follows a curious detail of the qualifications and duties of the
_villicus_, or overseer, who, in particular, is prohibited from the
exercise of religious rites, and consultation of augurs.

It is probable that, in the time of Cato, the Romans had begun to extend
their villas considerably, which makes him warn proprietors of land not to
be rash in building. When a landlord is thirty-six years of age he may
build, provided his fields have been brought into a proper state of
cultivation. His direction with regard to the extent of the villa is
concise, but seems a very proper one;—he advises, to build in such a
manner that the villa may not need a farm, nor the farm a villa. Lucullus
and Scævola both violated this golden rule, as we learn from Pliny; who
adds, that it will be readily conjectured, from their respective
characters, that it was the farm of Scævola which stood in need of the
villa, and the villa of Lucullus which required the farm.

A vast variety of crops was cultivated by the Romans, and the different
kinds were adapted by them, with great care, to the different soils. Cato
is very particular in his injunctions on this subject. A field that is of
a rich and genial soil should be sown with corn; but, if wet or moist,
with turnips and raddish. Figs are to be planted in chalky land; and
willows in watery situations, in order to serve as twigs for tying the
vines. This being the proper mode of laying out a farm, our author gives a
detail of the establishment necessary to keep it up;—the number of
workmen, the implements of husbandry, and the farm-offices, with the
materials necessary for their construction.

He next treats of the management of vineyards and olives; the proper mode
of planting, grafting, propping, and fencing: And he is here naturally led
to furnish directions for making and preserving the different sorts of
wine and oil; as also to specify how much of each is to be allowed to the
servants of the family.

In discoursing of the cultivation of fields for corn, Cato enjoins the
farmer to collect all sorts of weeds for manure. Pigeons’ dung he prefers
to that of every animal. He gives orders for burning lime, and for making
charcoal and ashes from the branches or twigs of trees. The Romans seem to
have been at great pains in draining their fields; and Cato directs the
formation both of open and covered drains. Oxen being employed in
ploughing the fields, instructions are added for feeding and taking due
care of them. The Roman plough has been a subject of much discussion: Two
sorts are mentioned by Cato, which he calls _Romanicum_, and
_Campanicum_—the first being proper for a stiff, and the other for a light
soil. Dickson conjectures, that the _Romanicum_ had an iron Share, and the
_Campanicum_ a piece of timber, like the Scotch plough, and a sock driven
upon it. The plough, with other agricultural implements, as the _crates_,
_rastrum_, _ligo_, and _sarculum_, most of which are mentioned by Cato,
form a curious point of Roman antiquities.

The preservation of corn, after it has been reaped, is a subject of much
importance, to which Cato has paid particular attention. This was a matter
of considerable difficulty in Italy, in the time of the Romans; and all
their agricultural writers are extremely minute in their directions for
preserving it from rot, and from the depredations of insects, by which it
was frequently consumed.

A great part of the work of Cato is more appropriate to the housewife than
the farmer. We have receipts for making all sorts of cakes and puddings,
fattening hens and geese, preserving figs during winter; as also medical
prescriptions for the cure of various diseases, both of man and beast.
_Mala punica_, or pomegranates, are the chief ingredient, in his remedies,
for Diarrhœa, Dyspepsia, and Stranguary. Sometimes, however, his cures for
diseases are not medical recipes, but sacrifices, atonements, or charms.
The prime of all is his remedy for a luxation or fracture.—“Take,” says
he, “a green reed, and slit it along the middle—throw the knife upwards,
and join the two parts of the reed again, and tie it so to the place
broken or disjointed, and say this charm—‘Daries, Dardaries, Astataries,
Dissunapiter.’ Or this—‘Huat, Hanat, Huat, Ista, Pista, Fista, Domiabo,
Damnaustra.’ This will make the part sound again(18).”

The most remarkable feature in the work of Cato, is its total want of
arrangement. It is divided, indeed, into chapters, but the author,
apparently, had never taken the trouble of reducing his precepts to any
sort of method, or of following any general plan. The hundred and
sixty-two chapters, of which his work consists, seem so many rules
committed to writing, as the daily labours of the field suggested. He
gives directions about the vineyard, then goes to his corn-fields, and
returns again to the vineyard. His treatise was, therefore, evidently not
intended as a regular or well-composed book, but merely as a journal of
incidental observations. That this was its utmost pretensions, is farther
evinced by the brevity of the precepts, and deficiency of all illustration
or embellishment. Of the style, he of course would be little careful, as
his _Memoranda_ were intended for the use only of his family and slaves.
It is therefore always simple,—sometimes even rude; but it is not ill
adapted to the subject, and suits our notion of the severe manners of its
author, and character of the ancient Romans.

Besides this book on agriculture, Cato left behind him various works,
which have almost entirely perished. He left a hundred and fifty
orations(19), which were existing in the time of Cicero, though almost
entirely neglected, and a book on military discipline(20), both of which,
if now extant, would be highly interesting, as proceeding from one who was
equally distinguished in the camp and forum. A good many of his orations
were in dissuasion or favour of particular laws and measures of state, as
those entitled—“Ne quis iterum Consul fiat—De bello Carthaginiensi,” of
which war he was a vehement promoter—“Suasio in Legem Voconiam,—Pro Lege
Oppia,” &c. Nearly a third part of these orations were pronounced in his
own defence. He had been about fifty times accused(21), and as often
acquitted. When charged with a capital crime, in the 85th year of his age,
he pleaded his own cause, and betrayed no failure in memory, no decline of
vigour, and no faltering of voice(22). By his readiness, and pertinacity,
and bitterness, he completely wore out his adversaries(23), and earned the
reputation of being, if not the most eloquent, at least the most stubborn
speaker among the Romans.

Cato’s oration in favour of the Oppian law, which was a sumptuary
restriction on the expensive dresses of the Roman matrons, is given by
Livy(24). It was delivered in opposition to the tribune Valerius, who
proposed its abrogation, and affords us some notion of his style and
manner, since, if not copied by the historian from his book of orations,
it was doubtless adapted by him to the character of Cato, and his mode of
speaking. Aulus Gellius cites, as equally distinguished for its eloquence
and energy, a passage in his speech on the division of spoil among the
soldiery, in which he complains of their unpunished peculation and
licentiousness. One of his most celebrated harangues was that in favour of
the Rhodians, the ancient allies of the Roman people, who had fallen under
the suspicion of affording aid to Perseus, during the second Macedonian
war. The oration was delivered after the overthrow of that monarch, when
the Rhodian envoys were introduced into the Senate, in order to explain
the conduct of their countrymen, and to deprecate the vengeance of the
Romans, by throwing the odium of their apparent hostility on the
turbulence of a few factious individuals. It was pronounced in answer to
those Senators, who, after hearing the supplications of the Rhodians, were
for declaring war against them; and it turned chiefly on the ancient,
long-tried fidelity of that people,—taking particular advantage of the
circumstance, that the assistance rendered to Perseus had not been a
national act, proceeding from a public decree of the people. Tiro, the
freedman of Cicero, wrote a long and elaborate criticism on this oration.
To the numerous censures it contains, Aulus Gellius has replied at
considerable length, and has blamed Tiro for singling out from a speech so
rich, and so happily connected, small and insulated portions, as objects
of his reprehensive satire. All the various topics, he adds, which are
enlarged on in this oration, if they could have been introduced with more
perspicuity, method, and harmony, could not have been delivered with more
energy and strength(25).

Both Cicero and Livy have expressed themselves very fully on the subject
of Cato’s orations. The former admits, that his “language is antiquated,
and some of his phrases harsh and inelegant: but only change that,” he
continues, “which it was not in his power to change—add number and
cadence—give an easier turn to his sentences—and regulate the structure
and connection of his words, (an art which was as little practised by the
older Greeks as by him,) and you will find no one who can claim the
preference to Cato. The Greeks themselves acknowledge, that the chief
beauty of composition results from the frequent use of those forms of
expression, which they call tropes, and of those varieties of language and
sentiment, which they call figures; but it is almost incredible with what
copiousness, and with what variety, they are all employed by Cato(26).”
Livy principally speaks of the facility, asperity, and freedom of his
tongue(27). Aulus Gellius has instituted a comparison of Caius Gracchus,
Cato, and Cicero, in passages where these three orators declaimed against
the same species of atrocity—the illegal scourging of Roman citizens; and
Gellius, though he admits that Cato had not reached the splendour,
harmony, and pathos of Cicero, considers him as far superior in force and
copiousness to Gracchus(28).

Of the book on Military Discipline, a good deal has been incorporated into
the work of Vegetius; and Cicero’s orations may console us for the want of
those of Cato. But the loss of the seven books, _De Originibus_, which he
commenced in his vigorous old age, and finished just before his death,
must ever be deeply deplored by the historian and antiquary. Cato is said
to have begun to inquire into the history, antiquities, and language of
the Roman people, with a view to counteract the influence of the Greek
taste, introduced by the Scipios; and in order to take from the Greeks the
honour of having colonized Italy, he attempted to discover on the Latin
soil the traces of ancient national manners, and an indigenous
civilization. The first book of the valuable work _De Originibus_, as we
are informed by Cornelius Nepos, in his short life of Cato, contained the
exploits of the kings of Rome. Cato was the first author who attempted to
fix the era of the foundation of Rome, which he calculated in his
_Origines_, and determined it to have been in the first year of the 7th
Olympiad. In order to discover this epoch, he had recourse to the memoirs
of the Censors, in which it was noted, that the taking of Rome by the
Gauls, was 119 years after the expulsion of the kings. By adding this
period to the aggregate duration of the reigns of the kings, he found that
the amount answered to the first of the 7th Olympiad. This is the
computation followed by Dionysius of Halicarnassus, in his great work on
Roman antiquities. It is probably as near the truth as we can hope to
arrive; but even in the time of Cato, the calculated duration of the
reigns of the kings was not founded on any ancient monuments then extant,
or on the testimony of any credible historian. The second and third books
treated of the origin of the different states of Italy, whence the whole
work has received the name of _Origines_. The fourth and fifth books
comprehended the history of the first and second Punic wars; and in the
two remaining books, the author discussed the other campaigns of the
Romans till the time of Ser. Galba, who overthrew the Lusitanians.

In his account of these later contests, Cato merely related the facts,
without mentioning the names of the generals or leaders; but though he has
omitted this, Pliny informs us that he did not forget to take notice, that
the elephant which fought most stoutly in the Carthaginian army was called
Surus, and wanted one of his teeth(29). In this same work he incidentally
treated of all the wonderful and admirable things which existed in Spain
and Italy. Some of his orations, too, as we learn from Livy, were
incorporated into it, as that for giving freedom to the Lusitanian
hostages; and Plutarch farther mentions, that he omitted no opportunity of
praising himself, and extolling his services to the state. The work,
however, exhibited great industry and learning, and, had it descended to
us, would unquestionably have thrown much light on the early periods of
Roman history and the antiquities of the different states of Italy.
Dionysius of Halicarnassus, himself a sedulous inquirer into antiquities,
bears ample testimony to the research and accuracy of that part which
treats of the origin of the ancient Italian cities. The author lived at a
time which was favourable to this investigation. Though the Samnites,
Etruscans, and Sabines, had been deprived of their independence, they had
not lost their monuments or records of their history, their individuality
and national manners. Cicero praises the simple and concise style of the
_Origines_, and laments that the work was neglected in his day, in
consequence of the inflated manner of writing which had been recently
adopted; in the same manner as the tumid and ornamented periods of
Theopompus had lessened the esteem for the concise and unadorned narrative
of Thucydides, or as the lofty eloquence of Demosthenes impaired the
relish for the extreme attic simplicity of Lysias(30).

In the same part of the dialogue, entitled _Brutus_, Cicero asks what
flower or light of eloquence is wanting to the _Origines_—“Quem florem,
aut quod lumen eloquentiæ non habent?” But on Atticus considering the
praise thus bestowed as excessive, he limits it, by adding, that nothing
was required to complete the strokes of the author’s pencil but a certain
lively glow of colours, which had not been discovered in his
age.—“Intelliges, nihil illius lineamentis, nisi eorum pigmentorum, quæ
inventa nondum erant, florem et calorem defuisse(31).”

The pretended fragments of the _Origines_, published by the Dominican,
Nanni, better known by the name of Annius Viterbiensis, and inserted in
his _Antiquitates Variæ_, printed at Rome in 1498, are spurious, and the
imposition was detected soon after their appearance. The few remains first
collected by Riccobonus, and published at the end of his Treatise on
History, (Basil, 1579,) are believed to be genuine. They have been
enlarged by Ausonius Popma, and added by him, with notes, to the other
writings of Cato, published at Leyden in 1590.

Any rudeness of style and language which appears either in the orations of
Cato, or in his agricultural and historical works, cannot be attributed to
total carelessness or neglect of the graces of composition, as he was the
first person in Rome who treated of oratory as an art(32), in a tract
entitled _De Oratore ad Filium_.

Cato was also the first of his countrymen who wrote on the subject of
medicine(33). Rome had existed for 500 years without professional
physicians(34). A people who as yet were strangers to luxury, and
consisted of farmers and soldiers, (though surgical operations might be
frequently necessary,) would be exempt from the inroads of the “grisly
troop,” so much encouraged by indolence and debauchery. Like all
semi-barbarous people, they believed that maladies were to be cured by the
special interposition of superior beings, and that religious ceremonies
were more efficacious for the recovery of health than remedies of medical
skill. Deriving, as they did, much of their worship from the Etruscans,
they probably derived from them also the practice of attempting to
overcome disease by magic and incantation. The Augurs and Aruspices were
thus the most ancient physicians of Rome. In epidemic distempers the
Sibylline books were consulted, and the cures they prescribed were
superstitious ceremonies. We have seen that it was to free the city from
an attack of this sort that scenic representations were first introduced
at Rome. During the progress of another epidemic infliction a temple was
built to Apollo(35); and as each periodic pestilence naturally abated in
course of time, faith was confirmed in the efficacy of the rites which
were resorted to. Every one has heard of the pomp wherewith Esculapius was
transported under the form of a serpent, from Epidaurus to an islet in the
Tiber, which was thereafter consecrated to that divine physician. The
apprehension of diseases raised temples to Febris and Tussis, and other
imaginary beings belonging to the painful family of death in order to
avert the disorders which they were supposed to inflict. It was perceived,
however, that religious professions and lustrations and _lectisterniums_
were ineffectual for the cure of those complaints, which, in the 6th
century, luxury began to exasperate and render more frequent at Rome. At
length, in 534, Archagatus, a free-born Greek, arrived in Italy, where he
practised medicine professionally as an art, and received in return for
his cures the endearing appellation of _Carnifex_(36). But though
Archagatus was the first who practised medicine, Cato was the first who
wrote of diseases and their treatment as a science, in his work entitled
_Commentarius quo Medetur Filio, Servis, Familiaribus_. In this book of
domestic medicine—duck, pigeons, and hare, were the foods he chiefly
recommended to the sick(37). His remedies were principally extracted from
herbs; and colewort, or cabbage, was his favourite cure(38). The recipes,
indeed, contained in his work on agriculture, show that his medical
knowledge did not exceed that which usually exists among a semi-barbarous
race, and only extended to the most ordinary simples which nature affords.
Cato hated the compound drugs introduced by the Greek
physicians—considering these foreign professors of medicine as the
opponents of his own system. Such, indeed, was his antipathy, that he
believed, or pretended to believe, that they had entered into a league to
poison all the barbarians, among whom they classed the Romans.—“Jurarunt
inter se,” says he, in a passage preserved by Pliny, “barbaros necare
omnes medicina: Et hoc ipsum mercede faciunt, ut fides iis sit, et facile
disperdant(39).” Cato, finding that the patients lived notwithstanding
this detestable conspiracy, began to regard the Greek practitioners as
impious sorcerers, who counteracted the course of nature, and restored
dying men to life, by means of unholy charms; and he therefore advised his
countrymen to remain stedfast, not only by their ancient Roman principles
and manners, but also by the venerable unguents and salubrious balsams
which had come down to them from the wisdom of their grandmothers. Such as
they were, Cato’s old medical saws continued long in repute at Rome. It is
evident that they were still esteemed in the time of Pliny, who expresses
the same fears as the Censor, lest hot baths and potions should render his
countrymen effeminate, and corrupt their manners(40).

Every one knows what was the consequence of Cato’s dislike to the Greek
philosophers, who were expelled from the city by a decree of the senate.
But it does not seem certain what became of Archagatus and his followers.
The author of the _Diogene Moderne_, as cited by Tiraboschi, says that
Archagatus was stoned to death(41), but the literary historian who quotes
him doubts of his having any sufficient authority for the assertion.
Whether the physicians were comprehended in the general sentence of
banishment pronounced on the learned Greeks, or were excepted from it, has
been the subject of a great literary controversy in modern Italy and in

Aulus Gellius(43) mentions Cato’s _Libri quæstionum Epistolicarum_, and
Cicero his _Apophthegmata_(44), which was probably the first example of
that class of works which, under the appellation of _Ana_, became so
fashionable and prevalent in France.

The only other work of Cato which I shall mention, is the _Carmen de
Moribus_. This, however, was not written in verse, as might be supposed
from the title. Precepts, imprecations, and prayers, or any set _formulæ_
whatever, were called _Carmina_. I do not know what maxims were inculcated
in this _carmen_, but they probably were not of very rigid morality, at
least if we may judge from the “Sententia Dia Catonis,” mentioned by

  “Quidam notus homo cùm exiret fornice, Macte
  Virtute esto, inquit sententia dia Catonis(45).”

Misled by the title, some critics have erroneously assigned to the Censor
the _Disticha de Moribus_, now generally attributed to Dionysius Cato, who
lived, according to Scaliger in the age of Commodus and Septimius

The work of

                         MARCUS TERENTIUS VARRO,

On agriculture, has descended to us more entire than that of Cato on the
same subject; yet it does not appear to be complete. In the early times of
the republic, the Romans, like the ancient Greeks, being constantly
menaced with the incursions of enemies, indulged little in the luxury of
expensive and ornamental villas. Even that of Scipio Africanus, the rival
and contemporary of Cato the Censor, and who in many other respects
anticipated the refinements of a later age, was of the simplest structure.
It was situated at Liternum, (now Patria,) a few miles north from Cumæ,
and was standing in the time of Seneca. This philosopher paid a visit to a
friend who resided in it during the age of Nero, and he afterwards
described it in one of his epistles with many expressions of wonder and
admiration at the frugality of the great Africanus(47). When, however, the
scourge of war was removed from their immediate vicinity, agriculture and
gardening were no longer exercised by the Romans as in the days of the
Censor, when great crops of grain were raised for profit, and fields of
onions sown for the subsistence of the labouring servants. The patricians
now became fond of ornamental gardens, fountains, terraces, artificial
wildernesses, and grottos, groves of laurel for shelter in winter, and
oriental planes for shade in summer. Matters, in short, were fast
approaching to the state described in one of the odes of Horace—

  “Jam pauca aratro jugera regiæ,
  Moles relinquent: undique latius
    Extenta visentur Lucrino
      Stagna lacu: platanusque cœlebs
  Evincet ulmos: tum violaria, et
  Myrtus, et omnis copia narium,
    Spargent olivetis odorem
      Fertilibus domino priori.
  Tum spissa ramis laurea fervidos
  Excludet ictus. Non ita Romuli
    Præscriptum, et intonsi Catonis
      Auspiciis, veterumque norma(48).”

Agriculture, however, still continued to be so respectable an employment,
that its practice was not considered unworthy the friend of Cicero and
Pompey, nor its precepts undeserving to be delivered by one who was
indisputably the first scholar of his age—who was renowned for his
profound erudition and thorough insight into the laws, the literature, and
antiquities of his country,—and who has been hailed by Petrarch as the
third great luminary of Rome, being only inferior in lustre to Cicero and

  “Qui’ vid’ io nostra gente aver per duce
  Varrone, il terzo gran lume Romano,
  Che quanto ’l miro più, tanto più luce(49).”

Varro was born in the 637th year of Rome, and was descended of an ancient
senatorial family. It is probable that his youth, and even the greater
part of his manhood, were spent in literary pursuits, and in the
acquisition of that stupendous knowledge, which has procured to him the
appellation of the most learned of the Romans, since his name does not
appear in the civil or military history of his country, till the year 680,
when he was Consul along with Cassius Varus. In 686, he served under
Pompey, in his war against the pirates, in which he commanded the Greek
ships(50). To the fortunes of that Chief he continued firmly attached, and
was appointed one of his lieutenants in Spain, along with Afranius and
Petreius, at the commencement of the war with Cæsar. Hispania Ulterior was
specially confided to his protection, and two legions were placed under
his command. After the surrender of his colleagues in Hither Spain, Cæsar
proceeded in person against him. Varro appears to have been little
qualified to cope with such an adversary. One of the legions deserted in
his own sight, and his retreat to Cadiz, where he had meant to retire,
having been cut off, he surrendered at discretion, with the other, in the
vicinity of Cordova(51). From that period he despaired of the salvation of
the republic, or found, at least, that he was not capable of saving it;
for although, after receiving his freedom from Cæsar, he proceeded to
Dyracchium, to give Pompey a detail of the disasters which had occurred,
he left it almost immediately for Rome. On his return to Italy he withdrew
from all political concerns, and indulged himself during the remainder of
his life in the enjoyment of literary leisure. The only service he
performed for Cæsar, was that of arranging the books which the Dictator
had himself procured, or which had been acquired by those who preceded him
in the management of public affairs(52). He lived during the reign of
Cæsar in habits of the closest intimacy with Cicero; and his feelings, as
well as conduct, at this period, resembled those of his illustrious
friend, who, in all his letters to Varro, bewails, with great freedom, the
utter ruin of the state, and proposes that they should live together,
engaged only in those studies which were formerly their amusement, but
were then their chief support. “And, should none require our services for
repairing the ruins of the republic, let us employ our time and thoughts
on moral and political inquiries. If we cannot benefit the commonwealth in
the forum or the senate, let us endeavour, at least, to do so by our
studies and writings; and, after the example of the most learned among the
ancients, contribute to the welfare of our country, by useful
disquisitions concerning laws and government.” Some farther notion of the
manner in which Varro spent his time during this period may be derived
from another letter of Cicero, written in June, 707. “Nothing,” says he,
“raises your character higher in my esteem, than that you have wisely
retreated into harbour—that you are enjoying the happy fruits of a learned
leisure, and employed in pursuits, which are attended with more public
advantage, as well as private satisfaction, than all the ambitious
exploits, or voluptuous indulgences, of these licentious victors. The
contemplative hours you spend at your Tusculan villa, are, in my
estimation, indeed, what alone deserves to be called life(53).”

Varro passed the greatest portion of his time in the various villas which
he possessed in Italy. One of these was at Tusculum, and another in the
neighbourhood of Cumæ. The latter place had been among the earliest Greek
establishments in Italy, and was long regarded as pre-eminent in power and
population. It spread prosperity over the adjacent coasts; and its oracle,
Sibyl, and temple, long attracted votaries and visitants. As the Roman
power increased, that of Cumæ decayed; and its opulence had greatly
declined before the time of Varro. Its immediate vicinity was not even
frequently selected as a situation for villas. The Romans had a
well-founded partiality for the coasts of Puteoli, and Naples, so superior
in beauty and salubrity to the flat, marshy neighbourhood of Cumæ. The
situation of Varro’s other villa, at Tusculum, must have been infinitely
more agreeable, from its pure air, and the commanding prospect it enjoyed.

Besides immense flocks of sheep in Apulia, and many horses in the Sabine
district of Reate(54), Varro had considerable farms both at his Cuman and
Tusculan villas, the cultivation of which, no doubt, formed an agreeable
relaxation from his severe and sedentary studies. He had also a farm at a
third villa, where he occasionally resided, near the town of Casinum, in
the territory of the ancient Volsci(55), and situated on the banks of the
Cassinus, a tributary stream to the Liris. This stream, which was
fifty-seven feet broad, and both deep and clear, with a pebbly channel,
flowed through the middle of his delightful domains. A bridge, which
crossed the river from the house, led directly to an island, which was a
little farther down, at the confluence of the Cassinus with a rivulet
called the Vinius(56). Along the banks of the larger water there were
spacious pleasure-walks which conducted to the farm; and near the place
where they joined the fields, there was an extensive aviary(57). The site
of Varro’s villa was visited by Sir R. C. Hoare, who says, that it stood
close to Casinum, now St Germano: Some trifling remains still indicate its
site; but its memory, he adds, will shortly survive only in the page of
the historian(58).

After the assassination of Cæsar, this residence, along with almost all
the wealth of Varro, which was immense, was forcibly seized by Marc
Antony(59). Its lawless occupation by that profligate and blood-thirsty
triumvir, on his return from his dissolute expedition to Capua, is
introduced by Cicero into one of his Philippics, and forms a topic of the
most eloquent and bitter invective. The contrast which the orator draws
between the character of Varro and that of Antony—between the noble and
peaceful studies prosecuted in that delightful residence by the rightful
proprietor, and the shameful debaucheries of the wretch by whom it had
been usurped, forms a picture, to which it would be difficult to find a
parallel in ancient or modern oratory.—“How many days did you shamefully
revel, Antony, in that villa? From the third hour, it was one continued
scene of drinking, gambling, and uproar. The very roofs were to be pitied.
O, what a change of masters! But how can he be called its master? And, if
master—gods! how unlike to him he had dispossessed! Marcus Varro made his
house the abode of the muses, and a retreat for study—not a haunt for
midnight debauchery. Whilst he was there, what were the subjects
discussed—what the topics debated in that delightful residence? I will
answer the question—The rights and liberties of the Roman people—the
memorials of our ancestors—the wisdom resulting from reason combined with
knowledge. But whilst you, Antony, was its occupant, (for you cannot be
called its master,) every room rung with the cry of drunkenness—the
pavements were swimming with wine, and the walls wet with riot.”

Antony was not a person to be satisfied with robbing Varro of his
property. At the formation of the memorable triumvirate, the name of Varro
appeared in the list of the proscribed, among those other friends of
Pompey whom the clemency of Cæsar had spared. This illustrious and
blameless individual had now passed the age of seventy; and nothing can
afford a more frightful proof of the sanguinary spirit which guided the
councils of the triumvirs, than their devoting to the dagger of the hired
assassin a man equally venerable by his years and character, and who ought
to have been protected, if not by his learned labours, at least by his
retirement, from such inhuman persecution. But, though doomed to death as
a friend of law and liberty, his friends contended with each other for the
dangerous honour of saving him. Calenus having obtained the preference,
carried him to his country-house, where Antony frequently came, without
suspecting that it contained a proscribed inmate. Here Varro remained
concealed till a special edict was issued by the consul, M. Plancus, under
the triumviral seal, excepting him and Messala Corvinus from the general

But though Varro thus passed in security the hour of danger, he was unable
to save his library, which was placed in the garden of one of his villas,
and fell into the hands of an illiterate soldiery.

After the battle of Actium, Varro resided in tranquillity at Rome till his
decease, which happened in 727, when he was ninety years of age. The
tragical deaths, however, of Pompey and Cicero, with the loss of others of
his friends,—the ruin of his country,—the expulsion from his villas,—and
the loss of those literary treasures, which he had stored up as the solace
of his old age, and the want of which would be doubly felt by one who
wished to devote all his time to study,—must have cast a deep shade over
the concluding days of this illustrious scholar. His wealth was restored
by Augustus, but his books could not be supplied.

It is not improbable, that the dispersion of this library, which impeded
the prosecution of his studies, and prevented the composition of such
works as required reference and consultation, may have induced Varro to
employ the remaining hours of his life in delivering those precepts of
agriculture, which had been the result of long experience, and which
needed only reminiscence to inculcate. It was some time after the loss of
his books, and when he had nearly reached the age of eighty, that Varro
composed the work on husbandry, as he himself testifies in the
introduction. “If I had leisure, I might write these things more
conveniently, which I will now explain as well as I am able, thinking that
I must make haste; because, if a man be a bubble of air, much more so is
an old man, for now my eightieth year admonishes me to get my baggage
together before I leave the world. Wherefore, as you have bought a farm,
which you are desirous to render profitable by tillage, and as you ask me
to take this task upon me, I will try to advise you what must be done, not
only during my stay here, but after my departure.” The remainder of the
introduction forms, in its ostentatious display of erudition, a remarkable
contrast to Cato’s simplicity. Varro talks of the Syrens and
Sibyls,—invokes all the Roman deities, supposed to preside over rural
affairs,—and enumerates all the Greek authors who had written on the
subject of agriculture previous to his own time.

The first of the three books which this agricultural treatise comprehends,
is addressed, by Varro, to Fundanius, who had recently purchased a farm,
in the management of which he wished to be instructed. The information
which Varro undertakes to give, is communicated in the form of dialogue.
He feigns that, at the time appointed for rites to be performed in the
sowing season, (_sementivis feriis_,) he went, by invitation of the
priest, to the temple of Tellus. There he met his father-in-law, C.
Fundanius, the knight Agrius, and Agrasius, a farmer of imposts, who were
gazing on a map of Italy, painted on the inner walls of the temple. The
priest, whose duty it was to officiate, having been summoned by the ædile
to attend him on affairs of importance, they were awaiting his return;
and, in order to pass the time till his arrival, Agrasius commences a
conversation, (suggested by the map of Italy,) by inquiring at the others
present in the temple, whether they, who had travelled so much, had ever
visited any country better cultivated than Italy. This introduces an
eulogy on the soil and climate of that favoured region, and of its various
abundant productions,—the Apulian wheat, the Venafrian olive, and the
Falernian grape. All this, again, leads to the inquiry, by what arts of
agricultural skill and industry, aiding the luxuriant soil, it had reached
such unexampled fecundity. These questions are referred to Licinius Stolo,
and Tremellius Scrofa, who now joined the party, and who were well
qualified to throw light on the interesting discussion—the first being of
a family distinguished by the pains it had taken with regard to the
Agrarian laws, and the second being well known for possessing one of the
best cultivated farms in Italy. Scrofa, too, had himself written on
husbandry, as we learn from Columella; who says, that he had first
rendered agriculture eloquent. This first book of Varro is accordingly
devoted to rules for the cultivation of land, whether for the production
of grain, pulse, olives, or vines, and the establishment necessary for a
well-managed and lucrative farm; excluding from consideration what is
strictly the business of the grazier and shepherd, rather than of the

After some general observations on the object and end of agriculture, and
the exposition of some general principles with regard to soil and climate,
Scrofa and Stolo, who are the chief prolocutors, proceed to settle the
size, as also the situation of the villa. They recommend that it should be
placed at the foot of a well-wooded hill, and open to the most healthful
breeze. An eastern exposure seems to be preferred, as it will thus have
shade in summer, and sun in winter. They farther advise, that it should
not be placed in a hollow valley, as being there subject to storms and
inundations; nor in front of a river, as that situation is cold in winter,
and unwholesome in summer; nor in the vicinity of a marsh, where it would
be liable to be infested with small insects, which, though invisible,
enter the body by the mouth or nostrils, and occasion obstinate diseases.
Fundanius asks, what one ought to do who happens to inherit such a villa;
and is answered, that he should sell it for whatever sum it may bring; and
if it will bring nothing, he should abandon it. After this follow the
subjects of enclosure—the necessary implements of husbandry—the number of
servants and oxen required—and the soil in which different crops should be
sown. We have then a sort of calendar, directing what operations ought to
be performed in each season of the year. Thus, the author recommends
draining betwixt the winter solstice and approach of the zephyrs, which
was reckoned to be about the beginning of February. The sowing of grain
should not be commenced before the autumnal equinox, nor delayed after the
winter solstice; because the seeds which are sown previous to the equinox
spring up too quickly, and those sown subsequent to the solstice scarcely
appear above ground in forty days. A taste for flowers had begun to
prevail at Rome in the time of Varro; he accordingly recommends their
cultivation, and points out the seasons for planting the lily, violet and

The remainder of the first book of Varro is well and naturally arranged.
He considers his subject from the choice of the seed, till the grain has
sprung up, ripened, been reaped, secured, and brought to market. The same
course is followed in treating of the vine and the olive. While on the
subject of selling farm-produce to the best advantage, the conversation is
suddenly interrupted by the arrival of the priest’s freedman, who came in
haste to apologize to the guests for having been so long detained, and to
ask them to attend on the following day at the obsequies of his master,
who had been just assassinated on the public street by an unknown hand.
The party in the temple immediately separate.—“De casu humano magis
querentes, quam admirantes id Romæ factum.”

The subject of agriculture, strictly so called, having been discussed in
the first book, Varro proceeds in the second, addressed to Niger Turranus,
to treat of the care of flocks and cattle, (_De Re Pecuaria_). The
knowledge which he here communicates is the result of his own
observations, blended with the information he had received from the great
pasturers of Epirus, at the time when he commanded the Grecian ships on
its coast, in Pompey’s naval war with the pirates. As in the former book,
the instruction is delivered in the shape of dialogue. Varro being at the
house of a person called Cossinius, his host refuses to let him depart
till he explain to him the origin, the dignity, and the art of pasturage.
Our author undertakes to satisfy him as to the first and second points,
but as to the third, he refers him to Scrofa, another of the guests, who
had the management of extensive sheep-walks in the territory of the
Brutii. Varro makes but a pedantic figure in the part which he has
modestly taken to himself. His account of the origin of pasturage is
nothing but some very common-place observations on the early stages of
society; and its dignity is proved from several signs of the zodiac being
called after animals, as also some of the most celebrated spots on the
globe,—Mount Taurus, the Bosphorus, the Ægean sea, and Italy, which Varro
derives from Vitulus. Scrofa, in commencing his part of the dialogue,
divides the animals concerning which he is to treat into three classes: 1.
the lesser; of which there are three sorts—sheep, goats, and swine; 2. the
larger; of which there are also three—oxen, asses, and horses; and,
lastly, those which do not themselves bring profit, but are essential to
the care of the others—the dog, the mule, and the shepherd. With regard to
all animals, four things are to be considered in purchasing or procuring
them—their age, shape, pedigree, and price. After they have been
purchased, there are other four things to be attended to—feeding,
breeding, rearing, and curing distempers. According to this methodical
division of the subject, Scrofa proceeds to give rules for choosing the
best of the different species of animals which he has enumerated, as also
directions for tending them after they have been bought, and turning them
to the best profit. It is curious to hear what were considered the good
points of a goat, a hog, or a horse, in the days of Pompey and Cæsar; in
what regions they were produced in greatest size and perfection; what was
esteemed the most nutritive provender for each; and what number
constituted an ordinary flock or herd. The qualities specified as best in
an ox may perhaps astonish a modern grazier; but it must be remembered,
that they are applicable to the capacity for labour, not of carrying beef.
Hogs were fed by the Romans on acorns, beans, and barley; and, like our
own, indulged freely in the luxury of mire, which, Varro says, is as
refreshing to them as the bath to human creatures. The Romans, however,
did not rear, as we do, a solitary ill-looking pig in a sty, but possessed
great herds, sometimes amounting to the number of two or three hundred.

From what the author records while treating of the pasturage of sheep, we
learn that a similar practice prevailed in Italy, with that which at this
day exists in Spain, in the management of the Merinos belonging to the
Mêstà. Flocks of sheep, which pastured during the winter in Apulia, were
driven to a great distance from that region, to pass the summer in
Samnium; and mules were led from the champaign grounds of Rosea, at
certain seasons, to the high Gurgurian mountains. With much valuable and
curious information on all these various topics, there are interspersed a
great many strange superstitions and fables, or what may be called vulgar
errors, as that swine breathe by the ears instead of the mouth or
nostrils—that when a wolf gets hold of a sow, the first thing he does is
to plunge it into cold water, as his teeth cannot otherwise bear the heat
of the flesh—that on the shore of Lusitania, mares conceive from the
winds, but their foals do not live above three years—and what is more
inexplicable, one of the speakers in the dialogue asserts, that he himself
had seen a sow in Arcadia so fat, that a field-mouse had made a
comfortable nest in her flesh, and brought forth its young.

This book concludes with what forms the most profitable part of
pasturage—the dairy and sheep-shearing.

The third book, which is by far the most interesting and best written in
the work, treats _de villicis pastionibus_, which means the provisions, or
moderate luxuries, which a plain farmer may procure, independent of
tillage or pasturage,—as the poultry of his barn-yard—the trouts in the
stream, by which his farm is bounded—and the game, which he may enclose in
parks, or chance to take on days of recreation. If others of the
agricultural writers have been more minute with regard to the construction
of the villa itself, it is to Varro we are chiefly indebted for what
lights we have received concerning its appertenancies, as warrens,
aviaries, and fish-ponds. The dialogue on these subjects is introduced in
the following manner:—At the comitia, held for electing an Ædile, Varro
and the Senator Axius, having given their votes for the candidate whom
they mutually favoured, and wishing to be at his house to receive him on
his return home, after all the suffrages had been taken, resolved to wait
the issue in the shade of a _villa publica_. There they found Appius
Claudius, the augur, whom Axius began to rally on the magnificence of his
villa, at the extremity of the Campus Martius, which he contrasts with the
profitable plainness of his own farm in the Reatine district. “Your
sumptuous mansion,” says he, “is adorned with painting, sculpture, and
carving; but to make amends for the want of these, I have all that is
necessary to the cultivation of lands, and the feeding of cattle. In your
splendid abode, there is no sign of the vicinity of arable lands, or
vineyards. We find there neither ox nor horse—there is neither vintage in
the cellars, nor corn in the granary. In what respect does this resemble
the villa of your ancestors? A house cannot be called a farm or a villa,
merely because it is built beyond the precincts of the city.” This polite
remonstrance gives rise to a discussion with regard to the proper
definition of a villa, and whether that appellation can be applied to a
residence, where there is neither tillage nor pasturage. It seems to be at
length agreed, that a mansion which is without these, and is merely
ornamental, cannot be called a villa; but that it is properly so termed,
though there be neither tillage nor pasturage, if fish-ponds,
pigeon-houses, and bee-hives, be kept for the sake of profit; and it is
discussed whether such villas, or agricultural farms, are most lucrative.

Our author divides the _Villaticæ pastiones_ into poultry, game, and fish.
Under the first class, he comprehends birds, such as thrushes, which are
kept in aviaries, to be eaten, but not any birds of game. Rules and
directions are given for their management, of the same sort with those
concerning the animals mentioned in the preceding book. The aviaries in
the Roman villas were wonderfully productive and profitable. A very
particular account is given of the construction of an aviary. Varro
himself had one at his farm, near Casinum, but it was intended more for
pleasure and recreation than profit. The description he gives of it is
very minute, but not very distinct. The pigeon-house is treated of
separately from the aviary. As to the game, the instructions do not relate
to field-sports, but to the mode of keeping wild animals in enclosures or
warrens. In the more simple and moderate ages of the republic, these were
merely hare or rabbit warrens of no great extent; but as wealth and luxury
increased, they were enlarged to the size of 40 or 50 acres, and
frequently contained within their limits goats, wild boars, and deer. The
author even descends to instructions with regard to keeping and fattening
snails and dormice. On the subject of fish he is extremely brief, because
that was rather an article of expensive luxury than homely fare; and the
candidate, besides, was now momentarily expected. Fish-ponds had increased
in the same proportion as warrens, and in the age of Varro were often
formed at vast expense. Instances are given of the great depth and extent
of ponds belonging to the principal citizens, some of which had
subterraneous communications with the sea, and others were supplied by
rivers, which had been turned from their course. At this part of the
dialogue, a shout and unusual bustle announced the success of the
candidate whom Varro favoured: on hearing this tumult, the party gave up
their agricultural disquisitions, and accompanied him in triumph to the

This work of Varro is totally different from that of Cato on the same
subject, formerly mentioned. It is not a journal, but a book; and instead
of the loose and unconnected manner in which the brief precepts of the
Censor are delivered, it is composed on a plan not merely regular, but
perhaps somewhat too stiff and formal. Its exact and methodical
arrangement has particularly attracted the notice of Scaliger.—“Unicum
Varronem inter Latinos habemus, libris tribus de Re Rustica, qui vere ac
μεθοδικως philosophatus sit. Immo nullus est Græcorum qui tam bene, inter
eos saltem qui ad nos pervenerunt(61).” Instead, too, of that directness
and simplicity which never deviate from the plainest precepts of
agriculture, the work of Varro is embellished and illustrated by much of
the erudition which might be expected from the learning of its author, and
of one acquainted with fifty Greek writers who had treated of the subject
before him. “Cato, the famous Censor,” says Martyne, “writes like an
ancient country gentleman of much experience: He abounds in short pithy
sentences, intersperses his book with moral precepts, and was esteemed a
sort of oracle. Varro writes more like a scholar than a man of much
practice: He is fond of research into antiquity, and inquires into the
etymology of the names of persons and things. Cato, too, speaks of a
country life, and of farming, merely as it may be conducive to gain. Varro
also speaks of it as of a wise and happy state, inclining to justice,
temperance, sincerity, and all the virtues, which shelters from evil
passions, by affording that constant employment, which leaves little
leisure for those vices which prevail in cities, where the means and
occasions for them are created and supplied.”

There were other Latin works on agriculture, besides those of Cato and
Varro, but they were subsequent to the time which the present volumes are
intended to embrace. Strictly speaking, indeed, even the work of Varro was
written after the battle of Actium: the knowledge, however, on which its
precepts were founded, was acquired long before. The style, too, is that
of the Roman republic, not of the Augustan age. I have therefore
considered Varro as belonging to the period on which we are at present

Indeed, the history of his life and writings is almost identified with the
literary history of Rome, during the long period through which his
existence was protracted. But the treatise on agriculture is the only one
of his multifarious works which has descended to us entire. The other
writings of this celebrated polygraph, as Cicero calls him(62), may be
divided into philological, critical, historical, mythological,
philosophic, and satiric; and, after all, it would probably be necessary,
in order to form a complete catalogue, to add the convenient and
comprehensive class of miscellaneous.

The work _De Lingua Latina_, though it has descended to us incomplete, is
by much the most entire of Varro’s writings, except the Treatise on
Agriculture. It is on account of this philological production, that Aulus
Gellius ranks him among the grammarians, who form a numerous and important
class in the History of Latin Literature. They were called _grammatici_ by
the Romans—a word which would be better rendered philologers than
grammarians. The grammatic science, among the Romans, was not confined to
the inflections of words or rules of syntax. It formed one of the great
divisions of the art of criticism, and was understood to comprehend all
those different inquiries which philology includes—embracing not only
grammar, properly so called, but verbal and literal criticism, etymology,
the explication and just interpretation of authors, and emendation of
corrupted passages. Indeed the name of grammarian (grammaticus) is
frequently applied by ancient authors(63) to those whom we should now term
critics and commentators, rather than grammarians.

It will be readily conceived that a people, who, like the first Romans,
were chiefly occupied with war, and whose relaxation was agriculture, did
not attach much importance to a science, of which the professed object
was, teaching how to speak and write with propriety. Accordingly, almost
six hundred years elapsed before they formed any idea of such a study(64).
Crates Mallotes, who was a contemporary of Aristarchus, and was sent as
ambassador to Rome, by Attalus, King of Pergamus, towards the end of the
sixth century(65), was the first who excited a taste for grammatical
inquiries. Having accidentally broken his leg in the course of his
embassy, he employed the period of his convalescence in receiving
visitors, to whom he delivered lectures, containing grammatic
disquisitions: and he also read and commented on poets hitherto unknown in
Rome(66). These discussions, however, probably turned solely on Greek
words, and the interpretation of Greek authors. It is not likely that
Crates had such a knowledge of the Latin tongue, as to give lectures on a
subject which requires minute and extensive acquaintance with the
language. His instructions, however, had the effect of fixing the
attention of the Romans on their own language, and on their infant
literature. Men sprung up who commented on, and explained, the few Latin
poems which at that time existed. C. Octavius Lampadius illustrated the
Punic War of Nævius; and also divided that poem into seven books. About
the same time, Q. Vargunteius lectured on the Annals of Ennius, on certain
fixed days, to crowded audiences. Q. Philocomus soon afterwards performed
a similar service for the Satires of his friend Lucilius. Among these
early grammarians, Suetonius particularly mentions Ælius Preconinus and
Servius Clodius. The former was the master of Varro and Cicero; he was
also a rhetorician of eminence, and composed a number of orations for the
Patricians, to whose cause he was so ardently attached, that, when
Metellus Numidicus was banished in 654, he accompanied him into exile.
Serv. Clodius was the son-in-law of Lælius, and fraudulently appropriated,
it is said, a grammatical work, written by his distinguished relative,
which shows the honour and credit by this time attached to such pursuits
at Rome. Clodius was a Roman knight; and, from his example, men of rank
did not disdain to write concerning grammar, and even to teach its
principles. Still, however, the greater number of grammarians, at least of
the verbal grammarians, were slaves. If well versed in the science, they
brought, as we learn from Suetonius, exorbitant prices. Luctatius Daphnis
was purchased by Quintus Catulus for 200,000 pieces of money, and shortly
afterwards set at liberty. This was a strong encouragement for masters to
instruct their slaves in grammar, and for them to acquire its rules.
Sævius Nicanor, and Aurelius Opilius, who wrote a commentary, in nine
books, on different writers, were freedmen, as was also Antonius Gnipho, a
Gaul, who had been taught Greek at Alexandria, whither he was carried in
his youth, and was subsequently instructed in Latin literature at Rome.
Though a man of great learning in the science he professed, he left only
two small volumes on the Latin language—his time having been principally
occupied in teaching. He taught first in the house of the father of Julius
Cæsar, and afterwards lectured at home to those who chose to attend him.
The greatest men of Rome, when far advanced in age and dignity, did not
disdain to frequent his school. Many of his precepts, indeed, extended to
rhetoric and declamation, the arts, of all others, in which the Romans
were most anxious to be initiated. These were now taught in the schools of
almost all grammarians, of whom there were, at one time, upwards of twenty
in Rome. For a long while, only the Greek poets were publicly explained,
but at length the Latin poets were likewise commented on and illustrated.
About the same period, the etymology of Latin words began to be
investigated: Ælius Gallus, a jurisconsult quoted by Varro, wrote a work
on the origin and proper signification of terms of jurisprudence, which in
most languages remain unvaried, till they have become nearly
unintelligible; and Ælius Stilo attempted, though not with perfect
success, to explain the proper meaning of the words of the Salian verses,
by ascertaining their derivations(67).

The science of grammar and etymology was in this stage of progress and in
this degree of repute at the time when Varro wrote his celebrated treatise
_De Lingua Latina_. That work originally consisted of twenty-four
books—the first three being dedicated to Publius Septimius, who had been
his quæstor in the war with the pirates, and the remainder to Cicero. This
last dedication, with that of Cicero’s _Academica_ to Varro, has rendered
their friendship immortal. The importance attached to such dedications by
the great men of Rome, and the value, in particular, placed by Cicero on a
compliment of this nature from Varro, is established by a letter of the
orator to Atticus—“You know,” says he, “that, till lately, I composed
nothing but orations, or some such works, into which I could not introduce
Varro’s name with propriety. Afterwards, when I engaged in a work of more
general erudition, Varro informed me, that his intention was, to address
to me a work of considerable extent and importance. Two years, however,
have passed away without his making any progress. Meanwhile, I have been
making preparations for returning him the compliment(68).” Again, “I am
anxious to know how you came to be informed that a man like Varro, who has
written so much, without addressing anything to me, should wish me to pay
him a compliment(69).” The _Academica_ were dedicated to Varro before he
fulfilled his promise of addressing a work to Cicero; and it appears, from
Cicero’s letter to Varro, sent along with the _Academica_, how impatiently
he expected its performance, and how much he importuned him for its
execution.—“To exact the fulfilment of a promise,” says he, “is a sort of
ill manners, of which the populace themselves are seldom guilty. I cannot,
however, forbear—I will not say, to demand, but remind you, of a favour,
which you long since gave me reason to expect. To this end, I have sent
you four admonitors, (the four books of the Academica,) whom, perhaps, you
will not consider as extremely modest(70).” It is curious, that, when
Varro did at length come forth with his dedication, although he had been
highly extolled in the _Academica_, he introduced not a single word of
compliment to Cicero—whether it was that Varro dealt not in compliment,
that he was disgusted with his friend’s insatiable appetite for praise, or
that Cicero was considered as so exalted that he could not be elevated
higher by panegyric.

We find in the work _De Lingua Latina_, which was written during the
winter preceding Cæsar’s death, the same methodical arrangement that marks
the treatise _De Re Rustica_. The twenty-four books of which it consisted,
were divided into three great parts. The first six books were devoted to
etymological researches, or, as Varro himself expresses it, _quemadmodum
vocabula essent imposita rebus in lingua Latina_. In the first, second,
and third books, of this division of his work, all of which have perished,
the author had brought forward what an admirer of etymological science
could advance in its favour—what a depreciator might say against it; and
what might be pronounced concerning it without enthusiasm or
prejudice.—“Quæ contra eam dicentur, quæ pro ea, quæ de ea.” The fragments
remaining of this great work of Varro, commence at the fourth book, which,
with the two succeeding books, is occupied with the origin of Latin terms
and the poetical licenses that have been taken in their use: He first
considers the origin of the names of places, and of those things which are
in them. His great division of places is, into heaven and earth—_Cœlum_ he
derives from _cavum_, and that, from _chaos_; _terra_ is so called _quia
teritur_. The derivation of the names of many terrestrial regions is
equally whimsical. The most rational are those of the different spots in
Rome, which are chiefly named after individuals, as the Tarpeian rock,
from Tarpeia, a vestal virgin slain by the Sabines—the Cœlian Mount, from
Cœlius, an Etrurian chief, who assisted Romulus in one of his contests
with his neighbours. Following the same arrangement with regard to those
things which _are in_ places, he first treats of the immortals, or gods of
heaven and earth. Descending to mortal things, he treats of animals, whom
he considers as in three places—air, water, and earth. The creatures
inhabiting earth he divides into men, cattle, and wild beasts. Of the
appellations proper to mankind, he speaks first of public honours, as the
office of Prætor, who was so called, “quod præiret exercitui.” We have
then the derivations both of the generic and special names of animals.
Thus, _Armenta_ (quasi _aramenta_) is from _aro_, because oxen are used
for ploughing; _Lepus_ is _quasi Levipes_. The remainder of the book is
occupied with those words which relate to food, clothing, and various
sorts of utensils. Of these, the derivation is given, and it is generally
far-fetched. But of all his etymologies, the most whimsical is that
contained in his book of Divine Things, where he deduces _fur_ from
_furvus_, (dusky,) because thieves usually steal during the darkness of

The fifth book relates to words expressive of time and its divisions, and
to those things which are done in the course of time. He begins with the
months and days consecrated to the service of the gods, or performance of
accustomed rites. Things which happen during the lapse of time, are
divided into three classes, according to the three great human functions
of thought, speech, and act. The third class, or actions, are performed by
means of the external senses; the mention of which introduces the
explication of those terms which express the various operations of the
senses; and the book terminates with a list of vocables derived from the
Greek. These two books relate the common employment of words. In the
sixth, the author treats of poetic words, and the poetic or metaphoric use
of ordinary terms, of which he gives examples. Here he follows the same
arrangement already adopted—speaking first of places, and then of time,
and showing, as he proceeds, the manner in which poets have changed or
corrupted the original signification of words.

Such is the first division of the work of Varro, forming what he himself
calls the etymological part. He admits that it was a subject of much
difficulty and obscurity, since many original words had become obsolete in
course of time, and of those which survived, the meaning had been changed
or had never been imposed with exactness. The second division, which
extended from the commencement of the seventh to the end of the twelfth
book, comprehended the accidents of words, and the different changes which
they undergo from declension, conjugation, and comparison. The author
admits but of two kinds of words—nouns and verbs, to which he refers all
the other parts of speech. He distinguishes two sorts of declensions, of
which he calls one arbitrary, and the other natural or necessary; and he
is thenceforth alternately occupied with analogy and anomaly. In the
seventh book he discusses the subject of analogy in general, and gives the
arguments which may be adduced against its existence in nouns proper: In
the eighth, he reasons like those who find analogies everywhere. Book
ninth treats of the analogy and anomaly of verbs, and with it the fragment
we possess of Varro’s treatise terminates. The three other books, which
completed the second part, were of course occupied with comparison and the
various inflections of words.

The third part of the work, which contained twelve books, treated of
syntax, or the junction of words, so as to form a phrase or sentence. It
also contained a sort of glossary, which explained the true meaning of
Latin vocables.

This, which may be considered as one of the chief works of Varro, was
certainly a laborious and ingenious production; but the author is
evidently too fond of deriving words from the ancient dialects of Italy,
instead of recurring to the Greek, which, after the capture of Tarentum,
became a great source of Latin terms. In general, the Romans, like the
Greeks before them, have been very unfortunate in their etymologies, being
but indifferent critics, and inadequately informed of everything that did
not relate to their own country. Blackwell, in his _Court of Augustus_,
while he admits that the sagacity of Varro is surprising in the use which
he has made of the knowledge he possessed of the Sabine and Tuscan
dialects, remarks, that his work, _De Lingua Latina_, is faulty in two
particulars; the first, arising from the author having recourse to
far-fetched allusions and metaphors in his own language, to illustrate his
etymology of words, instead of going at once to the Greek. The second,
proceeding from his ignorance of the eastern and northern languages,
particularly the Aramean and Celtic(72); the former of which, in
Blackwell’s opinion, had given names to the greater number of the gods,
and the latter, to matters occurring in war and rustic life.

It is not certain whether the _Libri De Similitudine Verborum_, and those
_De Utilitate Sermonis_, cited by Priscian and Charisius as philological
works of Varro, were parts of his great production, _De Lingua Latina_, or
separate compositions. There was a distinct treatise, however, _De Sermone
Latino_, addressed to Marcellus, of which a very few fragments are
preserved by Aulus Gellius.

The _critical_ works of this universal scholar, were entitled, _De
Proprietate Scriptorum_—_De Poetis_—_De Poematis_—_Theatrales__, sive de
Actionibus Scenicis_—_De Scenicis Originibus_—_De Plautinis Comœdiis_—_De
Plautinis Quæstionibus_—_De Compositione Satirarum_—_Rhetoricorum Libri_.
These works are praised or mentioned by Gellius, Nonius Marcellus, and
Diomedes; but almost nothing is known of their contents.

Somewhat more may be gathered concerning Varro’s _mythological_ or
_theological_ works, as they were much studied, and very frequently cited
by the early fathers, particularly St Augustine and Lactantius. Of these
the chief is the treatise _De Cultu Deorum_, noticed by St Augustine in
his seventh book, _De Civitate Dei_, where he says that Varro considers
God to be not only the soul of the world, but the world itself. In this
work he also treated of the origin of hydromancy, and other superstitious
divinations. Sixteen books of the treatise _De Rerum Humanarum et
Divinarum Antiquitatibus_, addressed to Julius Cæsar, as Pontifex Maximus,
related to theological, or at least what we might call ecclesiastical
subjects. He divides theology into three sorts—mythic, physical, and
civil. The first is chiefly employed by poets, who have feigned many
things contrary to the nature and dignity of the immortals, as that they
sprung from the head, or thigh, or from drops of blood—that they committed
thefts and impure actions, and were the servants of men. The second
species of theology is that which we meet with in the books of
philosophers, in which it is discussed, whether the gods have been from
all eternity, and what is their essence, whether of fire, or numbers, or
atoms. Civil, or the third kind of theology, relates to the institutions
devised by men, for the worship of the Gods. The first sort is most
appropriate to the stage; the second to the world; the third to the city.
Varro was a zealous advocate for the physical explication of the
mythological fables, to which he always had recourse, when pressed by the
difficulties of their literal meaning(73). He also seems to have been of
opinion that the images of the gods were originally intended to direct
such as were acquainted with the secret doctrines, to the contemplation of
the real gods, and of the immortal soul with its constituent parts(74).
The first book of this work, as we learn from St Augustine, was
introductory. The three following treated of the ministers of religion,
the Pontiffs, Augurs, and Sibyls; in mentioning whom, he relates the
well-known story of her who offered her volumes for sale to Tarquinius
Priscus. In the next ternary of chapters, he discoursed concerning places
appointed for religious worship, and the celebration of sacred rites. The
third ternary related to holidays; the fourth to consecrations, and to
private as well as public sacrifices; and the fifth contained an
enumeration of all the deities who watch over man, from the moment when
Janus opens to him the gates of life, till the dirges of Nænia conduct him
to the tomb. The whole universe, he says, in conclusion, is divided into
heaven and earth; the heavens, again, into æther and air; earth, into the
ground and water. All these are full of souls, mortal in earth and water,
but immortal in air and æther. Between the highest circle of heaven and
the orbit of the moon, are the ethereal souls of the stars and planets,
which are understood, and in fact seem, to be celestial deities; between
the sphere of the moon and the highest region of tempests, dwell those
aerial spirits, which are conceived by the mind though not seen by the
eye—departed heroes, Lares, and Genii.

This work, which is said to have chiefly contributed to the splendid
reputation of Varro, was extant as late as the beginning of the fourteenth
century. Petrarch, to whom the world has been under such infinite
obligations for his ardent zeal in discovering the learned works of the
Romans, had seen it in his youth. It continued ever after to be the object
of his diligent search, and his bad success was a source to him of
constant mortification. Of this we are informed in one of the letters,
which that enthusiastic admirer of the ancients addressed to them as if
they been alive, and his contemporaries. “Nullæ tamen exstant,” says he to
Varro, “vel admodum laceræ, tuorum operum reliquiæ; licet divinarum et
humanarum rerum libros, ex quibus sonantius nomen habes, puerum me vidisse
meminerim, et recordatione torqueor, summis, ut aiunt, labiis gustatæ
dulcedinis. Hos alicubi forsitan latitare suspicor, eaque, multos jam per
annos, me fatigat cura, quoniam longâ quidem ac sollicitâ spe nihil est
laboriosius in vitâ.”

Plutarch, in his life of Romulus, speaks of Varro as a man of all the
Romans most versed in history. The _historical_ and political works are
the _Annales Libri_—_Belli Punici Secundi Liber_—_De Initiis Urbis
Romanæ_—_De Gente Populi Romani_—_Libri de Familiis Trojanis_, which last
treated of the families that followed Æneas into Italy. With this class we
may rank the _Hebdomadum, sive de Imaginibus Libri_, containing the
panegyrics of 700 illustrious men. There was a picture of each, with a
legend or verse under it, like those in the children’s histories of the
Kings of England. That annexed to the portrait of Demetrius Phalereus, who
had upwards of 300 brazen statues erected to him by the Athenians, is
still preserved:—

  “Hic Demetrius æneis tot aptus est
  Quot luces habet annus absolutus.”

There were seven pictures and panegyrics in each book, whence the whole
work has been called Hebdomades. Varro had adopted the superstitious
notions of the ancients concerning particular numbers, and the number
seven seems specially to have commanded his veneration. There were in the
world seven wonders—there were seven wise men among the Greeks—there were
seven chariots in the Circensian games—and seven chiefs were chosen to
make war on Thebes: All which he sums up with remarking, that he himself
had then entered his twelfth period of seven years, on which day he had
written seventy times seven books, many of which, in consequence of his
proscription, had been lost in the plunder of his library. It appears from
Ausonius, that the tenth book of this work was occupied with pictures and
panegyrics of distinguished architects, since, in his Eidyllium, entitled
_Mosella_, he observes, that the buildings on the banks of that river
would not have been despised by the most celebrated architects; and that
those who planned them might well deserve a place in the tenth book of the
Hebdomas of Varro:—

  “Forsan et insignes hominumque operumque labores
  Hic habuit decimo celebrata volumine Marci
  Hebdomas.” ——

It is evident, however, from one of the letters of Symmachus, addressed to
his father, that though this was a professed work of panegyric, Varro was
very sparing and niggardly of his praise even to the greatest characters:
“Ille Pythagoram qui animas in æternitatem primus asseruit; ille Platonem
qui deos esse persuasit; ille Aristotelem qui naturam bene loquendi in
artem redegit; ille pauperem Curium sed divitibus imperantem; ille severos
Catones, gentem Fabiam, decora Scipionum, totumque illum triumphalem
Senatum parca laude perstrinxit.” Varro also wrote an eulogy on Porcia,
the wife of Brutus, which is alluded to by Cicero in one of his letters to
Atticus. Among his notices of celebrated characters, it is much to be
regretted that the _Liber de Vita Sua_, cited by Charisius, has shared the
same fate as most of the other valuable works of Varro. The treatise
entitled, _Sisenna, sive de Historia_, was a tract on the composition of
history, inscribed to Sisenna, the Roman historian, who wrote an account
of the civil wars of Marius and Sylla. It contained, it is said, many
excellent precepts with regard to the appropriate style of history, and
the accurate investigation of facts. But the greatest service rendered by
Varro to history was his attempt to fix the chronology of the world.
Censorinus informs us that he was the first who regulated chronology by
eclipses. That learned grammarian has also mentioned the division of three
great periods established by Varro. He did not determine whether the
earliest of them had any beginning, but he fixed the end of it at the
Ogygian deluge. To this period of absolute historical darkness, he
supposed that a kind of twilight succeeded, which continued from that
flood till the institution of the Olympic games, and this he called the
fabulous age. From that date the Greeks pretend to digest their history
with some degree of order and clearness. Varro, therefore, looked on it as
the break of day, or commencement of the historical age. The chronology,
however, of those events which occurred at the beginning of this second
period, is as uncertain and confused as of those which immediately
preceded it. Thus, the historical æra is evidently placed too high by
Varro. The earliest writers of history did not live till long after the
Olympian epoch, and they again long preceded the earliest chronologers.
Timæus, about the time of Ptolemy Philadelphus, was the first who digested
the events recorded by these ancient historians, according to a
computation of the Olympiads(75). Preceding writers, indeed, mention these
celebrated epochs, but the mode of reckoning by them was not brought into
established use for many centuries after the Olympic æra. Arnobius farther
informs us, that Varro calculated that not quite 2000 years had elapsed
from the Ogygian flood to the consulship of Hirtius and Pansa. The
building of Rome he placed two years higher than Cato had done in his
_Origines_, founding his computation on the eclipse which had a short
while preceded the birth of Romulus; but unfortunately this eclipse is not
attested by contemporary authors, nor by any historian who could vouch for
it with certainty. It was calculated a long time after the phænomenon was
supposed to have appeared, by Tarrutius Firmanus, the judicial astrologer,
who amused himself with drawing horoscopes. Varro requested him to
discover the date of Romulus’s birth, by divining it from the known events
of his life, as geometrical problems are solved by analysis; for Tarrutius
considered it as belonging to the same art, (and doubtless the conclusions
are equally certain,) when a child’s nativity is given to predict its
future life, and when the incidents of life are given to cast up the
nativity. Tarrutius, accordingly, having considered the actions of
Romulus, and the manner of his death, and having combined all the
incidents, pronounced that he was conceived in the first year of the
second Olympiad, on the 23d of the Egyptian month Choiok, on which day
there had been a total eclipse of the sun.

Pompey, when about to enter for the first time on the office of Consul,
being ignorant of city manners and senatorial forms, requested Varro to
frame for him a written commentary or manual, from which he might learn
the duties to be discharged by him when he convened the Senate. This book,
which was entitled _Isagogicum de Officio Senatus habendi_, Varro says, in
the letters which he wrote to Oppianus, had been lost. But in these
letters he repeated many things on the subject, as what he had written
before had perished(76).

The _philosophical_ writings of Varro are not numerous; but his chief work
of that description, entitled _De Philosophia Liber_, appears to have been
very comprehensive. St Augustine informs us that Varro examined in it all
the various sects of philosophers, of which he enumerated upwards of 280.
The sect of the old Academy was that which he himself followed, and its
tenets he maintained in opposition to all others. He classed these
numerous sects in the following curious manner: All men chiefly desire, or
place their happiness in, four things—pleasure—rest—these two united,
(which Epicurus, however, termed pleasure,) or soundness of body and mind.
Now, philosophers have contended that virtue is to be sought after for the
sake of obtaining one or other of these four; or, that some one of these
four is to be sought after for the sake of virtue; or, that they and
virtue also are to be sought after for their own sake, and from these
different opinions each of the four great objects of human desire being
sought after with three different views, there are formed twelve sects of
philosophers. These twelve sects are doubled, in consequence of the
different opinions created by the considerations of social
intercourse—some maintaining that the four great desires should be
gratified for our own sake, and others, that they should be indulged only
for the sake of our neighbours. The above twenty-four sects become
forty-eight, from each system being defended as certain truth, or as
merely the nearest approximation to probability—twenty-four sects
maintaining each hypothesis as certain, and twenty-four as only probable.
These again were doubled, from the difference of opinion with regard to
the suitable garb and external habit and demeanour of philosophers.

We have now got ninety-six sects by a very strange sort of computation,
and all these are to be tripled, according to the different opinions
entertained concerning the best mode of spending life—in literary leisure,
in business, or in both(77).

Varro having followed the sect of the old Academy, in preference to all
others, proceeded to refute the principles of the sects he had enumerated.
He cleared the way, by dismissing, as unworthy the name of philosophical,
all those sects whose differences did not turn on what is the supreme
final good; for there is no use in philosophizing, unless it be to make us
happy, and that which makes us happy is the final good. But those who
dispute, for example, whether a wise man should follow virtue,
tranquillity, &c. partly for the sake of others, or solely for his own, do
not dispute concerning what is the final good, but whether that good
should be shared. In like manner, the Cynic does not dispute with regard
to the supreme good, but in what dress or habit he who follows the supreme
good should be clad. So also as to the controversy concerning the
uncertainty of knowledge. The number of sects were thus reduced to the
twelve with which our author set out, and in which the whole question
relates to what is the final good. From these, however, he abstracted the
sects which place the final good in pleasure, rest, or the union of
both—not that he altogether disdained these, but he thought they might be
included in soundness of body and mind, or what he called the _prima
Naturæ_. There are thus only three questions which merit full discussion.
Whether these _prima Naturæ_ should be desired for the sake of virtue, or
virtue for their sake, or if they and virtue also should be desired for
their own sake.

Now, since in philosophy we seek the supreme felicity of man, we must
inquire what man is. His nature is compounded of soul and body. Hence the
_summum bonum_ necessarily consists in the _prima Naturæ_ or perfect
soundness of mind and body. These, therefore, must be sought on their own
account; and under them may be included virtue, which is part of soundness
of mind, being the great director and prime former of the felicity of

Such were the doctrines of the old Academy, which Varro was also
introduced as supporting in Cicero’s _Academica_.—“I have comprehended,”
says that illustrious orator and philosopher, in a letter to Atticus, “the
whole Academic system in four books, instead of two, in the course of
which Varro is made to defend the doctrines of Antiochus(78). I have put
into his mouth all the arguments which were so accurately collected by
Antiochus against the opinion of those who contend that there is no
certainty to be attained in human knowledge. These I have answered myself.
But the part assigned to Varro in the debate is so good, that I do not
think the cause which I support appears the better.”

I am not certain under what class Varro’s _Novem libri Disciplinarum_
should be ranked, as it probably comprehended instructive lessons in the
whole range of arts and sciences. One of the chapters, according to
Vitruvius, was on the subject of architecture. Varro was particularly full
and judicious in his remarks on the construction and situation of Roman
villas, and seems to have laid the foundation for what Palladius and
Columella subsequently compiled on that interesting topic. Another chapter
was on arithmetic; and Fabricius mentions, that Vetranius Maurus has
declared, in his _Life of Varro_, that he saw this part of the work, _De
Disciplinis_, at Rome, in the library of the Cardinal Lorenzo Strozzi.

Varro derived much notoriety from his _satirical_ compositions. His
_Tricarenus_, or _Tricipitina_, was a satiric history of the triumvirate
of Cæsar, Pompey, and Crassus. Much pleasantry and sarcasm were also
interspersed in his books entitled _Logistorici_; but his most celebrated
production in that line was the satire which he himself entitled
_Menippean_. It was so called from the cynic Menippus of Gadara, a city in
Syria, who, like his countryman Meleager, was in the habit of expressing
himself jocularly on the most grave and important subjects. He was the
author of a _Symposium_, in the manner of Xenophon. His writings were
interspersed with verses, parodied from Homer and the tragic poets, or
ludicrously applied, for the purpose of burlesque. It is not known,
however, that he wrote any professed satire. The appellation, then, of
_Menippean_, was given to his satire by Varro, not from any production of
the same kind by Menippus, but because he imitated his general style of
humour. In its external form it appears to have been a sort of literary
anomaly. Greek words and phrases were interspersed with Latin; prose was
mingled with verses of various measures; and pleasantry with serious
remark. As to its object and design, Cicero introduces Varro himself
explaining this in the _Academica_. After giving his reasons for not
writing professedly on philosophical subjects, he continues,—“In those
ancient writings of ours, we, imitating Menippus, without translating him,
have infused a degree of mirth and gaiety along with a portion of our most
secret philosophy and logic, so that even our unlearned readers might more
easily understand them, being, as it were, invited to read them with some
pleasure. Besides, in the discourses we have composed in praise of the
dead, and in the introductions to our antiquities, it was our wish to
write in a manner worthy of philosophers, provided we have attained the
desired object.” From what Cicero afterwards says in this dialogue, while
addressing himself to Varro, it would appear, that he had indeed touched
on philosophical subjects in his _Menippean_ satire, but that, learned as
he was, his object was more to amuse his readers than instruct them: “You
have entered on topics of philosophy in a manner sufficient to allure
readers to its study, but inadequate to convey full instruction, or to
advance its progress.”

Many fragments of this _Menippean_ satire still remain, but they are much
broken and corrupted. The heads of the different subjects, or chapters,
contained in it, amounting to near one hundred and fifty, have been given
by Fabricius in alphabetical order. Some of them are in Latin, others in
Greek. A few chapters have double titles; and, though little remains of
them but the titles, these show what an infinite variety of subjects was
treated by the author. As a specimen, I subjoin those ranged under the
letter A. Aborigines,—Περι Ανθρωπων φυσεως,—De Admirandis, vel Gallus
Fundanius,—Agatho,—Age modo,—Αιει διβυη, vel περι Αἱρεσεων,—Ajax
Stramentitius,—Αλλος ὁυτος Ἡρακλης,—Andabatæ,—Anthropopolis,—περι Αρχης,
seu Marcopolis,—περι Αρχαιρεσιων, seu Serranus,—περι Αρετης κτησεως,—περι
Αφροδισιων, seu vinalia,—Armorum judicium,—περι Αρρενοτητος, seu
Triphallus,—Autumedus,—Mæonius,—Baiæ, &c.(79)

There is a chapter concerning the duty of a husband, (De officio Mariti,)
in which the author observes, that the errors of a wife are either to be
cured or endured: He who extirpates them makes his wife better, but he who
bears with them improves himself. Another is inscribed, “You know not what
a late evening, or supper, may bring with it,” (Nescis quid vesper serus
vehat.) In this chapter he remarks, that the number of guests should not
be less than that of the Graces, or more than that of the Muses. To render
an entertainment perfect, four things must concur—agreeable company,
suitable place, convenient time, and careful preparation. The guests
should not be loquacious or taciturn. Silence is for the bed-chamber, and
eloquence for the Forum, but neither for a feast. The conversation ought
not to turn on anxious or difficult subjects, but should be cheerful and
inviting, so that utility may be combined with a certain degree of
pleasure and allurement. This will be best managed, by discoursing of
those things which relate to the ordinary occurrences or affairs of life,
concerning which one has not leisure to talk in the Forum, or while
transacting business. The master of the feast should rather be neat and
clean than splendidly attired; and if he introduce reading into the
entertainment, it should be so selected as to amuse, and to be neither
troublesome nor tedious(80). A third chapter is entitled, περι ἐδεσματων;
and treats of the rarer delicacies of an entertainment, especially foreign
luxuries. Au. Gellius has given us the import of some verses, in which
Varro mentioned the different countries which supplied the most exquisite
articles of food. Peacocks came from Samos; cranes from Melos; kids from
Ambracia; and the best oysters from Tarentum(81). Part of the chapter
γνωθι σεαυτον was directed against the Latin tragic poets.

What remains of the verses interspersed in the _Menippean_ satire, is too
trifling to enable us to form any accurate judgment of the poetical
talents of Varro.

The style of satire introduced by Varro was imitated by Lucius Annæus
Seneca, in his satire on the deification of Claudius Cæsar, who was called
on earth Divus Claudius. The _Satyricon_ of Petronius Arbiter, in which
that writer lashed the luxury, and avarice, and other vices of his age, is
a satire of the Varronian species, prose being mingled with verse, and
jest with serious remark. Such, too, are the Emperor Julian’s _Symposium
of the Cæsars_, in which he characterizes his predecessors; and his
Μισοπωγων, directed against the luxurious manners of the citizens of

Besides the works of Varro above mentioned, there is a miscellaneous
collection of sentences or maxims which have been attributed to him,
though it is not known in what part of his numerous writings they were
originally introduced. Barthius found seventeen of these sentences in a
MS. of the middle age, and printed them in his _Adversaria_. Schneider
afterwards discovered, in the _Speculum Historiale_ of Vincent de
Beauvais, a monk of the thirteenth century, a much more ample collection
of them, which he has inserted in his edition of the _Scriptores rei
Rusticæ_(82). They consist of moral maxims, in the style of those
preserved from the Mimes of Publius Syrus, and had doubtless been culled
as flowers from the works of Varro, at a time when the immense garden of
taste and learning which he planted, had not yet been laid waste by the
hand of time, or the spoiler(83).

Though the above list of the works of Varro is far from complete, a
sufficient number has been mentioned to justify the exclamation of
Quintilian,—“Quam multa, immo pene omnia tradidit Varro!” and the more
full panegyric of Cicero,—“His works brought us home, as it were, while we
were foreigners in our own city, and wandering like strangers, so that we
might know who and where we were; for in them are laid open the chronology
of his country,—a description of the seasons,—the laws of religion,—the
ordinances of the priests,—domestic and military occurrences,—the
situations of countries and places,—the names of all things divine and
human,—the breed of animals,—moral duties,—and the origin of things(84).”

Nor did Varro merely delight and instruct his fellow-citizens by his
writings. By his careful attention, in procuring the most valuable books,
and establishing libraries, he provided, perhaps, still more effectually
than by his own learned compositions, for the progressive improvement and
civilization of his countrymen. The formation of either private or public
libraries was late of taking place at Rome, for the Romans were late in
attending to literary studies. Tiraboschi quotes a number of writers who
have discovered a library in the public records preserved at Rome(85), and
in the books of the Sibyls(86). But these, he observes, may be classed
with the library which Madero found to have existed before the flood, and
that belonging to Adam, of which Hilscherus has made out an exact
catalogue(87). From Syracuse and Corinth the Romans brought away the
statues and pictures, and other monuments of the fine arts; but we do not
learn that they carried to the capital any works of literature or science.
Some agricultural books found their way to Rome from Africa, on the
destruction of Carthage; but the other treasures of its libraries, though
they fell under the power of a conqueror not without pretensions to taste
and erudition, were bestowed on the African princes in alliance with the

Paulus Emilius is said by Plutarch to have allowed his sons to choose some
volumes from the library of Perseus, King of Macedon(89), whom he led
captive to Rome in 585. But the honour of first possessing a library in
Rome is justly due to Sylla; who, on the occupation of Athens, in 667,
acquired the library of Apellicon, which he discovered in the temple of
Apollo. This collection, which contained, among various other books, the
works of Aristotle and Theophrastus, was reserved to himself by Sylla from
the plunder; and, having been brought to Rome, was arranged by the
grammarian Tyrannio, who also supplied and corrected the mutilated text of
Aristotle(90). Engaged, as he constantly was, in domestic strife or
foreign warfare, Sylla could have made little use of this library, and he
did not communicate the benefit of it to scholars, by opening it to the
public; but the example of the Dictator prompted other commanders not to
overlook the libraries, in the plunder of captured cities, and books thus
became a fashionable acquisition. Sometimes, indeed, these collections
were rather proofs of the power and opulence of the Roman generals, than
of their literary taste or talents. A certain value was now affixed to
manuscripts; and these were, in consequence, amassed by them, from a
spirit of rapacity, and the principle of leaving nothing behind which
could be carried off by force or stratagem. In one remarkable instance,
however, the learning of the proprietor fully corresponded to the literary
treasures which he had collected. Lucullus, a man of severe study, and
wonderfully skilled in all the fine arts, after having employed many years
in the cultivation of literature, and the civil administration of the
republic, was unexpectedly called, in consequence of a political intrigue,
to lead on the Roman army in the perilous contest with Mithridates; and,
though previously unacquainted with military affairs, he became the first
captain of the age, with little farther experience, than his study of the
art of war, during the voyage from Rome to Asia. His attempts to introduce
a reform in the corrupt administration of the Asiatic provinces, procured
him enemies, through whose means he was superseded in the command of the
army, by one who was not superior to him in talents, and was far inferior
in virtue. After his recall from Pontus, and retreat to a private station,
he offered a new spectacle to his countrymen. He did not retire, like
Fabricius and Cincinnatus, to plough his farm, and eat turnips in a
cottage—he did not, like Africanus, quit his country in disgust, because
it had unworthily treated him; nor did he spend his wealth and leisure,
like Sylla, in midnight debauchery with buffoons and parasites. He
employed the riches he had acquired during his campaigns in the
construction of delightful villas, situated on the shore of the sea, or
hanging on the declivities of hills. Gardens and spacious porticos, which
he adorned with all the elegance of painting and sculpture, made the
Romans ashamed of their ancient rustic simplicity. These would doubtless
be the objects of admiration to his contemporaries; but it was his
library, in which so many copies of valuable works were multiplied or
preserved, and his distinguished patronage of learning, that claim the
gratitude of posterity. “His library,” says Plutarch, “had walks,
galleries, and cabinets belonging to it, which were open to all visitors;
and the ingenious Greeks resorted to this abode of the muses to hold
literary converse, in which Lucullus delighted to join them(91).” Other
Roman patricians had patronized literature, by extending their protection
to a favoured few, as the elder Scipio Africanus to Ennius, and the
younger to Terence; but Lucullus was the first who encouraged all the arts
and sciences, and promoted learning with princely munificence.

But the slave Tyrannio vied with the most splendid of the Romans in the
literary treasures he had amassed. A native of Pontus, he was taken
prisoner by Lucullus, in the course of the war with Mithridates; and,
having been brought to Rome, he was given to Muræna, from whom he received
freedom(92). He spent the remainder of his life in teaching rhetoric and
grammar. He also arranged the library of Cicero at Antium(93), and taught
his nephew, Quintus, in the house of the orator(94). These various
employments proved so profitable, that they enabled him to acquire a
library of 30,000 volumes(95). Libraries of considerable extent were also
formed by Atticus and Cicero; and _Varro_ was not inferior to any of his
learned contemporaries, in the industry of collecting and transcribing
manuscripts, both in the Greek and Latin language.

The library of Varro, however, and all the others which we have mentioned,
were private—open, indeed, to literary men, from the general courtesy of
the possessors, but the access to them still dependent on their good will
and indulgence. Julius Cæsar was the first who formed the design of
establishing a great public library; and to Varro he assigned the task of
arranging the books which he had procured. This plan, which was rendered
abortive by the untimely fate of Cæsar, was carried into effect by Asinius
Pollio, who devoted part of the wealth he had acquired from the spoils of
war, to the construction of a magnificent gallery, adjacent to the Temple
of Liberty, which he filled with books, and the busts of the learned.
Varro was the only living author who, in this public library, had the
honour of an image(96), which was erected to him as a testimony of respect
for his universal erudition. He also aided Augustus with his advice, in
the formation of the two libraries which that emperor established, and
which was part of his general system for the encouragement of science and
learning. When tyrants understand their trade, and when their judgment is
equal to their courage or craft, they become the most zealous and liberal
promoters of the interests of learning; for they know that it is for their
advantage to withdraw the minds of their subjects from political
discussion and to give them, in exchange, the consoling pleasures of
imagination, and the inexhaustible occupations of scientific curiosity.

Were I writing the history of Roman arts, it would be necessary to mention
that Varro excelled in his knowledge of all those that are useful, and in
his taste for all those that are elegant. He was the contriver of what may
be considered as the first hour clock that was made in Rome, and which
measured time by a hand entirely moved by mechanism. That he also
possessed a Museum, adorned with exquisite works of sculpture, we learn
from Pliny, who mentions, that it contained an admirable group, by the
statuary Archelaus, formed out of one block of marble, and representing a
lioness, with Cupids sporting around her—some giving her drink from a
horn; some in the attitude of putting socks on her paws, and others in the
act of binding her. The same writer acquaints us, that, in the year 692,
Varro, who was then Curule Ædile, caused a piece of painting, in fresco,
to be brought from Sparta to Rome, in order to adorn the Comitium—the
whole having been cut out entire, and enclosed in cases of wood. The
painting was excellent, and much admired; but what chiefly excited
astonishment, was that it should have been taken from the wall without
injury, and transported safe to Italy(97).

I fear I have too long detained the reader with this account of the life
and writings of Varro; yet it is not unpleasing to dwell on such a
character. He was the contemporary of Marius and Sylla, of Cæsar and
Pompey, of Antony and Octavius, these men of contention and massacre; and
amid the convulsions into which they threw their country, it is not
ungrateful to trace the _Secretum Iter_, which he silently pursued through
a period unparalleled in anarchy and crimes. Uninterrupted, save for a
moment, by strife and ambition, he prosecuted his literary labours till
the extreme term of his prolonged existence. “In eodem enim lectulo,” says
Valerius Maximus, with a spirit and eloquence beyond his usual strain of
composition—“In eodem enim lectulo, et spiritus ejus, et egregiorum operum
cursus extinctus est.”

                             NIGIDIUS FIGULUS

was a man much resembling Varro, and next to him was accounted the most
learned of the Romans(98). He was the contemporary of Cicero, and one of
his chief advisers and associates in suppressing the conspiracy of
Catiline(99). Shortly afterwards he arrived at the dignity of Prætor, but
having espoused the part of Pompey in the civil wars, he was driven into
banishment on the accession of Cæsar to the supreme power, and died in
709, before Cicero could obtain his recall from exile(100). He was much
addicted to judicial astrology; and ancient writers relate a vast number
of his predictions, particularly that of the empire of the world to
Augustus, which he presaged immediately after the birth of that

Nigidius vied with Varro in multifarious erudition, and the number of his
works—grammar, criticism, natural history, and the origin of man, having
successively employed his pen. His writings are praised by Cicero, Pliny,
Aulus Gellius, and Macrobius; but they were rendered almost entirely unfit
for popular use by their subtlety, mysteriousness, and
obscurity(102)—defects to which his cultivation of judicial astrology, and
adoption of the Pythagorean philosophy, may have materially contributed.
Aulus Gellius gives many examples of the obscurity, or rather
unintelligibility, of his grammatical writings(103). His chief work was
his Grammatical Commentaries, in thirty books, in which he attempted to
show, that names and words were fixed not by accidental application, but
by a certain power and order of nature. One of his examples, of terms
being rather natural than arbitrary, was taken from the word _Vos_, in
pronouncing which, he observed, that we use a certain motion of the mouth,
agreeing with what the word itself expresses: We protrude, by degrees, the
tips of our lips, and thrust forward our breath and mind towards those
with whom we are engaged in conversation. On the other hand, when we say
_nos_, we do not pronounce it with a broad and expanded blast of the
voice, nor with projecting lips, but we restrain our breath and lips, as
it were, within ourselves. The like natural signs accompany the utterance
of the words _tu_ and _ego_—_tibi_ and _mihi_(104). Nigidius also wrote
works, entitled _De Animalibus_, _De Ventis_, _De Extis_, and a great many
treatises on the nature of the gods. All these have long since perished,
except a very few fragments, which have been collected and explained by
Janus Rutgersius, in the third book of his _Variæ Lectiones_, published at
Leyden in 1618; 4to. In this collection he has also inserted a Greek
translation of another lost work of Nigidius, on the presages to be drawn
from thunder. The original Latin is said to have been taken from books
which bore the name of the Etruscan Tages, the supposed founder of the
science of divination. The Greek version was executed by Laurentius, a
philosopher of the age of Justinian, and his translation was discovered by
Meursius, about the beginning of the seventeenth century, in the Palatine
library. It is a sort of Almanack, containing presages of thunder for each
particular day of the year, and beginning with June. If it thunder on the
13th of June, the life or fortunes of some great person are menaced—if on
the 19th of July, war is announced—if on the 5th of August, it is
indicated that those women, with whom we have any concern, will become
somewhat more reasonable than they have hitherto proved(105).

With Varro and Nigidius Figulus, may be classed Tiro, the celebrated
freedman of Cicero, and constant assistant in all his literary pursuits.
He wrote many books on the use and formation of the Latin language, and
others on miscellaneous subjects, which he denominated _Pandectas_(106),
as comprehending every sort of literary topic.

Quintus Cornificius, the elder, was also a very general scholar. He
composed a curious treatise on the etymology of the names of things in
heaven and earth, in which he discovered great knowledge, both of Roman
antiquities, and the most recondite Grecian literature. It was here he
introduced an explication of Homer’s dark fable, where Jupiter and all the
gods proceed to feast for twelve days in Ethiopia. The work was written in
709, during the time of Cæsar’s last expedition to Spain, and was probably
intended as a supplement to Varro’s treatise on a similar topic.


From our supposing that those things which affected our ancestors may
affect us, and that those which affect us must affect posterity, we become
fond of collecting memorials of prior events, and also of preserving the
remembrance of incidents which have occurred in our own age. The historic
passion, if it may be so termed, thus naturally divides itself into two
desires—that of indulging our own curiosity, and of relating what has
occurred to ourselves or our contemporaries.

Monuments accordingly have been raised, and rude hymns composed, for this
purpose, by people who had scarcely acquired the use of letters. Among
civilized nations, the passion grows in proportion to the means of
gratifying it, and the force of example comes to be so strongly felt, that
its power and influence are soon historically employed.

The Romans were, in all ages, particularly fond of giving instruction, by
every sort of example. They placed the images of their ancestors in the
Forum and the vestibules of their houses, so that these venerable forms
everywhere met their eyes; and by recalling the glorious actions of the
dead, excited the living to emulate their forefathers. The virtue of one
generation was thus transfused, by the magic of example, into those by
which it was succeeded, and the spirit of heroism was maintained through
many ages of the republic—

  “Has olim virtus crevit Romana per artes:
  Namque foro in medio stabant spirantia signa
  Magnanimûm heroum; hîc Decios, magnosque Camillos
  Cernere erat: vivax heroum in imagine virtus,
  Invidiamque ipsis factura nepotibus, acri
  Urgebat stimulo Romanum in prælia robur(107).”

History, therefore, among the Romans, was not composed merely to gratify
curiosity, or satiate the historic passion, but also to inflame, by the
force of example, and urge on to emulation, in warlike prowess. An
insatiable thirst of military fame—an unlimited ambition of extending
their empire—an unbounded confidence in their own force and courage—an
impetuous overbearing spirit, with which all their enterprises were
pursued, composed, in the early days of the Republic, the characteristics
of Romans. To foment, and give fresh vigour to these, was a chief object
of history.—“I have recorded these things,” says an old Latin annalist,
after giving an account of Regulus, “that they who read my commentaries
may be rendered, by his example, greater and better.”

Accordingly, the Romans had journalists or annalists, from the earliest
periods of the state. The Annals of the Pontiffs were of the same date, if
we may believe Cicero, as the foundation of the city(108); but others have
placed their commencement in the reign of Numa(109), and Niebuhr not till
after the battle of Regillus, which terminated the hopes of Tarquin(110).
In order to preserve the memory of public transactions, the Pontifex
Maximus, who was the official historian of the Republic, annually
committed to writing, on wooden tablets, the leading events of each year,
and then set them up at his own house for the instruction of the
people(111). These Annals were continued down to the Pontificate of
Mucius, in the year 629, and were called _Annales Maximi_, as being
periodically compiled and kept by the Pontifex Maximus, or _Publici_, as
recording public transactions. Having been inscribed on wooden tablets,
they would necessarily be short, and destitute of all circumstantial
detail; and being annually formed by successive Pontiffs, could have no
appearance of a continued history. They would contain, as Lord Bolingbroke
remarks, little more than short minutes or memoranda, hung up in the
Pontiff’s house, like the rules of the game in a billiard room: their
contents would resemble the epitome prefixed to the books of Livy, or the
Register of Remarkable Occurrences in modern Almanacks.

But though short, jejune, and unadorned, still, as records of facts, these
annals, if spared, would have formed an inestimable treasure of early
history. The Roman territory, in the first ages of the state, was so
confined, that every event may be considered as having passed under the
immediate observation of the sacred annalist. Besides, the method which,
as Cicero informs us, was observed in preparing these Annals, and the care
that was taken to insert no fact, of which the truth had not been attested
by as many witnesses as there were citizens at Rome, who were all entitled
to judge and make their remarks on what ought either to be added or
retrenched, must have formed the most authentic body of history that could
be desired. The memory of transactions which were yet recent, and whose
concomitant circumstances every one could remember, was therein
transmitted to posterity. By these means, the Annals were proof against
falsification, and their veracity was incontestibly fixed.

These valuable records, however, were, for the most part, consumed in the
conflagration of the city, consequent on its capture by the Gauls—an event
which was to the early history of Rome what the English invasion by Edward
I. proved to the history of Scotland. The practice of the Pontifex Maximus
preserving such records was discontinued after that eventful period. A
feeble attempt was made to revive it towards the end of the second Punic
war; and, from that time, the custom was not entirely dropped till the
Pontificate of Mucius, in the year 629. It is to this second series of
Annals, or to some other late and ineffectual attempt to revive the
ancient Roman history, that Cicero must allude, when he talks of the Great
Annals, in his work _De Legibus_(112), since it is undoubted that the
pontifical records of events previous to the capture of Rome by the Gauls,
almost entirely perished in the conflagration of the city(113).
Accordingly, Livy never cites these records, and there is no appearance
that he had any opportunity of consulting them; nor are they mentioned by
Dionysius of Halicarnassus, in the long catalogue of records and memorials
which he had employed in the composition of his _Historical Antiquities_.
The _books_ of the Pontiffs, some of which were recovered in the search
made to find what the flames had spared, are, indeed, occasionally
mentioned. But these were works explaining the mysteries of religion, with
instructions as to the ceremonies to be observed in its practical
exercise, and could have been of no more service to Roman, than a
collection of breviaries or missals to modern history.

Statues, inscriptions, and other public monuments, which aid in
perpetuating the memory of illustrious persons, and transmitting to
posterity the services they have rendered their country, were accounted,
among the Romans, as the most honourable rewards that could be bestowed on
great actions; and virtue, in those ancient times, thought no recompense
more worthy of her than the immortality which such monuments seemed to
promise. Rome having produced so many examples of a disinterested
patriotism and valour must have been filled with monuments of this
description when taken by the Gauls. But these honorary memorials were
thrown down along with the buildings, and buried in the ruins. If any
escaped, it was but a small number; and the greatest part of those that
were to be seen at Rome in the eighth century of the city, were founded on
fabulous traditions which proved that the loss of the true monuments had
occasioned the substitution of false ones. Had the genuine monuments been
preserved at Rome, even till the period when the first regular annals
began to be composed, though they would not have sufficed to restore the
history entirely, they would have served at least to have perpetuated
incontestably the memory of various important facts, to have fixed their
dates, and transmitted the glory of great men to posterity.

On what then, it will be asked, was the Roman history founded, and what
authentic records were preserved as materials for its composition? There
were first the _Leges Regiæ_. These were diligently searched for, and were
discovered along with the Twelve Tables, after the sack of the city: And
all those royal laws which did not concern sacred matters, were publicly
exposed to be seen and identified by the people(114), that no suspicion of
forgery or falsification might descend to posterity. These precautions
leave us little room to doubt that the _Leges Regiæ_, and Laws of the
Tables, were preserved, and that they remained as they had been originally
promulgated by the kings and decemvirs. Such laws, however, would be of no
greater service to Roman history, than what the _Regiam Majestatem_ has
been to that of Scotland. They might be useful in tracing the early
constitution of the state, the origin of several customs, ceremonies,
public offices, and other points of antiquarian research, but they could
be of little avail in fixing dates, ascertaining facts, and setting events
in their true light, which form the peculiar objects of civil history.

Treaties of peace, which were the pledges of the public tranquillity from
without, being next to the laws of the greatest importance to the state,
much care was bestowed, after the expulsion of the Gauls, in recovering as
many of them as the flames had spared. Some of them were the more easily
restored, from having been kept in the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus,
which the fury of the enemy could not reach(115). Those which had been
saved, continued to be very carefully preserved, and there is no reason to
suspect them of having been falsified. Among the treaties which were
rescued from destruction, Horace mentions those of the Kings, with the
Gabii and the Sabines (_Fœdera Regum_(116).) The former was that concluded
by Tarquinius Superbus, and which, Dionysius of Halicarnassus informs us,
was still preserved at Rome in his time, in the temple of Jupiter Fidius,
on a buckler made of wood, and covered with an ox’s hide, on which the
articles of the treaty were written in ancient characters(117). Dionysius
mentions two treaties with the Sabines—the first was between Romulus and
their king Tatius(118); and the other, the terms of which were inscribed
on a column erected in a temple, was concluded with them by Tullus
Hostilius, at the close of a Sabine war(119). Livy likewise cites a treaty
made with the Ardeates(120); and Polybius has preserved entire another
entered into with the Carthaginians, in the year of the expulsion of the
kings(121). Pliny has also alluded to one of the conditions of a treaty
which Porsenna, the ally of Tarquin, granted to the Roman people(122). Now
these leagues with the Gabii, Sabines, Ardeates, and one or two with the
Latins, are almost the only treaties we find anywhere referred to by the
ancient Latin historians; who thus seem to have employed but little
diligence in consulting those original documents, or drawing from them, in
compiling their histories, such assistance as they could have afforded.
The treaties quoted by Polybius and Pliny, completely contradict the
relations of the Latin annalists; those cited by Polybius proving, in
opposition to their assertions, that the Carthaginians had been in
possession of a great part of Sicily about a century previous to the date
which Livy has fixed to their first expedition to that island; and those
quoted by Pliny, that Porsenna, instead of treating with the Romans on
equal terms, as represented by their historians, had actually prohibited
them from employing arms,—permitting them the use of iron only in tilling
the ground(123).

The _Libri Lintei_ (so called because written on linen) are cited by Livy
after the old annalist Licinius Macer, by whom they appear to have been
carefully studied. These books were kept in the temple of Juno Moneta, but
were probably of less importance than the other public records, which were
inscribed on rolls of lead. They were obviously a work of no great extent,
since Livy, who appeals to them on four different occasions in the space
of ten years, just after the degradation of the decemvirs, had not quoted
them before, and never refers to them again. There also appear to have
been different copies of them which did not exactly agree, and Livy seems
far from considering their authority as decisive even on the points on
which reference is made to them(124).

The _Memoirs of the Censors_ were journals preserved by those persons who
held the office of Censor. They were transmitted by them to their
descendants as so many sacred pledges, and were preserved in the families
which had been rendered illustrious by that dignity. They formed a series
of eulogies on those who had thus exalted the glory of their house, and
contained a relation of the memorable actions performed by them in
discharge of the high censorial office with which they had been
invested(125). Hence they must be considered as part of the _Family
Memoirs_, which were unfortunately the great and corrupt sources of early
Roman history.

It was the custom of the ancient families of Rome to preserve with
religious care everything that could contribute to perpetuate the glory of
their ancestry, and confer honour on their lineage. Thus, besides the
titles which were placed under the smoky images of their forefathers,
there were likewise tables in their apartments on which lay books and
memoirs recording, in a style of general panegyric, the services they had
performed for the state during their exercise of the employments with
which they had been dignified(126).

Had these Family Memoirs been faithfully composed, they would have been of
infinite service to history; and although all other monuments had
perished, they alone would have supplied the defect. They were a record,
by those who had the best access to knowledge, of the high offices which
their ancestors had filled, and of whatever memorable was transacted
during the time they had held the exalted situations of Prætor or Consul:
Even the dates of events, as may be seen by a fragment which Dionysius of
Halicarnassus cites from them, were recorded with all the appearance of
accuracy. Each set of family memoirs thus formed a series of biographies,
which, by preserving the memory of the great actions of individuals, and
omitting nothing that could tend to their illustration, comprehended also
the principal affairs of state, in which they had borne a share. From the
fragments of the genealogical book of the Porcian family, quoted by Aulus
Gellius, and the abstract of the Memoirs of the Claudian and Livian
families, preserved by Suetonius, in the first chapters of his Life of
Tiberius, we may perceive how important such memoirs would have been, and
what light they would have thrown on history, had they possessed the stamp
of fidelity. But unfortunately, in their composition more regard was paid
to family reputation than to historical truth. Whatever tended to exalt
its name was embellished and exaggerated. Whatever could dim its lustre
was studiously withdrawn. Circumstances, meanwhile, became peculiarly
favourable for these high family pretensions. The destruction of the
public monuments and annals of the Pontiffs, gave ample scope for the
vanity or fertile imagination of those who chose to fabricate titles and
invent claims to distinction, the falsity of which could no longer be
demonstrated. “All the monuments,” says Plutarch, “being destroyed at the
taking of Rome, others were substituted, which were forged out of
complaisance to private persons, who pretended to be of illustrious
families, though in fact they had no relation to them(127).” So
unmercifully had the great families availed themselves of this favourable
opportunity, that Livy complains that these private memoirs were the chief
cause of the uncertainty in which he was forced to fluctuate during the
early periods of his history. “What has chiefly confounded the history,”
says he, “is each family ascribing to itself the glory of great actions
and honourable employments. Hence, doubtless, the exploits of individuals
and public monuments have been falsified; nor have we so much as one
writer of these times whose authority can be depended on(128).” Those
funeral orations on the dead, which it was the custom to deliver at Rome,
and which were preserved in families as carefully as the memoirs, also
contributed to augment this evil. Cicero declares, that history had been
completely falsified by these funeral panegyrics, many things being
inserted in them which never were performed, or existed—False triumphs,
supernumerary consulships, and forged pedigrees(129).

Connected with these prose legends, there were also the old heroic ballads
formerly mentioned, on which the annals of Ennius were in a great measure
built, and to which may be traced some of those wonderful incidents of
Roman history, chiefly contrived for the purpose of exalting the military
achievements of the country. Many things which of right belong to such
ancient poems, still exist under the disguise of an historical clothing in
the narratives of the Roman annalists. Niebuhr, the German historian of
Rome, has recently analysed these legends, and taken much from the Roman
history, by detecting what incidents rest on no other foundation than
their chimerical or embellished pictures, and by shewing how incidents, in
themselves unconnected, have by their aid been artificially combined.
Such, according to him, were the stories of the birth of Romulus, of the
treason of Tatia, the death of the Fabii, and the incidents of an almost
complete Epopée, from the succession of Tarquinius Priscus to the battle
of Regillus. These old ballads, being more attractive and of easier access
than authentic records and monuments, were preferred to them as
authorities; and even when converted into prose, retained much of their
original and poetic spirit. For example, it was feigned in them that
Tullus Hostilius was the son of Hostus Hostilius, who perished in the war
with the Sabines, which, according to chronology, would make Tullus at
least eighty years old when he mounted the throne; but it was thought a
fine thing to represent him as the son of a genuine Roman hero, who had
fallen in the service of his country. Niebuhr, probably, as I have already
shown, has attributed too much to these old heroic ballads, and has
assigned to them an extent and importance of which there are no adequate
proofs. But I strongly suspect that the heroic or historical poems of
Ennius had formed a principal document to the Roman annalists for the
transactions during the Monarchy and earlier times of the Republic, and
had been appealed to, like Ferdousi’s Shad-Nameh, for occurrences which
were probably rather fictions of fancy than events of history.

The Greek writers, from whom several fables and traditions were derived
concerning the infancy of Rome, lived not much higher than the age of
Fabius Pictor, and only mention its affairs cursorily, while treating of
Alexander or his successors. Polybius, indeed, considers their narratives
as mere vulgar traditions(130), and Dionysius says they have written some
few things concerning the Romans, which they have compiled from common
reports, without accuracy or diligence. To them have been plausibly
attributed those fables, concerning the exploits of Romans, which bear so
remarkable an analogy to incidents in Grecian history(131). Like to these
in all respects are the histories which some Romans published in Greek
concerning the ancient transactions of their own nation.

We thus see that the authentic materials for the early history of Rome
were meagre and imperfect—that the annals of the Pontiffs and public
monuments had perished—that the _Leges Regiæ_, Twelve Tables, and remains
of the religious or ritual books of the Pontiffs, could throw no great
light on history, and that the want of better materials was supplied by
false, and sometimes incredible relations, drawn from the family
traditions—“_ad ostentationem scenæ gaudentis miraculis aptiora quàm ad
fidem_(132).” The mutilated inscriptions, too, the scanty treaties, and
the family memoirs, became, from the variations in the language, in a
great measure unintelligible to the generation which succeeded that in
which they were composed. Polybius informs us, that the most learned
Romans of his day could not read a treaty with the Carthaginians,
concluded after the expulsion of the kings. Hence, the documents for
history, such as they were, became useless to the historian, or, at least,
were of such difficulty, that he would sometimes mistake their import, and
be, at others, deterred from investigation.

When all this is considered, and also that Rome, in its commencement, was
the dwelling of a rude and ignorant people, subsisting by rapine—that the
art of writing, the only sure guardian of the remembrance of events, was
little practised—that critical examination was utterly unknown; and that
the writers of no other nation would think of accurately transmitting to
posterity events, which have only become interesting from the subsequent
conquests and extension of the Roman empire, it must be evident, that the
materials provided for the work of the historian would necessarily be
obscure and uncertain.

The great general results recorded in Roman history, during the first five
centuries, cannot, indeed, be denied. It cannot be doubted that Rome
ultimately triumphed over the neighbouring nations, and obtained
possession of their territories; for Rome would not have been what we know
it was in the sixth century, without these successes. But there exists, in
the particular events recorded in the Roman history, sufficient internal
evidence of its uncertainty, or rather falsehood; and here I do not refer
to the lying fables, and absurd prodigies, which the annalists may have
inserted in deference to the prejudices of the people, nor to the almost
incredible daring and endurance of Scævola, Cocles, or Curtius, which may
be accounted for from the wild spirit of a half-civilized nation, and are
not unlike the acts we hear of among Indian tribes; but I allude to the
total improbability of the historic details concerning transactions with
surrounding tribes, and the origin of domestic institutions. How, for
example, after so long a series of defeats, with few intervals of
prosperity interposed, could the Italian states have possessed resources
sufficient incessantly to renew hostilities, in which they were always the
aggressors? And how, on the other hand, should the Romans, with their
constant preponderance of force and fortune, (if the repetition and
magnitude of their victories can be depended on,) have been so long
employed in completely subjugating them? The numbers slain, according to
Livy’s account, are so prodigious, that it is difficult to conceive how
the population of such moderate territories, as belonged to the
independent Italian communities, could have supplied such losses. We,
therefore, cannot avoid concluding, that the frequency and importance of
these campaigns were magnified by the consular families indulging in the
vanity of exaggerating the achievements of their ancestors(133). Sometimes
these campaigns are represented as carried on against the whole nation of
Volsci, Samnites, or Etruscans, when, in fact, only a part was engaged;
and, at other times, battles, which never were fought, have been extracted
from the family memoirs, where they were drawn up to illustrate each
consulate; for what would a consul have been without a triumph or a
victory? It would exceed my limits were I to point out the various
improbabilities and evident inconsistencies of this sort recorded in the
early periods of Roman history. With regard, again, to the domestic
institutions of Rome, everything (doubtless for the sake of effect and
dignity) is represented as having at once originated in the refined policy
and foresight of the early kings. The division of the people into tribes
and curiæ—the relations of patron and client—the election of senators—in
short, the whole fabric of the constitution, is exhibited as a
preconcerted plan of political wisdom, and not (as a constitution has been
in every other state, and must have been in Rome) the gradual result of
contingencies and progressive improvements, of assertions of rights, and
struggles for power.

The opinion entertained by Polybius of the uncertainty of the Roman
history, is sufficiently manifest from a passage in the fourth book of his
admirable work, which is written with all the philosophy and profound
inquiry of Tacitus, without any of his apparent affectation.—“The things
which I have undertaken to describe,” says he, “are those which I myself
have seen, or such as I have received from men who were eye-witnesses of
them. For, had I gone back to a more early period, and borrowed my
accounts from the report of persons who themselves had only heard them
before from others, as it would scarcely have been possible that I should
myself be able to discern the true state of the matters that were then
transacted, so neither could I have written anything concerning them with
confidence.” What, indeed, can we expect to know with regard to the Kings
of Rome, when we find so much uncertainty with regard to the most
memorable events of the republic, as the period of the first creation of a
dictator and tribunes of the people? The same doubt exists in the
biography of illustrious characters. Cicero says, that Coriolanus, having
gone over to the Volsci, repressed the struggles of his resentment by a
voluntary death; “for, though you, my Atticus,” he continues, “have
represented his death in a different manner, you must pardon me if I do
not subscribe to the justness of your representations(134).” Atticus, I
presume, gave the account as we now have it, that he was killed in a
tumult of the Volsci, and Fabius Pictor had written that he lived till old
age(135). Of the reliance to be placed on the events between the death of
Coriolanus and the termination of the second Punic war, we may judge from
the uncertainty which prevailed with regard to Scipio Africanus, a hero,
of all others, the most distinguished, and who flourished, comparatively,
at a recent period. Yet some of the most important events of his life are
involved in contradiction and almost hopeless obscurity.—“Cicero,” says
Berwick, in his Memoirs of Scipio, “speaks with great confidence of the
year in which he died, yet Livy found so great a difference of opinion
among historians on the subject, that he declares himself unable to
ascertain it. From a fragment in Polybius, we learn, that, in his time,
the authors who had written of Scipio were ignorant of some circumstances
of his life, and mistaken in others; and, from Livy, it appears, that the
accounts respecting his life, trial, death, funeral, and sepulchre, were
so contradictory, that he was not able to determine what tradition, or
whose writings, he ought to credit.”

But, although the early events of Roman history were of such a
description, that Cicero and Atticus were not agreed concerning them—that
Polybius could write nothing about them with confidence; and that Livy
would neither undertake to affirm nor refute them, every vestige of Roman
antiquity had not perished. Though the annals of the Pontiffs were
destroyed,—those who wrote, who kept, and had read them, could not have
lost all recollection of the facts they recorded. Even from the family
memoirs, full of falsehoods as they were, much truth might have been
extracted by a judicious and acute historian. The journals of different
rival families must often have served as historical checks on each other,
and much real information might have been gathered, by comparing and
contrasting the vain-glorious lies of those family-legends(136).

Such was the state of the materials for Roman history, in the middle of
the sixth century, from the building of the city, at which time regular
annals first began to be composed; and notwithstanding all unfavourable
circumstances, much might have been done, even at that period, towards
fixing and ascertaining the dates and circumstances of previous events,
had the earliest annalist of Rome been in any degree fitted for this
difficult and important task; but, unfortunately,

                          QUINTUS FABIUS PICTOR,

who first undertook to relate the affairs of Rome from its foundation, in
a formal and regular order, and is thence called by Livy _Scriptorum
antiquissimus_, appears to have been wretchedly qualified for the labour
he had undertaken, either in point of fidelity or research: and to his
carelessness and inaccuracy, more even than to the loss of monuments, may
be attributed the painful uncertainty, which to this day hangs over the
early ages of Roman history.

Fabius Pictor lived in the time of the second Punic war. The family
received its _cognomen_ from Caius Fabius, who, having resided in Etruria,
and there acquired some knowledge of the fine arts, painted with figures
the temple of _Salus_, in the year 450(137). Pliny mentions having seen
this piece of workmanship, which remained entire till the building itself
was consumed, in the reign of the Emperor Claudius. The son of the painter
rose to the highest honours of the state, having been Consul along with
Ogulnius Gallus, in the year 485. From him sprung the historian, who was
consequently grandson of the first Fabius Pictor. He was a provincial
quæstor in early youth, and in 528 served under the Consul Lucius Æmilius,
when sent to repel a formidable incursion of the Gauls, who, in that year,
had passed the Alps in vast hordes. He also served in the second Punic
war, which commenced in 534, and was present at the battle of Thrasymene.
After the defeat at Cannæ, he was despatched by the senate to inquire from
the oracle of Delphos, what would be the issue of the war, and to learn by
what supplications the wrath of the gods might be appeased(138).

The Annals of Fabius Pictor commenced with the foundation of the city, and
brought down the series of Roman affairs to the author’s own time—that is,
to the end of the second Punic war. We are informed by Dionysius of
Halicarnassus, that for the great proportion of events which preceded his
own age, Fabius Pictor had no better authority than vulgar tradition(139).
He probably found, that if he had confined himself to what was certain in
these early times, his history would have been dry, insipid, and
incomplete. This may have induced him to adopt the fables, which the Greek
historians had invented concerning the origin of Rome, and to insert
whatever he found in the family traditions, however contradictory or
uncertain. Dionysius has also given us many examples of his improbable
narrations—his inconsistencies—his negligence in investigating the truth
of what he relates as facts—and his inaccuracy in chronology. “I cannot
refrain,” says he, when speaking of the age of Tarquinius Priscus, “from
blaming Fabius Pictor for his little exactness in chronology(140);” and it
appears from various other passages, that all the ancient history of
Fabius which was not founded on hearsay, was taken from Greek authors, who
had little opportunity of being informed of Roman affairs, and had
supplied their deficiency in real knowledge, by the invention of fables.
In particular, as we are told by Plutarch(141), he followed an obscure
Greek author, Diocles the Peparethian, in his account of the foundation of
Rome, and from this tainted source have flowed all the stories concerning
Mars, the Vestal, the Wolf, Romulus, and Remus.

It is thus evident, that no great reliance can be placed on the history
given by Fabius Pictor, of the events which preceded his own age, and
which happened during a period of 500 years from the building of the city;
but what must be considered as more extraordinary and lamentable, is, that
although a senator, and of a distinguished family, he gave a prejudiced
and inaccurate account of affairs occurring during the time he lived, and
in the management of which he had some concern. Polybius, who flourished
shortly after that time, and was at pains to inform himself accurately
concerning all the events of the second Punic war, apologizes for quoting
Fabius on one occasion as an authority. “It will perhaps be asked,” says
he, “how I came to make mention of Fabius: It is not that I think his
relation probable enough to deserve credit: What he writes is so absurd,
and has so little appearance of truth, that the reader will easily remark,
without my taking notice of it, the little reliance that is to be placed
on that author, whose inconsistency is palpable of itself. It is,
therefore, only to warn such as shall read his history, not to judge by
the title of the book, but by the things it contains—for there are many
people, who, considering the author more than what he writes, think
themselves obliged to believe everything he says, because a senator and
contemporary(142).” Polybius also accuses him of gross partiality to his
own nation, in the account of the Punic war—allowing to the enemy no
praise, even where they deserved it, and uncandidly aggravating their
faults.(143) In particular, he charges him with falsehood in what he has
delivered, with regard to the causes of the second contest with the
Carthaginians. Fabius had alleged, that the covetousness of Hannibal,
which he inherited from Asdrubal, and his desire of ultimately ruling over
his own country, to which he conceived a Roman war to be a necessary step,
were the chief causes of renewing hostilities, to which the Carthaginian
government was totally averse. Now, Polybius asks him, if this were true,
why the Carthaginian Senate did not deliver up their general, as was
required, after the capture of Saguntum; and why they supported him,
during fourteen years continuance in Italy, with frequent supplies of
money, and immense reinforcements(144).

The sentiments expressed by Dionysius of Halicarnassus, concerning Fabius
Pictor’s relation of events, in the early ages of Rome, and those of
Polybius(145), on the occurrences of which he was himself an eye-witness,
enable us to form a pretty accurate estimate of the credit due to his
whole history. Dionysius having himself written on the antiquities of
Rome, was competent to deliver an opinion as to the works of those who had
preceded him in the same undertaking; and it would rather have been
favourable to the general view which he has adopted, to have established
the credibility of Fabius. We may also safely rely on the judgment which
Polybius has passed, concerning this old annalist’s relation of the events
of the age in which he lived, since Polybius had spared no pains to be
thoroughly informed of whatever could render his own account of them
complete and unexceptionable.

The opinion which must now be naturally formed from the sentiments
entertained by these two eminent historians, is rather confirmed by the
few and unconnected fragments that remain of the Annals of Fabius Pictor,
as they exhibit a spirit of trifling and credulity quite unworthy the
historian of a great republic. One passage is about a person who saw a
magpie; another about a man who had a message brought to him by a swallow;
and a third concerning a party of _loup garous_, who, after being
transformed into wolves, recovered their own figures, and, what is more,
got back their cast-off clothes, provided they had abstained for nine
years from preying on human flesh!

Such were the merits of the earliest annalist of Rome, whom all succeeding
historians of the state copied as far as he had proceeded, or at least
implicitly followed as their authority and guide in facts and chronology.
Unfortunately, his character as a senator, and an eye-witness of many of
the events he recorded, gave the stamp of authenticity to his work, which
it did not intrinsically deserve to have impressed on it. His successors
accordingly, instead of giving themselves the pains to clear up the
difficulties with which the history of former ages was embarrassed, and
which would have led into long and laborious discussions, preferred
reposing on the authority of Fabius. They copied him on the ancient times,
without even consulting the few monuments that remained, and then
contented themselves with adding the transactions subsequent to the period
which his history comprehends. Thus, Dionysius of Halicarnassus(146)
informs us that Cincius, Cato the Censor, Calpurnius Piso, and most of the
other historians who succeeded him, implicitly adopted Fabius’ story of
the birth and education of Romulus; and he adds many glaring instances of
the little discernment they showed in following him on points where, by a
little investigation, they might have discovered how egregiously he had
erred. Even Livy himself admits, that his own account of the second Punic
war was chiefly founded on the relations of Fabius Pictor(147).

This ancient and dubious annalist was succeeded by Scribonius Libo, and by
Calpurnius Piso. Libo served under Ser. Galba in Spain, and on his return
to Rome impeached his commander for some act of treachery towards the
natives of that province. Piso was Consul along with Mucius Scævola in
620, the year in which Tib. Gracchus was slain. Like Fabius, he wrote
Annals of Rome, from the beginning of the state, which Cicero pronounces
to be _exiliter scripti_(148): But although his style was jejune, he is
called a profound writer, _gravis auctor_, by Pliny(149); and Au. Gellius
says, that there is an agreeable simplicity in some parts of his work—the
brevity which displeased Cicero appearing to him _simplicissima suavitas
et rei et orationis_(150). He relates an anecdote of Romulus, who, being
abroad at supper, drank little wine, because he was to be occupied with
important affairs on the following day. One of the other guests remarked,
“that if all men did as he, wine would be cheap.”—“No,” replied Romulus,
“I have drunk as much as I liked, and wine would be dearer than it is now
if every one did the same.” This annalist first suggested Varro’s famous
derivation of the word Italy, which he deduced from _Vitulus_. He is also
frequently quoted by Plutarch and Dionysius of Halicarnassus(151). Niebuhr
thinks, that of all the Roman annalists he is chiefly responsible for
having introduced into history the fables of the ancient heroic

About the same time with Piso, lived two historians, who were both called
Caius Fannius, and were nearly related to each other. One of them was
son-in-law of Lælius, and served under the younger Scipio at the final
reduction of Carthage. Of him Cicero speaks favourably, though his style
was somewhat harsh(153); but his chief praise is, that Sallust, in
mentioning the Latin historians, while he gives to Cato the palm for
conciseness, awards it to Fannius for accuracy in facts(154). Heeren also
mentions, that he was the authority chiefly followed by Plutarch in his
lives of the Gracchi(155).

Cœlius Antipater was contemporary with the Gracchi, and was the master of
Lucius Crassus, the celebrated orator, and other eminent men of the day.
We learn from Valerius Maximus, that he was the authority for the story of
the shade of Tiberius Gracchus having appeared to his brother Caius in a
dream, to warn him that he would suffer the same fate which he had himself
experienced(156); and the historian testifies that he had heard of this
vision from many persons during the lifetime of Caius Gracchus. The chief
subject of Antipater’s history, which was dedicated to Lælius, consisted
in the events that occurred during the second Punic war. Cicero says, that
he was for his age _Scriptor luculentus_(157); that he raised himself
considerably above his predecessors, and gave a more lofty tone to
history; but he seems to think that the utmost praise to which he was
entitled, is, that he excelled those who preceded him, for still he
possessed but little eloquence or learning, and his style was yet
unpolished. Valerius Maximus, however, calls him an authentic writer,
(_certus auctor_(158);) and the Emperor Hadrian thought him superior to
Sallust, consistently with that sort of black-letter taste which led him
to prefer Cato the Censor to Cicero, and Ennius to Virgil(159).

Sempronius Asellio served as military tribune under the younger Scipio
Africanus, in the war of Numantia(160), which began in 614, and ended in
621, with the destruction of that city. He wrote the history of the
campaigns in which he fought under Scipio, in Spain, in at least 40 books,
since the 40th is cited by Charisius. His work, however, was not written
for a considerable time after the events he recorded had happened: That he
wrote subsequently to Antipater, we have the authority of Cicero, who says
“that Cœlius Antipater was succeeded by Asellio, who did not imitate his
improvements, but relapsed into the dulness and unskilfulness of the
earliest historians(161).” This does not at all appear to have been
Asellio’s own opinion, as, from a passage extracted by Aulus Gellius from
the first book of his Annals, he seems to have considered himself as the
undisputed father of philosophic history(162).

Quintus Lutatius Catulus, better known as an accomplished orator than a
historian, was Consul along with Marius in the year 651, and shared with
him in his distinguished triumph over the Cimbrians. Though once united in
the strictest friendship, these old colleagues quarrelled at last, during
the civil war with Sylla; and Catulus, it is said, in order to avoid the
emissaries despatched by the unrelenting Marius, to put him to death, shut
himself up in a room newly plastered, and having kindled a fire, was
suffocated by the noxious vapours. He wrote the history of his own
consulship, and the various public transactions in which he had been
engaged, particularly the war with the Cimbrians. Cicero(163), who has
spoken so disadvantageously of the style of the older annalists, admits
that Catulus wrote very pure Latin, and that his language had some
resemblance to the sweetness of Xenophon.

Q. Claudius Quadrigarius composed Annals of Rome in twenty-four books,
which, though now almost entirely lost, were in existence as late as the
end of the 12th century, being referred to by John of Salisbury in his
book _De Nugis Curialibus_. Some passages, however, are still preserved,
particularly the account of the defiance by the gigantic Gaul, adorned
with a chain, to the whole Roman army, and his combat with Titus Manlius,
afterwards sirnamed Torquatus, from this chain which he took from his
antagonist. “Who the enemy was,” says Au. Gellius, “of how great and
formidable stature, how audacious the challenge, and in what kind of
battle they fought, Q. Claudius has told with much purity and elegance,
and in the simple unadorned sweetness of ancient language(164).”

There is likewise extant from these Annals the story of the Consul Q.
Fabius Maximus making his father, who was then Proconsul, alight from his
horse when he came out to meet him. We have also the letter of the Roman
Consuls, Fabricius and Q. Emilius, to Pyrrhus, informing him of the
treachery of his confident, Nicias, who had offered to the Romans to make
away with his master for a reward. It merits quotation, as a fine example
of ancient dignity and simplicity.—“Nos, pro tuis injuriis, continuo
animo, strenue commoti, inimiciter tecum bellare studemus. Sed communis
exempli et fidei ergo visum est, uti te salvum velimus; ut esset quem
armis vincere possimus. Ad nos venit Nicias familiaris tuus, qui sibi
pretium a nobis peteret, si te clam interfecisset: Id nos negavimus velle;
neve ob eam rem quidquam commodi expectaret: Et simul visum est, ut te
certiorem faceremus, nequid ejusmodi, si accidisset, nostro consilio
putares factum: et, quid nobis non placet, pretio, aut premio, aut dolis
pugnare.”—The Annals of Quadrigarius must at least have brought down the
history to the civil wars of Marius and Sylla, since, in the nineteenth
book, the author details the circumstances of the defence of the Piræus
against Sylla, by Archelaus, the prefect of Mithridates. As to the style
of these annals, Aulus Gellius reports, that they were written in a
conversational manner(165).

Quintus Valerius Antias also left Annals, which must have formed an
immense work, since Priscian cites the seventy-fourth book. They commenced
with the foundation of the city; but their accuracy cannot be relied on,
as the author was much addicted to exaggeration. Livy, mentioning, on the
authority of Antias, a victory gained by the Proconsul Q. Minucius, adds,
while speaking of the number of slain on the part of the enemy, “Little
faith can be given to this author, as no one was ever more intemperate in
such exaggerations;” and Aulus Gellius mentions a circumstance which he
had affirmed, contrary to the records of the Tribunes, and the authors of
the ancient Annals(166). This history also seems to have been stuffed with
the most absurd and superstitious fables. A nonsensical tale is told with
regard to the manner in which Numa procured thunder from Jupiter; and
stories are likewise related about the conflagration of the lake
Thrasimene, before the defeat of the Roman Consul, and the flame which
played round the head of Servius Tullius in his childhood. It also appears
from him, that the Romans had judicial trials, as horrible as those of the
witches which disgraced our criminal record. Q. Nævius, before setting out
for Sardinia, held _Questions_ of incantation through the towns of Italy,
and condemned to death, apparently without much investigation, not less
than two thousand persons. This annalist denies, in another passage, the
well-known story of the continence of Scipio, and alleges that the lady
whom he is generally said to have restored to her lover, was “_in deliciis
amoribusque usurpata_(167).” His opinion of the moral character of Scipio
seems founded on some satirical verses of Nævius, with regard to a low
intrigue in which he was detected in his youth. But whatever his private
amours may have been, it does not follow that he was incapable of a signal
exertion of generosity and continence in the presence of his army, and
with the eyes of two great rival nations fixed upon his conduct.

Licinius Macer, father of Licin. Calvus, the distinguished poet and orator
formerly mentioned(168), was author of Annals, entitled _Libri Rerum
Romanarum_. In the course of these he frequently quotes the _Libri
Lintei_. He was not considered as a very impartial historian, and, in
particular, he is accused by Livy of inventing stories to throw lustre
over his own family.

L. Cornelius Sisenna was the friend of Macer, and coeval with Antias and
Quadrigarius; but he far excelled his contemporaries, as well as
predecessors, in the art of historical narrative. He was of the same
family as Sylla, the dictator, and was descended from that Sisenna who was
Prætor in 570. In his youth he practised as an orator, and is
characterized by Cicero as a man of learning and wit, but of no great
industry or knowledge in business(169). In more advanced life he was
Prætor of Achaia, and a friend of Atticus. Vossius says his history
commenced after the taking of Rome by the Gauls, and ended with the wars
of Marius and Sylla. Now, it is possible that he may have given some
sketch of Roman affairs from the burning of the city by the Gauls, but it
is evident he had touched slightly on these early portions of the history,
for though his work consisted of twenty, or, according to others, of
twenty-two books, it appears from a fragment of the second, which is still
preserved, that he had there advanced in his narrative as far as the
Social War, which broke out in the year 663. The greater part, therefore,
I suspect, was devoted to the history of the civil wars of Marius; and
indeed Velleius Paterculus calls his work _Opus Belli Civilis
Sullani_(170). The great defect of his history consisted, it is said, in
not being written with sufficient political freedom, at least concerning
the character and conduct of Sylla, which is regretted by Sallust in a
passage bearing ample testimony to the merits of Sisenna in other
particulars.—“L. Sisenna,” says he, “optume et diligentissime omnium, qui
eas res dixere persecutus, parum mihi libero ore locutus videtur(171).”
Cicero, while he admits his superiority over his predecessors, adds, that
he was far from perfection(172), and complains that there was something
puerile in his Annals, as if he had studied none of the Greek historians
but Clitarchus(173). I have quoted these opinions, since we must now
entirely trust to the sentiments of others, in the judgment which we form
of the merits of Sisenna; for although the fragments which remain of his
history are more numerous than those of any other old Latin annalist,
being about 150, they are also shorter and more unconnected. Indeed, there
are scarcely two sentences anywhere joined together.

The great defect, then, imputed to the class of annalists above
enumerated, is the meagerness of their relations, which are stript of all
ornament of style—of all philosophic observation on the springs or
consequences of action—and all characteristic painting of the actors
themselves. That they often perverted the truth of history, to dignify the
name of their country at the expense of its foes, is a fault common to
them with many national historians—that they sometimes exalted one
political faction or chief to depreciate another, was almost unavoidable
amid the anarchy and civil discord of Rome—that they were credulous in the
extreme, in their relations of portents and prodigies, is a blemish from
which their greater successors were not exempted: The easy faith of Livy
is well known. Even the philosophic Tacitus seems to give credit to those
presages, which darkly announced the fate of men and empires; and Julius
Obsequens, a grave writer in the most enlightened age of Rome, collected
in one work all the portents observed from its foundation to the age of

The period in which the ancient annalists flourished, also produced
several biographical works; and these being lives of men distinguished in
the state, may be ranked in the number of histories.

Lucius Emilius Scaurus, who was born in 591, and died in 666, wrote
memoirs of his own life, which Tacitus says were accounted faithful and
impartial. They are unfortunately lost, but their matter may be
conjectured from the well-known incidents of the life of Scaurus. They
embraced a very eventful period, and were written without any flagrant
breach of truth. We learn from Cicero, that these memoirs, however useful
and instructive, were little read, even in his days, though his
contemporaries carefully studied the Cyropædia; a work, as he continues,
no doubt sufficiently elegant, but not so connected with our affairs, nor
in any respect to be preferred to the merits of Scaurus(174).

Rutilius Rufus, who was Consul in the year 649, also wrote memoirs of his
own life. He was a man of very different character from Scaurus, being of
distinguished probity in every part of his conduct, and possessing, as we
are informed by Cicero, something almost of sanctity in his demeanour. All
this did not save him from an unjust exile, to which he was condemned, and
which he passed in tranquillity at Smyrna. These biographical memoirs
being lost, we know their merits only from the commendations of Livy(175),
Plutarch(176), Velleius Paterculus(177), and Valerius Maximus(178). As the
author served under Scipio in Spain—under Scævola in Asia, and under
Metellus in his campaign against Jugurtha, the loss of this work is
severely to be regretted.

But the want of Sylla’s Memoirs of his own Life, and of the affairs in
which he had himself been engaged, is still more deeply to be lamented
than the loss of those of Scaurus or Rutilius Rufus. These memoirs were
meant to have been dedicated to Lucullus, on condition that he should
arrange and correct them(179). Sylla was employed on them the evening
before his death, and concluded them by relating, that on the preceding
night he had seen in a dream one of his children, who had died a short
while before, and who, stretching out his hand, showed to him his mother
Metella, and exhorted him forthwith to leave the cares of life, and hasten
to enjoy repose along with them in the bosom of eternal rest. “Thus,” adds
the author, who accounted nothing so certain as what was signified to him
in dreams, “I finish my days, as was predicted to me by the Chaldeans, who
announced that I should surmount envy itself by my glory, and should have
the good fortune to fall in the full blossom of my prosperity(180).” These
memoirs were sent by Epicadus, the freedman of Sylla, to Lucullus, in
order that he might put to them the finishing hand. If preserved, they
would have thrown much light on the most important affairs of Roman
history, as they proceeded from the person who must, of all others, have
been the best informed concerning them. They are quoted by Plutarch as
authority for many curious facts, as—that in the great battle by which the
Cimbrian invasion was repelled, the chief execution was done in that
quarter where Sylla was stationed; the main body, under Marius, having
been misled by a cloud of dust, and having in consequence wandered about
for a long time without finding the enemy(181). Plutarch also mentions
that, in these Commentaries, the author contradicted the current story of
his seeking refuge during a tumult at the commencement of the civil wars
with Marius, in the house of his rival, who, it had been reported,
sheltered and dismissed him in safety. Besides their importance for the
history of events, the Memoirs of Sylla must have been highly interesting,
as developing, in some degree, the most curious character in Roman
history. “In the loss of his Memoirs,” says Blackwell, in his usual
inflated style, “the strongest draught of human passions, in the highest
wheels of fortune and sallies of power, is for ever vanished(182).” The
character of Cæsar, though greater, was less incomprehensible than that of
Sylla; and the mind of Augustus, though unfathomable to his
contemporaries, has been sounded by the long line of posterity; but it is
difficult to analyse the disposition which inspired the inconsistent
conduct of Sylla. Gorged with power, and blood, and vengeance, he seems to
have retired from what he chiefly coveted, as if surfeited; but neither
this retreat, nor old age, could mollify his heart; nor could disease, or
the approach of death, or the remembrance of his past life, disturb his
tranquillity. No part of his existence was more strange than its
termination; and nothing can be more singular than that he, who, on the
day of his decease, caused in mere wantonness a provincial magistrate to
be strangled in his presence, should, the night before, have enjoyed a
dream so elevated and tender. It is probable that the Memoirs were well
written, in point of style, as Sylla loved the arts and sciences, and was
even a man of some learning, though Cæsar is reported to have said, on
hearing his literary acquirements extolled, that he must have been but an
indifferent scholar who had resigned a dictatorship.

The characteristic of most of the annals and memoirs which I have hitherto
mentioned, was extreme conciseness. Satisfied with collecting a mass of
facts, their authors adopted a style which, in the later ages of Rome,
became proverbially meagre and jejune. Cicero includes Claudius
Quadrigarius and Asellio in the same censure which he passes on their
predecessors, Fabius Pictor, Piso, and Fannius. But though, perhaps,
equally barren in style, much greater trust and reliance may be placed on
the annalists of the time of Marius and Sylla than of the second Punic

Some of these more modern annalists wrote the History of Rome from the
commencement of the state; others took up the relation from the burning of
Rome by the Gauls, or confined themselves to events which had occurred in
their own time. Their narratives of all that passed before the incursion
of the Gauls, were indeed as little authentic as the relations of Fabius
Pictor, since they implicitly followed that writer, and made no new
researches into the mouldering monuments of their country. But their
accounts of what happened subsequently to the rebuilding of Rome, are not
liable to the same suspicion and uncertainty; the public monuments and
records having, from that period, been duly preserved, and having been in
greater abundance than those of almost any other nation in the history of
the world. The Roman authors possessed all the auxiliaries which aid
historical compilation—decrees of the senate, chiefly pronounced in
affairs of state—leagues with friendly nations—terms of the surrender of
cities—tables of triumphs, and treaties, which were carefully preserved in
the treasury or in temples. There were even rolls kept of the senators and
knights, as also of the number of the legions and ships employed in each
war; but the public despatches addressed to the Senate by commanders of
armies, of which we have specimens in Cicero’s Epistles, were the
documents which must have chiefly aided historical composition. These were
probably accurate, as the Senate, and people in general, were too well
versed in military affairs to have been easily deluded, and legates were
often commissioned by them to ascertain the truth of the relations. The
immense multitude of such documents is evinced by the fact, that
Vespasian, when restoring the Capitol, found in its ruins not fewer than
3000 brazen tablets, containing decrees of the Senate and people,
concerning leagues, associations, and immunities to whomsoever granted,
from an early period of the state, and which Suetonius justly styles,
_instrumentum imperii pulcherrimum ac vetustissimum_(183). Accordingly,
when the later annalists came to write of the affairs of their own time,
they found historical documents more full and satisfactory than those of
almost any other country. But, in addition to these copious sources of
information, it will be remarked, that the annalists themselves had often
personal knowledge of the facts they related. It is true, indeed, that
historians contemporary with the events which they record, are not always
best qualified to place them in an instructive light, since, though they
may understand how they spring out of prior incidents, they cannot foresee
their influence on future occurrences. Of some things, the importance is
overrated, and of others undervalued, till time, which has the same effect
on events as distance on external objects, obscures all that is minute,
while it renders the outlines of what is vast more distinct and
perceptible. But though the reach of a contemporary historian’s mind may
not extend to the issue of the drama which passes before him, he is no
doubt best aware of the detached incidents of each separate scene and act,
and most fitted to detail those particulars which posterity may combine
into a mass, exhibiting at one view the grandeur and interest of the
whole. Now, it will have been remarked from the preceding pages, that all
the Roman annalists, from the time of Fabius Pictor to Sylla, were Consuls
and Prætors, commanders of armies, or heads of political parties, and
consequently the principal sharers in the events which they recorded. In
Greece, there was an earlier separation than at Rome, between an active
and a speculative life. Many of the Greek historians had little part in
those transactions, the remembrance of which they have transmitted. They
wrote at a distance, as it were, from the scene of affairs, so that they
contemplated the wars and dissensions of their countrymen with the
unprejudiced eye of a foreigner, or of posterity. This naturally diffuses
a calm philosophic spirit over the page of the historian, and gives
abundant scope for conjecture concerning the motives and springs of
action. The Roman annalists, on the other hand, wrote from perfect
knowledge and remembrance; they were the persons who had planned and
executed every project; they had fought the battles they described, or
excited the war, the vicissitudes of which they recorded. Hence the facts
which their pages disclosed, might have borne the genuine stamp of truth,
and the analysis of the motives and causes of actions might have been
absolute revelations. Yet, under these, the most favourable circumstances
for historic composition, prejudices from which the Greek historians were
exempt, would unconsciously creep in: Writers like Sylla or Æmilius
Scaurus, had much to extenuate, and strong temptations to set down much in

Nor is it always sufficient to have witnessed a great event in order to
record it well, and with that fulness which converts it into a lesson in
legislation, ethics, or politics. Now, the Roman annals had hitherto been
chiefly a dry register of facts, what Lord Bolingbroke calls the _Nuntia
Vetustatis_, or Gazette of Antiquity. A history properly so termed, and
when considered as opposed to such productions, forms a complete series of
transactions, accompanied by a deduction of their immediate and remote
causes, and of the consequences by which they were attended,—all related,
in their full extent, with such detail of circumstances as transports us
back to the very time, makes us parties to the counsels, and actors, as it
were, in the whole scene of affairs. It is then alone that history becomes
the _magistra vitæ_; and in this sense


has been generally considered as the first among the Romans who merited
the title of historian. This celebrated writer was born at Amiternum, in
the territory of the Sabines, in the year 668. He received his education
at Rome, and, in his early youth, appears to have been desirous to devote
himself to literary pursuits. But it was not easy for one residing in the
capital to escape the contagious desire of military or political
distinction. At the age of twenty-seven, he obtained the situation of
Quæstor, which entitled him to a seat in the Senate, and about six years
afterwards he was elected Tribune of the people. While in this office, he
attached himself to the fortunes of Cæsar, and along with one of his
colleagues in the tribunate, conducted the prosecution against Milo for
the murder of Clodius. In the year 704, he was excluded from the Senate,
on pretext of immoral conduct, but more probably from the violence of the
patrician party, to which he was opposed. Aulus Gellius, on the authority
of Varro’s treatise, _Pius aut de Pace_, informs us that he incurred this
disgrace in consequence of being surprised in an intrigue with Fausta, the
wife of Milo, by the husband, who made him be scourged by his slaves(185).
It has been doubted, however, by modern critics, whether it was the
historian Sallust who was thus detected and punished, or his nephew,
Crispus Sallustius, to whom Horace has addressed the second ode of the
second book. It seems, indeed, unlikely, that in such a corrupt age, an
amour with a woman of Fausta’s abandoned character, should have been the
real cause of his expulsion from the Senate. After undergoing this
ignominy, which, for the present, baffled all his hopes of preferment, he
quitted Rome, and joined his patron, Cæsar, in Gaul. He continued to
follow the fortunes of that commander, and, in particular bore a share in
the expedition to Africa, where the scattered remains of Pompey’s party
had united. That region being finally subdued, Sallust was left by Cæsar
as Prætor of Numidia; and about the same time he married Terentia, the
divorced wife of Cicero. He remained only a year in his government, but
during that period he enriched himself by despoiling the province. On his
return to Rome, he was accused by the Numidians, whom he had plundered,
but escaped with impunity, by means of the protection of Cæsar, and was
quietly permitted to betake himself to a luxurious retirement with his
ill-gotten wealth. He chose for his favourite retreat a villa at Tibur,
which had belonged to Cæsar; and he also built a magnificent palace in the
suburbs of Rome, surrounded by delightful pleasure-grounds, which were
afterwards well known and celebrated by the name of the Gardens of
Sallust. One front of this splendid mansion faced the street, where he
constructed a spacious market-place, in which every article of luxury was
sold in abundance. The other front looked to the gardens, which were
contiguous to those of Lucullus, and occupied the valley between the
extremities of the Quirinal and Pincian Hills(186). They lay, in the time
of Sallust, immediately beyond the walls of Rome, but were included within
the new wall of Aurelian. In them every beauty of nature, and every
embellishment of art, that could delight or gratify the senses, seem to
have been assembled. Umbrageous walks, open parterres, and cool porticos,
displayed their various attractions. Amidst shrubs and flowers of every
hue and odour, interspersed with statues of the most exquisite
workmanship, pure streams of water preserved the verdure of the earth and
the temperature of the air; and while, on the one hand, the distant
prospect caught the eye, on the other, the close retreat invited to repose
or meditation(187). These gardens included within their precincts the most
magnificent baths, a temple to Venus, and a circus, which Sallust repaired
and ornamented. Possessed of such attractions, the Sallustian palace and
gardens became, after the death of their original proprietor, the
residence of successive emperors. Augustus chose them as the scene of his
most sumptuous entertainments. The taste of Vespasian preferred them to
the palace of the Cæsars. Even the virtuous Nerva, and stern Aurelian,
were so attracted by their beauty, that, while at Rome, they were their
constant abode. “The palace,” says Eustace, “was consumed by fire on the
fatal night when Alaric entered the city. The temple, of singular beauty,
sacred to Venus, was discovered about the middle of the sixteenth century,
in opening the grounds of a garden, and was destroyed for the sale of the
materials: Of the circus little remains, but masses of walls that merely
indicate its site; while statues and marbles, found occasionally, continue
to furnish proofs of its former magnificence(188).” Many statues of
exquisite workmanship have been found on the same spot; but these may have
been placed there by the magnificence of the imperial occupiers, and not
of the original proprietor.

In his urban gardens, or villa at Tibur, Sallust passed the close of his
life, dividing his time between literary avocations and the society of his
friends—among whom he numbered Lucullus, Messala, and Cornelius Nepos.

Such having been his friends and studies, it seems highly improbable that
he indulged in that excessive libertinism which has been attributed to
him, on the erroneous supposition that he was the Sallust mentioned by
Horace, in the first book of his Satires(189). The subject of Sallust’s
character is one which has excited some investigation and interest, and on
which very different opinions have been formed. That he was a man of loose
morals is evident; and it cannot be denied that he rapaciously plundered
his province, like other Roman governors of the day. But it seems doubtful
if he was that monster of iniquity he has been sometimes represented. He
was extremely unfortunate in the first permanent notice taken of his
character by his contemporaries. The decided enemy of Pompey and his
faction, he had said of that celebrated chief, in his general history,
that he was a man “oris probi, animo inverecundo.” Lenæus, the freedman of
Pompey, avenged his master, by the most virulent abuse of his enemy(190),
in a work, which should rather be regarded as a frantic satire than an
historical document. Of the injustice which he had done to the life of the
historian we may, in some degree, judge, from what he said of him as an
author. He called him, as we learn from Suetonius, “Nebulonem, vitâ
scriptisque monstrosum: præterea, priscorum Catonisque ineruditissimum
furem.” The life of Sallust, by Asconius Pedianus, which was written in
the age of Augustus, and might have acted, in the present day, as a
corrective, or palliative, of the unfavourable impression produced by this
injurious libel, has unfortunately perished; and the next work on the
subject now extant, is a professed rhetorical declamation against the
character of Sallust, which was given to the world in the name of Cicero,
but was not written till long after the death of that orator, and is now
generally assigned by critics, to a rhetorician, in the reign of Claudius,
called Porcius Latro. The calumnies invented or exaggerated by Lenæus, and
propagated in the scholiastic theme of Porcius Latro, have been adopted by
Le Clerc, professor of Hebrew at Amsterdam, and by Professor Meisner, of
Prague(191), in their respective accounts of the Life of Sallust. His
character has received more justice from the prefatory Memoir and Notes of
De Brosses, his French translator, and from the researches of Wieland in

From what has been above said of Fabius Pictor, and his immediate
successors, it must be apparent, that the art of historic composition at
Rome was in the lowest state, and that Sallust had no model to imitate
among the writers of his own country. He therefore naturally recurred to
the productions of the Greek historians. The native exuberance, and
loquacious familiarity of Herodotus, were not adapted to his taste; and
simplicity, such as that of Xenophon, is, of all things, the most
difficult to attain: He therefore chiefly emulated Thucydides, and
attempted to transplant into his own language the vigour and conciseness
of the Greek historian; but the strict imitation, with which he has
followed him, has gone far to lessen the effect of his own original

The first book of Sallust was the _Conspiracy of Catiline_. There exists,
however, some doubt as to the precise period of its composition. The
general opinion is, that it was written immediately after the author went
out of office as Tribune of the People, that is, in the year 703: And the
composition of the _Jugurthine War_, as well as of his general history,
are fixed by Le Clerc between that period and his appointment to the
Prætorship of Numidia. But others have supposed that they were all written
during the space which intervened between his return from Numidia, in 708,
and his death, which happened in 718, four years previous to the battle of
Actium. It is maintained by the supporters of this last idea, that he was
too much engaged in political tumults previous to his administration of
Numidia, to have leisure for such important compositions—that, in the
introduction to Catiline’s Conspiracy, he talks of himself as withdrawn
from public affairs, and refutes accusations of his voluptuous life, which
were only applicable to this period; and that, while instituting the
comparison between Cæsar and Cato, he speaks of the existence and
competition of these celebrated opponents as things that had passed
over—“Sed mea memoria, ingenti virtute, diversis moribus, fuere viri duo,
Marcus Cato et Caius Cæsar.” On this passage, too, Gibbon in particular
argues, that such a flatterer and party tool as Sallust would not, during
the life of Cæsar, have put Cato so much on a level with him in the
comparison instituted between them. De Brosses agrees with Le Clerc in
thinking that the Conspiracy of Catiline at least must have been written
immediately after 703, as Sallust would not, subsequently to his marriage
with Terentia, have commemorated the disgrace of her sister, for she, it
seems, was the vestal virgin whose intrigue with Catiline is recorded by
our historian. But whatever may be the fact as to Catiline’s Conspiracy,
it is quite clear that the Jugurthine War was written subsequent to the
author’s residence in Numidia, which evidently suggested to him this
theme, and afforded him the means of collecting the information necessary
for completing his work.

The subjects chosen by Sallust form two of the most important and
prominent topics in the history of Rome. The periods, indeed, which he
describes, were painful, but they were interesting. Full of conspiracies,
usurpations, and civil wars, they chiefly exhibit the mutual rage and
iniquity of embittered factions, furious struggles between the patricians
and plebeians, open corruption in the senate, venality in the courts of
justice, and rapine in the provinces. This state of things, so forcibly
painted by Sallust, produced the Conspiracy, and even in some degree
formed the character of Catiline: But it was the oppressive debts of
individuals, the temper of Sylla’s soldiers, and the absence of Pompey
with his army, which gave a possibility, and even prospect of success to a
plot which affected the vital existence of the commonwealth, and which,
although arrested in its commencement, was one of those violent shocks
which hasten the fall of a state. The History of the Jugurthine War, if
not so important or menacing to the vital interests and immediate safety
of Rome, exhibits a more extensive field of action, and a greater theatre
of war. No prince, except Mithridates, gave so much employment to the arms
of the Romans. In the course of no war in which they had ever been
engaged, not even the second Carthaginian, were the people more
desponding, and in none were they more elated with ultimate success.
Nothing can be more interesting than the account of the vicissitudes of
this contest. The endless resources, and hair-breadth escapes of
Jugurtha—his levity, his fickle faithless disposition, contrasted with the
perseverance and prudence of the Roman commander, Metellus, are all
described in a manner the most vivid and picturesque.

Sallust had attained the age of twenty-two when the conspiracy of Catiline
broke out, and was an eyewitness of the whole proceedings. He had
therefore, sufficient opportunity of recording with accuracy and truth the
progress and termination of the conspiracy. Sallust has certainly acquired
the praise of a veracious historian, and I do not know that he has been
detected in falsifying any fact within the sphere of his knowledge. Indeed
there are few historical compositions of which the truth can be proved on
such evidence as the Conspiracy of Catiline. The facts detailed in the
orations of Cicero, though differing in some minute particulars, coincide
in everything of importance, and highly contribute to illustrate and
verify the work of the historian. But Sallust lived too near the period of
which he treated, and was too much engaged in the political tumults of the
day, to give a faithful account, unvarnished by animosity or predilection;
he could not have raised himself above all hopes, fears, and prejudices,
and therefore could not in all their extent have fulfilled the duties of
an impartial writer. A contemporary historian of such turbulent times
would be apt to exaggerate through adulation, or conceal through fear, to
instil the precepts not of the philosopher but partizan, and colour facts
into harmony with his own system of patriotism or friendship. An
obsequious follower of Cæsar, he has been accused of a want of candour in
varnishing over the views of his patron; yet I have never been able to
persuade myself that Cæsar was deeply engaged in the conspiracy of
Catiline, or that a person of his prudence should have leagued with such
rash associates, or followed so desperate an adventurer. But the chief
objection urged against Sallust’s impartiality, is the feeble and
apparently reluctant commendation which he bestows on Cicero, who is now
acknowledged to have been the principal actor in detecting and frustrating
the conspiracy. Though fond of displaying his talent for drawing
characters, he exercises none of it on Cicero, whom he merely terms “homo
egregius et optumus Consul,” which was but cold applause for one who had
saved the commonwealth. It is true, that, in the early part of the
history, praise, though sparingly bestowed, is not absolutely withheld.
The election of Cicero to the Consulship is fairly attributed to the high
opinion entertained of his capacity, which overcame the disadvantage of
his obscure birth. The mode adopted for gaining over one of Catiline’s
accomplices, and fixing his own wavering and disaffected colleague,—the
dexterity manifested in seizing the Allobrogian deputies with the letters,
and the irresistible effect produced, by confronting them with the
conspirators, are attributed exclusively to Cicero. It is in the
conclusion of these great transactions that the historian withholds from
him his due share of applause, and contrives to eclipse him by always
interposing the character of Cato, though it could not be unknown to any
witness of the proceedings that Cato himself, and other senators, publicly
hailed the Consul as the Father of his country, and that a public
thanksgiving to the gods was decreed in his name, for having preserved the
city from conflagration, and the citizens from massacre(192). This
omission, which may have originated partly in enmity, and partly in
disgust at the ill-disguised vanity of the Consul, has in all times been
regarded as the chief defect, and even stain, in the history of the
Catilinarian conspiracy.

Although not an eye-witness of the war with Jugurtha Sallust’s situation
as Prætor of Numidia, which suggested the composition, was favourable to
the authority of the work, by affording opportunity of collecting
materials and procuring information. He examined into the different
accounts, written as well as traditionary, concerning the history of
Africa(193), particularly the documents preserved in the archives of King
Hiempsal, which he caused to be translated for his own use, and which
proved peculiarly serviceable for his detailed description of the
continent and inhabitants of Africa. He has been accused of showing, in
this history, an undue partiality towards the character of Marius, and
giving, for the sake of his favourite leader, an unfair account of the
massacre at Vacca. But he appears to me to do even more than ample justice
to Metellus, as he represents the war as almost finished by him previous
to the arrival of Marius, though it was, in fact, far from being

Veracity and fidelity are the chief, and, indeed, the indispensable duties
of an historian. Of all the _ornaments_ of historic composition, it
derives its chief embellishment from a graceful and perspicuous style.
That of the early annalists, as we have already seen, was inelegant and
jejune; but style came to be considered, in the progress of history, as a
matter of primary importance. It is unfortunate, perhaps, that so much
value was at length attached to it, since the ancient historians seldom
gave their authorities, and considered the excellence of history as
consisting in fine writing, more than in an accurate detail of facts.
Sallust evidently regarded an elegant style as one of the chief merits of
an historical work. His own style, on which he took so much pains, was
carefully formed on that of Thucydides, whose manner of writing was in a
great measure original, and, till the time of Sallust, peculiar to
himself. The Roman has wonderfully succeeded in imitating the vigour and
conciseness of the Greek historian, and infusing into his composition
something of that dignified austerity, which distinguishes the works of
his great model; but when I say that Sallust has imitated the conciseness
of Thucydides, I mean the rapid and compressed manner in which his
narrative is conducted,—in short, brevity of idea, rather than language.
For Thucydides, although he brings forward only the principal idea, and
discards what is collateral, yet frequently employs long and involved
periods. Sallust, on the other hand, is abrupt and sententious, and is
generally considered as having carried this sort of brevity to a vicious
excess. The use of copulatives, either for the purpose of connecting his
sentences with each other, or uniting the clauses of the same sentence, is
in a great measure rejected. This omission produces a monotonous effect,
and a total want of that flow and that variety, which are the principal
charms of the historic period. Seneca accordingly talks of the “Amputatæ
sententiæ, et verba ante expectatum cadentia(194),” which the practice of
Sallust had rendered fashionable. Lord Monboddo calls his style
incoherent, and declares that there is not one of his short and uniform
sentences which deserves the name of a period; so that supposing each
sentence were in itself beautiful, there is not variety enough to
constitute fine writing.

It was, perhaps, partly in imitation of Thucydides, that Sallust
introduced into his history a number of words almost considered as
obsolete, and which were selected from the works of the older authors of
Rome, particularly Cato the Censor. It is on this point he has been
chiefly attacked by Pollio, in his letters to Plancus. He has also been
taxed with the opposite vice, of coining new words, and introducing Greek
idioms; but the severity of judgment which led him to imitate the ancient
and austere dignity of style, made him reject those sparkling ornaments of
composition, which were beginning to infect the Roman taste, in
consequence of the increasing popularity of the rhetoric schools of
declamation, and the more frequent intercourse with Asia. On the whole, in
the style of Sallust, there is too much appearance of study, and a want of
that graceful ease, which is generally the effect of art, but in which art
is nowhere discovered. The opinion of Sir J. Checke, as reported by Ascham
in his _Schoolmaster_, contains a pretty accurate estimate of the merits
of the style of Sallust. “Sir J. Checke said, that he could not recommend
Sallust as a good pattern of style for young men, because in his writings
there was more art than nature, and more labour than art; and in his
labour, also, too much toil, as it were, with an uncontented care to write
better than he could—a fault common to very many men. And, therefore, he
doth not express the matter lively and naturally with common speech, as ye
see Xenophon doth in Greek, but it is carried and driven forth
artificially, after too learned a sort, as Thucydides doth in his
orations. ‘And how cometh it to pass,’ said I, ‘that Cæsar’s and Cicero’s
talk is so natural and plain, and Sallust’s writing so artificial and
dark, when all the three lived in one time?’—‘I will freely tell you my
fancy herein,’ said he; ‘Cæsar and Cicero, beside a singular prerogative
of natural eloquence given unto them by God, were both, by use of life,
daily orators among the common people, and greatest councillors in the
Senate-house; and therefore gave themselves to use such speech as the
meanest should well understand, and the wisest best allow, following
carefully that good council of Aristotle, _Loquendum ut multi; sapiendum
ut pauci_. But Sallust was no such man.’ ”

Of all departments of history, the delineation of character is that which
is most trying to the temper and impartiality of the writer, more
especially when he has been contemporary with the individuals he portrays,
and in some degree engaged in the transactions he records. Five or six of
the characters drawn by Sallust have in all ages been regarded as
masterpieces: He has seized the delicate shades, as well as the prominent
features, and thrown over them the most lively and appropriate colouring.
Those of the two principal actors in his tragic histories are forcibly
given, and prepare us for the incidents which follow. The portrait drawn
of Catiline conveys a vivid idea of his mind and person,—his profligate
untameable spirit, infinite resources, unwearied application, and
prevailing address. We behold, as it were, before us the deadly paleness
of his countenance, his ghastly eye, his unequal troubled step, and the
distraction of his whole appearance, strongly indicating the restless
horror of a guilty conscience. I think, however, it might have been
instructive and interesting had we seen something more of the atrocities
perpetrated in early life by this chief conspirator. The historian might
have shown him commencing his career as the chosen favourite of Sylla, and
the instrument of his monstrous cruelties. The notice of the other
conspirators is too brief, and there is too little discrimination of their
characters. Perhaps the outline was the same in all, but each might have
been individuated by distinctive features. The parallel drawn between Cato
and Cæsar is one of the most celebrated passages in the history of the
conspiracy. Of both these famed opponents we are presented with favourable
likenesses. Their defects are thrown into shade; and the bright qualities
of each different species which distinguished them, are contrasted for the
purpose of showing the various merits by which men arrive at eminence.

The introductory sketch of the genius and manners of Jugurtha is no less
able and spirited than the character of Catiline. We behold him, while
serving under Scipio, as brave, accomplished, and enterprizing; but imbued
with an ambition, which, being under no control of principle, hurried him
into its worst excesses, and rendered him ultimately perfidious and cruel.
The most singular part of his character was the mixture of boldness and
irresolution which it combined; but the lesson we receive from it, lies in
the miseries of that suspicion and that remorse which he had created in
his own mind by his atrocities, and which rendered him as wretched on the
throne, or at the head of his army, as in the dungeon where he terminated
his existence. The portraits of the other principal characters, who
figured in the Jugurthine War, are also well brought out. That of Marius,
in particular, is happily touched. His insatiable ambition is artfully
disguised under the mask of patriotism,—his cupidity and avarice are
concealed under that of martial simplicity and hardihood; but, though we
know from his subsequent career the hypocrisy of his pretensions, the
character of Marius is presented to us in a more favourable light than
that in which it can be viewed on a survey of his whole life. We see the
blunt and gallant soldier, and not that savage whose innate cruelty of
soul was just about to burst forth for the destruction of his countrymen.
In drawing the portrait of Sylla, the memorable rival of Marius, the
historian represents him also such as he appeared at that period, not such
as he afterwards proved himself to be. We behold him with pleasure as an
accomplished and subtle commander, eloquent in speech, and versatile in
resources; but there is no trace of the cold-blooded assassin, the tyrant,
buffoon, and usurper.

In general, Sallust’s painting of character is so strong, that we almost
foresee how each individual will conduct himself in the situation in which
he is placed. Tacitus attributes all the actions of men to policy,—to
refined, and sometimes imaginary views; but Sallust, more correctly,
discovers their chief springs in the passions and dispositions of
individuals. “Salluste,” says St Evremond, “donne autant au naturel, que
Tacite à la politique. Le plus grand soin du premier est de bien connoitre
le génie des hommes; les affaires viennent après naturellement, par des
actions peu recherchées de ces mêmes personnes qu’il a depeintes.”

History, in its original state, was confined to narrative; the reader
being left to form his own reflections on the deeds or events recorded.
The historic art, however, conveys not complete satisfaction, unless these
actions be connected with their causes,—the political springs, or private
passions, in which they originated. It is the business, therefore, of the
historian, to apply the conclusions of the politician in explaining the
causes and effects of the transactions he relates. These transactions the
author must receive from authentic monuments or records, but the remarks
deduced from them must be the offspring of his own ingenuity. The
reflections with which Sallust introduces his narrative, and those he
draws from it, are so just and numerous that he has by some been
considered as the father of philosophic history. It must always, however,
be remembered, that the proper object of history is the detail of national
transactions,—that whatever forms not a part of the narrative is
episodical, and therefore improper, if it be too long, and do not grow
naturally out of the subject. Now, some of the political and moral
digressions of Sallust are neither very immediately connected with his
subject, nor very obviously suggested by the narration. The discursive
nature and inordinate length of the introductions to his histories have
been strongly censured. The first four sections of Catiline’s conspiracy
have indeed little relation to that topic. They might as well have been
prefixed to any other history, and much better to a moral or philosophic
treatise. In fact, a considerable part of them, descanting on the fleeting
nature of wealth and beauty, and all such adventitious or transitory
possessions, is borrowed from the second oration of Isocrates. Perhaps the
eight following sections are also disproportioned to the length of the
whole work; but the preliminary essay they contain, on the degradation of
Roman manners and decline of virtue, is not an unsuitable introduction to
the conspiracy, as it was this corruption of morals which gave birth to
it, and bestowed on it a chance of success. The preface to the Jugurthine
War has much less relation to the subject which it is intended to
introduce. The author discourses at large on his favourite topics the
superiority of mental endowments over corporeal advantages, and the beauty
of virtue and genius. He contrasts a life of listless indolence with one
of honourable activity; and, finally, descants on the task of the
historian as a suitable exercise for the highest faculties of the mind.

Besides the conspiracy of Catiline and the Jugurthine War, which have been
preserved entire, and from which our estimate of the merits of Sallust
must be chiefly formed, he was author of a civil and military history of
the republic, in five books, entitled, _Historia rerum in Republica Romana
Gestarum_. This work, inscribed to Lucullus, the son of the celebrated
commander of that name, was the mature fruit of the genius of Sallust,
having been the last history he composed. It included, properly speaking,
only a period of thirteen years,—extending from the resignation of the
dictatorship by Sylla, till the promulgation of the Manilian law, by which
Pompey was invested with authority equal to that which Sylla had
relinquished, and obtained, with unlimited power in the east, the command
of the army destined to act against Mithridates. This period, though
short, comprehends some of the most interesting and luminous points which
appear in the Roman Annals. During this interval, and almost at the same
moment, the republic was attacked in the east by the most powerful and
enterprizing of the monarchs with whom it had yet waged war; in the west,
by one of the most skilful of its own generals; and in the bosom of Italy,
by its gladiators and slaves. This work also was introduced by two
discourses—the one presenting a picture of the government and manners of
the Romans, from the origin of their city to the commencement of the civil
wars, the other containing a general view of the dissensions of Marius and
Sylla; so that the whole book may be considered as connecting the
termination of the Jugurthine war, and the breaking out of Catiline’s
conspiracy. The loss of this valuable production is the more to be
regretted, as all the accounts of Roman history which have been written,
are defective during the interesting period it comprehended. Nearly 700
fragments belonging to it have been amassed, from scholiasts and
grammarians, by De Brosses, the French translator of Sallust; but they are
so short and unconnected, that they merely serve as land-marks, from which
we may conjecture what subjects were treated of, and what events were
recorded. The only parts of the history which have been preserved in any
degree entire, are four orations and two letters. Pomponius Lætus
discovered the orations in a MS. of the Vatican, containing a collection
of speeches from Roman history. The first is an oration pronounced against
Sylla by the turbulent Marcus Æmilius Lepidus; who, (as is well known,)
being desirous, at the expiration of his year, to be appointed a second
time Consul, excited, for that purpose, a civil war, and rendered himself
master of a great part of Italy. His speech which was preparatory to these
designs, was delivered after Sylla had abdicated the dictatorship, but was
still supposed to retain great influence at Rome. He is accordingly
treated as being still the tyrant of the state; and the people are
exhorted to throw off the yoke completely, and to follow the speaker to
the bold assertion of their liberties. The second oration, which is that
of Lucius Philippus, is an invective against the treasonable attempt of
Lepidus, and was calculated to rouse the people from the apathy with which
they beheld proceedings that were likely to terminate in the total
subversion of the government. The third harangue was delivered by the
Tribune Licinius: It was an effort of that demagogue to depress the
patrician, and raise the tribunitial power, for which purpose he
alternately flatters the people, and reviles the Senate. The oration of
Marcus Cotta is unquestionably a fine one. He addressed it to the people,
during the period of his Consulship, in order to calm their minds, and
allay their resentment at the bad success of public affairs, which,
without any blame on his part, had lately, in many respects, been
conducted to an unprosperous issue. Of the two letters which are extant,
the one is from Pompey to the Senate, complaining, in very strong terms,
of the deficiency in the supplies for the army which he commanded in Spain
against Sertorius; the other is feigned to be addressed from Mithridates
to Arsaces, King of Parthia, and to be written when the affairs of the
former monarch were proceeding unsuccessfully. It exhorts him,
nevertheless, with great eloquence and power of argument, to join him in
an alliance against the Romans: for this purpose, it places in a strong
point of view their unprincipled policy, and ambitious desire of universal
empire—all which could not, without this device of an imaginary letter by
a foe, have been so well urged by a national historian. It concludes with
showing the extreme danger which the Parthians would incur from the
hostility of the Romans, should they succeed in finally subjugating Pontus
and Armenia. The only other fragment, of any length, is the description of
a splendid entertainment given to Metellus, on his return, after a year’s
absence, to his government of Farther Spain. It appears, from several
other fragments, that Sallust had introduced, on occasion of the
Mithridatic war, a geographical account of the shores and countries
bordering on the Euxine, in the same manner as he enters into a
topographical description of Africa, in his history of the Jugurthine war.
This part of his work has been much applauded by ancient writers for
exactness and liveliness; and is frequently referred to, as the highest
authority, by Strabo, Pomponius Mela, and other geographers.

Besides his historical works, there exist two political discourses,
concerning the administration of the government, in the form of letters to
Julius Cæsar, which have generally, though not on sufficient grounds, been
attributed to the pen of Sallust(195).

As Sallust has obviously imitated, and, in fact, resembles Thucydides, so

                              JULIUS CÆSAR,

in his historical works, been compared to Xenophon, the first memoir
writer among the Greeks. Simplicity is the characteristic of both, but
Xenophon has more rhetorical flow and sweetness of style, and he is
sometimes, I think, a little mawkish; while the simplicity of Cæsar, on
the other hand, borders, perhaps, on severity. Cæsar, too, though often
circumstantial, is never diffuse, while Xenophon is frequently prolix,
without being minute or accurate. “In the Latin work,” says Young, in his
_History of Athens_, “we have the commentaries of a general vested with
supreme command, and who felt no anxiety about the conduct or obedience of
his army—in the Greek, we possess the journal of an officer in subordinate
rank, though of high estimation. Hence the speeches of the one are replete
with imperatorial dignity, those of the other are delivered with the
conciliatory arts of argument and condescension. Hence, too, the mind of
Xenophon was absorbed in the care and discipline of those under his
command; but thence we are better acquainted with the Greek army than with
that of Cæsar. Cæsar’s attention was ever directed to those he was to
attack, to counteract, or to oppose—Xenophon’s to those he was to conduct.
For the same reason, Xenophon is superficial with respect to any
peculiarities of the nations he passed through; while in Cæsar we have a
curious, and well authenticated detail, relative to the Gauls, the
Britons, and every other enemy. The comparison, however, holds in this,
that Cæsar, like Xenophon, was properly a writer of Memoirs. Like him, he
aimed at nothing farther than communicating facts in a plain familiar
manner; and the account of his campaign was only drawn up as materials for
future history, not having leisure to bestow that ornament and dress which
history requires.” In the opinion of his contemporaries, however, and all
subsequent critics, he has rendered desperate any attempt to write the
history of the wars of which he treats. “Dum voluit,” says Cicero, “alios
habere parata, unde sumerent, qui vellent scribere historiam, sanos quidem
homines a scribendo deterruit.” A similar opinion is given by his
continuator Hirtius,—“Adeo probantur omnium judicio ut prærepta, non
præbita, facultas scriptoribus videatur.”

Cæsar’s Commentaries consist of seven books of the Gallic, and three of
the civil wars. Some critics, however, particularly Floridus Sabinus(196),
deny that he was the author of the books on the latter war, while Carrio
and Ludovicus Caduceus doubt of his being the author even of the Gallic
war,—the last of these critics attributing the work to Suetonius.
Hardouin, who believed that most of the works now termed classical, were
forgeries of the monks in the thirteenth century, also tried to persuade
the world, that the whole account of the Gallic campaigns was a fiction,
and that Cæsar had never drawn a sword in Gaul in his life. The testimony,
however, of Cicero and Hirtius, who were contemporary with Cæsar,—of many
authentic writers, who lived after him, as Suetonius, Strabo, and
Plutarch,—and of all the old grammarians, must be considered as settling
the question; for if such evidence is not implicitly trusted, there seems
to be an end of all reliance on ancient authority.

Though these Commentaries comprehend but a small extent of time, and are
not the general history of a nation, they embrace events of the highest
importance, and they detail, perhaps, the greatest military operations to
be found in ancient story. We see in them all that is great and consummate
in the art of war. The ablest commander of the most martial people on the
globe records the history of his own campaigns. Placed at the head of the
finest army ever formed in the world, and one devoted to his fortunes, but
opposed by military skill and prowess only second to its own, he, and the
soldiers he commanded, may be almost extolled in the words in which Nestor
praised the heroes who had gone before him:—

  “Καρτισοι δη κεινοι ἐπιχθονιων τραφεν ανδρων,
  Καρτισοι μεν ἐσαν και καρτισοις ἐμαχοντο,” ——

for the Gauls and Germans were among the bravest and most warlike nations
then on earth, and Pompey was accounted the most consummate general of his
age. No commander, it is universally admitted, ever had such knowledge of
the mechanical part of war: He possessed the complete empire of the sea,
and was aided by all the influence derived from the constituted authority
of the state.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the whole Commentaries, is the
account of the campaign in Spain against Afranius and Petreius, in which
Cæsar, being reduced to extremities for want of provisions and forage, (in
consequence of the bridges over the rivers, between which he had encamped,
being broken down,) extricated himself from this situation, after a
variety of skilful manœuvres, and having pursued Pompey’s generals into
Celtiberia, and back again to Lerida, forced their legions to surrender,
by placing them in those very difficulties from which he had so ably
relieved his own army.

It is obvious that the greater part of such Commentaries must be
necessarily occupied with the detail of warlike operations. The military
genius of Rome breathes through the whole work, and it comprehends all the
varieties which warfare offers to our interest, and perhaps, undue
admiration—pitched battles, affairs of posts, encampments, retreats,
marches in face of the foe through woods and over plains or mountains,
passages of rivers, sieges, defence of forts, and those still more
interesting accounts of the spirit and discipline of the enemies’ troops,
and the talents of their generals. In his clear and scientific details of
military operations, Cæsar is reckoned superior to every writer, except,
perhaps, Polybius. Some persons have thought he was too minute, and that,
by describing every evolution performed in a battle, he has rendered his
relations somewhat crowded. But this was his principle, and it served the
design of the author.

As he records almost nothing at which he was not personally present, or
heard of from those acting under his immediate directions, he possessed
the best information with regard to everything of which he wrote(197). In
general, when he speaks of himself, it is without affectation or
arrogance. He talks of Cæsar as of an indifferent person, and always
maintains the character which he has thus assumed; indeed, it can hardly
be conceived that he had so small a share in the great actions he
describes, as appears from his own representations. With exception of the
false colours with which he disguises his ambitious projects against the
liberties of his country, everything seems to be told with fidelity and
candour. Nor is there any very unfair concealment of the losses he may
have sustained: he ingenuously acknowledges his own disaster in the affair
at Dyracchium; he admits the loss of 960 men, and the complete frustration
of his whole plan for the campaign. When he relates his successes, on the
other hand, it is with moderation. There is the utmost caution, reserve,
and modesty, in his account of the battle of Pharsalia; and one would
hardly conceive that the historian had any share in the action or victory.
He in general acknowledges, that the events of war are beyond human
control, and ascribes the largest share of success to the power of
fortune. The rest he seems willing to attribute to the valour of his
soldiers, and the good conduct of his military associates. Thus he gives
the chief credit and glory of the great victory over Ariovistus to the
presence of mind displayed by Crassus, who promptly made the signal to a
body of men to advance and support one of the wings which was overpowered
by the multitude of the enemy, and was beginning to give way. He does not
even omit to do justice to the distinguished and generous valour of the
two centurions, Pulfio and Varenus, or of the centurion Sextius Baculus,
during the alarming attack by the Sicambri. On the other hand, when he has
occasion to mention the failure of his friends, as in relating Curio’s
defeat and death in Africa, he does it with tenderness and indulgence. Of
his enemies, he speaks without insult or contempt; and even in giving his
judgment upon a great military question, though he disapproves Pompey’s
mode of waiting for the attack at Pharsalia, his own reasons for a
contrary opinion are urged with deference and candour. The confident hopes
which were entertained in Pompey’s camp—the pretensions and disputes of
the leading senators, about the division of patronage and officers, and
the confiscations which were supposed to be just falling within their
grasp, furnished him with some amusing anecdotes, which it must have been
difficult to resist inserting; nor can we wonder, that while all the
preparations for celebrating the anticipated victory with luxury and
festivity, were matters of ocular observation, he should have devoted some
few passages in his Commentaries, to recording the vanity and presumption
of such fond expectations. Labienus, who had deserted him, and Scipio, who
gave him so much trouble, by rekindling the war, are those of whom he
speaks with the greatest rancour, in relating the cruelty of the former,
and the tyrannical ingenious rapacity of the latter(198).

Whatever concerns the events of the civil war could not easily have been
falsified or misrepresented. So many enemies, who had been eye-witnesses
of everything, survived that period, that the author could scarcely have
swerved from the truth without detection. But in his contests with the
Gauls, and Germans, and Britons, there was no one to contradict him. Those
who accompanied him were devoted to his fame and fortunes, and interested
like himself in exalting the glory of these foreign exploits. That he has
varnished over the real motives, and also the issue, of his expedition to
Britain has been frequently suspected. The reason he himself assigns for
the undertaking is, that he understood supplies had been thence furnished
to the enemy, in almost all the Gallic wars; but Suetonius asserts, that
the information he had received of the quantity and size of the pearls on
the British coast, was his real inducement. Fourteen short chapters in the
fourth book of the Gallic war, relate his first visit, and his hasty
return; and sixteen in the fifth, detail his progress in the following
summer. These chapters have derived importance from containing the
earliest authentic memorials of the inhabitants and state of this island;
and there has, of course, been much discussion on the genuine though
imperfect notices they afford. Various tracts, chiefly published in the
_Archæologia_, have topographically followed the various steps of Cæsar’s
progress, particularly his passage across the Thames, and have debated the
situation of the Portus Iccius, from which he embarked for Britain.

Cæsar’s occasional digressions concerning the manners of the Gauls and
Germans, are also highly interesting and instructive, and are the only
accounts to be at all depended on with regard to the institutions and
customs of these two great nations, at that remote period. In Gaul he had
remained so long, and had so thoroughly studied the habits and customs of
its people for his own political purposes, that whatever is delivered
concerning that country, may be confidently relied on. His intercourse
with the German tribes was occasional, and chiefly of a military
description. Some of his observations on their manners—as their
hospitality, the continence of their youth, and the successive occupation
of different lands by the same families—are confirmed by Tacitus; but in
other particulars, especially in what relates to their religion, he is
contradicted by that great historian. Cæsar declares that they have no
sacrifices, and know no gods, but those, like the Sun or Moon, which are
visible, and whose benefits they enjoy(199). Tacitus informs us, that
their chief god is Mercury, whom they appease by human victims; that they
also sacrifice animals to Hercules and Mars; and adore that Secret
Intelligence, which is only seen in the eye of mental veneration(200). The
researches of modern writers have also thrown some doubts on the accuracy
of Cæsar’s German topography; and Cluverius, in particular, has attempted
to show, that he has committed many errors in speaking both of the Germans
and Batavians(201).

As the Commentaries of Cæsar do not pretend to the elaborate dignity of
history, the author can scarcely be blamed if he has detailed his facts
without mingling many reflections or observations. He seldom inserts a
political or characteristic remark, though he had frequent opportunities
for both, in describing such singular people as the Gauls, Germans, and
Britons. But his object was not, like Sallust or Tacitus, to deduce
practical reflections for the benefit of his reader, or to explain the
political springs of the transactions he relates. His simple narrative was
merely intended for the gratification of those Roman citizens, whom he had
already persuaded to favour his ambitious projects; yet even they, I
think, might have wished to have heard something more of what may be
called the military motives of his actions. He tells us of his marches,
retreats, and encampments, but seldom sufficiently explains the grounds on
which these warlike measures were undertaken—how they advanced his own
plans, or frustrated the designs of the enemy. More insight into the
military views by which he was prompted, would have given additional
interest and animation to his narrative, and afforded ampler lessons of

No person, I presume, wishes to be told, for the twentieth time, that the
style of Cæsar is remarkable for clearness and ease, and a simplicity more
truly noble than the pomp of words. Perhaps the most distinguishing
characteristic of his style, is its perfect equality of expression. There
was, in the mind of Cæsar, a serene and even dignity. In temper, nothing
appeared to agitate or move him—in conduct, nothing diverted him from the
attainment of his end. In like manner, in his style, there is nothing
swelling or depressed, and not one word occurs which is chosen for the
mere purpose of embellishment. The opinion of Cicero, who compared the
style of Cæsar to the unadorned simplicity of an ancient Greek statue, may
be considered as the highest praise, since he certainly entertained no
favourable feelings towards the author; and the style was very different
from that which he himself employed in his harangues, or philosophical
works, or even in his correspondence. “Nudi sunt,” says he, “recti, et
venusti, omni ornatu orationis tanquam veste detracto.” This exquisite
purity was not insensibly obtained, as the Lælian and Mucian Families are
said to have acquired it, by domestic habit and familiar conversation, but
by assiduous study and thorough knowledge of the Latin language(202), and
the practice of literary composition, to which Cæsar had been accustomed
from his earliest youth(203).

But, however admirable for its purity and elegance, the style of Cæsar
seems to be somewhat deficient, both in vivacity and vigour. Walchius,
too, has pointed out a few words, which he considers not of pure Latinity,
as _ambactus_, a term employed by the Gauls and Germans to signify a
servant—also _Ancorarii_ funes, a word nowhere else used as an
adjective—_Antemittere_ for _premittere_, and _summo magistratu præiverat_
for _magistratui_(204). The use of such words as _collabefieret_,
_contabulatio_, _detrimentosum_, _explicitius_, _materiari_, would lead us
to suspect that Cæsar had not _always_ attended to the rule which he so
strongly laid down in his book, _De Analogia_, to avoid, as a rock, every
unusual word or expression. Bergerus, in an immense quarto, entitled _De
Naturali pulchritudine Orationis_ has at great length attempted to show
that Cæsar had anticipated all the precepts subsequently delivered by
Longinus, for reaching the utmost excellence and dignity of composition.
He points out his conformity to these rules, in what he conceives to be
the abridgments, amplifications, transitions, gradations,—in short, all
the various figures and ornaments of speech, which could be employed by
the most pedantic rhetorician; and he also critically examines those few
words and phrases of questionable purity, which are so thinly scattered
through the Commentaries.

Mankind usually judge of a literary composition by its intrinsic merit,
without taking into consideration the age of the author, the celerity with
which it was composed, or the various circumstances under which it was
written; and in this, perhaps, they act not unjustly, since their business
is with the work, and not with the qualities of the author. But were such
things to be taken into view, it should be remembered, that these Memoirs
were hastily drawn up during the tumult and anxiety of campaigns, and were
jotted down from day to day, without care or premeditation. “Ceteri,” says
Hirtius, the companion of Cæsar’s expeditions, and the continuator of his
Commentaries,—“Ceteri quam bene atque emendate; nos etiam quam facile
atque celeriter eos perscripserit scimus.”

The Commentaries, _De Bello Gallico_, and _De Bello Civili_, are the only
productions of Cæsar which remain to us. Several ancient writers speak of
his _Ephemeris_, or Diary; but it has been doubted whether the work, so
termed by Plutarch, Servius, Symmachus, and several others, be the same
book as the Commentaries, or a totally different production. The former
opinion is adopted by Fabricius, who thinks that _Ephemeris_, or
_Ephemerides_, is only another name for the Commentaries, which in fact
may be considered as having been written in the manner and form of a
diary. He acknowledges, that several passages, cited by Servius, as taken
from these _Ephemerides_, are not now to be found in the Commentaries; but
then he maintains that there are evidently defects (_lacunæ_) in the
latter work; and he conjectures that the words quoted by Servius are part
of the lost passages of the Commentaries. This opinion is followed by
Vossius, who cites a sort of Colophon at the end of one of the oldest MSS.
of the Commentaries which he thinks decisive of the question, as it shows
that the term _Ephemeris_ was currently applied to them.—“C. J. Cæsaris,
P. M. Ephemeris rerum Gestarum Belli Gallici, Lib. VIII. explicit

Bayle, in his Dictionary, has supported the opposite theory. He believes
the _Ephemeris_ to have been a journal of the author’s life. He admits,
that a passage which Plutarch quotes as from the _Ephemeris_, occurs also
in the fourth book of the Commentaries; but then he maintains, that it was
impossible for Cæsar not to have frequently mentioned the same thing in
his Commentaries and Journal, and he thinks, that had Plutarch meant to
allude to the former, he would have called them, not _Ephemeris_, but
ὑπομνηματα as Strabo has termed them. Besides, Polyænus mentions divers
warlike stratagems, as recorded by Cæsar, which are not contained in the
Commentaries, and which, therefore, could have been explained only in the
separate work _Ephemeris_.

There are still some fragments remaining of the letters which Cæsar
addressed to the Senate and his friends, and also of his orations, which
were considered as inferior only to those of Cicero. Of his rhetorical
talents, something may be hereafter said. It appears that his qualities as
an orator and historian, were very different, since vehemence and the
power of exciting emotion, (concitatio,) are mentioned as the
characteristics of his harangues. Some of them were delivered in behalf of
clients, and on real business, in the Forum; but the two orations entitled
_Anticatones_ were merely written in the form and manner of accusations
before a judicial tribunal. These rhetorical declamations, which were
composed about the time of the battle of Munda, were intended as an answer
to the laudatory work of Cicero, called _Laus Catonis_. The author
particularly considered in them the last act of Cato at Utica, and has
raked up all the vices and defects of his character, whether real or
imputed, public or private,—his ambition, affectation of singularity,
churlishness, and avarice; but as the _Anticatones_ were seasoned with
lavish commendations of Cicero, whose panegyric on Cato they were intended
to confute, the orator felt much flattered with the dictatorial incense,
and greatly admired the performances in which it was offered,—“Collegit
vitia Catonis, sed cum maximis laudibus meis(205).”

These two rival works were much celebrated at Rome; and both of them had
their several admirers, as different parties and interests disposed men to
favour the subject, or the author of each. It seems also certain, that
they were the principal cause of establishing and promoting that
veneration which posterity has since paid to the memory of Cato; for his
name being thrown into controversy in that critical period of the fate of
Rome, by the patron of liberty on one side, and its oppressor on the
other, it became a kind of political test to all succeeding ages, and a
perpetual argument of dispute between the friends of freedom, and the
flatterers of power(206). The controversy was taken up by Brutus, the
nephew, and Fabius Gallus, an admirer of Cato: it was renewed by Augustus,
who naturally espoused the royal side of the question, and by Thraseas
Pætus, who ventured on this dangerous topic during the darkest days of
imperial despotism.

Cæsar’s situation as Pontifex Maximus probably led him to write the
_Auguralia_ and _Libri Auspiciorum_, which, as their names import, were
books explaining the different auguries and presages derived from the
flight of birds. To the same circumstance we may attribute his work on the
motions of the stars, _De Motu Siderum_, which explains what he had
learned in Egypt on that subject from Sosigenes, a peripatetic philosopher
of Alexandria, and in which, if we may credit the elder Pliny, he
prognosticated his own death on the ides of March(207).

The composition of the works hitherto mentioned naturally enough suggested
itself to a high-priest, warrior, and politician, who was also fond of
literature, and had the same command of his pen as of his sword. But it
appears singular, that one so much occupied with war, and with political
schemes for the ruin of his country, should have seriously employed
himself in writing formal and elaborate treatises on grammar. There is no
doubt, however, that he composed a work, in two books, on the analogies of
the Latin tongue, which was addressed to Cicero, and was entitled, like
the preceding work of Varro on the same subject, _De Analogia_. It was
written, as we are informed by Suetonius, while crossing the Alps, on his
return to the army from Hither Gaul, where he had gone to attend the
assemblies of that province(208). In this book, the great principle
established by him was, that the proper choice of words formed the
foundation of eloquence(209); and he cautioned authors and public speakers
to avoid as a rock every unusual word or unwonted expression(210). His
declensions, however, of some nouns, appear, at least to us, not a little
strange—as _turbo_, _turbonis_, instead of _turbinis_(211); and likewise
his inflections of verbs,—as, _mordeo_, _memordi_; _pungo,_, _pepugi_;
_spondeo_, _spepondi_(212). He also treated of derivatives; as we are
informed, that he derived ens from the verb _sum_, _es_, _est_; and of
rules of grammar,—as that the dative and ablative singular of neuters in
_e_ are the same, as also of neuters in _ar_, except _far_ and _jubar_. It
appears that he even descended to the most minute consideration of
orthography and the formation of letters; Thus, he was of opinion, that
the letter V should be formed like an inverted F,—thus Ⅎ,—because it has
the force of the Æolic digamma. Cassiodorus farther mentions, that, in the
question with regard to the use of the _u_ or _i_ in such words as
_maxumus_ or _maximus_, Cæsar gave the preference to _i_; and, from such
high authority, this spelling was adopted in general practice.

It has been said, that Cæsar also made a collection of apophthegms and
anecdotes, in the style of our modern _Ana_; but Augustus prevented these
from being made public. That emperor likewise, in a letter to Pompeius
Macrus, to whom he had given the charge of arranging his library,
prohibited the publication of several poetical effusions of Cæsar’s youth.
These are said to have consisted of a tragedy on the subject of Œdipus,
and a poem in praise of Hercules(213). Another poem, entitled _Iter_ was
written by him in maturer age. It is said, by Suetonius, to have been
composed when he reached Farther Spain, on the twenty-fourth day after his
departure from Rome(214); and it may therefore be conjectured to have been
a poetical relation of the incidents which occurred during that journey,
embellished, perhaps, with descriptions of the most striking scenery
through which he passed. Two epigrams, which are still extant, have also
been frequently attributed to him; one on the dramatic character of
Terence, already quoted(215), and another on a Thracian boy, who, while
playing on the ice, fell into the river Hebrus,—

  “Thrax puer, astricto glacie dum luderet Hebro,” &c.

But this last is, with more probability, supposed by many to have been the
production of Cæsar Germanicus.

There were also several useful and important works accomplished under the
eye and direction of Cæsar, such as the graphic survey of the whole Roman
empire. Extensive as their conquests had been, the Romans hitherto had
done almost nothing for geography, considered as a science. Their
knowledge was confined to the countries they had subdued, and them they
regarded only with a view to the levies they could furnish, and the
taxations they could endure. Cæsar was the first who formed more exalted
plans. Æthicus, a writer of the fourth century, informs us, in the preface
to his _Cosmographia_, that this great man obtained a _senatusconsultum_,
by which a geometrical survey and measurement of the whole Roman empire
was enjoined to three geometers. Xenodoxus was charged with the eastern,
Polycletus with the southern, and Theodotus with the northern provinces.
Their scientific labour was immediately commenced, but was not completed
till more than thirty years after the death of him with whom the
undertaking had originated. The information which Cæsar had received from
the astronomer Sosigenes in Egypt, enabled him to alter and amend the
Roman calendar. It would be foreign from my purpose to enter into an
examination of this system of the Julian year, but the computation he
adopted has been explained, as is well known, by Scaliger and
Gassendi(216); and it has been since maintained, with little farther
alteration than that introduced by Pope Gregory XIII. When we consider the
imperfection of all mathematical instruments in the time of Cæsar, and the
total want of telescopes, we cannot but view with admiration, not unmixed
with astonishment, that comprehensive genius, which, in the infancy of
science, could surmount such difficulties, and compute a system, that
experienced but a trifling derangement in the course of sixteen centuries.

Although Cæsar wrote with his own hand only seven books of the Gallic
campaigns, and the history of the civil wars till the death of his great
rival, it seems highly probable, that he revised the last or eighth book
of the Gallic war, and communicated information for the history of the
Alexandrian and African expeditions, which are now usually published along
with his own Commentaries, and may be considered as their supplement, or
continuation. The author of these works, which nearly complete the
interesting story of the campaigns of Cæsar, was Aulus Hirtius, one of his
most zealous followers, and most confidential friends. He had been
nominated Consul for the year following the death of his master; and,
after that event, having espoused the cause of freedom, he was slain in
the attack made by the forces of the republic on Antony’s camp, near

The eighth book of the Gallic war contains the account of the renewal of
the contest by the states of Gaul, after the surrender of Alesia, and of
the different battles which ensued, at most of which Hirtius was
personally present, till the final pacification, when Cæsar, learning the
designs which were forming against him at Rome, set out for Italy.

Cæsar, in the conclusion of the third book of the Civil War, mentions the
commencement of the Alexandrian war. Hirtius was not personally present at
the succeeding events of this Egyptian contest, in which Cæsar was
involved with the generals of Ptolemy, nor during his rapid campaigns in
Pontus against Pharnaces, and against the remains of the Pompeian party in
Africa, where they had assembled under Scipio, and being supported by
Juba, still presented a formidable appearance. He collected, however, the
leading events from the conversation of Cæsar(217), and the officers who
were engaged in these campaigns. He has obviously imitated the style of
his master; and the resemblance which he has happily attained, has given
an appearance of unity and consistence to the whole series of these
well-written and authentic memoirs. It appears that Hirtius carried down
the history even to the death of Cæsar, for in his preface addressed to
Balbus, he says, that he had brought down what was left imperfect from the
transactions at Alexandria, to the end, not of the civil dissensions, to a
termination of which there was no prospect, but of the life of Cæsar(218).

This latter part, however, of the Commentaries of Hirtius, has been lost,
as it seems now to be generally acknowledged that he was not the author of
the book _De Bello Hispanico_, which relates Cæsar’s second campaign in
Spain, undertaken against young Cneius Pompey, who, having assembled, in
the ulterior province of that country, those of his father’s party who had
survived the disasters in Thessaly and Africa, and being joined by some of
the native states, presented a formidable resistance to the power of
Cæsar, till his hopes were terminated by the decisive battle of Munda.
Dodwell, indeed, in a Dissertation on this subject, maintains, that it was
originally written by Hirtius, but was interpolated by Julius Celsus, a
Constantinopolitan writer of the 6th or 7th century. Vossius, however,
whose opinion is that more commonly received, attributes it to Caius
Oppius(219), who wrote the Lives of Illustrious Captains, and also a book
to prove that the Ægyptian Cæsario was not the son of Cæsar. Oppius was
Cæsar’s confidential friend, and companion in many of his enterprizes; and
it was to him, as we are informed by Suetonius, that Cæsar gave up the
only apartment at an inn, while they were travelling in Gaul, and lay
himself on the ground, and in the open air(220).

A fragment has been added at the end of this book, on the Spanish war, by
Jungerman, from a MS. of Petavius. Vossius thinks that this fragment was
taken from the Commentaries, called those of Julius Celsus, on the Life of
Cæsar, published in 1473. These Commentaries, however, were the work of a
Christian writer; but Julius Celsus, a Constantinopolitan of the 6th
century, already mentioned, having revised the Commentaries of Cæsar, the
work on his life came, (from the confusion of names, or perhaps from a
fiction devised, to give the stamp of authority,) to be attributed to
Julius Celsus, who was contemporary with Cæsar, and was reported to have
written a history of his campaigns; just in the same way as a fabulous
life of Alexander, produced in the middle ages, passes to this day under
the name of Callisthenes, the historiographer of the Macedonian monarch.

There is no other historian of the period on which we are now engaged, of
whose works even any fragments have descended to us. Atticus, however,
wrote Memoirs of Rome from the earliest periods, and also memoirs of its
principal families, as the Junian, Cornelian, and Fabian,—tracing their
origin, enumerating their honours, and recording their exploits. At the
same time Lucceius composed Histories of the Social War, and of the Civil
Wars of Sylla, which were so highly esteemed by Cicero, that he urges him
in one of his letters to undertake a history of his consulship, in which
he discovered and suppressed the conspiracy of Catiline(221). From a
subsequent letter to Atticus we learn that Lucceius had promised to
accomplish the task suggested to him(222). It is probable, however, that
it never was completed,—his labour having been interrupted by the civil
wars, in which he followed the fortunes of Pompey, and was indeed one of
his chief advisers in adopting the fatal resolution of quitting Italy.

The Annals of Procilius, which appeared at this period, may be conjectured
to have comprehended the whole series of Roman history, from the building
of the city to his own time; since Varro quotes him for the account of
Curtius throwing himself into the gulf(223) and Pliny refers to him for
some remarks with regard to the elephants which appeared at Pompey’s
African triumph(224).

Brutus is also said to have written epitomes of the meagre and barren
histories of Fannius and Antipater. That he should have thought of
abridging narratives so proverbially dry and jejune, seems altogether

The works of an historian called Cæcina have also perished, and if we may
trust to his own account of them, their loss is not greatly to be
deplored. In one of his letters to Cicero he says, “From much have I been
compelled to refrain, many things I have been forced to pass over lightly,
many to curtail, and very many absolutely to omit. Thus circumscribed,
restricted, and broken as it is, what pleasure or what useful information
can be expected from the recital(225)?”

We have thus traced the progress of historical composition among the
Romans, from its commencement to the time of Augustus. There is no history
so distinguished and adorned as the Roman, by illustrious characters; and
the circumstances which it records produced the greatest as well as most
permanent empire that ever existed on earth. The interest of the early
events, and the value of the conclusions to be drawn from them, are much
diminished by their uncertainty. Subsequently, however, to the second
Punic war, the Roman historians were, for the most part, themselves
engaged in the affairs of which they treat, and had therefore, at least,
the most perfect _means_ of communicating accurate information. But this
advantage, which, in one point of view, is so prodigious, was attended
with concomitant evils. Lucian, in his treatise, How History ought to be
Written, says, that the author of this species of composition should be
abstracted from all connection with the persons and things which are its
subjects; that he should be of no country and no party; that he should be
free from all passion, and unconcerned who is pleased or offended with
what he writes. Now, the Roman historians of the era on which we are
engaged were the slaves of party or the heads of factions; and even when
superior to all petty interests or prejudices, they still show plainly
that they are Romans. None of them stood impartially aloof from their
subject, or supplied the want of historians of Carthage and of Gaul, by
whom their narratives might be corrected, and their colouring softened.

Of all the arts next to war, Eloquence was of most importance in Rome;
since, if the former led to the conquest of foreign states, the latter
opened to each individual a path to empire and dominion over the minds of
his fellow citizens(226). Without this art, wisdom itself, in the
estimation of Cicero, could be of little avail for the advantage or glory
of the commonwealth(227).

During the existence of the monarchy, and in the early age of the
republic, law proceedings were not numerous. Many civil suits were
prevented by the absolute dominion which a Roman father exercised over his
family; and the rigour of the decemviral laws, in which all the
proceedings were extreme, frequently concussed parties into an
accommodation; while, at the same time, the purity of ancient manners had
not yet given rise to those criminal questions of bribery and peculation
at home, or of oppression and extortion in the provinces, which disgraced
the closing periods of the commonwealth, and furnished themes for the
glowing invective of Cicero and Hortensius. Hence there was little room
for the exercise of legal oratory; and whatever eloquence may have shone
forth in the early ages of Rome, was probably of a political description,
and exerted on affairs of state.

From the earliest times of the republic, history records the wonderful
effects which Junius Brutus, Publicola, and Appius Claudius, produced by
their harangues, in allaying seditions, and thwarting pernicious counsels.
Dionysius of Halicarnassus gives us a formal speech, which Romulus, by
direction of his grandfather, made to the people after the building of the
city, on the subject of the government to be established(228). There are
also long orations of Servius Tullius; and great part of the Antiquities
of Dionysius is occupied with senatorial debates during the early ages of
the republic. But though the orations of these fathers of Roman eloquence
were doubtless delivered with order, gravity, and judgment, and may have
possessed a masculine vigour, well calculated to animate the courage of
the soldier, and protect the interests of the state, we must not form our
opinion of them from the long speeches in Dionysius and Livy, or suppose
that they were adorned with any of that rhetoric art with which they have
been invested by these historians. A nation of outlaws, destined from
their cradle to the profession of arms,—taught only to hurl the spear or
javelin, and inure their bodies to other martial exercises,—with souls
breathing only conquest,—and regarded as the enemies of every state till
they had become its masters, could have possessed but few topics of
illustration or embellishment, and were not likely to cultivate any
species of rhetorical refinement. To convince by solid arguments when
their cause was good, and to fill their fellow-citizens with passions
corresponding to those with which they were themselves animated, would be
the great objects of an eloquence supplied by nature and unimproved by
study. Quintilian accordingly informs us, that though there appeared in
the ancient orations some traces of original genius, and much force of
argument, they bore, in their rugged and unpolished periods, the signs of
the times in which they were delivered.

With exception of the speech of Appius Claudius to oppose a peace with
Pyrrhus, there are no harangues mentioned by the Latin critics or
historians as possessing any charms of oratory, previously to the time of
Cornelius Cethegus, who flourished during the second Punic war, and was
Consul about the year 550. Cethegus was particularly distinguished for his
admirable sweetness of elocution and powers of persuasion, whence he is
thus characterized by Ennius, a contemporary poet, in the 9th book of his

  “Additur orator Cornelius suaviloquenti
  Ore Cethegus Marcus, Tuditano collega;
  Flos delibatus populi, suadæque medulla.”

The orations of Cato the Censor have been already mentioned as remarkable
for their rude but masculine eloquence. When Cato was in the decline of
life, a more rich and copious mode of speaking at length began to prevail.
Ser. Galba, by the warmth and animation of his delivery, eclipsed Cato and
all his contemporaries. He was the first among the Romans who displayed
the distinguishing talents of an orator, by embellishing his subject,—by
digressing, amplifying, entreating, and employing what are called topics,
or common-places of discourse. On one occasion, while defending himself
against a grave accusation, he melted his judges to compassion, by
producing an orphan relative, whose father had been a favourite of the
people. When his orations, however, were afterwards reduced to writing,
their fire appeared extinguished, and they preserved none of that lustre
with which his discourses are said to have shone when given forth by the
living orator. Cicero accounts for this from his want of sufficient study
and art in composition. While his mind was occupied and warmed by the
subject, his language was bold and rapid; but when he took up the pen, his
emotion ceased, and the periods fell languid from its point; “which,”
continues he, “never happened to those who, having cultivated a more
studied and polished style of oratory, wrote as they spoke. Hence the mind
of Lælius yet breathes in his writings, though the force of Galba has
failed.” It appears, however, from an anecdote recorded by Cicero, that
Galba was esteemed the first orator of his age by the judges, the people,
and Lælius himself.—Lælius, being intrusted with the defence of certain
persons suspected of having committed a murder in the Silian forest, spoke
for two days, correctly, elegantly, and with the approbation of all, after
which the Consuls deferred judgment. He then recommended the accused to
carry their cause to Galba, as it would be defended by him with more heat
and vehemence. Galba, in consequence, delivered a most forcible and
pathetic harangue, and after it was finished, his clients were absolved as
if by acclamation(229). Hence Cicero surmises, that though Lælius might be
the more learned and acute disputant, Galba possessed more power over the
passions; he also conjectures, that the former had more elegance, but the
latter more force; and he concludes, that the orator who can move or
agitate his judges, farther advances his cause than he who can instruct

Lælius is also compared by Cicero with his friend, the younger Scipio
Africanus, in whose presence, this question concerning the Silian murder
was debated. They were almost equally distinguished for their eloquence;
and they resembled each other in this respect, that they both invariably
delivered themselves in a smooth manner, and never, like Galba, exerted
themselves with loudness of speech or violence of gesture(230); but their
style of oratory was different,—Lælius affecting a much more ancient
phraseology than that adopted by his friend. Cicero himself seems inclined
most to admire the rhetoric of Scipio; but he says, that, being so
renowned a captain, and mankind being unwilling to allow supremacy to one
individual, in what are considered as the two greatest of arts, his
contemporaries for the most part awarded to Lælius the palm of eloquence.

The intercourse which was by this time opening up with Greece, and the
encouragement now afforded to Greek teachers, who always possessed the
undisputed privilege of dictating the precepts of the arts, produced the
same improvement m oratory that it had effected in every branch of
literature. Marcus Emilius Lepidus was a little younger than Galba or
Scipio, and was Consul in 617. From his orations, which were extant in the
time of Cicero, it appeared that he was the first who, in imitation of the
Greeks, gave harmony and sweetness to his periods, or the graces of a
style regularly polished and improved by art.

Cicero mentions a number of other orators of the same age with Lepidus,
and minutely paints their peculiar styles of rhetoric. We find among them
the names of almost all the eminent men of the period, as Emilius Paulus,
Scipio Nasica, and Mucius Scævola. The importance of eloquence for the
purposes of political aggrandizement, is sufficiently evinced, from this
work of Cicero, _De Claris Oratoribus_, since there is scarcely an orator
mentioned, even of inferior note, who did not at this time rise to the
highest offices in the state.

The political situation of Rome, and the internal inquietude which now
succeeded its foreign wars, were the great promoters of eloquence. We hear
of no orators in Sparta or Crete, where the severest discipline was
exercised, and where the people were governed by the strictest laws. But
Rhodes and Athens, places of popular rule, where all things were open to
all men, swarmed with orators. In like manner, Rome, when most torn with
civil dissensions, produced the brightest examples of eloquence. Cicero
declares, that wisdom without eloquence was of little service to the
state(231); and from the political circumstances of the times, that sort
of oratory was most esteemed which had most sway over a restless and
ungovernable multitude. The situation of public affairs occasioned those
continual debates concerning the Agrarian Laws, and the consequent
popularity acquired by the most factious demagogues. Hence, too, those
frequent impeachments of the great—those ambitious designs of the
patricians—those hereditary enmities in particular families—in fine, those
incessant struggles between the Senate and plebeians, which, though all
prejudicial to the commonwealth, contributed to swell and ramify that rich
vein of eloquence, which now flowed so profusely through the agitated
frame of the state. During the whole period previous to the actual
breaking out of the civil wars, when the Romans turned the sword against
each other, and the mastery of the world depended on its edge, oratory
continued to open the most direct path to dignities. The farther a Roman
citizen advanced in this career, so much nearer was he to preferment, so
much the greater his reputation with the people; and when elevated to the
dignified offices of the state, so much the higher his ascendancy over his

The Gracchi were the genuine offspring, and their eloquence the natural
fruits of these turbulent times. Till their age, oratory had been a sort
of _Arcanum imperii_,—an instrument of government in the power of the
Senate, who used every precaution to retain its exclusive exercise. It was
the great bulwark that withstood the tide of popular passion, and weakened
it so as not to beat too high or strongly on their own order and
authority. The Gracchi not only broke down the embankment, but turned the
flood against the walls of the Senate itself. The interests of the people
had never yet been espoused by men endued with eloquence equal to theirs.
Cicero, while blaming their political conduct, admits that both were
consummate orators; and this he testifies from the recollection of persons
still surviving in his day, and who remembered their mode of speaking.
Indeed, the wonderful power which both brothers exercised over the people
is a sufficient proof of their eloquence. Tiberius Gracchus was the first
who made rhetoric a serious study and art. In his boyhood, he was
carefully instructed in elocution by his mother Cornelia: he also
constantly attended the ablest and most eloquent masters from Greece, and,
as he grew up, he bestowed much time on the exercise of private
declamation. It is not likely, that, gifted as he was by nature, and thus
instructed, the powers of eloquence should long have remained dormant in
his bosom. At the time when he first appeared on the turbulent stage of
Roman life, the accumulation of landed property among a few individuals,
and the consequent abuse of exorbitant wealth, had filled Italy with
slaves instead of citizens—had destroyed the habits of rural industry
among the people at large, and leaving only rich masters at the head of
numerous and profligate servants, gradually rooted out those middle
classes of society which constitute the strength, the worth, and the best
hopes of every well-regulated commonwealth. It is said, that while passing
through Etruria on his way to Numantia, Tiberius Gracchus found the
country almost depopulated of freemen, and thence first formed the project
of his Agrarian law, which was originally intended to correct the evils
arising from the immense landed possessions of the rich, by limiting them
to the number of acres specified in the ancient enactments(232), and
dividing the conquered territories among the poorer citizens. Preparatory
to its promulgation, he was wont to assemble the people round the rostrum,
where he pleaded for the poor, in language of which we have a specimen in
Plutarch: “The wild beasts of Italy have their dens to retire to—their
places of refuge and repose; while the brave men who shed their blood in
the cause of their country, have nothing left but fresh air and sunshine.
Without houses, without settled habitations, they wander from place to
place with their wives and children; and their commanders do but mock
them, when, at the head of their armies, they exhort their soldiers to
fight for their sepulchres and altars. For, among such numbers, there is
not one Roman who has an altar which belonged to his ancestors, or a tomb
in which their ashes repose. The private soldiers fight and die to
increase the wealth and luxury of the great; and they are styled
sovereigns of the world, while they have not a foot of ground they can
call their own(233).” By such speeches as these, the people were
exasperated to fury, and the Senate was obliged to have recourse to
Octavius, who, as one of the tribunes, was the colleague of Gracchus, to
counteract the effects of his animated eloquence. Irritated by this
opposition, Gracchus abandoned the first plan of his law, which was to
give indemnification from the public treasury to those who should be
deprived of their estates, and proposed a new bill, by which they were
enjoined forthwith to quit those lands which they held contrary to
previous enactments. On this subject there were daily disputes between him
and Octavius on the rostrum. Finding that his plans could not otherwise be
accomplished he resolved on the expedient of deposing his colleague; and
thenceforth, to the period of his death, his speeches (one of which is
preserved by Plutarch) were chiefly delivered in persuasion or
justification of that violent measure.

Caius Gracchus was endued with higher talents than Tiberius, but the
resentment he felt on account of his brother’s death, and eager desire for
vengeance, led him into measures which have darkened his character with
the shades of the demagogue. At the time of his brother’s death he had
only reached the age of twenty. In early youth, he distinguished himself
by the defence of one of his friends named Vettius, and charmed the people
by the eloquence which he exerted. He appears soon afterwards to have been
impelled, as it were, by a sort of destiny, to the same political course
which had proved fatal to his brother, and which terminated in his own
destruction. His speeches were all addressed to the people, and were
delivered in proposing laws, calculated to increase their authority, and
lessen that of the Senate,—as those for colonizing the public lands, and
dividing them among the poor; for regulating the markets, so as to
diminish the price of bread, and for vesting the judicial power in the
knights. A fragment of his speech, _De Legibus Promulgatis_, is said to
have been recently discovered, with other classical remains, in the
Ambrosian Library. Aulus Gellius also quotes from this harangue, a
passage, in which the orator complained that some respectable citizens of
a municipal town in Italy had been scourged with rods by a Roman
magistrate. Gellius praises the conciseness, neatness, and graceful ease
of the narrative, resembling dramatic dialogue, in which this incident was
related. Similar, but only similar qualities, appear in his accusation of
the Roman legate, who, while travelling to Asia in a litter, caused a
peasant to be scourged to death, for having asked his slaves if it was a
corpse they were carrying. “The relation of these events,” says Gellius,
“does not rise above the level of ordinary conversation. It is not a
person complaining or imploring, but merely relating what had occurred;”
and he contrasts this tameness with the energy and ardour with which
Cicero has painted the commission of a like enormity by Verres(234).

Though similar in many points of character and also in their political
conduct, there was a marked difference in the style of eloquence, and
forensic demeanour, of the two brothers. Tiberius, in his looks and
gestures, was mild and composed—Caius, earnest and vehement; so that when
they spoke in public, Tiberius had the utmost moderation in his action,
and moved not from his place: whereas Caius was the first of the Romans,
who, in addressing the people, walked to and fro in the rostrum, threw his
gown off his shoulder, smote his thigh, and exposed his arm bare(235). The
language of Tiberius was laboured and accurate, that of Caius bold and
figurative. The oratory of the former was of a gentle kind, and pity was
the emotion it chiefly raised—that of the latter was strongly impassioned,
and calculated to excite terror. In speaking, indeed, Caius was often so
hurried away by the violence of his passion, that he exalted his voice
above the regular pitch, indulged in abusive expressions, and disordered
the whole tenor of his oration. In order to guard against such excesses,
he stationed a slave behind him with an ivory flute, which was modulated
so as to lead him to lower or heighten the tone of his voice, according as
the subject required a higher or a softer key. “The flute,” says Cicero,
“you may as well leave at home, but the meaning of the practice you must
remember at the bar(236).”

In the time of the Gracchi, oratory became an object of assiduous and
systematic study, and of careful education. A youth, intended for the
profession of eloquence, was usually introduced to one of the most
distinguished orators of the city, whom he attended when he had occasion
to speak in any public or private cause, or in the assemblies of the
people, by which means he heard not only him, but every other famous
speaker. He thus became practically acquainted with business and the
courts of justice, and learned the arts of oratoric conflict, as it were,
in the field of battle. “It animated,” says the author of the dialogue _De
Causis Corruptæ Eloquentiæ_,—“it animated the courage, and quickened the
judgment of youth, thus to receive their instructions in the eye of the
world, and in the midst of affairs, where no one could advance an absurd
or weak argument, without being exposed by his adversary, and despised by
the audience. Hence, they had also an opportunity of acquainting
themselves with the various sentiments of the people, and observing what
pleased or disgusted them in the several orators of the Forum. By these
means they were furnished with an instructor of the best and most
improving kind, exhibiting not the feigned resemblance of eloquence, but
her real and lively manifestation—not a pretended but genuine adversary,
armed in earnest for the combat—an audience ever full and ever new,
composed of foes as well as of friends, and amongst whom not a single
expression could fall but was either censured or applauded.”

The minute attention paid by the younger orators to all the proceedings of
the courts of justice, is evinced by the fragment of a Diary, which was
kept by one of them in the time of Cicero, and in which we have a record,
during two days, of the various harangues that were delivered, and the
judgments that were pronounced(237).

Nor were the advantages to be derived from fictitious oratorical contests
long denied to the Roman youth. The practice of declaiming on feigned
subjects, was introduced at Rome about the middle of its seventh century.
The Greek rhetoricians, indeed, had been expelled, as well as the
philosophers, towards the close of the preceding century; but, in the year
661, Plotius Gallus, a Latin rhetorician, opened a declaiming school at
Rome. At this period, however, the declamations generally turned on
questions of real business, and it was not till the time of Augustus, that
the rhetoricians so far prevailed, as to introduce common-place arguments
on fictitious subjects.

The eloquence which had originally been cultivated for seditious purposes,
and for political advancement, began now to be considered by the Roman
youth as an elegant accomplishment. It was probably viewed in the same
light that we regard horsemanship or dancing, and continued to be so in
the age of Horace—

  “Namque, et nobilis, et decens,
    Et pro sollicitis non tacitus reis,
  Et centum puer artium,
    Latè signa feret militiæ suæ(238).”

Under all these circumstances it is evident, that in the middle of the
seventh century oratory would be neglected by none; and in an art so
sedulously studied, and universally practised, many must have been
proficients. It would be endless to enumerate all the public speakers
mentioned by Cicero, whose catalogue is rather extensive and dry. We may
therefore proceed to those two orators, whom he commemorates as having
first raised the glory of Roman eloquence to an equality with that of
Greece—Marcus Antonius, and Lucius Crassus.

The former, sirnamed _Orator_, and grandfather of the celebrated triumvir,
was the most employed patron of his time; and, of all his contemporaries,
was chiefly courted by clients, as he was ever willing to undertake any
cause which was proposed to him. He possessed a ready memory, and
remarkable talent of introducing everything where it could be placed with
most effect. He had a frankness of manner which precluded any suspicion of
artifice, and gave to all his orations an appearance of being the
unpremeditated effusions of an honest heart. But though there was no
apparent preparation in his speeches, he always spoke so well, that the
judges were never sufficiently prepared against the effects of his
eloquence. His language was not perfectly pure, or of a constantly
sustained elegance, but it was of a solid and judicious character, well
adapted to his purpose—his gesture, too, was appropriate, and suited to
the sentiments and language—his voice was strong and durable, though
naturally hoarse—but even this defect he turned to advantage, by
frequently and easily adopting a mournful and querulous tone, which, in
criminal questions, excited compassion, and more readily gained the belief
of the judges. He left, however, as we are informed by Cicero, hardly any
orations behind him(239), having resolved never to publish any of his
pleadings, lest he should be convicted of maintaining in one cause
something which was inconsistent with what he had alleged in another(240).

The first oration by which Antony distinguished himself, was in his own
defence. He had obtained the quæstorship of a province of Asia, and had
arrived at Brundusium to embank there, when his friends informed him that
he had been summoned before the Prætor Cassius, the most rigid judge in
Rome, whose tribunal was termed the rock of the accused. Though he might
have pleaded a privilege, which forbade the admission of charges against
those who were absent on the service of the republic, he chose to justify
himself in due form. Accordingly, he returned to Rome, stood his trial,
and was acquitted with honour(241).

One of the most celebrated orations which Antony pronounced, was that in
defence of Norbanus, who was accused of sedition, and a violent assault on
the magistrate, Æmilius Cæpio. He began by attempting to show from
history, that seditions may sometimes be justifiable from necessity; that
without them the kings would not have been expelled, or the tribunes of
the people created. The orator then proceeded to insinuate, that his
client had not been seditious, but that all had happened through the just
indignation of the people; and he concluded with artfully attempting to
renew the popular odium against Cæpio, who had been an unsuccessful

What Cicero relates concerning Antony’s defence of Aquilius, is an example
of his power in moving the passions, and is, at the same time, extremely
characteristic of the manner of Roman pleading. Antony, who is one of the
speakers in the dialogue _De Oratore_, is introduced relating it himself.
Seeing his client, who had once been Consul and a leader of armies,
reduced to a state of the utmost dejection and peril, he had no sooner
begun to speak, with a view towards melting the compassion of others, than
he was melted himself. Perceiving the emotion of the judges when he raised
his client from the earth, on which he had thrown himself, he instantly
took advantage of this favourable feeling. He tore open the garments of
Aquilius, and showed the scars of those wounds which he had received in
the service of his country. Even the stern Marius wept. Him the orator
then apostrophized; imploring his protection, and invoking with many tears
the gods, the citizens, and the allies of Rome. “But whatever I could have
said,” remarks he in the dialogue, “had I delivered it without being
myself moved, it would have excited the derision, instead of the sympathy,
of those who heard me(243).”

Antony, in the course of his life, had passed through all the highest
offices of the state. The circumstances of his death, which happened in
666, during the civil wars of Marius and Sylla, were characteristic of his
predominant talent. During the last proscription by Marius, he sought
refuge in the house of a poor person, whom he had laid under obligations
to him in the days of his better fortune. But his retreat being
discovered, from the circumstance of his host procuring for him some wine
nicer than ordinary, the intelligence was carried to Marius, who received
it with a savage shout of exultation, and, clapping his hands for joy, he
would have risen from table, and instantly repaired to the place where his
enemy was concealed; but, being detained by his friends, he immediately
despatched a party of soldiers, under a tribune, to slay him. The soldiers
having entered his chamber for this purpose, and Antony suspecting their
errand, addressed them in terms of such moving and insinuating eloquence,
that his assassins burst into tears, and had not sufficient resolution to
execute their mission. The officer who commanded them then went in, and
cut off his head(244), which he carried to Marius, who affixed it to that
rostrum, whence, as Cicero remarks, he had ably defended the lives of so
many of his fellow-citizens(245); little aware that he would soon himself
experience, from another Antony, a fate similar to that which he deplores
as having befallen the grandsire of the triumvir.

Crassus, the forensic rival of Antony, had prepared himself in his youth,
for public speaking, by digesting in his memory a chosen number of
polished and dignified verses, or a certain portion of some oration which
he had read over, and then delivering the same matter in the best words he
could select(246). Afterwards, when he grew a little older, he translated
into Latin some of the finest Greek orations, and, at the same time, used
every mental and bodily exertion to improve his voice, his action, and
memory. He commenced his oratorical career at the early age of nineteen,
when he acquired much reputation by his accusation of C. Carbo; and he,
not long afterwards, greatly heightened his fame, by his defence of the
virgin Licinia. Another of the best speeches of Crassus, was that
addressed to the people in favour of the law of Servilius Cæpio, restoring
in part the judicial power to the Senate, of which they had been recently
deprived, in order to vest it solely in the body of knights. But the most,
splendid of all the appearances of Crassus, was one that proved the
immediate cause of his death, which happened in 662, a short while before
the commencement of the civil wars of Marius and Sylla; and a few days
after the time in which he is supposed to have borne his part in the
dialogue _De Oratore_. The Consul Philippus had declared, in one of the
assemblies of the people, that some other advice must be resorted to,
since, with such a Senate as then existed, he could no longer direct the
affairs of the government. A full Senate being immediately summoned,
Crassus arraigned, in terms of the most glowing eloquence, the conduct of
this Consul, who, instead of acting as the political parent and guardian
of the Senate, sought to deprive its members of their ancient inheritance
of respect and dignity. Being farther irritated by an attempt on the part
of Philippus, to force him into compliance with his designs, he exerted,
on this occasion, the utmost efforts of his genius and strength; but he
returned home with a pleuritic fever, of which he died in the course of
seven days. This oration of Crassus, followed as it was by his almost
immediate death, made a deep impression on his countrymen; who, long
afterwards, were wont to repair to the senate-house, for the purpose of
viewing the spot where he had last stood, and fallen, as it may be said,
in defence of the privileges of his order.

Crassus left hardly any orations behind him, and he died while Cicero was
still in his boyhood; yet that author, having collected the opinions of
those who had heard him, speaks with a minute and apparently perfect
intelligence of his mode of oratory. He was what may be called the most
ornamental speaker that had hitherto appeared in the Forum. Though not
without force, gravity, and dignity, these were happily blended with the
most insinuating politeness, urbanity, ease, and gaiety. He was master of
the most pure and accurate language, and of perfect elegance of
expression, without any affectation, or unpleasant appearance of previous
study. Great clearness of exposition distinguished all his harangues, and,
while descanting on topics of law or equity, he possessed an inexhaustible
fund of argument and illustration. In speaking, he showed an uncommon
modesty, which went even the length of bashfulness. When a young man, he
was so intimidated at the opening of a speech, that Q. Maximus, perceiving
him overwhelmed and disabled by confusion, adjourned the court, which the
orator always remembered with the highest sense of gratitude. This
diffidence never entirely forsook him; and, after the practice of a long
life at the bar, he was frequently so much agitated in the exordium of his
discourse, that he was observed to grow pale, and to tremble in every part
of his frame(247). Some persons considered Crassus as only equal to
Antony; others preferred him as the more perfect and accomplished orator:
Antony chiefly trusted to his intimate acquaintance with affairs and
ordinary life: He was not, however, so destitute of knowledge as he
seemed; but he thought the best way to recommend his eloquence to the
people, was to appear as if he had never learned anything(248). Crassus,
on the other hand, was well instructed in literature, and showed off his
information to the best advantage. Antony possessed the greater power of
promoting conjecture, and of allaying or exciting suspicion, by opposite
and well-timed insinuations; but no one could have more copiousness or
facility than Crassus, in defining, interpreting, and discussing, the
principles of equity. The language of Crassus was indisputably preferable
to that of Antony; but the action and gesture of Antony were as
incontestably superior to those of Crassus.

Sulpicius and Cotta, who were both born about 630, were younger orators
than Antony or Crassus, but were for some time their contemporaries, and
had risen to considerable reputation before the death of the latter and
assassination of the former. Sulpicius lived for some years respected and
admired; but, about the year 665, at the first breaking out of the
dissensions between Sylla and Marius, being then a tribune of the people,
he espoused the part of Marius. Plutarch gives a memorable account of his
character and behaviour at this conjuncture, declaring that he was second
to none in the most atrocious villainies. Alike unrestrained in avarice
and cruelty, he committed the most criminal and enormous actions without
hesitation or reluctance. He sold by public auction the freedom of Rome to
foreigners—telling out the purchase-money on counters erected for that
purpose in the Forum! He kept 3000 swordsmen in constant pay, and had
always about him a company of young men of the equestrian order, ready on
every occasion to execute his commands; and these he styled his
anti-senatorian band(249). Cicero touches on his crimes with more
tenderness; but says, that when he came to be tribune, he stript of all
their dignities those with whom, as a private individual, he had lived in
the strictest friendship(250). Whilst Marius kept his ground against his
rival, Sulpicius transacted all public affairs, in his capacity of
tribune, by violence and force of arms. He decreed to Marius the command
in the Mithridatic war: He attacked the Consuls with his band while they
were holding an assembly of the people in the Temple of Castor and Pollux,
and deposed one of them(251). Marius, however, having been at length
expelled by the ascendancy of Sylla, Sulpicius was betrayed by one of his
slaves, and immediately seized and executed. “Thus,” says Cicero, “the
chastisement of his rashness went hand in hand with the misfortunes of his
country; and the sword cut off the thread of that life, which was then
blooming to all the honours that eloquence can bestow(252).”

Cicero had reached the age of nineteen, at the period of the death of
Sulpicius. He had heard him daily speak in the Forum, and highly estimates
his oratoric powers(253). He was the most lofty, and what Cicero calls the
most tragic, orator of Rome. His attitudes, deportment, and figure, were
of supreme dignity—his voice was powerful and sonorous—his elocution
rapid; his action variable and animated.

The constitutional weakness of Cotta prevented all such oratorical
vehemence. In his manner he was soft and relaxed; but every thing he said
was sober and in good taste, and he often led the judges to the same
conclusion to which Sulpicius impelled them. “No two things,” says Cicero,
“were ever more unlike than they are to each other. The one, in a polite,
delicate manner, sets forth his subject in well-chosen expressions. He
still keeps to his point; and, as he sees with the greatest penetration
what he has to prove to the court, he directs to that the whole strength
of his reasoning and eloquence, without regarding other arguments. But
Sulpicius, endued with irresistible energy, with a full strong voice, with
the greatest vehemence, and dignity of action, accompanied with so much
weight and variety of expression, seemed, of all mankind, the best fitted
by nature for eloquence.”

It was supposed that Cotta wished to resemble Antony, as Sulpicius
obviously imitated Crassus; but the latter wanted the agreeable pleasantry
of Crassus, and the former the force of Antony. None of the orations of
Sulpicius remained in the time of Cicero—those circulated under his name
having been written by Canutius after his death. The oration of Cotta for
himself, when accused on the Varian law, was composed, it is said, at his
request by Lucius Ælius; and, if this be true, nothing can appear to us
more extraordinary, than that so accomplished a speaker as Cotta should
have wished any of the trivial harangues of Ælius to pass for his own.

The renown, however, of all preceding orators, was now about to be
eclipsed at Rome; and Hortensius burst forth in eloquence at once
calculated to delight and astonish his fellow-citizens. This celebrated
orator was born in the year 640, being thus ten years younger than Cotta
and Sulpicius. His first appearance in the Forum was at the early age of
nineteen—that is, in 659; and his excellence, says Cicero, was immediately
acknowledged, like that of a statue by Phidias, which only requires to be
seen in order to be admired(254). The case in which he first appeared was
of considerable responsibility for one so young and inexperienced, being
an accusation, at the instance of the Roman province of Africa, against
its governors for rapacity. It was heard before Scævola and Crassus, as
judges—the one the ablest lawyer, the other the most accomplished speaker,
of his age; and the young orator had the good fortune to obtain their
approbation, as well as that of all who were present at the trial(255).
His next pleading of importance was in behalf of Nicomedes, King of
Bithynia, in which he even surpassed his former speech for the
Africans(256). After this we hear little of him for several years. The
imminent perils of the Social War, which broke out in 663, interrupted, in
a great measure, the business of the Forum. Hortensius served in this
alarming contest for one year as a volunteer, and in the following season
as a military tribune(257). When, on the re-establishment of peace in
Italy in 666, he returned to Rome, and resumed the more peaceful
avocations to which he had been destined from his youth, he found himself
without a rival(258). Crassus, as we have seen, died in 662, before the
troubles of Marius and Sylla. Antony, with other orators of inferior note,
perished in 666, during the temporary and last ascendancy of Marius, in
the absence of Sylla. Sulpicius was put to death in the same year, and
Cotta driven into banishment, from which he was not recalled until the
return of Sylla to Rome, and his election to the dictatorship in 670.
Hortensius was thus left for some years without a competitor; and, after
670, with none of eminence but Cotta, whom also he soon outshone. His
splendid, warm, and animated manner, was preferred to the calm and easy
elegance of his rival. Accordingly, when engaged in a cause on the same
side, Cotta, though ten years senior, was employed to open the case, while
the more important parts were left to the management of Hortensius(259).
He continued the undisputed sovereign of the Forum, till Cicero returned
from his quæstorship in Sicily, in 679, when the talents of that orator
first displayed themselves in full perfection and maturity. Hortensius was
thus, from 666 till 679, a space of thirteen years, at the head of the
Roman bar; and being, in consequence, engaged during that long period, on
one side or other, in every cause of importance, he soon amassed a
prodigious fortune. He lived, too, with a magnificence corresponding to
his wealth. An example of splendour and luxury had been set to him by the
orator Crassus, who inhabited a sumptuous palace in Rome, the hall of
which was adorned with four pillars of Hymettian marble, twelve feet high,
which he brought to Rome in his ædileship, at a time when there were no
pillars of foreign marble even in public buildings(260). The court of this
mansion was ornamented by six lotus trees, which Pliny saw in full
luxuriance in his youth, but which were afterwards burned in the
conflagration in the time of Nero. He had also a number of vases, and two
drinking-cups, engraved by the artist Mentor, but which were of such
immense value that he was ashamed to use them(261). Hortensius had the
same tastes as Crassus, but surpassed him and all his contemporaries in
magnificence. His mansion stood on the Palatine Hill, which appears to
have been the most fashionable situation in Rome, being at that time
covered with the houses of Lutatius Catulus, Æmilius Scaurus, Clodius,
Catiline, Cicero, and Cæsar(262). The residence of Hortensius was adjacent
to that of Catiline; and though of no great extent, it was splendidly
furnished. After the death of the orator, it was inhabited by Octavius
Cæsar(263), and formed the centre of the chief imperial palace, which
increased from the time of Augustus to that of Nero, till it covered a
great part of the Palatine Mount, and branched over other hills. Besides
his mansion in the capital, he possessed sumptuous villas at Tusculum,
Bauli, and Laurentum, where he was accustomed to give the most elegant and
expensive entertainments. He had frequently peacocks at his banquets,
which he first served up at a grand augural feast, and which, says Varro,
were more commended by the luxurious, than by men of probity and
austerity(264). His olive plantations he is said to have regularly
moistened and bedewed with wine; and, on one occasion, during the hearing
of an important case, in which he was engaged along with Cicero, begged
that he would change with him the previously arranged order of pleading,
as he was obliged to go to the country to pour wine on a favourite
_platanus_, which grew near his Tusculan villa(265). Notwithstanding this
profusion, his heir found not less than 10,000 casks of wine in his cellar
after his death(266). Besides his taste for wine, and fondness for
plantations, he indulged a passion for pictures and fish-ponds. At his
Tusculan villa, he built a hall for the reception of a painting of the
expedition of the Argonauts, by the painter Cydias, which cost the
enormous sum of a hundred and forty-four thousand sesterces(267). At his
country-seat, near Bauli, on the sea shore, he vied with Lucullus and
Philippus in the extent of his fish-ponds, which were constructed at
immense cost, and so formed that the tide flowed into them(268). Under the
promontory of Bauli, travellers are yet shown the _Piscina Mirabilis_, a
subterraneous edifice, vaulted and divided by four rows of arcades, and
which is supposed by some antiquarians to have been a fish-pond of
Hortensius. Yet such was his luxury, and his reluctance to diminish his
supply, that when he gave entertainments at Bauli, he generally sent to
the neighbouring town of Puteoli to buy fish for supper(269). He had a
vast number of fishermen in his service, and paid so much attention to the
feeding of his fish, that he had always ready a large stock of small fish
to be devoured by the great ones. It was with the utmost difficulty he
could be prevailed on to part with any of them; and Varro declares, that a
friend could more easily get his chariot mules out of his stable, than a
mullet from his ponds. He was more anxious about the welfare of his fish
than the health of his slaves, and less solicitous that a sick servant
might not take what was unfit for him, than that his fish might not drink
water which was unwholesome(270). It is even said, that he was so
passionately fond of a particular lamprey, that he shed tears for her
untimely death(271).

The gallery at the villa, which was situated on the little promontory of
Bauli, and looking towards Puteoli, commanded one of the most delightful
views in Italy. The inland prospect towards Cumæ was extensive and
magnificent. Puteoli was seen along the shore at the distance of 30
_stadia_, in the direction of Pompeii; and Pompeii itself was invisible
only from its distance. The sea view was unbounded; but it was enlivened
by the numerous vessels sailing across the bay, and the ever changeful hue
of its waters, now saffron, azure, or purple, according as the breeze
blew, or as the sun ascended or declined(272).

Hortensius possessed another villa in Italy, which rivalled in its sylvan
pomp the marine luxuries of Bauli. This mansion lay between Ostia and
Lavinium, (now Pratica,) near to the town of Laurentum, so well remembered
from ancient fable and poetry, as having been the residence of King
Latinus, at the time of the arrival of Æneas in Italy, and at present
known by the name of Torre di Paterno. The town of Laurentum was on the
shore, but the villa of Hortensius stood to the north-east at some
distance from the coast,—the grounds subsequently occupied by the villa of
the younger Pliny intervening between it and Laurentum, and also between
it and the Tuscan sea. Around were the walks and gardens of patrician
villas; on one side was seen the town of Laurentum, with its public baths;
on the other, but at a greater distance, the harbour of Ostia. Near the
house were groves, and fields covered with herds—beyond were hills clothed
with woods. The horizon to the north-east was bounded by magnificent
mountains, and beyond the low maritime grounds, which lay between the port
of Ostia and Laurentum, there was a distant prospect of the Tuscan

Hortensius had here a wooded park of fifty acres, encompassed with a wall.
This enclosure he called a nursery of wild beasts, all which came for
their provender at a certain hour, on the blowing of a horn—an exhibition
with which he was accustomed to amuse the guests who visited him at his
Laurentian villa. Varro mentions an entertainment, where those invited
supped on an eminence, called a _Triclinium_, in this sylvan park. During
the repast, Hortensius summoned his Orpheus, who, having come with his
musical instruments, and being ordered to display his talents, blew a
trumpet, when such a multitude of deer, boars, and other quadrupeds,
rushed to the spot from all quarters, that the sight appeared to the
delighted spectators as beautiful as the courses with wild animals in the
great Circus of the Ædiles(274)!

The eloquence of Hortensius procured him not only all this wealth and
luxury, but the highest official honours of the state. He was Ædile in
679, Prætor in 682, and Consul two years afterwards. The wealth and
dignities he had obtained, and the want of competition, made him gradually
relax from that assiduity by which they had been acquired, till the
increasing fame of Cicero, and particularly the glory of his consulship,
stimulated him to renew his exertions. But his habit of labour had been in
some degree lost, and he never again recovered his former reputation.
Cicero partly accounts for this decline, from the peculiar nature and
genius of his eloquence(275). It was of that showy species called Asiatic,
which flourished in the Greek colonies of Asia Minor, and was infinitely
more florid and ornamental than the oratory of Athens, or even Rhodes,
being full of brilliant thoughts and of sparkling expressions. This
glowing style of rhetoric, though deficient in solidity and weight, was
not unsuitable in a young man; and being farther recommended by a
beautiful cadence of periods, met with the utmost applause. But
Hortensius, as he advanced in life, did not prune his exuberance, or adopt
a chaster eloquence; and this luxury, and glitter of phraseology, which,
even in his earliest years, had occasionally excited ridicule or disgust
among the graver fathers of the senatorial order, being totally
inconsistent with his advanced age and consular dignity, which required
something more serious and composed, his reputation diminished with
increase of years; and though the bloom of his eloquence might be in fact
the same, it appeared to be somewhat withered(276). Besides, from his
declining health and strength, which greatly failed in his latter years,
he may not have been able to give full effect to that showy species of
rhetoric in which he indulged. A constant toothache, and swelling in the
jaws, greatly impaired his power of elocution and utterance, and became at
length so severe as to accelerate his end—

  “Ægrescunt teneræ fauces, quum frigoris atri
  Vis subiit, vel quum ventis agitabilis aër
  Vertitur, atque ipsas flatus gravis inficit auras,
  Vel rabidus clamor fracto quum forte sonore
  Planum radit iter. Sic est Hortensius olim
  Absumptus: caussis etenim confectus agendis
  Obticuit, quum vox, domino vivente, periret,
  Et nondum exstincti moreretur lingua diserti(277).”

A few months, however, before his death, which happened in 703, he pleaded
for his nephew, Messala, who was accused of illegal canvassing, and who
was acquitted, more in consequence of the astonishing exertions of his
advocate, than the justice of his cause. So unfavourable, indeed, was his
case esteemed, that however much the speech of Hortensius had been
admired, he was received on entering the theatre of Curio on the following
day, with loud clamour and hisses, which were the more remarked, as he had
never met with similar treatment in the whole course of his forensic
career(278). The speech, however, revived all the ancient admiration of
the public for his oratorical talents, and convinced them, that had he
always possessed the same perseverance as Cicero, he would not have ranked
second to that orator. Another of his most celebrated harangues was that
against the Manilian law, which vested Pompey with such extraordinary
powers, and was so warmly supported by Cicero. That against the sumptuary
law proposed by Crassus and Pompey, in the year 683, which tended to
restrain the indulgence of his own taste, was well adapted to Hortensius’
style of eloquence; and his speech was highly characteristic of his
disposition and habits of life. He declaimed, at great length, on the
glory of Rome, which required splendour in the mode of living followed by
its citizens(279). He frequently glanced at the luxury of the Consuls
themselves, and forced them at length, by his eloquence and sarcastic
declamation, to relinquish their scheme of domestic retrenchment.

The speeches of Hortensius, it has been already mentioned, lost part of
their effect by the orator’s advance in years, but they suffered still
more by being transferred to paper. As his chief excellence consisted in
action and delivery, his writings were much inferior to what was expected
from the high fame he had enjoyed; and, accordingly, after death, he
retained little of that esteem, which he had so abundantly possessed
during his life(280). Although, therefore, his orations had been
preserved, they would have given us but an imperfect idea of the eloquence
of Hortensius; but even this aid has been denied us, and we must,
therefore, now chiefly trust for his oratorical character to the opinion
of his great but unprejudiced rival. The friendship and honourable
competition of Hortensius and Cicero, present an agreeable contrast to the
animosities of Æschines and Demosthenes, the two great orators of Greece.
It was by means of Hortensius that Cicero was chosen one of the college of
Augurs—a service of which his gratified vanity ever appears to have
retained an agreeable recollection. In a few of his letters, indeed,
written during the despondency of his exile, he hints a suspicion that
Hortensius had been instrumental in his banishment, with a view of
engrossing to himself the whole glory of the bar(281); but this mistrust
ended with his recall, which Hortensius, though originally he had advised
him to yield to the storm, urged on with all the influence of which he was
possessed. Hortensius also appears to have been free from every feeling of
jealousy or envy, which in him was still more creditable, as his rival was
younger than himself, and yet ultimately forced him from the supremacy.
Such having been their sentiments of mutual esteem, Cicero has done his
oratoric talents ample justice—representing him as endued with almost all
the qualities necessary to form a distinguished speaker. His imagination
was fertile—his voice was sweet and harmonious—his demeanour dignified—his
language rich and elegant—his acquaintance with literature extensive. So
prodigious was his memory, that, without the aid of writing, he
recollected every word he had meditated, and every sentence of his
adversary’s oration, even to the titles and documents brought forward to
support the case against him—a faculty which greatly aided his peculiarly
happy art of recapitulating the substance of what had been said by his
antagonists or by himself(282). He also originally possessed an
indefatigable application; and scarcely a day passed in which he did not
speak in the Forum, or exercise himself in forensic studies or
preparation. But, of all the various arts of oratory, he most remarkably
excelled in a happy and perspicuous arrangement of his subject. Cicero
only reproaches him, and that but slightly, with showing more study and
art in his gestures than was suitable for an orator. It appears, however,
from Macrobius, that he was much ridiculed by his contemporaries, on
account of his affected gestures. In pleading, his hands were constantly
in motion, whence he was often attacked by his adversaries in the Forum
for resembling an actor; and, on one occasion, he received from his
opponent the appellation of _Dionysia_, which was the name of a celebrated
dancing girl(283). Æsop and Roscius frequently attended his pleadings, to
catch his gestures, and imitate them on the stage(284). Such, indeed, was
his exertion in action, that it was commonly said that it could not be
determined whether people went to hear or to see him(285). Like
Demosthenes, he chose and put on his dress with the most studied care and
neatness. He is said, not only to have prepared his attitudes, but also to
have adjusted the plaits of his gown before a mirror, when about to issue
forth to the Forum; and to have taken no less care in arranging them, than
in moulding the periods of his discourse. He so tucked up his gown, that
the folds did not fall by chance, but were formed with great care, by
means of a knot artfully tied, and concealed in the plies of his robe,
which apparently flowed carelessly around him(286). Macrobius also records
a story of his instituting an action of damages against a person who had
jostled him, while walking in this elaborate dress, and had ruffled his
toga, when he was about to appear in public with his drapery adjusted
according to the happiest arrangement(287)—an anecdote, which, whether
true or false, shows, by its currency, the opinion entertained of his
finical attention to everything that concerned the elegance of his attire,
or the gracefulness of his figure and attitudes. He also bathed himself in
odoriferous waters, and daily perfumed himself with the most precious
essences(288). This too minute attention to his person, and to
gesticulation, appears to have been the sole blemish in his oratorical
character; and the only stain on his moral conduct, was his practice of
corrupting the judges of the causes in which he was employed—a practice
which must be, in a great measure, imputed to the defects of the judicial
system at Rome; for, whatever might be the excellence of the Roman laws,
nothing could be worse than the procedure under which they were

Hortensius has received more justice from Cicero than another orator,
Licinius Calvus, who, for a few years, was also considered as his rival in
eloquence. Calvus has already been mentioned as an elegant poet; but
Seneca calls his competition with Cicero in oratory, _iniquissimam litem_.
His style of speaking was directly the reverse of that of Hortensius: he
affected the Attic taste in eloquence, such as it appeared in what he
conceived to be its purest form—the orations of Lysias. Hence that correct
and slender delicacy at which he so studiously aimed, and which he
conducted with great skill and elegance; but, from being too much afraid
of the faults of redundance and unsuitable ornament, he refined and
attenuated his discourse till it lost its raciness and spirit. He
compensated, however, for his sterility of language, and diminutive
figure, by his force of elocution, and vivacity of action. “I have met
with persons,” says Quintilian, “who preferred Calvus to all our orators;
and others who were of opinion, that the too great rigour which he
exercised on himself, in point of precision, had debilitated his
oratorical talents. Nevertheless, his speeches, though chaste, grave, and
correct, are frequently also vehement. His taste of writing was Attic; and
his untimely death was an injury to his reputation, if he designed to add
to his compositions, and not to retrench them.” His most celebrated
oration, which was against the unpopular Vatinius, was delivered at the
age of twenty. The person whom he accused, overpowered and alarmed,
interrupted him, by exclaiming to the judges, “Must I be condemned because
he is eloquent?” The applause he obtained in this case may be judged of
from what is mentioned by Catullus, of some one in the crowd clapping his
hands in the middle of his speech, and exclaiming, “O what an eloquent
little darling(290)!” Calvus survived only ten years after this period,
having died at the early age of thirty. He left behind him twenty-one
books of orations, which are said to have been much studied by the younger
Pliny, and were the models he first imitated(291).

Calvus, though a much younger man than Cicero, died many years before him,
and previous to the composition of the dialogue _Brutus_. Most of the
other contemporaries, whom Cicero records in that treatise on celebrated
orators, were dead also. Among an infinite variety of others, he
particularly mentions Marcus Crassus, the wealthy triumvir, who perished
in the ill-fated expedition against the Parthians; and who, though
possessed but of moderate learning and capacity, was accounted, in
consequence of his industry and popular arts, among the chief forensic
patrons. His language was pure, and his subject well arranged; but in his
harangues there were none of the lights and flowers of eloquence,—all
things were expressed in the same manner, and the same tone.

Towards the conclusion of the dialogue, Cicero mentions so many of his
predeceased contemporaries, that Atticus remarks, that he is drawing up
the dregs of oratory. Calidius, indeed, seems the only other speaker who
merits distinguished notice. He is characterized as different from all
other orators,—such was the soft and polished language in which he arrayed
his exquisitely delicate sentiments. Nothing could be more easy, pliable,
and ductile, than the turn of his periods; his words flowed like a pure
and limpid stream, without anything hard or muddy to impede or pollute
their course; his action was genteel, his mode of address sober and calm,
his arrangement the perfection of art. “The three great objects of an
orator,” says Cicero, while discussing the merits of Calidius, “are to
instruct, delight, and move. Two of these he admirably accomplished. He
rendered the most abstruse subject clear by illustration, and enchained
the minds of his hearers with delight. But the third praise of moving and
exciting the soul must be denied him; he had no force, pathos, or
animation(292).” Such, indeed, was his want of emotion, where it was most
appropriate, and most to be expected, that, while pleading his own cause
against Q. Gallius for an attempt to poison him, though he stated his case
with elegance and perspicuity, yet it was so smoothly and listlessly
detailed, that Cicero, who spoke for the person accused, argued, that the
charge must be false and an invention of his own, as no one could talk so
calmly, and with such indifference, of a recent attempt which threatened
his own existence(293).

These were the most renowned orators who preceded the age of Cicero, or
were contemporaries with him; and before proceeding to consider the
oratorical merits of him by whom they have been all eclipsed, at least in
the eye of posterity, it may be proper, for a single moment, to remind the
reader of the state of the Roman law,—of the judicial procedure, and of
the ordinary practice of the Forum, at the time when he commenced and
pursued his brilliant career of eloquence.

The laws of the first six kings of Rome, called the _Leges Regiæ_, chiefly
related to sacred subjects,—regulations of police,—divisions of the
different orders in the state,—and privileges of the people. Tarquinius
Superbus having laid a plan for the establishment of despotism at Rome,
attempted to abolish every law of his predecessors which imposed control
on the royal prerogative. About the time of his expulsion(294), the Senate
and people, believing that the disregard of the laws was occasioned by
their never having been reduced in writing, determined to have them
assembled and recorded in one volume; and this task was intrusted by them
to Sextus Papyrius, a patrician. Papyrius accordingly collected, with
great assiduity, all the laws of the monarchs who had governed Rome
previously to the time of Tarquin. This collection, which is sometimes
called the _Leges Regiæ_, and sometimes the Papyrian Code, did not obtain
that confirmation and permanence which might have been expected. Many of
the _Leges Regiæ_ were the result of momentary emergencies, and
inapplicable to future circumstances. Being the ordinances, too, of a
detested race, and being in some respects but ill adapted to the genius
and temper of a republican government, a great number of them soon fell
into desuetude(295). The new laws promulgated immediately after the
expulsion of the kings, related more to those constitutional modifications
which were rendered necessary by so important a revolution, than to the
civil rights of the citizen. In consequence of the dissensions of the
patricians and plebeians, every _Senatusconsultum_ proceeding from the
deliberations of the Senate was negatived by the _veto_ of the Tribunes,
while the Senate, in return, disowned the authority of the _Plebiscita_,
and denied the right of the Tribunes to propose laws. There was thus a
sort of legal interregnum at Rome; at least, there were no fixed rules to
which all classes were equally subjected: and the great body of the people
were too often the victims of the pride of the patricians and tyranny of
the consular government. In this situation, C. Terentius Arsa brought
forward the law known by the name of _Terentilla_, of which the object was
the election by the people of ten persons, who should compose and arrange
a body of laws for the administration of public affairs, as well as
decision of the civil rights of individuals according to established
rules. The Senate, who maintained that the dispensation of justice was
solely vested in the supreme magistrates, contrived, for five years, to
postpone execution of this salutary measure; but it was at length agreed,
that, as a preparatory step, and before the creation of the Decemvirs, who
were to form this code, three deputies should be sent to Greece, and the
Greek towns of Italy, to select such enactments as they might consider
best adapted to the manners and customs of the Roman people.

The delegates, who departed on this embassy towards the close of the year
300, were occupied two years in their important mission. From what cities
of Greece, or Magna Græcia, they chiefly borrowed their laws, has been a
topic of much discussion, and seems to be still involved in much
uncertainty(296); though Athens is most usually considered as having been
the great fountain of their legislation.

On the return of the deputies to Rome, the office of Consul was
suppressed, and ten magistrates, called Decemvirs, among whom these
deputies were included, were immediately created. To them was confided the
care of digesting the prodigious mass of laws which had been brought from
Greece. This task they accomplished with the aid of Hermodorus, an exile
of Ephesus, who then happened to be at Rome, and acted as their
interpreter. But although the importation from Greece formed the chief
part of the twelve tables, it cannot be supposed that the ancient laws of
Rome were entirely superseded. Some of the _Leges Regiæ_, which had no
reference to monarchical government, as the laws of Romulus, concerning
the _Patria potestas_, those concerning parricides, the removal of
landmarks, and insolvent debtors, had, by tacit consent, passed into
consuetudinary law; and all those which were still in observance were
incorporated in the Decemviral Code; in the same manner as the
institutions of the heroic ages of Greece formed a part of the laws of
Solon and Lycurgus.

Before a year had elapsed from the date of their creation, the Decemvirs
had prepared ten books of laws; which, being engraved on wooden or ivory
tables, were presented to the people, and received the sanction of the
Senate, and ratification of the Comitia Centuriata. Two supplementary
tables were soon afterwards added, in consequence of some omissions which
were observed and pointed out to the Decemvirs. In all these tables the
laws were briefly expressed. The first eight related to matters of private
right, the ninth to those of public, and the tenth to those of religious
concern. These ten tables established very equitable rules for all
different ranks, without distinction; but in the two supplemental tables
some invidious distinctions were introduced, and many exclusive privileges
conferred on the patricians.

On the whole, the Decemvirs appear to have been very well versed in the
science of legislation. Those who, like Cicero(297) and Tacitus, possessed
the Twelve Tables complete, and who were the most competent judges of how
far they were adapted to the circumstances and manners of the people, have
highly commended the wisdom of these laws. Modern detractors have chiefly
objected to the sanguinary punishments they inflicted, the principles of
the law of retaliation which they recognized, and the barbarous privileges
permitted to creditors on the persons of their debtors. The severer
enactments, however, of the Twelve Tables, were evidently never put in
force, or so soon became obsolete, that the Roman laws were at length
esteemed remarkable for the mildness of their punishments—the penalties of
scourging, or death, being scarcely in any case inflicted on a Roman

The tables on which the Decemviral Code had been inscribed, were destroyed
by the Gauls at the sack of the city; but such pains were taken in
recovering copies, or making them out from recollection, that the laws
themselves were almost completely re-established.

It might reasonably have been expected that a system of jurisprudence,
carefully extracted from the whole legislative wisdom of Italy and Greece,
should have restored in the commonwealth that good order and security
which had been overthrown by the uncertainty of the laws, and the disputes
of the patricians and plebeians. But the event did not justify the
well-founded expectation. The ambition and lawless passions of the chief
Decemvir had rendered it necessary for him and his colleagues to abdicate
their authority before they had settled with sufficient precision how
their enactments were to be put in practice or enforced. It thus became
essential to introduce certain _formulæ_, called _Legis Actiones_, in
order that the mode of procedure might not remain arbitrary and uncertain.
These, consisting chiefly of certain symbolical gestures, adapted to a
legal claim or defence, were prepared by Claudius Cœcus about the middle
of the fifth century of Rome, but were intended to be kept private among
the pontiffs and patrician Jurisconsults, that the people might not have
the benefit of the law without their assistance. Cl. Flavius, however, a
secretary of Claudius, having access to these formularies, transcribed and
communicated them to the people about the middle of the fifth century of
Rome. From this circumstance they were called the _Jus civile Flavianum_.
This discovery was so disagreeable to the patricians, that they devised
new legal forms, which they kept secret with still more care than the
others. But in 553, Sextus Ælius Catus divulged them again, and in
consequence, these last prescripts obtained the name of _Jus Ælium_, which
may be regarded as the last part and completion of the Decemviral laws;
and it continued to be employed as the form of process during the whole
remaining period of the existence of the commonwealth.

As long as the republic survived, the Twelve Tables formed the foundation
of the Roman law, though they were interpreted and enlarged by such new
enactments as the circumstances of the state demanded(298). Thus the _Lex
Aquilia_ and _Alinia_ were mere modifications of different heads of the
twelve tables. Most of the new laws were introduced in consequence of the
increase of empire and luxury, and the conflicting interests of the
various orders in the state. Laws, properly so called, were proposed by a
superior magistrate, as the Consul, Dictator, or Prætor, with consent of
the Senate; they were passed by the whole body of the people, patricians
and plebeians, assembled in the Comitia Centuriata, and bore ever after
the name of the proposer.

The _Plebiscita_ were enacted by the plebeians in the Comitia Tributa,
apart from the patricians, and independently of the sanction of the
Senate, at the _rogation_ of their own Tribunes, instead of one of the
superior magistrates. The patricians generally resisted these decrees, as
they were chiefly directed against the authority of the Senate, and the
privileges of the higher orders of the state. But, by the _Lex Horatia_,
the same weight and authority were given to them as to laws properly so
termed, and thenceforth they differed only in name, and the manner in
which they were enacted.

A _Senatusconsultum_ was an ordinance of the Senate on those points
concerning which it possessed exclusive authority; but rather referred to
matters of state, as the distribution of provinces, the application of
public money, and the like, than to the ordinary administration of

The patricians, being deprived by the Twelve Tables of the privilege of
arbitrarily pronouncing decisions, as best suited their interests; and
being frustrated in their miserable attempts to maintain an undue
advantage in matters of form, by secreting the rules of procedure held in
courts of justice, they had now reserved to them only the power of
interpreting to others the scope and spirit of the laws. Till the age, at
least, of Augustus, the civil law was completely unconnected and
dissipated; and no systematic, accessible, or authoritative treatise on
the subject, appeared during the existence of the republic(299). The laws
of the Twelve Tables were extremely concise and elliptical; and it seems
highly probable that they were written in this style, not for the sake of
perspicuity, but to leave all that required to be supplied or interpreted
in the power of the Patricians(300). The changes, too, in the customs and
language of the Romans, rendered the style of the Twelve Tables less
familiar to each succeeding generation; and the ambiguous passages were
but imperfectly explained by the study of legal antiquarians. It was the
custom, likewise, for each successive Prætor to publish an edict,
announcing the manner in which justice was to be distributed by him—the
rules which he proposed to follow in the decision of doubtful cases; and
the degree of relief which his equity would afford from the precise rigour
of ancient statutes. This annual alteration in forms, and sometimes even
in the principles of law, introduced a confusion, which persons engrossed
with other occupations could not unravel. The obscurity of old laws, and
fluctuating jurisdiction of the Prætors, gave rise to that class of men
called Jurisconsults, whose business it was to explain legal difficulties,
and reconcile statutory contradictions. It was the relation of patron and
client, which was coeval almost with the city itself, and was invested
with a sacred, inviolable character, that gave weight to the _dicta_ of
those who, in some measure, came in place of the ancient patrons, and
usually belonged to the patrician order.—“On the public days of market or
assembly,” says Gibbon, “the masters of the art were seen walking in the
Forum, ready to impart the needful advice to the meanest of their
fellow-citizens, from whose votes, on a future occasion, they might
solicit a grateful return. As their years and honours increased, they
seated themselves at home on a chair or throne, to expect with patient
gravity the visits of their clients, who, at the dawn of day, from the
town and country, began to thunder at their door. The duties of social
life, and incidents of judicial proceedings, were the ordinary subject of
these consultations; and the verbal or written opinions of the
jurisconsults were framed according to the rules of prudence and law. The
youths of their own order and family were permitted to listen; their
children enjoyed the benefit of more private lessons; and the Mucian race
was long renowned for the hereditary knowledge of the civil law(301).”
Though the judges and prætors were not absolutely obliged, till the time
of the emperors, to follow the recorded opinions of the Jurisconsults,
they possessed during the existence of the republic a preponderating
weight and authority. The province of legislation was thus gradually
invaded by these expounders of ancient statutes, till at length their
recorded opinions, the _Responsa Prudentum_, became so numerous, and of
such authority, that they formed the greatest part of the system of Roman
jurisprudence, whence they were styled by Cicero, in his oration for
Cæcina, _Jus Civile_.

It is perfectly evident, however, that the civil law was neither much
studied nor known by the _orators_ of the Senate, and Forum. Cicero, in
his treatise _De Oratore_, informs us, that Ser. Galba, the first speaker
of his day, was ignorant of law, inexperienced in civil rights, and
uncertain as to the institutions of his ancestors. In his _Brutus_ he says
nearly the same thing of Antony and Sulpicius, who were the two greatest
orators of their age, and who, he declares, knew nothing of public,
private, or civil law. Antony in particular, always expressed a contempt
for the study of the civil law(302). Accordingly, in the dialogue _De
Oratore_, he is made to say, “I never studied the civil law, nor have I
been sensible of any loss from my ignorance of it in those causes which I
was capable of managing in our courts(303).” In the same dialogue, Scævola
says, “The present age is totally ignorant of the laws of the Twelve
Tables, except you, Crassus, who, led by curiosity, rather than from its
being any province annexed to eloquence, studied civil law under me.” In
his oration for Muræna, Cicero talks lightly of the study of the civil
law, and treats his opponent with scorn on account of his knowledge of its
words of style and forms of procedure(304). With exception, then, of
Crassus, and of Scævola, who was rather a jurisconsult than a speaker, the
orators of the age of Cicero, as well as those who preceded it, were
uninstructed in law, and considered it as no part of their duty to render
themselves masters, either of the general principles of jurisprudence, or
the municipal institutions of the state. Crassus, indeed, expresses his
opinion, that it is impossible for an orator to do justice to his client
without some knowledge of law, particularly in questions tried before the
Centumviri, who had cognizance of points with regard to egress and regress
in property, the interests of minors, and alterations in the course of
rivers; and he mentions several cases, some of a criminal nature, which
had lately occurred at Rome, where the question hinged entirely on the
civil law, and required constant reference to precedents and authorities.
Antony, however, explains how all this may be managed. A speaker, for
example, ignorant of the mode of drawing up an agreement, and unacquainted
with the forms of a contract, might defend the rights of a woman who has
been contracted in marriage, because there were persons who brought
everything to the orator or patron, ready prepared,—presenting him with a
brief, or memorial, not only on matters of fact, but on the decrees of the
Senate, the precedents and the opinions of the jurisconsults. It also
appears that there were solicitors, or professors of civil law, whom the
orators consulted on any point concerning which they wished to be
instructed, and the knowledge of which might be necessary previous to
their appearance in the Forum. In this situation, the harangue of the
orator was more frequently an appeal to the equity, common sense, or
feelings of the judge, than to the laws of his country. Now, where a
pleader addresses himself to the equity of his judges, he has much more
occasion, and also much more scope, to display his eloquence, than where
he must draw his arguments from strict law, statutes, and precedents. In
the former case, many circumstances must be taken into account; many
personal considerations regarded; and even favour and inclination, which
it belongs to the orator to conciliate, by his art and eloquence, may be
disguised under the appearance of equity. Accordingly, Cicero, while
speaking in his own person, only says, that the science of law and civil
rights should not be neglected; but he does not seem to consider it as
essential to the orator of the Forum, while he enlarges on the necessity
of elegance of language, the erudition of the scholar, a ready and popular
wit, and a power of moving the passions(305).

That these were the arts to which the Roman orators chiefly trusted for
success in the causes of their clients, is apparent from the remains of
their discourses, and from what is said of the mode of pleading in the
rhetorical treatises of Cicero. “Pontius,” says Antony, in the dialogue so
often quoted, “had a son, who served in the war with the Cimbri, and whom
he had destined to be his heir; but his father, believing a false report
which was spread of his death, made a will in favour of another child. The
soldier returned after the decease of his parent; and, had you been
employed to defend his cause, you would not have discussed the legal
doctrine as to the priority or validity of testaments; you would have
raised his father from the grave, made him embrace his child, and
recommend him, with many tears, to the protection of the Centumviri.”

Antony, speaking of one of his own most celebrated orations, says, that
his whole address consisted, 1st, in moving the passions; 2d, in
recommending _himself_; and that it was thus, and not by convincing the
understanding of the judges, that he baffled the impeachment against his
clients(306). Valerius Maximus has supplied, in his eighth book, many
examples of unexpected and unmerited acquittals, as well as condemnations,
from bursts of compassion and theatrical incidents. The wonderful
influence, too, of a ready and popular wit in the management of causes, is
apparent from the instances given in the second book _De Oratore_ of the
effects it had produced in the Forum. The jests which are there recorded,
though not very excellent, may be regarded as the finest flowers of wit of
the Roman bar. Sometimes they were directed against the opposite party,
his patron, or witnesses; and, if sufficiently impudent, seldom failed of

That the principles and precepts of the civil law were so little studied
by the Roman orators, and hardly ever alluded to in their harangues,
while, on the other hand, the arts of persuasion, and wit, and excitement
of the passions, were all-powerful, and were the great engines of legal
discussion, must be attributed to the constitution of the courts of law,
and the nature of the judicial procedure, which, though very imperfect for
the administration of justice, were well adapted to promote and exercise
the highest powers of eloquence. It was the forms of procedure—the
description of the courts before which questions were tried—and the nature
of these questions themselves(307)—that gave to Roman oratory such
dazzling splendour, and surrounded it with a glory, which can never shine
on the efforts of rhetoric in a better-regulated community, and under a
more sober dispensation of justice.

The great exhibitions of eloquence were, 1st, In the civil and criminal
causes tried before the Prætor, or judges appointed under his eye. 2d, The
discussions on laws proposed in the assemblies of the people. 3d, The
deliberations of the Senate.

The Prætor sat in the Forum, the name given to the great square situated
between Mount Palatine and the Capitol, and there administered justice.
Sometimes he heard causes in the Basilicæ, or halls which were built
around the Forum; but at other times the court of the Prætor was held in
the area of the Forum, on which a tribunal was hastily erected, and a
certain space for the patron, client, and witnesses, was railed off, and
protected from the encroachment of surrounding spectators. This space was
slightly covered above for the occasion with canvass, but being exposed to
the air on all sides, the court was an open one, in the strictest sense of
the term(308).

From the time of the first Punic war there were two Prætors, to whom the
cognizance of _civil_ suits was committed,—the _Prætor urbanus_ and
_Prætor peregrinus_. The former tried the causes of citizens according to
the Roman laws; the latter judged the cases of allies and strangers by the
principles of natural equity; but as judicial business multiplied, the
number of Prætors was increased to six. The Prætor was the chief judge in
all questions that did not fall under the immediate cognizance of the
assemblies of the people or the Senate. Every action, therefore, came, in
the first instance, before the Prætor; but he decided only in civil suits
of importance: and if the cause was not of sufficient magnitude for the
immediate investigation of his tribunal, or hinged entirely on matters of
fact, he appointed one or more persons to judge of it. These were chosen
from a list of _judices selecti_, which was made up from the three orders
of senators, knights, and people. If but one person was appointed, he was
properly called a _judex_, or _arbiter_. The _judex_ determined only such
cases as were easy, or of small importance; and he was bound to proceed
according to an express law, or a certain form prescribed to him by the
Prætor. The _arbiter_ decided in questions of equity which were not
sufficiently defined by law, and his powers were not so restricted by the
Prætor as those of the ordinary _judex_. When more persons than one were
nominated by the Prætor, they were termed _Recuperatores_, and they
settled points of law or equity requiring much deliberation. Certain
cases, particularly those relating to testaments or successions, were
usually remitted by the Prætor to the _Centumviri_, who were 105 persons,
chosen equally from the thirty-five tribes. The Prætor, before sending a
case to any of those, whom I may call by the general name of judges,
though, in fact, they more nearly resembled our jury, made up a _formula_,
as it was called, or issue on which they were to decide; as, for example,
“If it be proved that the field is in possession of Servilius, give
sentence against Catulus, unless he produce a testament, from which it
shall appear to belong to him.”

It was in presence of these judges that the patrons and orators,
surrounded by a crowd of friends and retainers, pleaded the causes of
their clients. They commenced with a brief exposition of the nature of the
points in dispute. Witnesses were afterwards examined, and the arguments
on the case were enforced in a formal harangue. A decision was then given,
according to the opinion of a majority of the judges. The Centumviri
continued to act as judges for a whole year; but the other _judices_ only
sat till the particular cause was determined for which they had been
appointed. They remained, however, on the numerous list of the _judices
selecti_, and were liable to be again summoned till the end of the year,
when a new set was chosen for the judicial business of the ensuing season.
The Prætor had the power of reversing the decisions of the judges, if it
appeared that any fraud or gross error had been committed. If neither was
alleged, he charged himself with the duty of seeing the sentence which the
judges had pronounced carried into execution. Along with his judicial and
ministerial functions, the Prætor possessed a sort of legislative power,
by which he supplied the deficiency of laws that were found inadequate for
many civil emergencies. Accordingly, each new Prætor, as we have already
seen, when he entered on his office, issued an edict, announcing the
supplementary code which he intended to follow. Every Prætor had a totally
different edict; and, what was worse, none thought of adhering to the
rules which he had himself traced; till at length, in the year 686, the
Cornelian law, which met with much opposition, prohibited the Prætor from
departing in practice from those principles, or regulations, he had laid
down in his edict.

Capital trials, that is, all those which regarded the life or liberty of a
Roman citizen, had been held in the _Comitia Centuriata_, after the
institution of these assemblies by Servius Tullius; but the authority of
the people had been occasionally delegated to Inquisitors, (_Quæsitores_,)
in points previously fixed by law. For some time, all criminal matters of
consequence were determined in this manner: But from the multiplicity of
trials, which increased with the extent and vices of the republic, other
means of despatching them were necessarily resorted to. The Prætors,
originally, judged only in civil suits; but in the time of Cicero, and
indeed from the beginning of the seventh century, four of the six Prætors
were nominated to preside at criminal trials—one taking cognizance of
questions of extortion—a second of peculation—a third of illegal
canvass—and the last, of offences against the state, as the _Crimen
majestatis_, or treason. To these, Sylla, in the middle of the seventh
century, added four more, who inquired into acts of public or private
violence. In trials of importance, the Prætor was assisted by the counsel
of select judges or jurymen, who originally were all chosen from the
Senate, and afterwards from the order of Knights; but in Cicero’s time, in
consequence of a law of Cotta, they were taken from the Senators, Knights,
and Tribunes of the treasury. The number of these assessors, who were
appointed for the year, and nominated by the Prætor, varied from 300 to
600; and from them a smaller number was chosen by lot for each individual
case. Any Roman citizen might accuse another before the Prætor; and not
unfrequently the young patricians undertook the prosecution of an
obnoxious magistrate, merely to recommend themselves to the notice or
favour of their countrymen. In such cases there was often a competition
between two persons for obtaining the management of the impeachment, and
the preference was determined by a previous trial, called _Divinatio_.
This preliminary point being settled, and the day of the principal trial
fixed, the accuser, in his first speech, explained the nature of the
case,—fortifying his statements as he proceeded by proofs, which consisted
in the voluntary testimony of free citizens, the declarations of slaves
elicited by torture, and written documents. Cicero made little account of
the evidence of slaves; but the art of extracting truth from a free
witness—of exalting or depreciating his character—and of placing his
deposition in a favourable light, was considered among the most important
qualifications of an orator. When the evidence was concluded, the
prosecutor enforced the proofs by a set speech, after which the accused
entered on his defence.

But though the cognizance of crimes was in ordinary cases delegated to the
Prætors, still the Comitia reserved the power of judging; and they
actually did judge in causes, in which the people, or tribunes, who
dictated to them, took an interest, and these were chiefly impeachments of
public magistrates, for bribery or peculation. It was not understood, in
any case, whether tried before the whole people or the Prætor, that either
party was to be very scrupulous in the observance of truth. The judges,
too, were sometimes overawed by an array of troops, and by menaces.
Canvassing for acquittal and condemnation, were alike avowed, and bribery,
at least for the former purpose, was currently resorted to. Thus the very
crimes of the wretch who had plundered the province intrusted to his care,
afforded him the most obvious means of absolution; and, to the wealthy
peculator, nothing could be more easy than an escape from justice, except
the opportunity of accusing the innocent and unprotected. “Foreign
nations,” says Cicero, “will soon solicit the repeal of the law, which
prohibits the extortions of provincial magistrates; for they will argue,
that were all prosecutions on this law abolished, their governors would
take no more than what satisfied their own rapacity, whereas now they
exact over and above this, as much as will be sufficient to gratify their
patrons, the _Prætor and the judges_; and that though they can furnish
enough to glut the avarice of one man, they are utterly unable to pay for
his impunity in guilt(309).”

The organization of the judicial tribunals was wretched, and their
practice scandalous. The Senate, Prætors, and Comitia, all partook of the
legislative and judicial power, and had a sort of reciprocal right of
opposition and reversal, which they exercised to gratify their avarice or
prejudices, and not with any view to the ends of justice. But however
injurious this system might be to those who had claims to urge, or rights
to defend, it afforded the most ample field for the excursions of
eloquence. The Prætors, though the supreme judges, were not men bred to
the law—advanced in years—familiarized with precedents—secure of
independence—and fixed in their stations for life. They were young men of
little experience, who held the office for a season, and proceeded through
it, to what were considered as the most important situations of the
republic. Though their procedure was strict in some trivial points of
preliminary form, devised by the ancient Jurisconsults, they enjoyed, in
more essential matters, a perilous latitude. On the dangerous pretext of
equity, they eluded the law by various subtilties or fictions; and thus,
without being endued with legislative authority, they abrogated ancient
enactments according to caprice. It was worse when, in civil cases, the
powers of the Prætor were intrusted to the judges; or when, in criminal
trials, the jurisdiction was assumed by the whole people. The
inexperience, ignorance, and popular prejudices of those who were to
decide them, rendered litigations extremely uncertain, and dependent, not
on any fixed law or principle, but on the opinions or passions of
tumultuary judges, which were to be influenced and moved by the arts of
oratory. This furnished ample scope for displaying all that interesting
and various eloquence, with which the pleadings of the ancient orators
abounded. The means to be employed for success, were conciliating favour,
rousing attention, removing or fomenting prejudice, but, above all,
exciting compassion. Hence we find, that in the defence of a criminal,
while a law or precedent was seldom mentioned, every thing was introduced
which could serve to gain the favour of the judges, or move their pity.
The accused, as soon as the day of trial was fixed, assumed an apparently
neglected garb; and although allowed, whatever was the crime, to go at
large till sentence was pronounced, he usually attended in court
surrounded by his friends, and sometimes accompanied by his children, in
order to give a more piteous effect to the lamentations and exclamations
of his counsel, when he came to that part of the oration, in which the
fallen and helpless state of his client was to be suitably bewailed. Piso,
justly accused of oppression towards the allies, having prostrated himself
on the earth in order to kiss the feet of his judges, and having risen
with his face defiled with mud, obtained an immediate acquittal. Even
where the cause was good, it was necessary to address the passions, and to
rely on the judge’s feelings of compassion, rather than on his perceptions
of right. Rutilius prohibited all exclamations and entreaties to be used
in his defence: He even forbade the accustomed and expected excitement of
invocations, and stamping with the feet; and “he was condemned,” says
Cicero, “though the most virtuous of the Romans, because his counsel was
compelled to plead for him as he would have done in the republic of
Plato.” It thus appears, that it was dangerous to trust to innocence
alone, and the judges were the capricious arbiters of the fate of their
fellow-citizens, and not (as their situation so urgently required) the
inflexible interpreters of the laws of their exalted country.

But if the manner of treating causes was favourable to the exertions of
eloquence, much also must be allowed for the nature of the questions
themselves, especially those of a criminal description, tried before the
Prætor or people. One can scarcely figure more glorious opportunities for
the display of oratory, than were afforded by those complaints of the
oppressed and plundered provinces against their rapacious governors. From
the extensive ramifications of the Roman power, there continually arose
numerous cases of a description that can rarely occur in other countries,
and which are unexampled in the history of Britain, except in a memorable
impeachment, which not merely displayed, but created such eloquence as can
be called forth only by splendid topics, without which rhetorical
indignation would seem extravagant, and attempted pathos ridiculous.

The spot, too, on which the courts of justice assembled, was calculated to
inspire and heighten eloquence. The Roman Forum presented one of the most
splendid spectacles that eye could behold, or fancy conceive. This space
formed an oblong square between the Palatine and Capitoline hills,
composed of a vast assemblage of sumptuous though irregular edifices. On
the side next the Palatine hill stood the ancient Senate-house, and
Comitium, and Temple of Romulus the Founder. On the opposite quarter, it
was bounded by the Capitol, with its ascending range of porticos, and the
temple of the tutelar deity on the summit. The other sides of the square
were adorned with basilicæ, and piazzas terminated by triumphal arches;
and were bordered with statues, erected to the memory of the ancient
heroes or preservers of their country(310). Having been long the theatre
of the factions, the politics, the intrigues, the crimes, and the
revolutions of the capital, every spot of its surface was consecrated to
the recollection of some great incident in the domestic history of the
Romans; while their triumphs over foreign enemies were vividly called to
remembrance by the Rostrum itself, which stood in the centre of the vacant
area, and by other trophies gained from vanquished nations:—

  “Et cristæ capitum, et portarum ingentia claustra,
  Spiculaque, clipeique, ereptaque rostra carinis(311).”

A vast variety of shops, stored with a profusion of the most costly
merchandize, likewise surrounded this heart and centre of the world, so
that it was the mart for all important commercial transactions. Being thus
the emporium of law, politics, and trade, it became the resort of men of
business, as well as of those loiterers whom Horace calls _Forenses_. Each
Roman citizen, regarding himself as a member of the same vast and
illustrious family, scrutinized with jealous watchfulness the conduct of
his rulers, and looked with anxious solicitude to the issue of every
important cause. In all trials of oppression or extortion, the Roman
multitude took a particular interest,—repairing in such numbers to the
Forum, that even its spacious square was hardly sufficient to contain
those who were attracted to it by curiosity; and who, in the course of the
trial, were in the habit of expressing their feelings by shouts and
acclamations, so that the orator was ever surrounded by a crowded and
tumultuary audience. This numerous assembly, too, while it inspired the
orator with confidence and animation, after he had commenced his harangue,
created in prospect that anxiety which led to the most careful preparation
previous to his appearance in public. The apprehension and even
trepidation felt by the greatest speakers at Rome on the approach of the
day fixed for the hearing of momentous causes, is evident from many
passages of the rhetorical works of Cicero. The Roman orator thus
addressed his judges with all the advantages derived both from the earnest
study of the closet, and the exhilaration imparted to him by unrestrained
and promiscuous applause.

2. Next to the courts of justice, the great theatre for the display of
eloquence, was the Comitia, or assemblies of the people, met to deliberate
on the proposal of passing a new law, or abrogating an old one. A law was
seldom offered for consideration but some orator was found to dissuade its
adoption; and as in the courts of justice the passions of the judges were
addressed, so the favourers or opposers of a law did not confine
themselves to the expediency of the measure, but availed themselves of the
prejudices of the people, alternately confirming their errors, indulging
their caprices, gratifying their predilections, exciting their jealousies,
and fomenting their dislikes. Here, more than anywhere, the many were to
be courted by the few—here, more than anywhere, was created that
excitement which is most favourable to the influence of eloquence, and
forms indeed the element in which alone it breathes with freedom.

3. Finally, the deliberations of the Senate, which was the great council
of the state, afforded, at least to its members, the noblest opportunities
for the exertions of eloquence. This august and numerous body consisted of
individuals who had reached a certain age, and who were possessed of a
certain extent of property, who were supposed to be of unblemished
reputation, and most of whom had passed through the annual magistracies of
the state. They were consulted upon almost everything that regarded the
administration or safety of the commonwealth. The power of making war and
peace, though it ultimately lay with the people assembled in the Comitia
Centuriata, was generally left by them entirely to the Senate, who passed
a decree of peace or war previous to the suffrages of the Comitia. The
Senate, too, had always reserved to itself the supreme direction and
superintendance of the religion of the country, and the distribution of
the public revenue—the levying or disbanding troops, and fixing the
service on which they should be employed—the nomination of governors for
the provinces—the rewards assigned to successful generals for their
victories, and the guardianship of the state in times of civil dissension.
These were the great subjects of debate in the Senate, and they were
discussed on certain fixed days of the year, when its members assembled of
course, or when they were summoned together for any emergency. They
invariably met in a temple, or other consecrated place, in order to give
solemnity to their proceedings, as being conducted under the immediate eye
of Heaven. The Consul, who presided, opened the business of the day, by a
brief exposition of the question which was to be considered by the
assembly. He then asked the opinions of the members in the order of rank
and seniority. Freedom of debate was exercised in its greatest latitude;
for, though no senator was permitted to deliver his sentiments till it
came to his turn, he had then a right to speak as long as he thought
proper, without being in the smallest degree confined to the point in
question. Sometimes, indeed, the Conscript Fathers consulted on the state
of the commonwealth in general; but even when summoned to deliberate on a
particular subject, they seem to have enjoyed the privilege of talking
about anything else which happened to be uppermost in their minds. Thus we
find that Cicero took the opportunity of delivering his seventh Philippic
when the Senate was consulted concerning the Appian Way, the coinage, and
Luperci—subjects which had no relation to Antony, against whom he
inveighed from one end of his oration to the other, without taking the
least notice of the only points which were referred to the consideration
of the senators(312). The resolution of the majority was expressed in the
shape of a decree, which, though not properly a law, was entitled to the
same reverence on the point to which it related; and, except in matters
where the interests of the state required concealment, all pains were
taken to give the utmost publicity to the whole proceedings of the Senate.

The number of the Senate varied, but in the time of Cicero, it was nearly
the same as the British House of Commons; but it required a larger number
to make a quorum. Sometimes there were between 400 and 500 members
present; but 200, at least during certain seasons of the year, formed what
was accounted a full house. This gave to senatorial eloquence something of
the spirit and animation created by the presence of a popular assembly,
while at the same time the deliberative majesty of the proceedings
required a weight of argument and dignity of demeanour, unlooked for in
the Comitia, or Forum. Accordingly, the levity, ingenuity, and wit, which
were there so often crowned with success and applause, were considered as
misplaced in the Senate, where the consular, or prætorian orator, had to
prevail by depth of reasoning, purity of expression, and an apparent zeal
for the public good.

It was the authority of the Senate, with the calm and imposing aspect of
its deliberations, that gave to Latin oratory a somewhat different
character from the eloquence of Greece, to which, in consequence of the
Roman spirit of imitation, it bore, in many respects, so close a
resemblance. The power of the Areopagus, which was originally the most
dignified assembly at Athens, had been retrenched amid the democratic
innovations of Pericles. From that period, everything, even the most
important affairs of state, depended entirely, in the pure democracy of
Athens, on the opinion, or rather the momentary caprice of an inconstant
people, who were fond of pleasure and repose, who were easily swayed by
novelty, and were confident in their power. As their precipitate decisions
thus often hung on an instant of enthusiasm, the orator required to dart
into their bosoms those electric sparks of eloquence which inflamed their
passions, and left no corner of the mind fitted for cool consideration. It
was the business of the speaker to allow them no time to recover from the
shock, for its force would have been spent had they been permitted to
occupy themselves with the beauties of style and diction. “Applaud not the
orator,” says Demosthenes, at the end of one of his Philippics, “but do
what I have recommended. I cannot save you by my words, you must save
yourselves by your actions.” When the people were persuaded, every thing
was accomplished, and their decision was embodied in a sort of decree by
the orator. The people of Rome, on the other hand, were more reflective
and moderate, and less vain than the Athenians; nor was the whole
authority of the state vested in them. There was, on the contrary, an
accumulation of powers, and a complication of different interests to be
managed. Theoretically, indeed, the sovereignty was in the people, but the
practical government was intrusted to the Senate. As we see from Cicero’s
third oration, _De Lege Agraria_, the same affairs were often treated at
the same time in the Senate and on the Rostrum. Hence, in the judicial and
legislative proceedings, in which, as we have seen, the feelings of the
judges and prejudices of the vulgar were so frequently appealed to, some
portion of the senatorial spirit pervaded and controlled the popular
assemblies, restrained the impetuosity of decision, and gave to those
orators of the Forum, or Comitia, who had just spoken, or were to speak
next day in the Senate, a more grave and temperate tone, than if their
tongues had never been employed but for the purpose of impelling a
headlong multitude.

But if the Greeks were a more impetuous and inconstant, they were also a
more intellectual people than the Romans. Literature and refinement were
more advanced in the age of Pericles than of Pompey. Now, in oratory, a
popular audience must be moved by what corresponds to the feelings and
taste of the age. With such an intelligent race as the Greeks, the orator
was obliged to employ the most accurate reasoning, and most methodical
arrangement of his arguments. The flowers of rhetoric, unless they grew
directly from the stem of his discourse, were little admired. The Romans,
on the other hand, required the excitation of fancy, of comparisons, and
metaphors, and rhetorical decoration. Hence, the Roman orator was more
anxious to seduce the imagination than convince the understanding; his
discourse was adorned with frequent digressions into the field of morals
and philosophy, and he was less studious of precision than of ornament.

On the whole, the circumstances in the Roman constitution and judicial
procedure, appear to have wonderfully conspired to render


an accomplished orator. He was born and educated at a period when he must
have formed the most exalted idea of his country. She had reached the
height of power, and had not yet sunk into submission or servility. The
subjects to be discussed, and characters to be canvassed, were thus of the
most imposing magnitude, and could still be treated with freedom and
independence. The education, too, which Cicero had received, was highly
favourable to his improvement. He had the first philosophers of the age
for his teachers, and he studied the civil law under Scævola, the most
learned jurisconsult who had hitherto appeared in Rome. When he came to
attend the Forum, he enjoyed the advantage of daily hearing Hortensius,
unquestionably the most eloquent speaker who had yet shone in the Forum or
Senate. The harangues of this great pleader formed his taste, and raised
his emulation, and, till near the conclusion of his oratorical career,
acted as an incentive to exertions, which might have abated, had he been
left without a competitor in the Forum. The blaze of Hortensius’s rhetoric
would communicate to his rival a brighter flame of eloquence than if he
had been called on to refute a cold and inanimate adversary. Still,
however, the great secret of his distinguished oratorical eminence was,
that notwithstanding his vanity, he never fell into the apathy with regard
to farther improvement, by which self-complacency is so often attended. On
the contrary, Cicero, after he had delivered two celebrated orations,
which filled the Forum with his renown, so far from resting satisfied with
the acclamations of the capital, abandoned, for a time, the brilliant
career on which he had entered, and travelled, during two years, through
the cities of Greece, in quest of philosophical improvement and rhetorical

With powers of speaking beyond what had yet been known in his own country,
and perhaps not inferior to those which had ever adorned any other, he
possessed, in a degree superior to all orators, of whatever age or nation,
a general and discursive acquaintance with philosophy and literature,
together with an admirable facility of communicating the fruits of his
labours, in a manner the most copious, perspicuous, and attractive. To
this extensive knowledge, by which his mind was enriched and supplied with
endless topics of illustration—to the lofty ideas of eloquence, which
perpetually revolved in his thoughts—to that image which ever haunted his
breast, of such infinite and superhuman perfection in oratory, that even
the periods of Demosthenes did not fill up the measure of his
conceptions(313), we are chiefly indebted for those emanations of genius,
which have given, as it were, an immortal tongue to the now desolate Forum
and ruined Senate of Rome.

The first oration which Cicero pronounced, at least of those which are
extant, was delivered in presence of four judges appointed by the Prætor,
and with Hortensius for his opponent. It was in the case of Quintius,
which was pleaded in the year 672, when Cicero was 26 years of age, at
which time he came to the bar much later than was usual, after having
studied civil law under Mucius Scævola, and having further qualified
himself for the exercise of his profession by the study of polite
literature under the poet Archias, as also of philosophy under the
principal teachers of each sect who had resorted to Rome. This case was
undertaken by Cicero, at the request of the celebrated comedian Roscius,
the brother-in-law of Quintius; but it was not of a nature well adapted to
call forth or display any of the higher powers of eloquence. It was a pure
question of civil right, and, in a great measure, a matter of form; the
dispute being whether his client had forfeited his recognisances, and
whether his opponent Nævius had got legal possession of his effects by an
edict which the Prætor had pronounced, in consequence of the supposed
forfeiture. But even here, where the point was more one of dry legal
discussion than in any other oration of Cicero, we meet with much
invective, calculated to excite the indignation of the judges against the
adverse party, and many pathetic supplications, interspersed with
high-wrought pictures of the distresses of his client, in order to raise
their sympathy in his favour.

_Pro Sext. Roscio_. In the year following that in which he pleaded the
case of Quintius, Cicero undertook the defence of Roscius of Ameria, which
was the first public or criminal trial in which he spoke. The father of
Roscius had two mortal enemies, of his own name and district. During the
proscriptions of Sylla, he was assassinated one evening at Rome, while
returning home from supper; and, on pretext that he was in the list
proscribed, his estate was purchased for a mere nominal price by
Chrysogonus, a favourite slave, to whom Sylla had given freedom, and whom
he had permitted to buy the property of Roscius as a forfeiture. Part of
the valuable lands thus acquired, were made over by Chrysogonus to the
Roscii. These new proprietors, in order to secure themselves in the
possession, hired Erucius, an informer and prosecutor by profession, to
charge the son with the murder of his father, and they, at the same time,
suborned witnesses, in order to convict him of the parricide. From dread
of the power of Sylla, the accused had difficulty in prevailing on any
patron to undertake his cause; but Cicero eagerly embraced this
opportunity to give a public testimony of his detestation of oppression
and tyranny. He exculpates his client, by enlarging on the improbability
of the accusation, whether with respect to the enormity of the crime
charged, or the blameless character and innocent life of young Roscius. He
shows, too, that his enemies had completely failed in proving that he
laboured under the displeasure of his father, or had been disinherited by
him; and, in particular, that his constant residence in the country was no
evidence of this displeasure—a topic which leads him to indulge in a
beautiful commendation of a rural life, and the ancient rustic simplicity
of the Romans. But while he thus vindicates the innocence of Roscius, the
orator has so managed his pleading, that it appears rather an artful
accusation of the two Roscii, than a defence of his own client. He tries
to fix on them the guilt of the murder, by showing that they, and not the
son, had reaped all the advantages of the death of old Roscius, and that,
availing themselves of the strict law, which forbade slaves to be examined
in evidence against their masters, they would not allow those who were
with Roscius at the time of his assassination, but had subsequently fallen
into their own possession, to be put to the torture. The whole case seems
to have been pleaded with much animation and spirit, but the oration was
rather too much in that florid Asiatic taste, which Cicero at this time
had probably adopted from imitation of Hortensius, who was considered as
the most perfect model of eloquence in the Forum; and hence the celebrated
passage on the punishment of parricide, (which consisted in throwing the
criminal, tied up in a sack, into a river,) was condemned by the severer
taste of his more advanced years. “Its intention,” he declares, “was to
strike the parricide at once out of the system of nature, by depriving him
of air, light, water, and earth, so that he who had destroyed the author
of his existence might be excluded from those elements whence all things
derived their being. He was not thrown to wild beasts, lest their ferocity
should be augmented by the contagion of such guilt—he was not committed
naked to the stream, lest he should contaminate that sea which washed away
all other pollutions. Everything in nature, however common, was accounted
too good for him to share in; for what is so common as air to the living,
earth to the dead, the sea to those who float, the shore to those who are
cast up. But the parricide lives so as not to breathe the air of heaven,
dies so that the earth cannot receive his bones, is tossed by the waves so
as not to be washed by them, so cast on the shore as to find no rest on
its rocks.” This declamation was received with shouts of applause by the
audience; yet Cicero, referring to it in subsequent works, calls it the
exuberance of a youthful fancy, which wanted the control of his sounder
judgment, and, like all the compositions of young men, was not applauded
so much on its own account, as for the promise it gave of more improved
and ripened talents(314). This pleading is also replete with severe and
sarcastic declamation on the audacity of the Roscii, as well as the
overgrown power and luxury of Chrysogonus; the orator has even hazarded an
insinuation against Sylla himself, which, however, he was careful to
palliate, by remarking, that through the multiplicity of affairs, he was
obliged to connive at many things which his favourites did against his

Cicero’s courage in defending and obtaining the acquittal of Roscius,
under the circumstances in which the case was undertaken, was applauded by
the whole city. By this public opposition to the avarice of an agent of
Sylla, who was then in the plenitude of his power, and by the energy with
which he resisted an oppressive proceeding, he fixed his character for a
fearless and zealous patron of the injured, as much as for an accomplished
orator. The defence of Roscius, which acquired him so much reputation in
his youth, was remembered by him with such delight in his old age, that he
recommends to his son, as the surest path to true honour, to defend those
who are unjustly oppressed, as he himself had done in many causes, but
particularly in that of Roscius of Ameria, whom he had protected against
Sylla himself, in the height of his authority(315).

Immediately after the decision of this cause, Cicero, partly on account of
his health, and partly for improvement, travelled into Greece and Asia,
where he spent two years in the assiduous study of philosophy and
eloquence, under the ablest teachers of Athens and Asia Minor. Nor was his
style alone formed and improved by imitation of the Greek rhetoricians:
his pronunciation also was corrected, by practising under Greek masters,
from whom he learned the art of commanding his voice, and of giving it
greater compass and variety than it had hitherto attained(316). The first
cause which he pleaded after his return to Rome, was that of Roscius, the
celebrated comedian, in a dispute, which involved a mere matter of civil
right, and was of no peculiar interest or importance. All the orations
which he delivered during the five following years, are lost, of which
number were those for Marcus Tullius, and L. Varenus, mentioned by
Priscian as extant in his time. At the end of that period, however, and
when Cicero was now in the thirty-seventh year of his age, a glorious
opportunity was afforded for the display of his eloquence, in the
prosecution instituted against Verres, the Prætor of Sicily, a criminal
infinitely more hateful than Catiline or Clodius, and to whom the Roman
_republic_, at least, never produced an equal in turpitude and crime. He
was now accused by the Sicilians of many flagrant acts of injustice,
rapine, and cruelty, committed by him during his triennial government of
their island, which he had done more to ruin than all the arbitrary acts
of their native tyrants, or the devastating wars between the Carthaginians
and Romans.

In the advanced ages of the republic, extortion and violence almost
universally prevailed among those magistrates who were exalted abroad to
the temptations of regal power, and whose predecessors, by their
moderation, had called forth in earlier times the applause of the world.
Exhausted in fortune by excess of luxury, they now entered on their
governments only to enrich themselves with the spoils of the provinces
intrusted to their administration, and to plunder the inhabitants by every
species of exaction. The first laws against extortion were promulgated in
the beginning of the seventh century. But they afforded little relief to
the oppressed nations, who in vain sought redress at Rome; for the
decisions there depending on judges generally implicated in similar
crimes, were more calculated to afford impunity to the guilty, than
redress to the aggrieved. This undue influence received additional weight
in the case of Verres, from the high quality and connections of the

Such were the difficulties with which Cicero had to struggle, in entering
on the accusation of this great public delinquent. This arduous task he
was earnestly solicited to undertake, by a petition from all the towns of
Sicily, except Syracuse and Messina, both which cities had been
occasionally allowed by the plunderer to share the spoils of the province.
Having accepted this trust, so important in his eyes to the honour of the
republic, neither the far distant evidence, nor irritating delays of all
those guards of guilt with which Verres was environed, could deter or
slacken his exertions. The first device on the part of the criminal, or
rather of his counsel, Hortensius, to defeat the ends of justice, was an
attempt to wrest the conduct of the trial from the hands of Cicero, by
placing it in those of Cæcilius(317), who was a creature of Verres, and
who now claimed a preference to Cicero, on the ground of personal injuries
received from the accused, and a particular knowledge of the crimes of his
pretended enemy. The judicial claims of these competitors had therefore to
be first decided in that kind of process called _Divinatio_, in which
Cicero delivered his oration, entitled _Contra Cæcilium_, and shewed, with
much power of argument and sarcasm, that he himself was in every way best
fitted to act as the impeacher of Verres.

Having succeeded in convincing the judges that Cæcilius only wished to get
the cause into his own hands, in order to betray it, Cicero was appointed
to conduct the prosecution, and was allowed 110 days to make a voyage to
Sicily, in order to collect information for supporting his charge. He
finished his progress through the island in less than half the time which
had been granted him. On his return he found that a plan had been laid by
the friends of Verres, to procrastinate the trial, at least till the
following season, when they expected to have magistrates and judges who
would prove favourable to his interests. In this design they so far
succeeded, that time was not left to go through the cause according to the
ordinary forms and practice of oratorical discussion in the course of the
year: Cicero, therefore, resolved to lose no time by enforcing or
aggravating the several articles of charge, but to produce at once all his
documents and witnesses, leaving the rhetorical part of the performance
till the whole evidence was concluded. The first oration, therefore,
against Verres, which is extremely short, was merely intended to explain
the motives which had induced him to adopt this unusual mode of procedure.
He accordingly exposes the devices by which the culprit and his cabal were
attempting to pervert the course of justice, and unfolds the eternal
disgrace that would attach to the Roman law, should their stratagems prove
successful. This oration was followed by the deposition of the witnesses,
and recital of the documents, which so clearly established the guilt of
Verres, that, driven to despair, he submitted, without awaiting his
sentence, to a voluntary exile(318). It therefore appears, that of the six
orations against Verres, only one was pronounced. The other five, forming
the series of harangues which he intended to deliver after the proof had
been completed, were subsequently published in the same shape as if the
delinquent had actually stood his trial, and was to have made a regular

The first of these orations, which to us appears rather foreign to the
charge, but was meant to render the proper part of the accusation more
probable, exposes the excesses and malversations committed by Verres in
early life, before his appointment to the Prætorship of Sicily—his
embezzlement of public money while Quæstor of Gaul—his extortions under
Dolabella in Asia, and, finally, his unjust, corrupt, and partial
decisions while in the office of _Prætor Urbanus_ at Rome, which, forming
a principal part of the oration, the whole has been entitled _De Prætura
Urbana_. In the following harangue, entitled _De Jurisdictione
Siciliensi_, the orator commences with an elegant eulogy on the dignity,
antiquity, and usefulness of the province, which was not here a mere idle
or rhetorical embellishment, but was most appropriately introduced, as
nothing could be better calculated to excite indignation against the
spoiler of Sicily, than the picture he draws of its beauty; after which,
he proceeds to give innumerable instances of the flagrant sale of justice,
offices, and honours, and, among the last, even of the priesthood of
Jupiter. The next oration is occupied with the malversations of Verres
concerning grain, and the new ordinances, by which he had contrived to put
the whole corps of the island at the disposal of his officers. In this
harangue the dry statements of the prices of corn are rather fatiguing;
but the following oration, _De Signis_, is one of the most interesting of
his productions, particularly as illustrating the history of ancient art.
For nearly six centuries Rome had been filled only with the spoils of
barbarous nations, and presented merely the martial spectacle of a warlike
and conquering people. Subsequently, however, to the campaigns in _Magna
Græcia_, Sicily, and Greece, the Roman commanders displayed at their
triumphs costly ornaments of gold, pictures, statues, and vases, instead
of flocks driven from the Sabines or Volsci, the broken arms of the
Samnites, and empty chariots of the Gauls. The statues and paintings which
Marcellus transported from Syracuse to Rome, first excited that cupidity
which led the Roman provincial magistrates to pillage, without scruple or
distinction, the houses of private individuals, and temples of the
gods(319). Marcellus and Mummius, however, despoiled only hostile and
conquered countries. They had made over their plunder to the public, and,
after it was conveyed to Rome, devoted it to the embellishment of the
capital; but subsequent governors of provinces having acquired a taste for
works of art, began to appropriate to themselves those masterpieces of
Greece, which they had formerly neither known nor esteemed. Some contrived
plausible pretexts for borrowing valuable works of art from cities and
private persons, without any intention of restoring them; while others,
less cautious, or more shameless, seized whatever pleased them, whether
public or private property, without excuse or remuneration. But though
this passion was common to most provincial governors, none of them ever
came up to the full measure of the rapacity of Verres, who, allowing much
for the high colouring of the counsel and orator, appears to have been
infected with a sort of disease, or mania, which gave him an irresistible
propensity to seize whatever he saw or heard of, which was precious either
in materials or workmanship. For this purpose he retained in his service
two brothers from Asia Minor, on whose judgment he relied for the choice
of statues and pictures, and who were employed to search out everything of
this sort which was valuable in the island. Aided by their suggestions, he
seized tapestry, pictures, gold and silver plate, vases, gems, and
Corinthian bronzes, till he literally did not leave a single article of
value of these descriptions in the whole island. The chief objects of this
pillage were the statues and pictures of the gods, which the Romans
regarded with religious veneration; and they, accordingly, viewed such
rapine as sacrilege. Hence the frequent adjurations and apostrophes to the
deities who had been insulted, which are introduced in the oration. The
circumstances of violence and circumvention, under which the depredations
were committed, are detailed with much vehemence, and at considerable
length. Some description is given of the works of sculpture; and the names
of the statuaries by whom they were executed, are also frequently
recorded. Thus, we are told that Verres took away from a private gentleman
of Messina the marble Cupid, by Praxiteles: He sacrilegiously tore a
figure of Victory from the temple of Ceres—he deprived the city Tyndaris
of an image of Mercury, which had been restored to it from Carthage, by
Scipio, and was worshipped by the people with singular devotion and an
annual festival. Some of the works of art were openly carried off—some
borrowed under plausible pretences, but never restored, and others
forcibly purchased at an inadequate value. If the speech _De Signis_ be
the most curious, that _De Suppliciis_ is incomparably the finest of the
series of _Verrine_ orations. The subject afforded a wider field than the
former for the display of eloquence, and it presents us with topics of
more general and permanent interest. Such, indeed, is the vehement pathos,
and such the resources employed to excite pity in favour of the oppressed,
and indignation against the guilty, that the genius of the orator is
nowhere more conspicuously displayed—not even in the Philippics or
Catilinarian harangues. It was now proved that Verres had practiced every
species of fraud and depredation, and on these heads no room was left for
defence. But as the duties of provincial Prætors were twofold—the
administration of the laws, and the direction of warlike operations—it was
suspected that the counsel of Verres meant to divert the attention of the
judges from his avarice to his military conduct and valour. This plea the
orator completely anticipates. His misconduct, indeed, in the course of
the naval operations against the pirates, forms one of the chief topics of
Cicero’s bitter invective. He demonstrates that the fleet had been
equipped rather for show than for service; that it was unprovided with
sailors or stores, and altogether unfit to act against an enemy. The
command was given to Cleomenes, a Syracusan, who was ignorant of naval
affairs, merely that Verres might enjoy the company of his wife during his
absence. The description of the sailing of the fleet from Syracuse is
inimitable, and it is so managed that the whole seems to pass before the
eyes. Verres, who had not been seen in public for many months, having
retired to a splendid pavilion, pitched near the fountain of Arethusa,
where he passed his time in company of his favourites, amidst all the
delights that arts and luxury could administer, at length appeared, in
order to view the departure of the squadron; and a Roman Prætor exhibited
himself, standing on the shore in sandals, with a purple cloak flowing to
his heels, and leaning on the shoulder of a harlot! The fleet, as was to
be expected, was driven on shore, and there burned by the pirates, who
entered Syracuse in triumph, and retired from it unmolested. Verres, in
order to divert public censure from himself, put the captains of the ships
to death; and this naturally leads on to the subject which has given name
to the oration,—the cruel and illegal executions, not merely of Sicilians,
but Roman citizens. The punishments of death and torture usually reserved
for slaves, but inflicted by Verres on freemen of Rome, formed the climax
of his atrocities, which are detailed in oratorical progression. After the
vivid description of his former crimes, one scarcely expects that new
terms of indignation will be found; but the expressions of the orator
become more glowing, in proportion as Verres grows more daring in his
guilt. The sacred character borne over all the world by a Roman citizen,
must be fully remembered, in order to read with due feeling the
description of the punishment of Gavius, who was scourged, and then nailed
to a cross, which, by a refinement in cruelty, was erected on the shore,
and facing Italy, that he might suffer death with his view directed
towards home and a land of liberty. The whole is poured forth in a torrent
of the most rapid and fervid composition; and had it actually flowed from
the lips of the speaker, we cannot doubt the prodigious effect it would
have had on a Roman audience, and on Roman judges. In the oration _De
Signis_, something, as we have seen, is lost to a modern reader, by the
diminished reverence for the mythological deities; and, in like manner,
_we_ cannot enter fully into the spirit of the harangue _De Suppliciis_,
which is planned with a direct reference to national feeling, to that
stern decorum which could not be overstepped without shame, and that
adoration of the majesty of Rome, which invested its citizens with
inexpressible dignity, and bestowed on them an almost inviolable nature.
Hence the appearance of Verres in public, in a long purple robe, is
represented as the climax of his enormities, and the punishment of
scourging inflicted on a Roman citizen is treated (without any discussion
concerning the justice of the sentence) as an unheard-of and unutterable
crime. Yet even those parts least attractive to modern readers, are
perfect in their execution; and the whole series of orations will ever be
regarded as among the most splendid monuments of Tully’s transcendent

In the renowned cause against Verres, there can be no doubt that the
orator displayed the whole resources of his vast talents. Every
circumstance concurred to stimulate his exertions and excite his
eloquence. It was the first time he had appeared as an accuser in a public
trial—his clients were the injured people of a mighty province, rivalling
in importance the imperial state—the inhabitants of Sicily surrounded the
Forum, and an audience was expected from every quarter of Italy, of all
that was exalted, intelligent, and refined. But, chiefly, he had a
subject, which, from the glaring guilt of the accused, and the nature of
his crimes, was so copious, interesting, and various, so abundant in those
topics which an orator would select to afford full scope for the exercise
of his powers, that it was hardly possible to labour tamely or listlessly
in so rich a mine of eloquence. Such a wonderful assemblage of
circumstances never yet prepared the course for the triumphs of oratory;
so great an opportunity for the exhibition of forensic art will, in all
probability, never again occur. Suffice it to say, that the orator
surpassed by his workmanship the singular beauty of his materials; and
instead of being overpowered by their magnitude, derived from the vast
resources which they supplied the merit of an additional excellence, in
the skill and discernment of his choice.

The infinite variety of entertaining anecdotes with which the series of
pleadings against Verres abounds—the works of art which are
commemorated—the interesting topographical descriptions—the insight
afforded into the laws and manners of the ancient Sicilians—the
astonishing profusion of ironical sallies, all conspire to dazzle the
imagination and rivet the attention of the reader; yet there is something
in the idea that they were not actually delivered, which detracts from the
effect of circumstances which would otherwise heighten our feelings. It
appears to us even preposterous to read, in the commencement of the second
oration, of a report having been spread that Verres was to abandon his
defence, but that there he sat braving his accusers and judges with his
characteristic impudence. The exclamations on his effrontery, and the
adjurations of the judges, lose their force, when we cannot help
recollecting that before one word of all this could be pronounced, the
person against whom they were directed as present had sneaked off into
voluntary exile. Whatever effect this recollection may have had on the
ancients, who regarded oratory as an art, and an oration as an elaborate
composition, nothing can be more grating or offensive to the taste and
feelings of a modern reader, whose idea of eloquence is that of something
natural, heart-felt, inartificial, and extemporaneous.

The Sicilians, though they could scarcely have been satisfied with the
issue of the trial, appear to have been sufficiently sensible of Cicero’s
great exertions in their behalf. Blainville, in his Travels, mentions,
that while at Grotta Ferrata, a convent built on the ruins of Cicero’s
Tusculan Villa, he had been shown a silver medal, unquestionably antique,
struck by the Sicilians in gratitude for his impeachment of Verres. One
side exhibits a head of Cicero, crowned with laurel, with the legend _M.
T. Ciceroni_—on the reverse, there is the representation of three legs
extended in a triangular position, in the form of the three great capes or
promontories of Sicily, with the motto,—“_Prostrato Verre Trinacria_.”

_Pro Fonteio_. It is much to be regretted, that the oration for Fonteius,
the next which Cicero delivered, has descended to us incomplete. It was
the defence of an unpopular governor, accused of oppression by the
province intrusted to his administration; and, as such, would have formed
an interesting contrast to the accusation of Verres.

_Pro Cæcina_. This was a mere question of civil right, turning on the
effect of a Prætorian edict.

_Pro Lege Manilia_. Hitherto Cicero had only addressed the judges in the
Forum in civil suits or criminal prosecutions. The oration for the
Manilian law, which is accounted one of the most splendid of his
productions, was the first in which he spoke to the whole people from the
rostrum. It was pronounced in favour of a law proposed by Manilius, a
tribune of the people, for constituting Pompey sole general, with
extraordinary powers, in the war against Mithridates and Tigranes, in
which Lucullus at that time commanded. The chiefs of the Senate regarded
this law as a dangerous precedent in the republic; and all the authority
of Catulus, and eloquence of Hortensius, were directed against it. It has
been conjectured, that in supporting pretensions which endangered the
public liberty, Cicero was guided merely by interest, since an opposition
to Pompey might have prevented his own election to the consulship, which
was now the great object of his ambition. His life, however, and writings,
will warrant us in ascribing to him a different, though perhaps less
obvious motive. With the love of virtue and the republic, which glowed so
intensely in the breast of this illustrious Roman, that less noble
passion, the immoderate desire of popular fame, was unfortunately mingled.
“Fame,” says a modern historian, “was the prize at which he aimed; his
weakness of bodily constitution sought it through the most strenuous
labours—his natural timidity of mind pursued it through the greatest
dangers. Pompey, who had fortunately attained it, he contemplated as the
happiest of men, and was led, from this illusion of fancy, not only to
speak of him, but really to think of him,” (till he became unfortunate,)
“with a fondness of respect bordering on enthusiasm. The glare of glory
that surrounded Pompey, concealed from Cicero his many and great
imperfections, and seduced an honest citizen, and finest genius in Rome, a
man of unparalleled industry, and that generally applied to the noblest
purposes, into the prostitution of his abilities and virtues, for exalting
an ambitious chief, and investing him with such exorbitant and
unconstitutional powers, as virtually subverted the commonwealth(320).”

In defending this pernicious measure, Cicero divided his discourse into
two parts—showing, first, that the importance and imminent dangers of the
contest in which the state was engaged, required the unusual remedy
proposed—and, secondly, that Pompey was the fittest person to be intrusted
with the conduct of the war. This leads to a splendid panegyric on that
renowned commander, in which, while he does justice to the merits of his
predecessor, Lucullus, he enlarges on the military skill, valour,
authority, and good fortune of this present idol of his luxuriant
imagination, with all the force and beauty which language can afford. He
fills the imagination with the immensity of the object, kindles in the
breast an ardour of affection and gratitude, and, by an accumulation of
circumstances and proofs, so aggrandizes his hero, that he exalts him to
something more than mortal in the minds of his auditory; while, at the
same time, every word inspires the most perfect veneration for his
character, and the most unbounded confidence in his integrity and
judgment. The whole world is exhibited as an inadequate theatre for the
actions of such a superior genius; while all the nations, and potentates
of the earth, are in a manner called as witnesses of his valour and his
truth. By enlarging on these topics, by the most solemn protestations of
his own sincerity, and by adducing examples from antiquity, of the state
having been benefited or saved, by intrusting unlimited power to a single
person, he allayed all fears of the dangers which it was apprehended might
result to the constitution, from such extensive authority being vested in
one individual—and thus struck the first blow towards the subversion of
the republic!

_Pro Cluentio_. This is a pleading for Cluentius, who, at his mother’s
instigation, was accused of having poisoned his stepfather, Oppianicus.
Great part of the harangue appears to be but collaterally connected with
the direct subject of the prosecution. Oppianicus, it seems, had been
formerly accused by Cluentius, and found guilty of a similar attempt
against his life; but after his condemnation, a report became current that
Cluentius had prevailed in the cause by corrupting the judges, and, to
remove the unfavourable impression thus created against his client, Cicero
recurs to the circumstances of that case. In the second part of the
oration, which refers to the accusation of poisoning Oppianicus, he finds
it necessary to clear his client from two previous charges of attempts to
poison. In treating of the proper subject of the criminal proceedings,
which does not occupy above a sixth part of the whole oration, he shows
that Cluentius could have had no access or opportunity to administer
poison to his father, who was in exile; that there was nothing unusual or
suspicious in the circumstances of his death; and that the charge
originated in the machinations of Cluentius’ unnatural mother, against
whom he inveighs with much force, as one hurried along blindfold by
guilt—who acts with such folly that no one can account her a rational
creature—with such violence that none can imagine her to be a woman—with
such cruelty, that none can call her a mother. The whole oration discloses
such a scene of enormous villainy—of murders, by poison and
assassination—of incest, and subornation of witnesses, that the family
history of Cluentius may be regarded as the counterpart in domestic
society, of what the government of Verres was in public life. Though very
long, and complicated too, in the subject, it is one of the most correct
and forcible of all Cicero’s judicial orations; and, under the impression
that it comes nearer to the strain of a modern pleading than any of the
others, it has been selected by Dr Blair as the subject of a minute
analysis and criticism(321).

_De Lege Agraria contra Rullum_. In his discourse _Pro Lege Manilia_, the
first of the deliberative kind addressed to the assembly of the people,
Cicero had the advantage of speaking for a favourite of the multitude, and
against the chiefs of the Senate; but he was placed in a very different
situation when he came to oppose the Agrarian law. This had been for 300
years the darling object of the Roman tribes—the daily attraction and
rallying word of the populace—the signal of discord, and most powerful
engine of the seditious tribunate. The first of the series of orations
against the Agrarian law, now proposed by Rullus, was delivered by Cicero
in the Senate-house, shortly after his election to the consulship: The
second and third were addressed to the people from the rostrum. The scope
of the present Agrarian law was, to appoint Decemvirs for the purpose of
selling the public domains in the provinces, and to recover from the
generals the spoils acquired in foreign wars, by which a fund might be
formed for the purchase of lands in Italy, particularly Campania—to be
equally divided among the people. Cicero, in his first oration, of which
the commencement is now wanting, quieted the alarms of the Senate, by
assuring them of his resolution to oppose the law with his utmost power.
When the question came before the people, he did not fear to encounter the
Tribunes on their own territory, and most popular subject; he did not
hesitate to make the rabble judges in their own cause, though one in which
their passions, interests, and prejudices, and those of their fathers, had
been engaged for so many centuries. Conscious of his superiority, he
invited the Tribunes to ascend the rostrum, and argue the point with him
before the assembled multitude; but the field was left clear to his
argument and eloquence, and by alternately flattering the people, and
ridiculing the proposer of the law, he gave such a turn to their
inclinations, that they rejected the proposition as eagerly as they had
before received it.

But although the Tribunes were unable to cope with Cicero in the Forum,
they subsequently contrived to instil suspicions into the minds of the
populace, with regard to his motives in opposing the Agrarian law. These
imputations made such an impression on the city, that he found it
necessary to defend himself against them, in a short speech to the people.
It has been disputed, whether this third oration was the last which Cicero
pronounced on occasion of this Agrarian law. In the letters to Atticus,
while speaking of his consular orations, he says, “that among those sent,
was that pronounced in the Senate, and that addressed to the people, on
the Agrarian law(322).” These are the first and second of the speeches,
which we now have against Rullus; but he also mentions, that there were
two _apospasmatia_, as he calls them, concerning the Agrarian law. Now,
what is at present called the third, was probably the first of these two,
and the last must have perished.

_Pro Rabirio_. About the year 654, Saturninus, a seditious Tribune, had
been slain by a party attached to the interests of the Senate. Thirty-six
years afterwards, Rabirius was accused of accession to this murder, by
Labienus, subsequently well known as Cæsar’s lieutenant in Gaul.
Hortensius had pleaded the cause before the Duumvirs, Caius and Lucius
Cæsar, by whom Rabirius being condemned, appealed to the people, and was
defended by Cicero in the Comitia. The Tribune, it seems, had been slain
in a tumult during a season of such danger, that a decree had been passed
by the Senate, requiring the Consuls to be careful that the republic
received no detriment. This was supposed to sanction every proceeding
which followed in consequence; and the design of the popular party, in the
impeachment of Rabirius, was to attack this prerogative of the Senate.
Cicero’s oration on this contention between the Senatorial and Tribunitial
power, gives us more the impression of prompt and unstudied eloquence than
most of his other harangues. It is, however, a little obscure, partly from
the circumstance that the accuser would not permit him to exceed half an
hour in the defence. The argument seems to have been, that Rabirius did
not kill Saturninus; but that even if he had slain him, the action was not
merely legal, but praiseworthy, since all citizens had been required to
arm in aid of the Consuls.

It was believed, that in spite of the exertions of Cicero, Rabirius would
have been condemned, had not the Prætor Metellus devised an expedient for
dissolving the Comitia, before sentence could be passed. The cause was
neither farther prosecuted at this time, nor subsequently revived; the
public attention being now completely engrossed by the imminent dangers of
the Catilinarian Conspiracy, which was discovered during the Consulship of

_Contra Catilinam_. The detection and suppression of that nefarious plot,
form the most glorious part of the political life of Cicero; and the
orations he pronounced against the chief conspirator, are still regarded
as the most splendid monuments of his eloquence. It was no longer to
defend the rights and prerogatives of a municipal town or province, nor to
move and persuade a judge in favour of an unfortunate client, but to save
his country and the republic, that Cicero ascended the Rostrum. The
conspiracy of Catiline tended to the utter extinction of the city and
government. Cicero, having discovered his design, (which was to leave Rome
and join his army, assembled in different parts of Italy, while the other
conspirators remained within the walls, to butcher the Senators and fire
the capital,) summoned the Senate to meet in the Temple of Jupiter Stator,
with the intention of laying before it the whole circumstances of the
plot. But Catiline having unexpectedly appeared in the midst of the
assembly, his audacity impelled the consular orator into an abrupt
invective, which is directly addressed to the traitor, and commences
without the preamble by which most of his other harangues are introduced.
In point of effect, this oration must have been perfectly electric. The
disclosure to the criminal himself of his most secret purposes—their
flagitious nature, threatening the life of every one present—the whole
course of his villainies and treasons, blazoned forth with the fire of
incensed eloquence—and the adjuration to him, by flying from Rome, to free
his country from such a pestilence, were all wonderfully calculated to
excite astonishment, admiration, and horror. The great object of the whole
oration, was to drive Catiline into banishment; and it appears somewhat
singular, that so dangerous a personage, and who might have been so easily
convicted, should thus have been forced, or even allowed, to withdraw to
his army, instead of being seized and punished. Catiline having escaped
unmolested to his camp, the conduct of the Consul in not apprehending, but
sending away this formidable enemy, had probably excited some censure and
discontent; and the second Catilinarian oration was in consequence
delivered by Cicero, in an assembly of the people, in order to justify his
driving the chief conspirator from Rome. A capital punishment, he admits,
ought long since to have overtaken Catiline, but such was the spirit of
the times, that the existence of the conspiracy would not have been
believed, and he had therefore resolved to place his guilt in a point of
view so conspicuous, that vigorous measures might without hesitation be
adopted, both against Catiline and his accomplices. He also takes this
opportunity to warn his audience against those bands of conspirators who
still lurked within the city, and whom he divides into various classes,
describing, in the strongest language, the different degrees of guilt and
profligacy by which they were severally characterized.

Manifest proofs of the whole plot having been at length obtained, by the
arrest of the ambassadors from the Allobroges, with whom the conspirators
had tampered, and who were bearing written credentials from them to their
own country, Cicero, in his third oration, laid before the people all the
particulars of the discovery, and invited them to join in celebrating a
thanksgiving, which had been decreed by the Senate to his honour, for the
preservation of his country.

The last Catilinarian oration was pronounced in the Senate, on the debate
concerning the punishment to be inflicted on the conspirators. Silanus had
proposed the infliction of instant death, while Cæsar had spoken in favour
of the more lenient sentence of perpetual imprisonment. Cicero does not
precisely declare for any particular punishment; but he shows that his
mind evidently inclined to the severest, by dwelling on the enormity of
the conspirators’ guilt, and aggravating all their crimes with much
acrimony and art. His sentiments finally prevailed; and those
conspirators, who had remained in Rome, were strangled under his immediate

In these four orations, the tone and style of each of them, particularly
of the first and last, is very different, and accommodated with a great
deal of judgment to the occasion, and to the circumstances under which
they were delivered. Through the whole series of the Catilinarian
orations, the language of Cicero is well calculated to overawe the wicked,
to confirm the good, and encourage the timid. It is of that description
which renders the mind of one man the mind of a whole assembly, or a whole

_Pro Muræna_.—The Comitia being now held in order to choose Consuls for
the ensuing year, Junius Silanus and Muræna were elected. The latter
candidate had for his competitor the celebrated jurisconsult Sulpicius
Rufus; who, being assisted by Cato, charged Muræna with having prevailed
by bribery and corruption. This impeachment was founded on the Calpurnian
law, which had lately been rendered more strict, on the suggestion of
Sulpicius, by a _Senatusconsultum_. Along with this accusation, the
profligacy of Muræna’s character was objected to, and also the meanness of
his rank, as he was but a knight and soldier, whereas Sulpicius was a
patrician and lawyer. Cicero therefore shows, in the first place, that he
amply merited the consulship, from his services in the war with
Mithridates, which introduces a comparison between a military and forensic
life. While he pays his usual tribute of applause to cultivated eloquence,
he derides the forms and phraseology of the jurisconsults, by whom the
civil law was studied and practised. As to the proper subject of the
accusation, bribery in his election, it seems probable that Muræna had
been guilty of some practices which, strictly speaking, were illegal, yet
were warranted by custom. They seem to have consisted in encouraging a
crowd to attend him on the streets, and in providing shows for the
entertainment of the multitude; which, though expected by the people, and
usually overlooked by the magistrates, appeared heinous offences in the
eye of the rigid and stoical Cato. Aware of the weight added to the
accusation by his authority, Cicero, in order to obviate this influence,
treats his stoical principles in the same tone which he had already used
concerning the profession of Sulpicius. In concluding, he avails himself
of the difficulties of the times, and the yet unsuppressed conspiracy of
Catiline, which rendered it unwise to deprive the city of a Consul well
qualified to defend it in so dangerous a crisis.

This case was one of great expectation, from the dignity of the
prosecutors, and eloquence of the advocates for the accused. Before Cicero
spoke, it had been pleaded by Hortensius, and Crassus the triumvir; and
Cicero, in engaging in the cause, felt the utmost desire to surpass these
rivals of his eloquence. Such was his anxiety, that he slept none during
the whole night which preceded the hearing of the cause; and being thus
exhausted with care, his eloquence on this occasion fell short of that of
Hortensius(324). He shows, however, much delicacy and art in the manner in
which he manages the attack on the philosophy of Cato, and profession of
Sulpicius, both of whom were his particular friends, and high in the
estimation of the judges he addressed(325).

_Pro Valerio Flacco_.—Flaccus had aided Cicero in his discovery of the
conspiracy of Catiline, and, in return, was defended by him against a
charge of extortion and peculation, brought by various states of Asia
Minor, which he had governed as Pro-prætor.

_Pro Cornelio Sylla_.—Sylla, who was afterwards a great partizan of
Cæsar’s, was prosecuted for having been engaged in Catiline’s conspiracy;
but his accuser, Torquatus, digressing from the charge against Sylla,
turned his raillery on Cicero; alleging, that he had usurped the authority
of a king; and asserting, that he was the third foreign sovereign who had
reigned at Rome after Numa and Tarquin. Cicero, therefore, in his reply,
had not only to defend his client, but to answer the petulant raillery by
which his antagonist attempted to excite envy and odium against himself.
He admits that he was a foreigner in one sense of the word, having been
born in a municipal town of Italy, in common with many others who had
rendered the highest services to the city; but he repels the insinuation
that he usurped any kingly authority; and being instigated by this
unmerited attack, he is led on to the eulogy of his own conduct and
consulship,—a favourite subject, from which he cannot altogether depart,
even when he enters more closely into the grounds of the prosecution.

For this defence of Cornelius Sylla, Cicero privately received from his
client the sum of 20,000 sesterces, which chiefly enabled him to purchase
his magnificent house on the Palatine Hill.

_Pro Archia_.—This is one of the orations of Cicero on which he has
succeeded in bestowing the finest polish, and it is perhaps the most
_pleasing_ of all his harangues. Archias had been his preceptor, and,
after having obtained much reputation by his Greek poems, on the triumphs
of Lucullus over Mithridates, and of Marius over the Cimbri, was now
attempting to celebrate the consulship of Cicero; so that the orator, in
pleading his cause, expected to be requited by the praises of his muse.

This poet was a native of Antioch, and, having come to Italy in early
youth, was rewarded for his learning and genius with the friendship of the
first men in the state, and with the citizenship of Heraclea, a
confederate and enfranchised town of Magna Græcia. A few years afterwards,
a law was enacted, conferring the rights of Roman citizens on all who had
been admitted to the freedom of federate states, provided they had a
settlement in Italy at the time when the law was passed, and had asserted
the privilege before the Prætor within sixty days from the period at which
it was promulgated. After Archias had enjoyed the benefit of this law for
more than twenty years, his claims were called in question by one
Gracchus, who now attempted to drive him from the city, under the
enactment expelling all foreigners who usurped, without due title, the
name and attributes of Roman citizens. The loss of records, and some other
circumstances, having thrown doubts on the legal right of his client,
Cicero chiefly enlarged on the dignity of literature and poetry, and the
various accomplishments of Archias, which gave him so just a claim to the
privileges he enjoyed. He beautifully describes the influence which study
and a love of letters had exercised on his own character and conduct. He
had thence imbibed the principle, that glory and virtue should be the
darling objects of life, and that to attain these, all difficulties, or
even dangers, were to be despised. But, of all names dear to literature
and genius, that of poet was the most sacred: hence it would be an extreme
of disgrace and profanation, to reject a bard who had employed the utmost
efforts of his art to make Rome immortal by his muse, and had possessed
such prevailing power as to touch with pleasure even the stubborn and
intractable soul of Marius.

The whole oration is interspersed with beautiful maxims and sentences,
which have been quoted with delight in all ages. There appears in it,
however, perhaps too much, and certainly more than in the other orations,
of what Lord Monboddo calls _concinnity_. “We have in it,” observes he,
speaking of this oration, “strings of antitheses, the figure of like
endings, and a perfect similarity of the structure, both as to the
grammatical form of the words, and even the number of them(326).” The
whole, too, is written in a style of exaggeration and immoderate praise.
The orator talks of the poet Archias, as if the whole glory of Rome, and
salvation of the commonwealth, depended on his poetical productions, and
as if the smallest injury offered to him would render the name of Rome
execrable and infamous in all succeeding generations.

_Pro Cn. Plancio_.—The defence of Plancius was one of the first orations
pronounced by Cicero after his return from banishment. Plancius had been
Quæstor of Macedon when Cicero came to that country during his exile, and
had received him with honours proportioned to his high character, rather
than his fallen fortunes. In return for this kindness, Cicero undertook
his defence against a charge, preferred by a disappointed competitor, of
bribery and corruption in suing for the ædileship.

_Pro Sextio_.—This is another oration produced by the gratitude of Cicero,
and the circumstances of his banishment. Sextius, while Tribune of the
people, had been instrumental in procuring his recall, and Cicero requited
this good office by one of the longest and most elaborate of his
harangues. The accusation, indeed, was a consequence of his interposition
in favour of the illustrious exile; for when about to propose his recall
to the people, he was violently attacked by the Clodian faction, and left
for dead on the street. His enemies, however, though obviously the
aggressors, accused him of violence, and exciting a tumult. This was the
charge against which Cicero defended him. The speech is valuable for the
history of the times; as it enters into all the recent political events in
which Cicero had borne so distinguished a part. The orator inveighs
against his enemies, the Tribune Clodius, and the Consuls Gabinius and
Piso, and details all the circumstances connected with his own banishment
and return, occasionally throwing in a word or two about his client

_Contra Vatinium_.—Vatinius, who belonged to the Clodian faction,
appeared, at the trial of Sextius, as a witness against him. This gave
Cicero an opportunity of interrogating him; and the whole oration being a
continued invective on the conduct of Vatinius, poured forth in a series
of questions, without waiting for an answer to any of them, has been
entitled, _Interrogatio_.

_Pro Cælio_.—Middleton has pronounced this to be the most entertaining of
the orations which Cicero has left us, from the vivacity of wit and humour
with which he treats the gallantries of Clodia, her commerce with Cælius,
and in general the gaieties and licentiousness of youth.

Cælius was a young man of considerable talents and accomplishments, who
had been intrusted to the care of Cicero on his first introduction to the
Forum; but having imprudently engaged in an intrigue with Clodia, the
well-known sister of Clodius, and having afterwards deserted her, she
accused him of an attempt to poison her, and of having borrowed money from
her in order to procure the assassination of Dio, the Alexandrian
ambassador. In this, as in most other prosecutions of the period, a number
of charges, unconnected with the main one, seem to have been accumulated,
in order to give the chief accusation additional force and credibility.
Cicero had thus to defend his client against the suspicions arising from
the general libertinism of his conduct. He justifies that part of it which
related to his intercourse with Clodia, by enlarging on the loose
character of this woman, whom he treats with very little ceremony; and, in
order to place her dissolute life in a more striking point of view, he
conjures up in fancy one of her grim and austere ancestors of the Clodian
family reproaching her with her shameful degeneracy. All this the orator
was aware would not be sufficient for the complete vindication of his
client; and it is curious to remark the ingenuity with which the strenuous
advocate of virtue and regularity of conduct palliates, on this occasion,
the levities of youth,—not, indeed, by lessening the merits of strict
morality, but by representing those who withstand the seductions of
pleasure as supernaturally endued.

This oration was a particular favourite of one who was long a
distinguished speaker in the British Senate. “By the way,” says Mr Fox, in
a letter to Wakefield, “I know no speech of Cicero more full of beautiful
passages than this is, nor where he is more in his element. Argumentative
contention is what he by no means excels in; and he is never, I think, so
happy as when he has an opportunity of exhibiting a mixture of philosophy
and pleasantry; and especially when he can interpose anecdotes and
references to the authority of the eminent characters in the history of
his country. No man appears, indeed, to have had such real respect for
authority as he; and therefore, when he speaks upon that subject, he is
always natural and in earnest; and not like those among _us_, who are so
often declaiming about the wisdom of our ancestors, without knowing what
they mean, or hardly ever citing any particulars of their conduct, or of
their _dicta_(327).”

_De Provinciis Consularibus_. The government of Gaul was continued to
Cæsar, in consequence of this oration, so that it may be considered as one
of the immediate causes of the ruin of the Roman Republic, which it was
incontestibly the great wish of Cicero to protect and maintain inviolate.
But Cicero had evidently been duped by Cæsar, as he formerly had nearly
been by Catiline, and as he subsequently was by Octavius, Pollio, and
every one who found it his interest to cajole him, by proclaiming his
praises, and professing ardent zeal for the safety of the state. So little
had he penetrated the real views of Cæsar, that we find him asking the
Senate, in his oration, what possible motive or inducement Cæsar could
have to remain in the province of Gaul, except the public good. “For would
the amenity of the regions, the beauty of the cities, or civilization of
the inhabitants, detain him there—or can a return to one’s native country
be so distasteful?”

_Pro Cornelio Balbo_.—Balbus was a native of Cadiz, who having been of
considerable service to Pompey, during his war in Spain, against
Sertorius, had, in return, received the freedom of Rome from that
commander, in virtue of a special law, by which he had obtained the power
of granting this benefit to whom he chose. The validity of Pompey’s act,
however, was now questioned, on the ground that Cadiz was not within the
terms of that relation and alliance to Rome, which could, under any
circumstances, entitle its citizens to such a privilege. The question,
therefore, was, whether the inhabitants of a federate state, which had not
adopted the institutions and civil jurisprudence of Rome, could receive
the rights of citizenship. This point was of great importance to the
municipal towns of the Republic, and the oration throws considerable light
on the relations which existed between the provinces and the capital.

_In Pisonem_.—Piso having been recalled from his government of Macedon, in
consequence of Cicero’s oration, _De Provinciis Consularibus_, he
complained, in one of his first appearances in the Senate, of the
treatment he had received, and attacked the orator, particularly on the
score of his poetry, ridiculing the well known line,

  “Cedant arma togæ—concedat laurea linguæ.”

Cicero replied in a bitter invective, in which he exposed the whole life
and conduct of his enemy to public contempt and detestation. The most
singular feature of this harangue is the personal abuse and coarseness of
expression it contains, which appear the more extraordinary when we
consider that it was delivered in the Senate-house, and directed against
an individual of such distinction and consequence as Piso. Cicero applies
to him the opprobrious epithets of _bellua_, _furia_, _carnifex_,
_furcifer_, &c.; he banters him on his personal deformities, and upbraids
him with his ignominious descent on one side of the family, while, on the
other, he had no resemblance to his ancestors, except to the sooty
complexion of their images.

_Pro Milone_.—When Milo was candidate for the Consulship, the notorious
demagogue Clodius supported his competitors, and during the canvass, party
spirit grew so violent, that the two factions often came to blows within
the walls of the city. While these dissensions were at their height,
Clodius and Milo met on the Appian Way—the former returning from the
country towards Rome, and the latter setting out for Lanuvium, both
attended by a great retinue. A quarrel arose among their followers, in
which Clodius was wounded and carried into a house in the vicinity. By
order of Milo, the doors were broken open, his enemy dragged out, and
assassinated on the highway. The death of Clodius excited much confusion
and tumult at Rome, in the course of which the courts of justice were
burned by a mob. Milo having returned from the banishment into which he
had at first withdrawn, was impeached for the crime by the Tribunes of the
people; and Pompey, in virtue of the authority conferred on him by a
decree of the Senate, nominated a special commission to inquire into the
murder committed on the Appian Way. In order to preserve the tranquillity
of the city, he placed guards in the Forum, and occupied all its avenues
with troops. This unusual appearance, and the shouts of the Clodian
faction, which the military could not restrain, so discomposed the orator,
that he fell short of his usual excellence. The speech which he actually
delivered, was taken down in writing, and is mentioned by Asconius
Pedianus as still extant in his time. But that beautiful harangue which we
now possess, is one which was retouched and polished, as a gift for Milo,
after he had retired in exile to Marseilles.

In the oration, as we now have it, Cicero takes his exordium from the
circumstances by which he was so much, though, as he admits, so
causelessly disconcerted; since he knew that the troops were not placed in
the Forum to overawe, but to protect. In entering on the defence, he
grants that Clodius was killed, and by Milo; but he maintains that
homicide is, on many occasions, justifiable, and on none more so than when
force can only be repelled by force, and when the slaughter of the
aggressor is necessary for self-preservation. These principles are
beautifully illustrated, and having been, as the orator conceives,
sufficiently established, are applied to the case under consideration. He
shows, from the circumstantial evidence of time and place—the character of
the deceased—the retinue by which he was accompanied—his hatred to
Milo—the advantages which would have resulted to him from the death of his
enemy, and the expressions proved to have been used by him, that Clodius
had laid an ambush for Milo. Cicero, it is evident, had here the worst of
the cause. The encounter appears, in fact, to have been accidental; and
though the servants of Clodius may, perhaps, have been the assailants,
Milo had obviously exceeded the legitimate bounds of self defence. The
orator accordingly enforces the argument, that the assassination of
Clodius was an act of public benefit, which, in a consultation of Milo’s
friends, was the only one intended to have been advanced, and was the sole
defence adopted in the oration which Brutus is said to have prepared for
the occasion. Cicero, while he does not forego the advantage of this plea,
maintains it hypothetically, contending that _even if_ Milo had openly
pursued and slain Clodius as a common enemy, he might well boast of having
freed the state from so pernicious and desperate a citizen. To add force
to this argument, he takes a rapid view of the various acts of atrocity
committed by Clodius, and the probable situation of the Republic, were he
to revive. When the minds of the judges were thus sufficiently prepared,
he ascribes his tragical end to the immediate interposition of the
providential powers, specially manifested by his fall near the temple of
Bona Dea, whose mysteries he had formerly profaned. Having excited
sufficient indignation against Clodius, he concludes with moving
commiseration for Milo, representing his love for his country and
fellow-citizens,—the sad calamity of exile from Rome,—and his manly
resignation to whatever punishment might be inflicted on him.

The argument in this oration was perhaps as good as the circumstances
admitted; but we miss through the whole that reference to documents and
laws, which gives the stamp of truth to the orations of Demosthenes. Each
ground of defence, taken by itself, is deficient in argumentative force.
Thus, in maintaining that the death of Clodius was of no benefit to Milo,
he has taken too little into consideration the hatred and rancour mutually
felt by the heads of political factions: but he supplies his weakness of
argument by illustrative digressions, flashes of wit, bursts of eloquence,
and appeals to the compassion of the judges, on which he appears to have
placed much reliance(328). On the whole, this oration was accounted, both
by Cicero himself and by his contemporaries, as the finest effort of his
genius; which confirms what indeed is evinced by the whole history of
Roman eloquence, that the judges were easily satisfied on the score of
reasoning, and attached more importance to pathos, and wit, and sonorous
periods, than to fact or law.

_Pro Rabirio Postumo_.—This is the defence of Rabirius, who was prosecuted
for repayment of a sum which he was supposed to have received, in
conjunction with the Proconsul Gabinius, from King Ptolemy, for having
placed him on the throne of Egypt, contrary to the injunctions of the

_Pro Ligario_.—This oration was pronounced after Cæsar, having vanquished
Pompey in Thessaly, and destroyed the remains of the Republican party in
Africa, assumed the supreme administration of affairs at Rome. Merciful as
the conqueror appeared, he was understood to be much exasperated against
those who, after the rout at Pharsalia, had renewed the war in Africa.
Ligarius, when on the point of obtaining a pardon, was formally accused by
his old enemy Tubero, of having borne arms in that contest. The Dictator
himself presided at the trial of the case, much prejudiced against
Ligarius, as was known from his having previously declared, that his
resolution was fixed, and was not to be altered by the charms of
eloquence. Cicero, however, overcame his prepossessions, and extorted from
him a pardon. The countenance of Cæsar, it is said, changed, as the orator
proceeded in his speech; but when he touched on the battle of Pharsalia,
and described Tubero as seeking his life, amid the ranks of the army, the
Dictator became so agitated, that his body trembled, and the papers which
he held dropped from his hand(329).

This oration is remarkable for the free spirit which it breathes, even in
the face of that power to which it was addressed for mercy. But Cicero, at
the same time, shows much art in not overstepping those limits, within
which he knew he might speak without offence, and in seasoning his freedom
with appropriate compliments to Cæsar, of which, perhaps, the most elegant
is, that he forgot nothing but the injuries done to himself. This was the
person whom, in the time of Pompey, he characterized as _monstrum et
portentum tyrannum_, and whose death he soon afterwards celebrated as
_divinum in rempublicam beneficium_!

The oration of Tubero against Ligarius, was extant in Quintilian’s time,
and probably explained the circumstances which induced a man, who had
fought so keenly against Cæsar at Pharsalia, to undertake the prosecution
of Ligarius.

_Pro Rege Dejotaro_.—Dejotarus was a Tetrarch of Galatia, who obtained
from Pompey the realm of Armenia, and from the Senate the title of King.
In the civil war he had espoused the cause of his benefactors. Cæsar, in
consequence, deprived him of Armenia, but was subsequently reconciled to
him, and, while prosecuting the war against Pharnaces, visited him in his
original states of Galatia. Some time afterwards, Phidippus, the physician
of the king, and his grandson Castor, accused him of an attempt to poison
Cæsar, during the stay which the Dictator had made at his court. Cicero
defended him in the private apartments of Cæsar, and adopted the same
happy union of freedom and flattery, which he had so successfully employed
in the case of Ligarius. Cæsar, however, pronounced no decision on the one
side or other.

_Philippica_.—The remaining orations of Cicero are those directed against
Antony, of whose private life and political conduct they present us with a
full and glaring picture. The character of Antony, next to that of Sylla,
was the most singular in the Annals of Rome, and in some of its features
bore a striking resemblance to that of the fortunate Dictator. Both were
possessed of uncommon military talents—both were imbued with cruelty which
makes human nature shudder—both were inordinately addicted to luxury and
pleasure—and both, for men of their powers of mind and habits, had
apparently, at least, a strange superstitious reliance on destiny,
portents, and omens. Yet there were strong shades of distinction even in
those parts of their characters in which we trace the closest resemblance:
The cruelty of Sylla was more deliberate and remorseless—that of Antony,
more regardless and unthinking—and amid all the atrocities of the latter,
there burst forth occasional gleams of generosity and feeling. But then
Sylla was a man of much greater discernment and penetration—a much more
profound and successful dissembler—and he was possessed of many refined
and elegant accomplishments, of which the coarser Antony was destitute.
Sylla gratified his voluptuousness, but Antony was ruled by it. The former
indulged in pleasure when within his grasp, but ease, power, and revenge,
were his great and ultimate objects: The chief aim of the latter, was the
sensual pleasure to which he was subservient. Sylla would never have been
the slave of Cleopatra, or the dupe of Octavius. Hence the wide difference
between the destiny of the triumphant Dictator, whose chariot rolled on
the wheels of Fortune to the close of his career, and the sad fate of
Antony. Yet that very fate has mitigated the abhorrence of posterity, and
weakness having been added to wickedness, has unaccountably palliated, in
our eyes, the faults of the soft Triumvir, now more remembered as the
devoted lover of Cleopatra, than as the chief promoter of the

The Philippics against Antony, like those of Demosthenes, derive their
chief beauty from the noble expression of just indignation, which indeed
composes many of the most splendid and admired passages of ancient
eloquence. They were all pronounced during the period which elapsed
between the assassination of Cæsar, and the defeat of Antony at Modena.
Soon after Cæsar’s death, Cicero, fearing danger from Antony, who held a
sort of military possession of the city, resolved on a voyage to Greece.
Being detained, however, by contrary winds, after he had set out, and
having received favourable intelligence from his friends at Rome, he
determined to return to the capital. The Senate assembled the day after
his arrival, in order, at the suggestion of Antony, to consider of some
new and extraordinary honours to the memory of Cæsar. To this meeting
Cicero was specially summoned by Antony, but he excused himself on
pretence of indisposition, and the fatigue of his journey. He appeared,
however, in his place, when the Senate met on the following day, in
absence of Antony, and delivered the first of the orations, afterwards
termed Philippics, from the resemblance they bore to those invectives
which Demosthenes poured forth against the great foe of the independence
of Greece. Cicero opens his speech by explaining the motives of his recent
departure from Rome—his sudden return, and his absence on the preceding
day—declaring, that if present, he would have opposed the posthumous
honours decreed to the usurper. His next object, after vindicating
himself, being to warn the Senate of the designs of Antony, he complains
that he had violated the most solemn and authentic even of Cæsar’s laws;
and at the same time enforced, as ordinances, what were mere jottings,
found, or pretended to have been found, among the Dictator’s _Memoranda_,
after his death.

Antony was highly incensed at this speech, and summoned another meeting of
the Senate, at which he again required the presence of Cicero. These two
rivals seem to have been destined never to meet in the Senate-house.
Cicero, being apprehensive of some design against his life, did not
attend; so that the Oration of Antony, in his own justification, which he
had carefully prepared in intervals of leisure at his villa, near Tibur,
was unanswered in the Senate. The second Philippic was penned by Cicero in
his closet, as a reply to this speech of Antony, in which he had been
particularly charged with having been not merely accessary to the murder
of Cæsar, but the chief contriver of the plot against him. Some part of
Cicero’s oration was thus necessarily defensive, but the larger portion,
which is accusatory, is one of the severest and most bitter invectives
ever composed, the whole being expressed in terms of the most thorough
contempt and strongest detestation of Antony. By laying open his whole
criminal excesses from his earliest youth, he exhibits one continued scene
of debauchery, faction, rapine, and violence; but he dwells with peculiar
horror on his offer of the diadem to Cæsar, at the festival of the
Lupercalia—his drunken debauch at the once classic villa of Terentius
Varro—and his purchase of the effects that belonged to the great Pompey—on
which last subject he pathetically contrasts the modesty and decorum of
that renowned warrior, once the Favourite of Fortune, and darling of the
Roman people, with the licentiousness of the military adventurer who now
rioted in the spoils of his country. In concluding, he declares, on his
own part, that in his youth he had defended the republic, and, in his old
age, he would not abandon its cause.—“The sword of Catiline I despised;
and never shall I dread that of Antony.” This oration is adorned with all
the charms of eloquence, and proves, that in the decline of life Cicero
had not lost one spark of the fire and spirit which animated his earlier
productions. Although not delivered in the Senate, nor intended to be
published till things were actually come to an extremity, and the affairs
of the republic made it necessary to render Antony’s conduct and designs
manifest to the people, copies of the oration were sent to Brutus,
Cassius, and other friends of the commonwealth: hence it soon got into
extensive circulation, and, by exciting the vengeance of Antony, was a
chief cause of the tragical death of its author.

The situation of Antony having now become precarious, from the union of
Octavius with the party of the Senate, and the defection of two legions,
he abruptly quitted the city, and placing himself at the head of his army,
marched into Cisalpine Gaul, which, since the death of Cæsar, had been
occupied by Decimus Brutus, one of the conspirators. The field being thus
left clear for Cicero, and the Senate being assembled, he pronounced the
third Philippic, of which the great object was to induce it to support
Brutus, by placing an army at the disposal of Octavius, along with the two
Consuls elect, Hirtius and Pansa. He exhorts the Senate to this measure,
by enlarging on the merits of Octavius and Brutus, and concludes with
proposing public thanks to these leaders, and to the legions which had
deserted the standard of Antony.

From the Senate, Cicero proceeded directly to the Forum, where, in his
fourth Philippic, he gave an account to the people of what had occurred,
and explained to them, that Antony, though not nominally, had now been
actually declared the enemy of his country. This harangue was so well
received by an audience the most numerous that had ever listened to his
orations, that, speaking of it afterwards, he declares he would have
reaped sufficient fruit from the exertions of his whole life, had he died
on the day it was pronounced, when the whole people, with one voice and
mind, called out that he had twice saved the republic(330).

Brutus being as yet unable to defend himself in the field, withdrew into
Modena, where he was besieged by Antony. Intelligence of this having been
brought to Rome, Cicero, in his fifth Philippic, endeavoured to persuade
the Senate to proclaim Antony an enemy of his country, in opposition to
Calenus, who proposed, that before proceeding to acts of hostility, an
embassy should be sent for the purpose of admonishing Antony to desist
from his attempt on Gaul, and submit himself to the authority of the
Senate. After three days’ successive debate, Cicero’s proposal would have
prevailed, had not one of the Tribunes interposed his negative, in
consequence of which the measure of the embassy was resorted to. Cicero,
nevertheless, before any answer could be received, persisted, in his sixth
and seventh Philippics, in asserting that any accommodation with a rebel
such as Antony, would be equally disgraceful and dangerous to the
republic. The deputies having returned, and reported that Antony would
consent to nothing which was required of him, the Senate declared war
against him—employing, however, in their decree, the term tumult, instead
of war or rebellion. Cicero, in his eighth Philippic, expostulated with
them on their timorous and impolitic lenity of expression. In the ninth
Philippic, pronounced on the following day, he called on the Senate to
erect a statue to one of the deputies, Servius Sulpicius, who, while
labouring under a severe distemper, had, at the risk of his life,
undertaken the embassy, but had died before he could acquit himself of the
commission with which he was charged. The proposal met with considerable
opposition, but it was at length agreed that a brazen statue should be
erected to him in the Forum, and that an inscription should be placed on
the base, importing that he had died in the service of the republic.

The Philippics, hitherto mentioned, related chiefly to the affairs of
Cisalpine Gaul, the scene of the contest between D. Brutus and Antony. A
long period was now elapsed since the Senate had received any intelligence
concerning the chiefs of the conspiracy, Marcus Brutus and Cassius, the
former of whom had seized on the province of Macedonia, while the latter
occupied Syria. Public despatches, however, at length arrived from M.
Brutus, giving an account of his successful proceedings in Greece. The
Consul Pansa having communicated the contents at a meeting of the Senate,
and having proposed for him public thanks and honours, Calenus, a creature
of Antony, objected, and moved, that as what he had done was without
lawful authority, he should be required to deliver up his army to the
Senate, or the proper governor of the province. Cicero, in his tenth
Philippic, replied, in a transport of eloquent and patriotic indignation,
to this most unjust and ruinous proposal, particularly to the assertion by
which it was supported, that veterans would not submit to be commanded by
Brutus. He thus succeeded in obtaining from the Senate an approbation of
the conduct of Brutus, a continuance of his command, and pecuniary

About the same time accounts arrived from Asia, that Dolabella, on the
part of Antony, had taken possession of Smyrna, and there put Trebonius,
one of the conspirators, to death. On receiving this intelligence, a
debate arose concerning the choice of a general to be employed against
Dolabella, and Cicero, in his eleventh Philippic, strenuously maintained
the right of Cassius, who was then in Greece, to be promoted to that
command. In the twelfth and thirteenth, he again warmly and successfully
opposed the sending a deputation to Antony. All further mention of
pacification was terminated by the joyful tidings of the total defeat of
Antony before Modena, by the army under Octavius, and the Consuls Hirtius
and Pansa—the latter of whom was mortally wounded in the conflict. The
intelligence excited incredible joy at Rome, which was heightened by the
unfavourable reports that had previously prevailed. The Senate met to
deliberate on the despatches of the Consuls communicating the event. Never
was there a finer opportunity for the display of eloquence, than what was
afforded to Cicero on this occasion; of which he most gloriously availed
himself in the fourteenth Philippic. The excitation and tumult consequent
on a great recent victory, give wing to high flights of eloquence, and
also prepare the minds of the audience to follow the ascent. The success
at Modena terminated a long period of anxiety. It was for the time
supposed to have decided the fate of Antony and the Republic; and the
orator, who thus saw all his measures justified, must have felt the
exultation, confidence, and spirit, so favourable to the highest exertions
of eloquence. This, with the detestable character of the conquered
foe,—the wounds of Pansa, who was once suspected by the Republic, but by
his faithful zeal had gradually obtained its confidence, and at length
sealed his fidelity with his blood,—the rewards due to the surviving
victors,—the honours to be paid to those who had fallen in defence of
their country,—the thanksgivings to be rendered to the immortal gods,—all
afforded topics of triumph, panegyric, and pathos, which have been seldom
supplied to the orator in any age or country. In extolling those who had
fallen, Cicero dwells on two subjects; one appertaining to the glory of
the heroes themselves, the other to the consolation of their friends and
relatives. He proposes that a splendid monument should be erected, in
common to all who had perished, with an inscription recording their names
and services; and in recommending this tribute of public gratitude, he
breaks out into a funeral panegyric, which has formed a more lasting
memorial than the monument he suggested.

This was the last Philippic and last oration which Cicero delivered. The
union of Antony and Octavius soon after annihilated the power of the
Senate; and Cicero, like Demosthenes, fell the victim of that indignant
eloquence with which he had lashed the enemies of his country:—

  “Eloquio sed uterque periit orator; utrumque
  Largus et exundans letho dedit ingenii fons.
  Ingenio manus est et cervix cæsa, nec unquam
  Sanguine causidici maduerunt rostra pusilli(331).”

Besides the complete orations above mentioned, Cicero delivered many, of
which only fragments remain, or which are now entirely lost. All those
which he pronounced during the five years intervening between his election
to the Quæstorship and the Ædileship have perished, except that for M.
Tullius, of which the exordium and narrative were brought to light at the
late celebrated discovery by Mai, in the Ambrosian library at Milan.
Tullius had been forcibly dispossessed (_vi armata_) by one of the Fabii
of a farm he held in Lucania; and the whole Fabian race were prosecuted
for damages, under a law of Lucullus, whereby, in consequence of
depredations committed in the municipal states of Italy, every family was
held responsible for the violent aggressions of any of its tribe. A large
fragment of the oration for Scaurus forms by far the most valuable part of
the discovery in the Ambrosian library. The oration, indeed, is not
entire, but the part we have of it is tolerably well connected. The charge
was one of provincial embezzlement, and in the exordium the orator
announces that he was to treat, 1st, of the general nature of the
accusation itself; 2d, of the character of the Sardinians; 3d, of that of
Scaurus; and, lastly, of the special charge concerning the corn. Of these,
the first two heads are tolerably entire; and that in which he exposes the
faithless character of the Sardinians, and thus shakes the credibility of
the witnesses for the prosecution is artfully managed. The other fragments
discovered in the Ambrosian library consist merely of detached sentences,
of which it is almost impossible to make a connected meaning. Of this
description is the oration _In P. Clodium_; yet still, by the aid of the
Commentary found along with it, we are enabled to form some notion of the
tenor of the speech. The well-known story of Clodius finding access to the
house of Cæsar, in female disguise, during the celebration of the
mysteries of Bona Dea, gave occasion to this invective. A sort of
altercation had one day passed in the Senate between Cicero and Clodius,
soon after the acquittal of the latter for this offence, which probably
suggested to Cicero the notion of writing a connected oration, inveighing
against the vices and crimes of Clodius, particularly his profanation of
the secret rites of the goddess, and the corrupt means by which he had
obtained his acquittal. In one of his epistles to Atticus, Cicero gives a
detailed account of this altercation, which certainly does not afford us a
very dignified notion of senatorial gravity and decorum.

Of those orations of Cicero which have entirely perished, the greatest
loss has been sustained by the disappearance of the defence of Cornelius,
who was accused of practices against the state during his tribuneship.
This speech, which was divided into two great parts, was continued for
four successive days, in presence of an immense concourse of people, who
testified their admiration of its bright eloquence by repeated
applause(332). The orator himself frequently refers to it as among the
most finished of his compositions(333); and the old critics cite it as an
example of genuine eloquence. “Not merely,” says Quintilian, “with strong,
but with shining armour did Cicero contend in the cause of Cornelius.” We
have also to lament the loss of the oration for C. Piso, accused of
oppression in his government—of the farewell discourse delivered to the
Sicilians, (_Quum Quæstor Lilybæo discederet_,) in which he gave them an
account of his administration, and promised them his protection at Rome—of
the invective pronounced in the Senate against Metellus, in answer to a
harangue which that Tribune had delivered to the people concerning
Cicero’s conduct, in putting the confederates of Catiline to death without
trial; and, finally, of the celebrated speech _De Proscriptorum Liberis_,
in which, on political grounds, he opposed, while admitting their justice,
the claims of the children of those whom Sylla had proscribed and
disqualified from holding any honours in the state, and who now applied to
be relieved from their disabilities. The success which he obtained in
resisting this demand, is described in strong terms by Pliny: “Te orante,
proscriptorum liberos honores petere puduit(334).” A speech which is now
lost, and which, though afterwards reduced to writing, must have been
delivered extempore, afforded another strong example of the persuasiveness
of his eloquence. The appearance of the Tribune, Roscius Otho, who had set
apart seats for the knights at the public spectacles, having one day
occasioned a disturbance at the theatre, Cicero, on being informed of the
tumult, hastened to the spot, and, calling out the people to the Temple of
Bellona, he so calmed them by the magic of his eloquence, that, returning
immediately to the theatre, they clapped their hands in honour of Otho,
and vied with the knights in giving him demonstrations of respect(335).
One topic which he touched on in this oration, and the only one of which
we have any hint from antiquity, was the rioters’ want of taste, in
creating a tumult, while Roscius was performing on the stage(336). This
speech, the orations against the Agrarian law, and that _De Proscriptorum
Liberis_, have long been cited as the strongest examples of the power of
eloquence over the passions of mankind: And it is difficult to say,
whether the highest praise be due to the orator, who could persuade, or to
the people, who could be thus induced to relinquish the most tempting
expectations of property and honours, and the full enjoyment of their
favourite amusements.

In the age of that declamation which prevailed at Rome from the time of
Tiberius to the fall of the empire, it was the practice of rhetoricians to
declaim on similar topics with those on which Cicero had delivered, or was
supposed to have delivered, harangues. It appears from Aulus Gellius(337),
that in the age of Marcus Aurelius doubts were entertained with regard to
the authenticity of certain orations circulated as productions of Cicero.
He was known to have delivered four speeches almost immediately after his
recall from banishment, on subjects closely connected with his exile. The
first was addressed to the Senate(338), and the second to the people, a
few days subsequently to his return(339); the third to the college of
Pontiffs, in order to obtain restitution of a piece of ground on the
Palatine hill, on which his house had formerly stood, but had been
demolished, and a temple erected on the spot, with a view, as he feared,
to alienate it irretrievably from the proprietor, by thus consecrating it
to religious purposes(340). The fourth was pronounced in consequence of
Clodius declaring that certain menacing prodigies, which had lately
appeared, were indubitably occasioned by the desecration of this ground,
which the Pontiffs had now discharged from religious uses. Four orations,
supposed to have been delivered on those occasions, and entitled, _Post
Reditum in Senatu_, _Ad Quirites post Reditum_, _Pro domo sua ad
Pontifices_, _De Haruspicum Responsis_, were published in all the early
editions of Cicero, without any doubts of their authenticity being hinted
by the commentators, and were also referred to as genuine authorities by
Middleton in his Life of Cicero. At length, about the middle of last
century, the well-known dispute having arisen between Middleton and
Tunstall, concerning the letters to Brutus, Markland engaged in the
controversy; and his remarks on the correspondence of Cicero and Brutus
were accompanied with a “Dissertation on the Four Orations ascribed to M.
T. Cicero,” published in 1745, which threw great doubts on their
authenticity. Middleton made no formal reply to this part of Markland’s
observations; but he neither retracted his opinion nor changed a word in
his subsequent edition of the Life of Cicero.

Soon afterwards, Ross, the editor of Cicero’s _Epistolæ Familiares_, and
subsequently Bishop of Exeter, ironically showed, in his “Dissertation, in
which the defence of P. Sulla, ascribed to Cicero, is clearly proved to be
spurious, after the manner of Mr Markland,” that, on the principles and
line of argument adopted by his opponent, the authenticity of any one of
the orations might be contested. This _jeu d’esprit_ of Bishop Ross was
seriously confuted in a “Dissertation, in which the Objections of a late
Pamphlet to the Writings of the Ancients, after the manner of Mr Markland,
are clearly Answered; and those Passages in Tully corrected, on which some
of the Objections are founded.—1746.” This dissertation was printed by
Bowyer, and he is generally believed to have been the author of it(341).
In Germany, J. M. Gesner, with all the weight attached to his opinion, and
_Thesaurus_, strenuously defended these orations in two prelections, held
in 1753 and 1754, and inserted in the 3d volume of the new series of the
Transactions of the Royal Academy at Gottingen, under the title _Cicero
Restitutus_, in which he refuted, one by one, all the objections of

After this, although the Letters of Brutus were no longer considered as
authentic, literary men in all countries—as De Brosses, the French
Translator of Sallust, Ferguson, Saxius, in his _Onomasticon_, and
Rhunkenius—adopted the orations as genuine. Ernesti, in his edition of
Cicero, makes no mention of the existence of any doubts respecting them;
and, in his edition of Fabricius(342), alludes to the controversy
concerning them as a foolish and insignificant dispute. A change of
opinion, however, was produced by an edition of the four orations which
Wolfius published at Berlin in 1801, to which he prefixed an account of
the controversy, and a general view of the arguments of Markland and
Gesner. The observations of each, relating to particular words and
phrases, are placed below the passages as they occur, and are followed by
Wolf’s own remarks, refuting, to the utmost of his power, the opinions of
Gesner, and confirming those of Markland. Schütz, the late German editor
of Cicero, has completely adopted the notions of Wolf; and by printing
these four harangues, not in their order in the series, but separately,
and at the end of the whole, along with the discarded correspondence
between Cicero and Brutus, has thrown them without the classical pale as
effectually as Lambinus excluded the once recognized orations, _In pace_,
and _Antequam iret in Exilium_. In the fourth volume of his new edition of
the works of Cicero now proceeding in Germany, Beck has followed the
opinion of Wolf, after an impartial examination of the different arguments
in his notes, and in an _excursus criticus_ devoted to this subject.

Markland and Wolf believe, that these harangues were written as a
rhetorical exercise, by some declaimer, who lived not long after Cicero,
probably in the time of Tiberius, and who had before his eyes some
orations of Cicero now lost, (perhaps those which he delivered on his
return from exile,) from which the rhetorician occasionally borrowed ideas
or phrases, not altogether unworthy of the orator’s genius and eloquence.
But, though they may contain some insulated Ciceronian expressions, it is
utterly denied that these orations can be the continued composition of
Cicero. The arguments against their authenticity are deduced, _first_ from
their matter; and, _secondly_, from their style. These critics dwell much
on the numerous thoughts and ideas inconsistent with the known sentiments,
or unsuitable to the disposition of the author,—on the relation of events,
told in a different manner from that in which they have been recorded by
him in his undoubted works,—and, finally, on the gross ignorance shown of
the laws, institutions, and customs of Rome, and even of the events
passing at the time. Thus it is said, in one of these four orations, that,
on some political occasion, all the senators changed their garb, as also
the Prætors and Ædiles, which proves, that the author was ignorant that
all Ædiles and Prætors were necessarily senators, since, otherwise, the
special mention of them would be superfluous and absurd. What is still
stronger, the author, in the oration _Ad Quirites post reditum_, refers to
the speech in behalf of Gabinius, which was not pronounced till 699, three
years subsequently to Cæsar’s recall; whereas the real oration, _Ad
Quirites_, was delivered on the second or third day after his return. With
regard to the style of these harangues, it is argued, that the expressions
are affected, the sentences perplexed, and the transitions abrupt; and
that their languor and want of animation render them wholly unworthy of
Cicero. Markland particularly points out the absurd repetition of what the
declaimer had considered Ciceronian phrases,—as, “Aras, focos,
penates—Deos immortales—Res incredibiles—Esse videatur.” Of the orations
individually he remarks, and justly, that the one delivered by Cicero in
the Senate immediately after his return, was known to have been prepared
with the greatest possible care, and to have been committed to writing
before it was pronounced; while the fictitious harangue which we now have
in its place, is at all events, quite unlike anything that Cicero would
have produced with elaborate study. The second is a sort of compendium of
the first, and the same ideas and expressions are slavishly repeated;
which implies a barrenness of invention, and sterility of language, that
cannot be supposed in Cicero. Of the third oration he speaks, in his
letters to Atticus, as one of his happiest efforts(343); but nothing can
be more wretched than that which we now have in its stead,—the first
twelve chapters, indeed, being totally irrelevant to the question at

The oration for Marcellus, the genuineness of which has also been called
in question, is somewhat in a different style from the other harangues of
Cicero; for, though entitled _Pro Marcello_, it is not so much a speech in
his defence, as a panegyric on Cæsar, for having granted the pardon of
Marcellus at the intercession of the Senate. Marcellus had been one of the
most violent opponents of the views of Cæsar. He had recommended in the
Senate, that he should be deprived of the province of Gaul: he had
insulted the magistrates of one of Cæsar’s new-founded colonies; and had
been present at Pharsalia on the side of Pompey. After that battle he
retired to Mitylene, where he was obliged to remain, being one of the few
adversaries to whom the conqueror refused to be reconciled. The Senate,
however, one day when Cæsar was present, with an united voice, and in an
attitude of supplication, having implored his clemency in favour of
Marcellus, and their request having been granted, Cicero, though he had
resolved to preserve eternal silence, being moved by the occasion,
delivered one of the most strained encomiums that has ever been

In the first part he extols the military exploits of Cæsar; but shows,
that his clemency to Marcellus was more glorious than any of his other
actions, as it depended entirely on himself, while fortune and his army
had their share in the events of the war. In the second part he endeavours
to dispel the suspicions which it appears Cæsar still entertained of the
hostile intentions of Marcellus, and takes occasion to assure the Dictator
that his life was most dear and valuable to all, since on it depended the
tranquillity of the state, and the hopes of the restoration of the

This oration, which Middleton declares to be superior to anything extant
of the kind in all antiquity, and which a celebrated French critic terms,
“Le discours le plus noble, le plus pathetique, et en meme tems le plus
patriotique, que la reconnaissance, l’amitié, et la vertu, puissent
inspirer à une ame elevée et sensible,” continued to be not only of
undisputed authenticity, but one of Cicero’s most admired productions,
till Wolf, in the preface and notes to a new edition of it, printed in
1802, attempted to show, that it was a spurious production, totally
unworthy of the orator whose name it bore, and that it was written by some
declaimer, soon after the Augustan age, not as an imposition upon the
public, but as an exercise,—according to the practice of the rhetoricians,
who were wont to choose, as a theme, some subject on which Cicero had
spoken. In his letters to Atticus, Cicero says, that he had returned
thanks to Cæsar _pluribus verbis_. This Middleton translates a _long
speech_; but Wolf alleges it can only mean a few words, and never can be
interpreted to denote a full oration, such as that which we now possess
for Marcellus. That Cicero did not deliver a long or formal speech, is
evident, he contends, from the testimony of Plutarch, who mentions, in his
life of Cicero, that, a short time afterwards, when the orator was about
to plead for Ligarius, Cæsar asked, how it happened that he had not heard
Cicero speak for so long a period,—which would have been absurd if he had
heard him, a few months before, pleading for Marcellus. Being an
extemporary effusion, called forth by an unforeseen occasion, it could not
(he continues to urge) have been prepared and written beforehand; nor is
it at all probable, that, like many other orations of Cicero, it was
revised and made public after being delivered. The causes which induced
the Roman orators to write out their speeches at leisure, were the
magnitude and public importance of the subject, or the wishes of those in
whose defence they were made, and who were anxious to possess a sort of
record of their vindication. But none of these motives existed in the
present case. The matter was of no importance or difficulty; and we know
that Marcellus, who was a stern republican, was not at all gratified by
the intervention of the senators, or conciliated by the clemency of Cæsar.
As to internal evidence, deduced from the oration, Wolf admits, that there
are interspersed in it some Ciceronian sentences; and how otherwise could
the learned have been so egregiously deceived? but the resemblance is more
in the varnish of the style than in the substance. We have the words
rather than the thoughts of Cicero; and the rounding of his periods,
without their energy and argumentative connection. He adduces, also, many
instances of phrases unusual among the classics, and of conceits which
betray the rhetorician or sophist. His extolling the act of that day on
which Cæsar pardoned Marcellus as higher than all his warlike exploits,
would but have raised a smile on the lips of the Dictator; and the
slighting way in which the cause of the republic and Pompey are mentioned,
is totally different from the manner in which Cicero expressed himself on
these delicate topics, even in presence of Cæsar, in his authentic
orations for Deiotarus and Ligarius.

It is evident, at first view, that many of Wolf’s observations are
hypercritical; and that in his argument concerning the encomiums on Cæsar,
and the overrated importance of his clemency to Marcellus, he does not
make sufficient allowance for Cicero’s habit of exaggeration, and the
momentary enthusiasm produced by one of those transactions,

  —— “Quæ, dum geruntur,
  Percellunt animos.” ——

Accordingly, in the year following that of Wolf’s edition, Olaus Wormius
published, at Copenhagen, a vindication of the authenticity of this
speech. To the argument adduced from Plutarch, he answers, that some
months had elapsed between the orations for Marcellus and Ligarius, which
might readily be called a long period, by one accustomed to hear Cicero
harangue almost daily in the Senate or Forum. Besides, the phrase of
Plutarch, λεγοντος may mean pleading for some one, which was not the
nature of the speech for Marcellus. As to the motive which led to write
and publish the oration, Cicero, above all men, was delighted with his own
productions, and nothing can be more probable than that he should have
wished to preserve the remembrance of that memorable day, which he calls
in his letters, _diem illam pulcherrimam_. It was natural to send the
oration to Marcellus, in order to hasten his return to Rome, and it must
have been an acceptable thing to Cæsar, thus to record his fearlessness
and benignity. With regard to the manner in which Pompey and the
republican party are talked of, it is evident, from his letters, that
Cicero was disgusted with the political measures of that faction, that he
wholly disapproved of their plan of the campaign, and foreseeing a renewal
of Sylla’s proscriptions in the triumph of the aristocratic power, he did
not exaggerate in so highly extolling the humanity of Cæsar.

The arguments of Wormius were expanded and illustrated by Weiske, _In
Commentario perpetuo et pleno in Orat. Ciceronis pro Marcello_, published
at Leipsic, in 1805(344), while, on the other hand, Spalding, in his _De
Oratione pro Marcello Disputatio_, published in 1808, supported the
opinions of Wolfius.

The controversy was in this state, and was considered as involved in much
doubt and obscurity, when Aug. Jacob, in an academical exercise, printed
at Halle and Berlin, in 1813, and entitled _De Oratione quæ inscribitur
pro Marcello, Ciceroni vel abjudicata vel adjudicata, Quæstio novaque
conjectura_, adopted a middle course. Finding such dissimilarity in the
different passages of the oration, some being most powerful, elegant, and
beautiful, while others were totally futile and frigid, he was led to
believe that part had actually flowed from the lips of Cicero, but that
much had been subsequently interpolated by some rhetorician or declaimer.
He divides his whole treatise into four heads, which comprehend all the
various points agitated on the subject of this oration: 1. The testimony
of different authors tending to prove the authenticity or spuriousness of
the production: 2. The history of the period, with which every genuine
oration must necessarily concur: 3. The genius and manner of Cicero, from
which no one of his orations could be entirely remote: 4. The style and
phraseology, which must be correct and classical. In the prosecution of
his inquiry in these different aspects of the subject, the author
successively reviews the opinions and judgments of his predecessors,
sometimes agreeing with Wolf and his followers, at other times, and more
frequently, with their opposers. He thinks that the much-contested phrase
_pluribus verbis_, may mean a long oration, as Cicero elsewhere talks of
having pleaded for Cluentius, _pluribus verbis_, though the speech in his
defence consists of 58 chapters. Besides, Cicero only says that he had
_returned thanks_ to Cæsar, _pluribus verbis_. Now, the whole speech does
not consist of thanks to Cæsar, being partly occupied in removing the
suspicions which he entertained of Marcellus. With regard to encomiums on
Cæsar, which Spalding has characterized as abject and fulsome, and totally
different from the delicate compliments addressed to him in the oration
for Deiotarus or Ligarius, Jacob reminds his readers that the harangues
could have no resemblance to each other, the latter being pleadings in
behalf of the accused, and the former a professed panegyric. Nor can any
one esteem the eulogies on Cæsar too extravagant for Cicero, when he
remembers the terms in which the orator had formerly spoken of Roscius,
Archias, and Pompey.

Schütz, the late German editor of Cicero, has subscribed to the opinion of
Wolf, and has published the speech for Marcellus, along with the other
four doubtful harangues at the end of the genuine orations.

But supposing that these five contested speeches are spurious, a
sufficient number of genuine orations remain to enable us to distinguish
the character of Cicero’s eloquence. Ambitious from his youth of the
honours attending a fine speaker, he early travelled to Greece, where he
accumulated all the stores of knowledge and rules of art, which could be
gathered from the rhetoricians, historians, and philosophers, of that
intellectual land. While he thus extracted and imbibed the copiousness of
Plato, the sweetness of Isocrates, and force of Demosthenes, he, at the
same time, imbued his mind with a thorough knowledge of the laws,
constitution, antiquities, and literature, of his native country. Nor did
he less study the peculiar temper, the jealousies, and enmities of the
Roman people, both as a nation and as individuals, without a knowledge of
which, his eloquence would have been unavailing in the Forum or Comitia,
where so much was decided by favouritism and cabal. By these means he
ruled the passions and deliberations of his countrymen with almost
resistless sway—upheld the power of the Senate—stayed the progress of
tyranny—drove the audacious Catiline from Rome—directed the feelings of
the state in favour of Pompey—shook the strong mind of Cæsar—and kindled a
flame by which Antony had been nearly consumed. But the main secret of his
success lay in the warmth and intensity of his feelings. His heart swelled
with patriotism, and was dilated with the most magnificent conceptions of
the glory of Rome. Though it throbbed with the fondest anticipations of
posthumous fame, the momentary acclaim of a multitude was a chord to which
it daily and most readily vibrated; while, at the same time, his high
conceptions of oratory counteracted the bad effect which this exuberant
vanity might otherwise have produced. Thus, when two speakers were
employed in the same cause, though Cicero was the junior, to him was
assigned the peroration, in which he surpassed all his contemporaries; and
he obtained this pre-eminence not so much on account of his superior
genius or knowledge of law, as because he was more moved and affected
himself, without which he would never have moved or affected his judges.

With such natural endowments, and such acquirements, he early took his
place as the refuge and support of his fellow-citizens in the Forum, as
the arbiter of the deliberations of the Senate, and as the most powerful
defender from the Rostrum of the political interests of the commonwealth.

Cicero and Demosthenes have been frequently compared. Suidas says, that
one Cicilus, a native of Sicily, whose works are now lost, was the first
to institute the parallel, and they have been subsequently compared, in
due form, by Plutarch and Quintilian, and, (as far as relates to
sublimity,) by Longinus, among the ancients; and among the moderns, by
Herder, in his _Philosophical History of Man_, and by Jenisch, in a German
work devoted to the subject(345). Rapin, and all other French critics,
with the exception of Fenelon, give the preference to Cicero.

From what has already been said, it is sufficiently evident that Cicero
had not to contend with any of those obstructions from nature which
Demosthenes encountered; and his youth, in place of being spent like that
of the Greek orator, in remedying and supplying defects, was unceasingly
employed in pursuit of the improvements auxiliary to his art. But if
Cicero derived superior advantages from nature, Demosthenes possessed
other advantages, in the more advanced progress of his country in
refinement and letters, at the era in which he appeared. Greek literature
had reached its full perfection before the birth of Demosthenes, but
Cicero was, in a great measure, himself the creator of the literature of
Rome, and no prose writer of eminence had yet existed, after whom he could
model his phraseology. In other external circumstances, they were placed
in situations not very dissimilar. But Cicero had a wider, and perhaps
more beautiful field, in which to expatiate and to exercise his powers.
The wide extent of the Roman empire, the striking vices and virtues of its
citizens, the memorable events of its history, supplied an endless variety
of great and interesting topics; whereas many of the orations of
Demosthenes are on subjects unworthy of his talents. Their genius and
capacity were in many respects the same. Their eloquence was of that great
and comprehensive kind, which dignifies every subject, and gives it all
the force and beauty it is capable of receiving. “I judge Cicero and
Demosthenes,” says Quintilian, “to be alike in most of the great qualities
they possessed. They were alike in design, in the manner of dividing their
subject, and preparing the minds of the audience; in short, in every thing
belonging to invention.” But while there was much similarity in their
talents, there was a wide difference in their tempers and characters.
Demosthenes was of an austere, harsh, melancholy disposition, obstinate
and resolute in all his undertakings: Cicero was of a lively, flexible,
and wavering humour. This seems the chief cause of the difference in their
eloquence; but the contrasts are too obvious, and have been too often
exhibited to be here displayed. No person wishes to be told, for the
twentieth time, that Demosthenes assumes a higher tone, and is more
serious, vehement, and impressive, than Cicero; while Cicero is more
insinuating, graceful, and affecting: That the Greek orator struck on the
soul by the force of his argument, and ardour of his expressions; while
the Roman made his way to the heart, alternately moving and allaying the
passions of his hearers, by all the arts of rhetoric, and by conforming to
their opinions and prejudices.

Cicero was not only a great orator, but has also left the fullest
instructions and the most complete historical details on the art which he
so gloriously practised. His precepts are contained in the dialogue _De
Oratore_ and the _Orator_; while the history of Roman eloquence is
comprehended in the dialogue entitled, _Brutus, sive De Claris

In his youth, Cicero had written and published some undigested
observations on the subject of eloquence; but considering these as
unworthy of the character and experience he afterwards acquired, he
applied himself to write a treatise on the art which might be more
commensurate to his matured talents. He himself mentions several Sicilians
and Greeks, who had written on oratory(346). But the models he chiefly
followed, were Aristotle, in his books of rhetoric(347); and Isocrates,
the whole of whose theories and precepts he has comprehended in his
rhetorical works. He has thrown his ideas on the subject into the form of
dialogue or conference, a species of composition, which, however much
employed by the Greeks, had not hitherto been attempted at Rome. This mode
of writing presented many advantages: By adopting it he avoided that
dogmatical air, which a treatise from him on such a subject would
necessarily have worn, and was enabled to instruct without dictating
rules. Dialogue, too, relieved monotony of style, by affording opportunity
of varying it according to the characters of the different speakers—it
tempered the austerity of precept by the cheerfulness of conversation, and
developed each opinion with the vivacity and fulness naturally employed in
the oral discussion of a favourite topic. Add to this, the facility which
it presented of paying an acceptable compliment to the friends who were
introduced as interlocutors, and its susceptibility of agreeable
description of the scenes in which the persons of the dialogue were
placed—a species of embellishment, for which ample scope was afforded by
the numerous villas of Cicero, situated in the most beautiful spots of
Italy, and in every variety of landscape, from the Alban heights to the
shady banks of the Liris, or glittering shore of Baiæ. As a method of
communicating knowledge, however, (except in discussions which are
extremely simple, and susceptible of much delineation of character,) the
mode of dialogue is, in many respects, extremely inconvenient. “By the
interruptions which are given,” says the author of the life of Tasso, in
his remarks on the dialogues of that poet,—“By the interruptions which are
given, if a dialogue be at all dramatic—by the preparations and
transitions, order and precision must, in a great degree, be sacrificed.
In reasoning, as much brevity must be used as is consistent with
perspicuity; but in dialogue, so much verbiage must be employed, that the
scope of the argument is generally lost. The replies, too, to the
objections of the opponent, seem rather arguments _ad hominem_, than
possessed of the value of abstract truth; so that the reader is perplexed
and bewildered, and concludes the inquiry, beholding one of the characters
puzzled, indeed, and perhaps subdued, but not at all satisfied that the
battle might not have been better fought, and more victorious arguments

The dialogue _De Oratore_ was written in the year 698, when Cicero,
disgusted with the political dissensions of the capital, had retired,
during part of the summer, to the country: But, according to the
supposition of the piece, the dialogue occurred in 662. The author
addresses it to his brother in a dedication, strongly expressive of his
fondness for study; and, after some general observations on the difficulty
of the oratoric art, and the numerous accomplishments requisite to form a
complete orator, he introduces his dialogue, or rather the three
dialogues, of which the performance consists. Dialogue writing may be
executed either as direct conversation, in which none but the speakers
appear, and where, as in the scenes of a play, no information is afforded
except from what the persons of the drama say to each other; or as the
recital of the conversation, where the author himself appears, and after a
preliminary detail concerning the persons of the dialogue, and the
circumstances of time and place in which it was held, proceeds to give an
account of what passed in the discourse at which he had himself been
present, or the import of which was communicated to him by some one who
had attended and borne his part in the conference. It is this latter
method that has been followed by Cicero, in his dialogues _De Oratore_. He
mentions in his own person, that during the celebration of certain
festivals at Rome, the orator Crassus retired to his villa at Tusculum,
one of the most delightful retreats in Italy, whither he was accompanied
by Antony, his most intimate friend in private life, but most formidable
rival in the Forum; and by his father-in-law, Scævola, who was the
greatest jurisconsult of his age, and whose house in the city was resorted
to as an oracle, by men of the highest rank and dignity. Crassus was also
attended by Cotta and Sulpicius, at that time the two most promising
orators of Rome, the former of whom afterwards related to Cicero (for the
author is not supposed to be personally present) the conversation which
passed among these distinguished men, as they reclined on the benches
under a planetree, that grew on one of the walks surrounding the villa. It
is not improbable, that some such conversation may have been actually
held, and that Cicero, notwithstanding his age, and the authority derived
from his rhetorical reputation, may have chosen to avail himself of the
circumstance, in order to shelter his opinions under those of two ancient
masters, who, previously to his own time, were regarded as the chief
organs of Roman eloquence.

Crassus, in order to dissipate the gloom which had been occasioned by a
serious and even melancholy conversation, on the situation of public
affairs, turned the discourse on oratory. The sentiments which he
expresses on this subject are supposed to be those which Cicero himself
entertained. In order to excite the two young men, Cotta and Sulpicius, to
prosecute with ardour the career they had so successfully commenced, he
first enlarges on the utility and excellence of oratory; and then,
proceeding to the object which he had principally in view, he contends
that an almost universal knowledge is essentially requisite to perfection
in this noble art. He afterwards enumerates those branches of knowledge
which the orator should acquire, and the purposes to which he should apply
them: he inculcates the necessity of an acquaintance with the antiquities,
manners, and constitution of the republic—the constant exercise of written
composition—the study of gesture at the theatre—the translation of the
Greek orators—reading and commenting on the philosophers, reading and
criticizing the poets. The question hence arises, whether a knowledge of
the civil law be serviceable to the orator? Crassus attempts to prove its
utility from various examples of cases, where its principles required to
be elucidated; as also from the intrinsic nobleness of the study itself,
and the superior excellence of the Roman law to all other systems of
jurisprudence. Antony, who was a mere practical pleader, considered
philosophy and civil law as useless to the orator, being foreign to the
real business of life. He conceived that eloquence might subsist without
them, and that with regard to the other accomplishments enumerated by
Crassus, they were totally distinct from the proper office and duty of a
public speaker. It is accordingly agreed, that on the following day Antony
should state his notions of the acquirements appropriate to an orator.
Previous to the commencement of the second conversation, the party is
joined by Catulus and Julius Cæsar, (grand-uncle to the Dictator,) two of
the most eminent orators of the time, the former being distinguished by
his elegance and purity of diction, the latter by his turn for pleasantry.
Having met Scævola, on his way from Tusculum to the villa of Lælius, and
having heard from him of the interesting conversation which had been held,
the remainder of which had been deferred till the morrow, they came over
from a neighbouring villa to partake of the instruction and entertainment.
In their presence, and in that of Crassus, Antony maintains his favourite
system, that eloquence is not an art, because it depends not on knowledge.
Imitation of good models, practice, and minute attention to each
particular case, which should be scrupulously examined in all its
bearings, are laid down by him as the foundations of forensic eloquence.
The great objects of an orator being, in the first place, to recommend
himself to his clients, and then to prepossess the audience and judges in
their favour, Antony enlarges on the practice of the bar, in conciliating,
informing, moving, and undeceiving those on whom the decision of causes
depends; all which is copiously illustrated by examples drawn from
particular questions, which had occurred at Rome in cases of proof, strict
law, or equity. The chief weight and importance is attributed to moving
the springs of the passions. Among the methods of conciliation and
prepossession, humour and drollery are particularly mentioned. Cæsar being
the oratorical wit of the party, is requested to give some examples of
forensic jests. Those he affords are for the most part wretched quibbles,
or personal reflections on the opposite parties, and their witnesses. The
length of the dissertation, however, on this topic, shows the important
share it was considered as occupying among the qualifications of the
ancient orator.

Antony having thus explained the mechanical part of the orator’s duty, it
is agreed, that in the afternoon Crassus should enter on the
embellishments of rhetoric. In the execution of the task assigned him, he
treats of all that relates to what may be called the ornamental part of
oratory—pronunciation, elocution, harmony of periods, metaphors,
sentiments, action, (which he terms the predominant power in eloquence,)
expression of countenance, modulation of voice, and all those properties
which impart a finished grace and dignity to a public discourse.

Cicero himself highly approved of this treatise on Oratory, and his
friends regarded it as one of his best productions. The style of the
dialogue is copious, without being redundant, as is sometimes the case in
the orations. It is admirable for the diversity of character in the
speakers, the general conduct of the piece, and the variety of matter it
contains. It comprehends, I believe, everything valuable in the Greek
works on rhetoric, and also many excellent observations, suggested by the
author’s long experience, acquired in the numerous causes, both public and
private, which he conducted in the Forum, and the important discussions in
which he swayed the counsels of the Senate. As a composition, however, I
cannot consider the dialogue _De Oratore_ altogether faultless. It is too
little dramatic for a dialogue, and occasionally it expands into continued
dissertation; while, at the same time, by adopting the form of dialogue, a
rambling and desultory effect is produced in the discussion of a subject,
where, of all others, method and close connection were most desirable.
There is also frequently an assumed liveliness of manner, which seems
forced and affected in these grave and consular orators.

The dialogue entitled _Brutus, sive De Claris Oratoribus_, was written,
and is also feigned to have taken place, after Cæsar had attained to
sovereign power, though he was still engaged in the war against Scipio in
Africa. The conference is supposed to be held among Cicero, Atticus, and
Brutus, (from whom it has received its name,) near a statue of Plato,
which stood in the pleasure-grounds of Cicero’s mansion, at Rome.

Brutus having experienced the clemency of the conqueror, whom he
afterwards sacrificed, left Italy, in order to amuse himself with an
agreeable tour through the cities of Greece and Asia. In a few months he
returned to Rome, resigned himself to the calm studies of history and
rhetoric, and passed many of his leisure hours in the society of Cicero
and Atticus. The first part of the dialogue, among these three friends,
contains a few slight, but masterly sketches, of the most celebrated
speakers who had flourished in Greece; but these are not so much mentioned
with an historical design, as to support by examples the author’s
favourite proposition, that perfection in oratory requires proficiency in
all the arts. The dialogue is chiefly occupied with details concerning
Roman orators, from the earliest ages to Cicero’s own time. He first
mentions such speakers as Appius Claudius and Fabricius, of whom he knew
nothing certain, whose harangues had never been committed to writing, or
were no longer extant, and concerning whose powers of eloquence he could
only derive conjectures, from the effects which they produced on the
people and Senate, as recorded in the ancient annals. The second class of
orators are those, like Cato the Censor, and the Gracchi, whose speeches
still survived, or of whom he could speak traditionally, from the report
of persons still living who had heard them. A great deal of what is said
concerning this set of orators, rests on the authority of Hortensius, from
whom Cicero derived his information(348). The third class are the deceased
contemporaries of the author, whom he had himself seen and heard; and he
only departs from his rule of mentioning no living orator at the special
request of Brutus, who expresses an anxiety to learn his opinion of the
merits of Marcellus and Julius Cæsar. Towards the conclusion, he gives
some account of his own rise and progress, of the education he had
received, and the various methods which he had practised in order to reach
those heights of eloquence he had attained.

This work is certainly of the greatest service to the history of Roman
eloquence; and it likewise throws considerable light on the civil
transactions of the republic, as the author generally touches on the
principal incidents in the lives of those eminent orators whom he
mentions. It also gives additional weight and authority to the oratorical
precepts contained in his other works, since it shows, that they were
founded, not on any speculative theories, but on a minute observation of
the actual faults and excellencies of the most renowned speakers of his
age. Yet, with all these advantages, it is not so entertaining as might be
expected. The author mentions too many orators, and says too little of
each, which gives his treatise the appearance rather of a dry catalogue,
than of a literary essay, or agreeable dialogue. He acknowledges, indeed,
in the course of it, that he had inserted in his list of orators many who
possessed little claim to that appellation, since he designed to give an
account of all the Romans, without exception, who had made it their study
to excel in the arts of eloquence.

The _Orator_, addressed to Brutus, and written at his solicitation, was
intended to complete the subjects examined in the dialogues, _De Oratore_,
and _De Claris Oratoribus_. It contains the description of what Cicero
conceived necessary to form a perfect orator,—a character which, indeed,
nowhere existed, but of which he had formed the idea in his own
imagination. He admits, that Attic eloquence approached the nearest to
perfection; he pauses, however, to correct a prevailing error, that the
only genuine Atticism is a correct, plain, and slender discourse,
distinguished by purity of style, and delicacy of taste, but void of all
ornaments and redundance. In the time of Cicero, there was a class of
orators, including several men of parts and learning, and of the first
quality, who, while they acknowledged the superiority of his genius, yet
censured his diction as not truely Attic, some calling it loose and
languid, others tumid and exuberant. These speakers affected a minute and
fastidious correctness, pointed sentences, short and concise periods,
without a syllable to spare in them—as if the perfection of oratory
consisted in frugality of words, and the crowding of sentiments into the
narrowest possible compass. The chief patrons of this taste were Brutus
and Licinius Calvus. Cicero, while he admitted that correctness was
essential to eloquence, contended, that a nervous, copious, animated, and
even ornate style, may be truely Attic; since, otherwise, Lysias would be
the only Attic orator, to the exclusion of Isocrates, and even Demosthenes
himself. He accordingly opposed the system of these ultra-Attic orators,
whom he represents as often deserted in the midst of their harangues; for
although their style of rhetoric might please the ear of a critic, it was
not of that sublime, pathetic, or sonorous species, of which the end was
not only to instruct, but to move an audience,—whose excitement and
admiration form the true criterions of eloquence.

The remainder of the treatise is occupied with the three things to be
attended to by an orator,—what he is to say, in what order his topics are
to be arranged, and how they are to be expressed. In discussing the last
point, the author enters very fully into the collocation of words, and
that measured cadence, which, to a certain extent, prevails even in
prose;—a subject on which Brutus wished particularly to be instructed, and
which he accordingly treats in detail.

This tract is rather confusedly arranged; and the dissertation on prosaic
harmony, though curious, appears to us somewhat too minute in its object
for the attention of an orator. Cicero, however, set a high value on this
production; and, in a letter to Lepta, he declares, that whatever judgment
he possessed on the subject of oratory, he had thrown it all into that
work, and was ready to stake his reputation on its merits(349).

The _Topica_ may also be considered as another work on the subject of
rhetoric. Aristotle, as is well known, wrote a book with this title. The
lawyer, Caius Trebatius, a friend of Cicero, being curious to know the
contents and import of the Greek work, which he had accidentally seen in
Cicero’s Tusculan library, but being deterred from its study by the
obscurity of the writer, (though it certainly is not one of the most
difficult of Aristotle’s productions,) requested Cicero to draw up this
extract, or commentary, in order to explain the various _topics_, or
common-places, which are the foundation of rhetorical argument. Of this
request Cicero was some time afterwards reminded by the view of Velia,
(the marine villa of Trebatius,) during a coasting voyage which he
undertook, with the intention of retiring to Greece, in consequence of the
troubles which followed the death of Cæsar. Though he had neither
Aristotle nor any other book at hand to assist him, he drew it up from
memory as he sailed along, and finished it before he arrived at Rhegium,
whence he sent it to Trebatius(350).

This treatise shows, that Cicero had most diligently studied Aristotle’s
_Topics_. It is not, however, a translation, but an extract or explanation
of that work; and, as it was addressed to a lawyer, he has taken his
examples chiefly from the civil law of the Romans, which he conceived
Trebatius would understand better than illustrations drawn, like those of
Aristotle, from the philosophy of the Greeks.

It is impossible sufficiently to admire Cicero’s industry and love of
letters, which neither the inconveniences of a sea voyage, which he always
disliked, nor the harassing thoughts of leaving Italy at such a
conjuncture, could divert from the calm and regular pursuit of his
favourite studies.

The work _De Partitione Rhetorica_, is written in the form of a dialogue
between Cicero and his son; the former replying to the questions of the
latter concerning the principles and doctrine of eloquence. The tract now
entitled _De Optimo genere Oratorum_, was originally intended as a preface
to a translation which Cicero had made from the orations of Æschines and
Demosthenes in the case of Ctesipho, in which an absurd and trifling
matter of ceremony has become the basis of an immortal controversy. In
this preface he reverts to the topic on which he had touched in the
_Orator_—the mistake which prevailed in Rome, that Attic eloquence was
limited to that accurate, dry, and subtle manner of expression, adopted in
the orations of Lysias. It was to correct this error, that Cicero
undertook a free translation of the two master-pieces of Athenian
eloquence; the one being an example of vehement and energetic, the other
of pathetic and ornamental oratory. It is probable that Cicero was
prompted to these repeated inquiries concerning the genuine character of
Attic eloquence, from the reproach frequently cast on his own discourses
by Brutus, Calvus, and other sterile, but, as they supposed themselves,
truely Attic orators, that his harangues were not in the Greek, but rather
in the Asiatic taste,—that is, nerveless, florid, and redundant.

It appears, that in Rome, as well as in Greece, oratory was generally
considered as divided into three different styles—the Attic, Asiatic, and
Rhodian. Quintilian, at least, so classes the various sorts of oratory in
a passage, in which he also shortly characterizes them by those attributes
from which they were chiefly distinguishable. “Mihi autem,” says he,
“orationis differentiam fecisse et dicentium et audientium naturæ
videntur, quod _Attici_ limati quidem et emuncti nihil inane aut redundans
ferebant. _Asiana_ gens, tumidior alioquin et jactantior, vaniore etiam
dicendi gloria inflata est. Tertium mox qui hæc dividebant adjecerunt
genus _Rhodium_, quod velut medium esse, atque ex utroque mixtum
volunt(351).” Brutus and Licinius Calvus, as we have seen, affected the
slender, polished, and somewhat barren conciseness of Attic eloquence. The
speeches of Hortensius, and a few of Cicero’s earlier harangues, as that
for Sextus Roscius, afforded examples of the copious, florid, and
sometimes tumid style of Asiatic oratory. The latter orations of Cicero,
refined by his study and experience, were, I presume, nearly in the
Rhodian taste. That celebrated school of eloquence had been founded by
Æschines, the rival of Demosthenes, when, being banished from his native
city by the influence of his competitor, he had retired to the island of
Rhodes. Inferior to Demosthenes in power of argument and force of
expression, he surpassed him in copiousness and ornament. The school which
he founded, and which subsisted for centuries after his death, admitted
not the luxuries of Asiatic diction; and although the most ornamental of
Greece, continued ever true to the principles of its great Athenian
master. A chief part of the two years during which Cicero travelled in
Greece and Asia was spent at Rhodes, and his principal teacher of
eloquence at Rome was Molo the Rhodian, from whom he likewise afterwards
received lessons at Rhodes. The great difficulty which that rhetorician
encountered in the instruction of his promising disciple, was, as Cicero
himself informs us, the effort of containing within its due and proper
channel the overflowings of a youthful imagination(352). Cicero’s natural
fecundity, and the bent of his own inclination, preserved him from the
risk of dwindling into ultra-Attic slenderness; but it is not improbable,
that from the example of Hortensius and his own copiousness, he might have
swelled out to Asiatic pomp, had not his exuberance been early reduced by
the seasonable and salutary discipline of the Rhodian.

Cicero, in his youth, also wrote the _Rhetorica, seu de Inventione
Rhetorica_, of which there are still extant two books, treating of the
part of rhetoric that relates to invention. This is the work mentioned by
Cicero, in the commencement of the treatise _De Oratore_, as having been
published by him in his youth. It is generally believed to have been
written in 666, when Cicero was only twenty years of age, and to have
originally contained four books. Schütz, however, the German editor of
Cicero, is of opinion, that he never wrote, or at least, never published,
more than the two books we still possess.

A number of sentences in these two books of the _Rhetorica, seu de
Inventione_, coincide with passages in the _Rhetoricum ad Herennium_,
which is usually published along with the works of Cicero, but is not of
his composition. Purgold thinks that the _Rhetor. ad Herennium_ was
published first, and that Cicero copied from it those corresponding
passages(353). It appears, however, a little singular, that Cicero should
have borrowed so largely, and without acknowledgment, from a recent
publication of one of his contemporaries. To account for this difficulty
some critics have supposed, that the anonymous author of the _Rhetor. ad
Herennium_ was a rhetorician, whose lectures Cicero had attended, and had
inserted in his own work notes taken by him from these prelections, before
they were edited by their author(354). Some, again, have imagined, that
Cicero and the anonymous author were fellow-students under the same
rhetorician, and that both had thus adopted his ideas and expressions;
while others believe, that both copied from a common Greek original. But
then, in opposition to this last theory, it has been remarked, that the
Latin words employed by both are frequently the same; and there are the
same references to the history of Rome, and of its ancient native poets,
with which no Greek writer can be supposed to have had much acquaintance.

Who the anonymous author of the _Rhetor. ad Herennium_ actually was, has
been the subject of much learned controversy, and the point remains still
undetermined. Priscian repeatedly cites it as the work of Cicero; whence
it was believed to be the production of Cicero by Laurentius Valla, George
of Trebizond, Politian, and other great restorers of learning in the
fifteenth century; and this opinion was from time to time, though feebly,
revived by less considerable writers in succeeding periods. It seems now,
however, entirely abandoned; but, while all critics and commentators agree
in _abjudicating_ the work from Cicero, they differ widely as to the
person to whom the production should be assigned. Aldus Manutius,
Sigonius, Muretus, and Riccobonus, were of opinion, that it was written by
Q. Cornificius the elder, who was Cæsar’s Quæstor during the civil war,
and subsequently his lieutenant in Africa, of which province, after the
Dictator’s death, he kept possession for the republican party, till he was
slain in an engagement with one of the generals of Octavius. The judgment
of these scholars is chiefly founded on some passages in Quintilian, who
attributes to Cornificius several critical and philological definitions
which coincide with those introduced in the _Rhetorica ad Herennium_.
Gerard Vossius, however, has adopted an opinion, that if at all written by
a person of that name, it must have been by the younger Cornificius(355),
who was born in 662, and, having followed the party of Octavius, was
appointed Consul by favour of the Triumvirate in 718. Raphael Regius also
seems inclined to attribute the work to Cornificius the son(356). But if
the style be considered too remote from that of the age of Cicero, to be
ascribed to any of his contemporaries, he conceives it may be plausibly
conjectured to have been the production of Timolaus, one of the thirty
tyrants in the reign of Gallienus. Timolaus had a brother called
Herenianus, to whom his work may have been dedicated, and he thinks that
_Timolaus ad Herenianum_ may have been corrupted into _Tullius ad
Herennium_. J. C. Scaliger attributes the work to Gallio, a rhetorician in
the time of Nero(357)—an opinion which obtained currency in consequence of
the discovery of a MS. copy of the _Rhetorica ad Herennium_, with the name
of Gallio prefixed to it(358).

Sufficient scope being thus left for new conjectures, Schütz, the German
editor of Cicero, has formed a new hypothesis on the subject. Cicero’s
tract _De Inventione_ having been written in his early youth, the period
of its composition may be placed about 672. From various circumstances,
which he discusses at great length, Schütz concludes that the _Rhetorica
ad Herennium_ was the work which was first written, and consequently
previous to 672. Farther, the _Rhetorica ad Herennium_ must have been
written subsequently to 665, as it mentions the death of Sulpicius, which
happened in that year. The time thus limited corresponds very exactly with
the age of M. Ant. Gnipho, who was born in the year 640; and him Schütz
considers as the real author of the _Rhetorica ad Herennium_. This he
attempts to prove, by showing, that many things which Suetonius relates of
Gnipho, in his work _De Claris Rhetoribus_, agree with what the author of
the _Rhetorica ad Herennium_ delivers concerning himself in the course of
that production. It is pretty well established, that both Gnipho and the
anonymous author of the _Rhetorica ad Herennium_ were free-born, had good
memories, understood Greek, and were voluminous authors. It is
unfortunate, however, that these characteristics, except the first, were
probably common to almost all rhetoricians; and Schütz does not allude to
any of the more particular circumstances mentioned by Suetonius, as that
Gnipho was a Gaul by birth, that he studied at Alexandria, and that he
taught rhetoric in the house of the father of Julius Cæsar.

Cicero, who was unquestionably the first orator, was as decidedly the most
learned philosopher of Rome; and while he eclipsed all his contemporaries
in eloquence, he acquired, towards the close of his life, no small share
of reputation as a writer on ethics and metaphysics. His wisdom, however,
was founded entirely on that of the Greeks, and his philosophic writings
were chiefly occupied with the discussion of questions which had been
agitated in the Athenian schools, and from them had been transmitted to
Italy. The disquisition respecting the certainty or uncertainty of human
knowledge, with that concerning the supreme good and evil, were the
inquiries which he chiefly pursued; and the notions which he entertained
of these subjects, were all derived from the Portico, Academy, or Lyceum.

The leading principles of the chief philosophic sects of Greece flowed
originally from Socrates—

  —— “From whose mouth issued forth
  Mellifluous streams, that watered all the schools
  Of Academics, Old and New(359);”

and who has been termed by Cicero(360) the perennial source of philosophy,
much more justly than Homer has been styled the fountain of all poetry.
Though somewhat addicted to them from education and early habit, Socrates
withdrew philosophy from those obscure and intricate physical inquiries,
in which she had been involved by the founders and followers of the Ionic
school, and from the subtle paradoxical hypotheses of the sophists who
established themselves at Athens in the time of Pericles. It being his
chief aim to improve the condition of mankind, and to incline them to
discharge the several duties of the stations in which they had been
placed, this moral teacher directed his examinations to the nature of vice
and virtue, of good and evil. To accomplish the great object he had in
view, his practice was to hazard no opinion of his own, but to refute
prevalent errors and prejudices, by involving the pretenders to knowledge
in manifest absurdity, while he himself, as if in contrast to the
presumption of the sophists, always professed that he knew nothing. This
confession of ignorance, which amounted to no more than a general
acknowledgment of the imbecility of the human understanding, and was
merely designed to convince his followers of the futility of those
speculations which do not rest on the firm basis of experience, or to
teach them modesty in their inquiries, and diffidence in their assertions,
having been interpreted in a different sense from that in which it was
originally intended, gave rise to the celebrated dispute concerning the
certainty of knowledge.

The various founders of the philosophic sects of Greece, imbibed that
portion of the doctrines of Socrates which suited their own tastes and
views, and sometimes perverted his high authority even to dogmatical or
sophistical purposes. It is from Plato we have derived the fullest account
of his system; but this illustrious disciple had also greatly extended his
knowledge by his voyages to Egypt, Sicily, and Magna Græcia. Hence in the
Academy which he founded, (while, as to morals, he continued to follow
Socrates,) he superadded the metaphysical doctrines of Pythagoras; in
physics, which Socrates had excluded from philosophy, he adopted the
system of Heraclitus; and he borrowed his dialectics from Euclid of
Megara. The recondite and _eisoteric_ tenets of Pythagoras—the obscure
principles of Heraclitus—the superhuman knowledge of Empedocles, and the
sacred _Arcana_ of Egyptian priests, have diffused over the page of Plato
a majesty and mysticism very different from what we suppose to have been
the familiar tone of instruction employed by his great master, of whose
style at least, and manner, Xenophon probably presents us with a more
faithful image.

In Greece, the heads of sects were succeeded in their schools or academies
as in a domain or inheritance. Speusippus, the nephew of Plato, continued
to deliver lectures in the Academy, as did also four other successive
masters, Xenocrates, Polemo, Crates, and Crantor, all of whom retained the
name of Academics, and taught the doctrines of their master without
mixture or corruption. But on the appointment of Xenocrates to the chair
of the Academy, Aristotle, the most eminent of Plato’s scholars, had
betaken himself to another Gymnasium, called the Lyceum, which became the
resort of the Peripatetics. The commanding genius of their founder
enlarged the sphere of knowledge and intellect, devised the rules of
logic, and traced out the principles of rhetorical and poetical criticism:
But the sect which he exalted to unrivalled celebrity, though differing in
name from the contemporary Academics, coincided with them generally in all
the principal points of physical and moral philosophy, and particularly in
those concerning which the Romans chiefly inquired. “Though they differed
in terms,” says Cicero, “they agreed in things(361), and those persons are
grossly mistaken who imagine that the old Academics, as they are called,
are any other than the Peripatetics.” Accordingly, we find that both
believed in the superintending care of Providence, the immortality of the
soul, and a future state of reward and punishment. The supreme good they
placed in virtue, with a sufficiency of the chief external advantages of
nature, as health, riches, and reputation. Such enjoyments they taught,
when united with virtue, make the felicity of man perfect; but if
virtuous, he is capable of being happy, (though not entirely so,) without

Plato, in his mode of communicating instruction, and promulgating his
opinions, had not strictly adhered to the method of his master Socrates.
He held the concurrence of memory, with a recent impression, to be a
criterion of truth, and he taught that opinions might be formed from the
comparison of a present with a recollected perception. But his successors,
both in the Academy and Lyceum, departed from the Socratic method still
more widely. They renounced the maxim, of affirming nothing; and instead
of explaining everything with a doubting reserve, they converted
philosophy, as it were, into an art, and formed a system of opinions,
which they delivered to their disciples as the peculiar tenets of their
sect. They inculcated the belief, that our knowledge has its origin in the
senses—that the senses themselves do not judge of truth, but the mind
through them beholds things as they really are—that is, it perceives the
ideas which always subsist in the same state, without change; so that the
senses, through the medium of the mind, may be relied on for the
ascertainment of truth. Such was the state of opinions and instruction in
the Academy when Arcesilaus, who was the sixth master of that school from
Plato, and in his youth had heard the lessons of Pyrrho the sceptic,
resolved to reform the dogmatic system into which his predecessors had
fallen, and to restore, as he conceived, in all its purity, the Socratic
system of affirming nothing with certainty. This founder of the New, or
Middle Academy as it is sometimes called, denied even the certain truth of
the proposition that we know nothing, which Socrates had reserved as an
exception to his general principle. While admitting that there is an
actual certainty in the nature of things, he rejected the evidence both of
the senses and reason as positive testimony; and as he denied that there
existed any infallible criterion of truth or falsehood, he maintained that
no wise man ought to give any proposition whatever the sanction of his
assent. He differed from the Sceptics or Pyrrhonists only in this, that he
admitted degrees of probability, whereas the Sceptics fluctuated in total

As Arcesilaus renounced all pretensions to the certain determination of
any question, he was chiefly employed in examining and refuting the
sentiments of others. His principal opponent was his contemporary, Zeno,
the founder of the stoical philosophy, which ultimately became the chief
of those systems which flourished at Rome. The main point in dispute
between Zeno and Arcesilaus, was the evidence of the senses. Arcesilaus
denied that truth could be ascertained by their assistance, because there
is no criterion by which to distinguish false and delusive objects from
such as are real. Zeno, on the other hand, maintained that the evidence of
the senses is certain and clear, provided they be perfect in themselves,
and without obstacle to prevent their effect. Thus, though on different
principles, the founder of the Stoics agreed with the Peripatetics and old
Academicians, that there existed certain means of ascertaining truth, and
consequently that there was evident and certain knowledge. Arcesilaus,
though he did not deny that truth existed, would neither give assent nor
entertain opinions, because appearances could never warrant his
pronouncing on any object or proposition whatever. Nor did the Stoics
entertain opinions; but they refrained from this, because they thought
that everything might be perceived with certainty.

Arcesilaus, while differing widely from the teachers of the old Platonic
Academy in his ideas as to the certainty of knowledge, retained their
system concerning the supreme good, which, like them, he placed in virtue,
accompanied by external advantages. This was another subject of contest
with Zeno, who, as is well known, placed the supreme good in virtue
alone,—health, riches, and reputation, not being by him accounted
essential, nor disease, poverty, and ignominy, injurious to happiness.

The systems promulgated in the old and new Academy, and the stoical
Portico, were those which became most prevalent in Rome. But the Epicurean
opinions were also fashionable there. The philosophy of Epicurus has been
already mentioned while speaking of Lucretius. Moschus of Phœnicia, who
lived before the Trojan war, is said to have been the inventor of the
Atomic system, which was afterwards adopted and improved by Leucippus and
Democritus, whose works, as Cicero expresses it, were the source from
which flowed the streams that watered the gardens of Epicurus(362). To the
evidence of the senses this teacher attributed such weight, that he
considered them as an infallible rule of truth. The supreme good he placed
in pleasure, and the chief evil in pain. His scholars maintained, that by
pleasure, or rather happiness, he meant a life of wisdom and temperance;
but a want of clearness and explicitness in the definition of what
constituted pleasure, has given room to his opponents for alleging that he
placed consummate felicity in sensual gratification.

It was long before a knowledge of any portion of Greek philosophy was
introduced at Rome. For 600 years after the building of the city, those
circumstances did not arise in that capital which called forth and
promoted philosophy in Greece. The ancient Romans were warriors and
agriculturists. Their education was regulated with a view to an active
life, and rearing citizens and heroes, not philosophers. The _Campus
Martius_ was their school; the tent their Lyceum, and the traditions of
their ancestors, and religious rites, their science,—they were taught to
act, to believe, and to obey, not to reason or discuss. Among them a class
of men may indeed have existed not unlike the seven sages of Greece—men
distinguished by wisdom, grave saws, and the services they had rendered to
their country; but these were not philosophers in our sense of the term.
The wisdom they inculcated was not sectarian, but resembled that species
of philosophy cultivated by Solon and Lycurgus, which has been termed
political by Brucker, and which was chiefly adapted to the improvement of
states, and civilization of infant society. At length, however, in the
year 586, when Perseus, King of Macedon, was finally vanquished, his
conqueror brought with him to Rome the philosopher Metrodorus, to aid in
the instruction of his children(363). Several philosophers, who had been
retained in the court of that unfortunate monarch, auguring well from this
incident, followed Metrodorus to Italy; and about the same time a number
of Achæans, of distinguished merit, who were suspected to have favoured
the Macedonians, were summoned to Rome, in order to account for their
conduct. The younger Scipio Africanus, in the course of the embassy to
which he was appointed by the Senate, to the kings of the east, who were
in alliance with the republic, having landed at Rhodes, took under his
protection the Stoic philosopher Panætius(364), who was a native of that
island, and carried him back to Rome, where he resided in the house of his
patron. Panætius afterwards went to Athens, where he became one of the
most distinguished teachers of the Portico(365), and composed a number of
philosophical treatises, of which the chief was that on the Duties of Man.

But though the philosophers were encouraged and cherished by Scipio,
Lælius, Scævola, and others of the more mild and enlightened Romans, they
were viewed with an eye of suspicion by the grave Senators and stern
Censors of the republic. Accordingly, in the year 592, only six years
after their first arrival in Rome, the philosophers were banished from the
city by a formal decree of the Senate(366). The motives for issuing this
rigorous edict are not very clearly ascertained. A notion may have been
entertained by the severer members of the commonwealth, that the
established religion and constitution of Rome might suffer by the
discussion of speculative theories, and that the taste for science might
withdraw the minds of youth from agriculture and arms. This dread, so
natural to a rigid, laborious, and warlike people, would be increased by
the degraded and slavish character of the Greeks, which, having been an
accompaniment, might be readily mistaken for a consequence, of their
progress in philosophy. As most of the philosophers, too, had come from
the states of a hostile monarch, the Senate may have feared, lest they
should inspire sentiments in the minds of youth, not altogether patriotic
or purely republican.

  “Sed vetuere patres quod non potuere vetare.”

Though driven from Rome, many of the Greek philosophers took up their
residence in the municipal towns of Italy. By the intercession likewise of
Scipio Africanus, an exception was made in favour of Panætius and the
historian Polybius, who were permitted to remain in the capital. The
spirit of inquiry, too, had been raised, and the mind had received an
impulse which could not be arrested by any senatorial decree, and on which
the slightest incident necessarily bestowed an accelerated progress.

The Greek philosophers returned to Rome in the year 598, under the sacred
character of ambassadors, on occasion of a political complaint which had
been made against the Athenians, and from which they found it necessary to
defend themselves. Notwithstanding the disrespect with which philosophers
had recently been treated in Italy, the Athenians resolved to dazzle the
Romans by a grand scientific embassy. The three envoys chosen were at that
time the heads of the three leading sects of Greek philosophers,—Diogenes,
the Stoic, Critolaus, the Peripatetic, and Carneades of Cyrene, who now
held the place of Arcesilaus in the new Academy. Besides their
philosophical learning, they were well qualified by their eloquence, (a
talent which had always great influence with the Romans,) to persuade and
bring over the minds of men to their principles. Such, indeed, were their
extraordinary powers of speaking and reasoning, that it was commonly said
at Rome that the Athenians had sent orators, not to persuade, but to
compel(367). During the period of their embassy at Rome they lectured to
crowded audiences in the most public parts of the city. The immediate
effect of the display which these philosophic ambassadors made of their
eloquence and wisdom, was to excite in the Roman youth an ardent thirst
after knowledge, which now became a rival in their breasts to the love of
military glory(368). Scipio, Lælius, and Furius, showed the strongest
inclination for these new studies, and profited most by them; but there
was scarcely a young patrician who was not in some degree attracted by the
modest simplicity of Diogenes, the elegant, ornamental, and polished
discourse of Critolaus, or the vehement, rapid, and argumentative
eloquence of Carneades(369). The principles inculcated by Diogenes, who
professed to teach the art of reasoning, and of separating truth from
falsehood, received their strongest support from the jurisconsults, most
of whom became Stoics; and in consequence of their responses, we find at
this day that the stoical philosophy exercised much influence on Roman
jurisprudence, and that many principles and divisions of the civil law
have been founded on its favourite maxims. Of these philosophic
ambassadors, however, Carneades was the most able man, and the most
popular teacher. “He was blessed,” says Cicero, “with a divine quickness
of understanding and command of expression(370).” “In his disputations, he
never defended what he did not prove, and never attacked what he did not
overthrow(371).” By some he has been considered and termed the founder of
a third Academy, but there appears to be no solid ground for such a
distinction. In his lectures, which chiefly turned on ethics, he agreed
with both Academies as to the supreme good, placing it in virtue and the
primary gifts of nature. Like Arcesilaus, he was a zealous advocate for
the uncertainty of human knowledge, but he did not deny, with him, that
there were truths, but only maintained that we could not clearly discern
them(372). The sole other difference in their tenets, is one not very
palpable, mentioned by Lucullus in the _Academica_. Arcesilaus, it seems,
would neither assent to anything nor opine. Carneades, though he would not
assent, declared that he would opine; under the constant reservation,
however, that he was merely opinionating, and that there was no such thing
as positive comprehension or perception(373). In this, Lucullus, who was a
follower of the _old_ Academy, thinks Carneades the most absurd and
inconsistent of the two. Carneades succeeded to the old dispute between
the Academics and Stoics, and in his prelections he combated the arguments
employed by Chrysippus(374), in his age the chief pillar of the Portico,
as Arcesilaus had formerly maintained the controversy with Zeno, its
founder. He differed from the Pyrrhonists, by admitting the real existence
of good and evil, and by allowing different degrees of probability(375),
while his sceptical opponents contended that there was no ground for
embracing or rejecting one opinion more than another. Carneades was no
less distinguished by his artful and versatile talents for disputation,
than his vehement and commanding oratory. But his extraordinary powers of
persuasion, and of maintaining any side of an argument, for which the
academical philosophy peculiarly qualified him, were at length abused by
him, to the scandal of the serious and inflexible Romans. Thus, we are
told, that he one day delivered a discourse before Cato, with great
variety of thought and copiousness of diction, on the advantages of a
rigid observance of the rules of justice. Next day, in order to fortify
his doctrine of the uncertainty of human knowledge, he undertook to refute
all his former arguments(376). It is likely that his attack on justice was
a piece of pleasantry, like Erasmus’ Encomium of Folly; and many of his
audience were captivated by his ingenuity; but the Censor immediately
insisted, that the affairs which had brought these subtle ambassadors to
Rome, should be forthwith despatched by the Senate, in order that they
might be dismissed with all possible expedition(377). Whether Cato
entertained serious apprehensions, as is alleged by Plutarch, that the
military virtues of his country might be enfeebled, and its constitution
undermined, by the study of philosophy, may, I think, be questioned. It is
more probable that he dreaded the influence of the philosophers themselves
on the opinions of his fellow-citizens, and feared lest their eloquence
should altogether unsettle the principles of his countrymen, or mould them
to whatever form they chose. Lactantius, too, in a quotation from Cicero’s
treatise _De Republica_, affords what may be considered as an explanation
of the reason why Carneades’ lecture against justice was so little
palatable to the Censor, and probably to many others of the Romans. One of
the objections which he urged against justice, or rather against the
existence of a due sense of that quality, was, that if such a thing as
justice were to be found on earth, the Romans would resign their
conquests, and return to their huts and original poverty(378). Cato
likewise appears to have had a considerable spirit of personal jealousy
and rivalry; while, at the same time, his national pride led him to scorn
all the arts of a country which the Roman arms had subdued.

Carneades promulgated his opinions only in his eloquent lectures; and it
is not known that he left any writings of importance behind him(379). But
his oral instructions had made a permanent impression on the Roman youth,
and the want of a written record of his principles was amply supplied by
his successor Clitomachus, who was by birth a Carthaginian, and was
originally called Asdrubal. He had fled from his own country to Athens
during the siege of Carthage, by the Romans, in the third Punic war(380);
and in the year 623 he went from Greece to Italy, to succeed Carneades in
the school which he had there established. Clitomachus was a most
voluminous author, having written not less than four ample treatises on
the necessity of withholding the assent from every proposition whatever.
One of these tracts was dedicated to Lucilius, the satiric poet(381), and
another to the Consul Censorinus. The essence of the principles which he
maintained in these works, has been extracted by Cicero, and handed down
to us in a passage inserted in the _Academica_. It is there said, that the
resemblances of things are of such a nature that some of them appear
probable, and others not; but this is no sufficient ground for supposing
that some objects may be correctly perceived, since many falsities are
probable, whereas no falsity can be accurately perceived or known: The
Academy never attempted to deprive mankind of the use of their senses, by
denying that there are such things as colour, taste, and sound; but it
denied that there exists in these qualities any criterion or
characteristic of truth and certainty. A wise man, therefore, is said, in
a double sense, to withhold his assent; in one sense, when it is
understood that he absolutely assents to no proposition; in another, when
he suspends answering a question, without either denying or affirming. He
ought never to assent implicitly to any proposition, and his answer should
be withheld until, according to _probability_, he is in a condition to
reply in the affirmative or negative. But as Cicero admits, that a wise
man, who, on every occasion, suspends his assent, may yet be impelled and
moved to action, he leaves him in full possession of those motives which
excite to action, together with a power of answering in the affirmative or
negative to certain questions, and of following the probability of
objects; yet still without giving them his assent(382).

Clitomachus was succeeded by Philo of Larissa, who fled from Greece to
Italy, during the Mithridatic war, and revived at Rome a system of
philosophy, which by this time began to be rather on the decline. Cicero
attended his lectures, and imbibed from them the principles of the new
Academy, to which he ultimately adhered. Philo published two treatises,
explanatory of the doctrines of the new Academy, which were answered in a
work entitled _Sosus_, by Antiochus of Ascalon, who had been a scholar of
Philo, but afterwards abjured the innovations of the new Academy, and
returned to the old, as taught by Plato and his immediate
successors,—uniting with it, however, some portion of the systems of
Aristotle and Zeno(383). In his own age, Antiochus was the chief support
of the original principles of the Academy, and was patronized by all those
at Rome, who were still attached to them, particularly by Lucullus, who
took the philosopher along with him to Alexandria, when he went there as
Quæstor of Egypt.

In the circumstances of Rome, the first steps towards philosophical
improvement, were a general abatement of that contempt which had been
previously entertained for philosophical studies—a toleration of
instruction—the power of communicating wisdom without shame or restraint,
and its cordial reception by the Roman youth. This proficiency, which
necessarily preceded speculation or invention, had already taken place.
Partly through the instructions of Greek philosophers who resided at Rome,
and partly by means of the practice which now began to prevail, of sending
young men for education to the ancient schools of wisdom, philosophy made
rapid progress, and almost every sect found followers or patrons among the
higher order of the Roman citizens.

From the earliest times, however, till that of Cicero, Greek philosophy
was chiefly inculcated by Greeks. There was no Roman who devoted himself
entirely to metaphysical contemplation, and who, like Epicurus, Aristotle,
and Zeno, lounged perpetually in a garden, paced about in a Lyceum, or
stood upright in a portico. The Greek philosophers passed their days, if
not in absolute seclusion, at least in learned leisure and retirement.
Speculation was the employment of their lives, and their works were the
result of a whole age of study and reflection(384). The Romans, on the
other hand, regarded philosophy, not as the business of life, but as an
elegant relaxation, or the means of aiding their advancement in the state.
They heard with attention the ingenious disputes agitated among the
Greeks, and perused their works with pleasure; but with all this taste for
philosophy, they had not sufficient leisure to devise new theories. The
philosophers of Rome were Scipio, Cato, Brutus, Lucullus—men who governed
their country at home, or combated her enemies abroad. They had, indeed,
little motive to invent new systems, since so many were presented to them,
ready formed, that every one found in the doctrines of some Greek sect,
tenets which could be sufficiently accommodated to his own disposition and
situation. In the same manner as the plunder of Syracuse or Corinth
supplied Rome with her statues and pictures, and rendered unnecessary the
exertions of native artists; and as the dramas of Euripides and Menander
provided sufficient materials for the Roman stage; so the Garden, Porch,
and Academy, furnished such variety of systems, that new inventions or
speculations could easily be dispensed with. The prevalence, too, of the
principles of that Academy, which led to doubt of all things, must have
discouraged the formation of new and original theories. Nor were even the
Greek systems, after their introduction into Italy, classed and separated
as they had been in Greece. Most of the distinguished men of Rome,
however, in the time of Cicero, were more inclined to one school than
another, and they applied the lessons of the sect which they followed with
more success, perhaps, than their masters, to the practical purposes of
active life. The jurisconsults, chief magistrates, and censors, adopted
the Stoical philosophy, which had some affinity to the principles of the
Roman constitution, and which they considered best calculated for ruling
their fellow-citizens, as well as meliorating the laws and morals of the
state. The orators who aspired to rise by eloquence to the highest honours
of the republic, had recourse to the lessons of the new Academy, which
furnished them with weapons for disputation; while those who sighed for
the enjoyment of tranquillity, amid the factions and dangers of the
commonwealth, retired to the Gardens of Epicurus. But while subscribing to
the leading tenets of a sect, they did not strive to gain followers with
any of the spirit of sectarism; and it frequently happened, that neither
in principle nor practice did they adopt all the doctrines of the school
to which they chiefly resorted. Thus Cæsar, who was accounted an
Epicurean, and followed the Epicurean system in some things, as in his
belief of the materiality and mortality of the soul, doubtless held in
little reverence those ethical precepts, according to which,

  —— “Nihil in nostro corpore prosunt,
  Nec fama, neque nobilitas, nec gloria regni.”

Lucretius was a sounder Epicurean, and gave to the precepts of his master
all the dignity and grace which poetical embellishment could bestow. But
Atticus, the well-known friend and correspondent of Cicero, was perhaps
the most perfect example ever exhibited of genuine and practical

The rigid and inflexible Cato, was, both in his life and principles, the
great supporter of the Stoical philosophy—conducting himself, according to
an expression of Cicero, as if he had lived in the polity of Plato, and
not amid the dregs of Romulus. The old Academy boasted among its adherents
Lucullus, the conqueror of Mithridates—the Lorenzo of Roman arts and
literature—whose palaces rivalled the porticos of Greece, and whose
library, with its adjacent schools and galleries, was the resort of all
who were distinguished for their learning and accomplishments. Whilst
Quæstor of Macedonia, and subsequently, while he conducted the war against
Mithridates, Lucullus had enjoyed frequent opportunities of conversing
with the Greek philosophers, and had acquired such a relish for
philosophical studies, that he devoted to them all the leisure he could
command(385). At Rome, his constant companion was Antiochus of Ascalon,
who, though a pupil of Philo, became himself a zealous supporter of the
old Academy; and accordingly, Lucullus, who favoured that system, often
repaired to his house, to partake in the private disputations which were
there carried on against the advocates for the new or middle Academy. The
old Academy also numbered among its votaries Varro, the most learned of
the Romans, and Brutus, who was destined to perform so tragic a part on
the ensanguined stage of his country.

Little was done by these eminent men to illustrate or enforce their
favourite systems by their writings. Even the productions of Varro were
calculated rather to excite to the study of philosophy, than to aid its
progress. The new Academy was more fortunate in the support of Cicero, who
has asserted and vindicated its principles with equal industry and
eloquence. From their first introduction, the doctrines of the new Academy
had been favourably received at Rome. The tenets of the dogmatic
philosophers were so various and contradictory, were so obstinately
maintained, and rested on such precarious foundations, that they afforded
much scope and encouragement to scepticism. The plausible arguments by
which the most discordant opinions were supported, led to a distrust of
the existence of absolute truth, and to an acquiescence in such probable
conclusions, as were adequate to the practical purposes of life. The
speculations, too, of the new Academy, were peculiarly fitted to the
duties of a public speaker, as they left free the field of disputation,
and habituated him to the practice of collecting arguments from all
quarters, on every doubtful question. Hence it was that Cicero addicted
himself to this sect, and persuaded others to follow his example. It has
been disputed, if Cicero was really attached to the new Academic system,
or had merely resorted to it as being best adapted for furnishing him with
oratorical arguments suited to all occasions. At first, its adoption was
subsidiary to his other plans. But, towards the conclusion of his life,
when he no longer maintained the place he was wont to hold in the Senate
or the Forum, and when philosophy formed the occupation “with which
existence was just tolerable, and without which it would have been
intolerable(386),” he doubtless became convinced that the principles of
the new Academy, illustrated as they had been by Carneades and Philo,
formed the soundest system which had descended to mankind from the schools
of Athens.

The attachment, however, of Cicero to the Academic philosophy, was free
from the exclusive spirit of sectarism, and hence it did not prevent his
extracting from other systems what he found in them conformable to virtue
and reason. His ethical principles, in particular, appear Eclectic, having
been, in a great measure, formed from the opinions of the Stoics. Of most
Greek sects he speaks with respect and esteem. For the Epicureans alone,
he seems (notwithstanding his friendship for Atticus) to have entertained
a decided aversion and contempt.

The general purpose of Cicero’s philosophical works, was rather to give a
history of the ancient philosophy, than dogmatically to inculcate opinions
of his own. It was his great aim to explain to his fellow-citizens, in
their own language, whatever the sages of Greece had taught on the most
important subjects, in order to enlarge their minds and reform their
morals; while, at the same time, he exercised himself in the most useful
employment which now remained to him—a superior force having deprived him
of the privilege of serving his country as an orator or Consul.

Cicero was in many respects well qualified for the arduous but noble task
which he had undertaken, of naturalizing philosophy in Rome, and
exhibiting her, according to the expression of Erasmus, on the Stage of
life. He was a man of fertile genius, luminous understanding, sound
judgment, and indefatigable industry—qualities adequate for the
cultivation of reason, and sufficient for the supply of subjects of
meditation. Never was a philosopher placed in a situation more favourable
for gathering the fruits of an experience employed on human nature and
civil society, or for observing the effects of various qualities of the
mind on public opinion and on the actions of men. He lived at the most
eventful crisis in the fate of his country, and in the closest connection
with men of various and consummate talents, whose designs, when fully
developed by the result, must have afforded on reflection, a splendid
lesson in the philosophy of mind. But this situation, in some respects so
favourable, was but ill calculated for revolving abstract ideas, or for
meditating on those abstruse and internal powers, of which the
consequences are manifested in society and the transactions of life.
Accordingly, Cicero appears to have been destitute of that speculative
disposition which leads us to penetrate into the more recondite and
original principles of knowledge, and to mark the internal operations of
thought. He had cultivated eloquence as clearing the path to political
honours, and had studied philosophy, as the best auxiliary to eloquence.
But the contemplative sciences only attracted his attention, in so far as
they tended to elucidate ethical, practical, and political subjects, to
which he applied a philosophy which was rather that of life than of

In the writings of Cicero, accordingly, everything deduced from experience
and knowledge of the world—every observation on the duties of society, is
clearly expressed, and remarkable for justness and acuteness. But neither
Cicero, nor any other Roman author, possessed sufficient subtlety and
refinement of spirit, for the more abstruse discussions, among the
labyrinths of which the Greek philosophers delighted to find a fit
exercise for their ingenuity. Hence, all that required research into the
ultimate foundation of truths, or a more exact analysis of common ideas
and perceptions—all, in short, that related to the subtleties of the Greek
schools, is neither so accurately expressed, nor so logically connected.

In theoretic investigation, then,—in the explication of abstract ideas—in
the analysis of qualities and perceptions, Cicero cannot be regarded as an
inventor or profound original thinker, and cannot be ranked with Plato and
Aristotle, those mighty fathers of ancient philosophy, who carried back
their inquiries into the remotest truths on which philosophy rests. Where
he does attempt fixing new principles, he is neither very clear nor
consistent; and it is evident, that his general study of all systems had,
in some degree, unsettled his belief, and had better qualified him to
dispute on either side with the Academics, than to examine the exact
weight of evidence in the scale of reason, or to exhibit a series of
arguments, in close and systematic arrangement, or to deduce accurate
conclusions from established and certain principles. His philosophic
dialogues are rather to be considered as popular treatises, adapted to the
ordinary comprehension of well-informed men, than profound disquisitions,
suited only to a Portico or Lyceum. They bespeak the orator, even in the
most serious inquiries. Elegance and fine writing, their author appears to
have considered as essential to philosophy; and historic, or even poetical
illustration, as its brightest ornament. The peculiar merit, therefore, of
Cicero, lay in the happy execution of what had never been before
attempted—the luminous and popular exposition of the leading principles
and disputes of the ancient schools of philosophy, with judgments
concerning them, and the application of results, deduced from their
various doctrines to the peculiar manners or employments of his
countrymen. Hence, though it may be honouring Cicero too highly, to term
his works, with Gibbon, a Repository of Reason, they are at least a
Miscellany of Philosophic Information, which has become doubly valuable,
from the loss of the writings of many of those philosophers, whose
opinions he records; and though the merit of originality rests with the
Greek schools, no compositions transmitted from antiquity present so
concise and comprehensive a view of the opinions of the Greek

That the mind of Cicero was most amply stored with the learning of the
Greek philosophers, and that he had the whole circle of their wisdom at
his command, is evident, from the rapidity with which his works were
composed—having been all written, except the treatise _De Legibus_, during
the period which elapsed from the battle of Pharsalia till his death; and
the greater part of them in the course of the year 708.

It is justly remarked by Goerenz, in the introduction to his edition of
the book _De Finibus_(388), and assented to by Schütz(389), that it seems
scarcely possible, that those numerous philosophical works, which are
asserted to have been composed by Cicero in the year 708, could have been
begun and finished in one year; and that such speed of execution leads us
to suppose, that either the materials had been long collected, or that the
productions themselves were little more than versions. In his _Academica_,
Cicero remarks,—“Ego autem, dum me ambitio, dum honores, dum causæ, dum
reipublicæ non solum cura, sed quædam etiam procuratio multis officiis
implicatum et constrictum tenebat, hæc inclusa habebam; et, ne
obsolescerent, renovabam, quum licebat, legendo. Nunc vero et fortunæ
gravissimo percussus vulnere, et administratione reipublicæ liberatus,
doloris medicinam a philosophiâ peto, et otii oblectationem hanc,
honestissimam judico.” It is not easy to determine, as Schütz remarks,
whether, by the expression “hæc inclusa habebam,” Cicero means merely the
writings of philosophical authors, or treatises and materials for
treatises by himself. “We ought, however,” proceeds Schütz, “the less to
wonder that Cicero composed so many works in so short a time, when we read
the following passage in a letter to Atticus, written in July 708—‘De
linguâ Latinâ securi es animi, dices, qui talia conscribis! ἀπογραφα sunt;
minore labore fiunt: verba tantum affero, quibus abundo(390)’; which
words, according to Gronovius, imply, that the philosophic writings of
Cicero are little more than versions from the Greek.”

In the laudable attempt of naturalizing philosophy at Rome, the difficulty
which Lucretius had encountered, in embodying in Latin verse the precepts
of Epicurus,—

  “Propter egestatem linguæ rerumque novitatem,”

must have been almost as powerfully felt by Cicero. Philosophy was still
little cultivated among the Romans; and no people will invent terms for
thoughts or ideas with which it is little occupied. One of his letters to
Atticus is strongly expressive of the trouble which he had in interpreting
the philosophic terms of Greece in his native tongue(391). Thus, for
example, he could find no Latin word equivalent to the ἐποχη, or that
withholding of assent from all propositions, which the new Academy
professed. The language of the Greeks had been formed along with their
philosophy. Their terms of physics had their origin in the ancient
Theogonies, or the speculations of the Milesian sage; and Plato informs
us, that one might make a course of moral philosophy in travelling through
Attica and reading the inscriptions engraved on the tombs, pillars, and
monuments, erected in the earliest ages near the public ways and centre of
villages(392). Hence, in Greece, words naturally became the apposite signs
of speculative and moral ideas; but in Rome, a foreign philosophy had to
be inculcated in a tongue which was already completely formed, which was
greatly inferior in flexibility and precision to the Greek; and which,
though Cicero certainly used some liberties in this respect, had too
nearly reached maturity, to admit of much innovation. Its words,
accordingly, did not always precisely express the subtle notions signified
in the original language, whence there was often an appearance of
obscurity in the idea, and of a defect in conclusions, drawn from premises
which were indefinite, or which differed by a shade of meaning from those
established in Greece.

Aware of this difficulty, and conscious, perhaps, that he possessed not
precision and originality of thinking sufficient to recommend a formal
treatise, Cicero adopted the mode of writing in dialogues, in which
rhetorical diffuseness, and looseness of definition, might be overlooked,
and in which ample scope would be afforded for the ornaments of language.

It was by oral discourse that knowledge was chiefly communicated at the
dawn of science, when books either did not exist, or were extremely rare.
In the Porch, in the Garden, or among the groves of the Academy, the
philosopher conferred with his disciples, listened to their remarks, and
replied to their objections. Socrates, in particular, was accustomed thus
to inculcate his moral lessons; and it was natural for the scholars, who
recorded them, to follow the manner in which they had been disclosed. Of
these disciples, Plato, who was the most distinguished, readily adopted a
form of composition, which gave scope to his own fertile and poetical
imagination; while, at the same time, it enabled him more accurately to
paint his great master. One of his chief objects, too, was to represent
the triumph of Socrates over the Sophists; and if a writer wish to cover
an opponent with ridicule, perhaps no better mode could be devised, than
to set him up as a man of straw in a dialogue. As argumentative victory,
or the embarrassment of the antagonist of Socrates, was often all that was
aimed at, it was unnecessary to be very scrupulous about the means, and,
considered in this view, the agreeable irony of that philosopher—the
address with which, by seeming to yield, he ensnares the adversary—his
quibbles—his subtle distinctions, and perplexing interrogatories, display
consummate skill, and produce considerable dramatic effect; while, at the
same time, the scenery and circumstances of the dialogue are often
described with a richness and beauty of imagination, which no philosophic
writer has as yet surpassed(393).

When Cicero, towards the close of his long and meritorious life, employed
himself in transferring to Rome the philosophy of Greece, he appears to
have been chiefly attracted by the diffusive majesty of Plato, whose
intellectual character was in many respects congenial to his own. His
dialogues in so far resemble those of Plato, that the personages are real,
and of various characters and opinions; while the circumstances of time
and place are, for the most part, as completely fictitious as in his Greek
models. Yet there is a considerable difference in the manner of Cicero’s
Dialogues, from those of the great founder of the Academy. Plato ever
preserved something of the Socratic method of giving birth to the thoughts
of others—of awakening, by interrogatories, the sense of truth, and
supplanting errors. But Cicero himself, or the person who speaks his
sentiments, always takes the lead in the conference, and gives us long,
and often uninterrupted dissertations. His object, too, appears to have
been not so much to cover his adversaries with ridicule, or even to
prevail in the argument, as to pay a complimentary tribute to his numerous
and illustrious friends, or to recall, as it were, from the tomb, the
departed heroes and sages of his country.

In the form of dialogue, Cicero has successively treated of Law,
Metaphysics, Theology, and Morals.

_De Legibus_.—Of this dialogue there are only three books now extant, and
even in these considerable chasms occur. A conjecture has been recently
hazarded by a learned German, in an introduction to a translation of the
dialogue, that these three books, as we now have them, were not written by
Cicero, but that they are mere excerpts taken from his lost writings, by
some monk or father of the church(394). There are few works, however, in
which more genuine marks of the master-hand of Cicero may be traced, than
in the tract _De Legibus_; and the connection between the different parts
is too closely preserved, to admit of the notion that it has been made up
in the manner which this critic supposes. Another conjecture is, that it
formed part of the third, fourth, and fifth books of Cicero’s lost
treatise _De Republica_. This surmise, however, was highly improbable,
since Cicero, in the course of the work _De Legibus_, refers to that _De
Republica_ as a separate production, and it is now proved to be chimerical
by the discovery of Mai. The dialogue _De Legibus_, however, seems to have
been drawn up as a kind of supplement to that _De Republica_, being
intended to point out what laws would be most suitable to the perfect
republic, which the author had previously described(395).

As to the period of composition, it thus manifestly appears to have been
written subsequently to the dialogue _De Republica_; and it is evident,
from his letters to his brother Quintus, that the work _De Republica_ was
begun in 699, and finished in 700(396), so that the dialogue _De Legibus_
could not have been composed before that year. It is further clear, that
it was written after the year 701, since he obviously alludes in it to the
murder of Clodius,—boasting that his chief enemy was now not only deprived
of life, but wanted sepulture, and the accustomed funeral obsequies(397).
Now, it is well known that Clodius was slain in 701, and that his dead
body was dragged naked by a lawless mob into the Forum, where it was
consumed amid the conflagration raised in the Senate-house. It is equally
evident that the treatise _De Legibus_ was written before that _De
Finibus_, composed in 708, since, in the former work, the author alludes
to the questions which we find discussed in the latter, as controversies
which he is one day to take up(398). But it is demonstrable that the
dialogue _De Legibus_ was written even previous to the battle of
Pharsalia, which was fought in 705, since the author talks in it of Pompey
as of a person still alive, and in the plenitude of glory(399). Chapman,
in his dissertation _De Ætate Librorum de Legibus_, subjoined to
Tunstall’s Latin letter to Middleton, concerning the epistles to Brutus,
thinks that it was not written till the year 709. He is of opinion, that
what is said of Pompey, and the allusions to the murder of Clodius, as to
a recent event, were only intended to suit the time in which the dialogue
takes place: But then it so happens, that no historical period whatever is
assigned by the author of the dialogue, as the date of its actual
occurrence. Chapman also maintains, that this is the only mode of
accounting for the work _De Legibus_ not being mentioned in the treatise
_De Divinatione_, where Cicero’s other philosophical productions are
enumerated. The reason of this omission, however, might be, that the work
_De Legibus_ never was made public by the author; and, indeed, with
exception of the first book, the whole is but a sketch or outline of what
he intended to write, and is far from having received the polish and
perfection of those performances which he circulated himself.

The discussion _De Legibus_ is carried on, in the shape of dialogue, by
Cicero, his brother Quintus, and Atticus. Of these Cicero is the chief
interlocutor. The scene is laid amid the walks and pleasure-grounds of
Cicero’s villa of Arpinum, which lay about three miles from the town of
that name, and was situated in a mountainous but picturesque region of the
ancient territory of the Samnites, now forming part of the kingdom of
Naples. This house was the original seat of the family of Cicero, who was
born in it during the life of his grandfather, while it was yet small and
humble as the Sabine cottage of Curius or Cincinnatus; but his father had
gradually enlarged and embellished it, till it became a spacious and
elegant mansion, where, as his health was infirm, he passed the greater
part of his life in literary retirement(400). Cicero was thus equally
attracted to this villa by the many pleasing and tender recollections with
which it was associated, and by the amenity of the situation, which was
the most retired and delightful, even in that region of enchanting
landscape. It was closely surrounded by a grove, and stood not far from
the confluence of the Fibrenus with the Liris. The former stream, which
murmured over a rocky channel, was remarkable for its clearness, rapidity,
and coolness; and its sloping verdant banks were shaded with lofty
poplars(401). “Many streams,” says Mr. Kelsall, one of our latest Italian
tourists, “which are celebrated in story and song, disappoint the

  ‘Dumb are their fountains, and their channels dry,’—

but, in the course of long travels, I never met with so abundant and lucid
a current as the Fibrenus; the length of the stream considered, which does
not exceed four miles and a half. It flows with great rapidity, and is
about thirty or thirty-five feet in width near the Ciceronian isles. It is
generally fifteen and even twenty in depth; ‘largus et exundans,’ like the
genius of him who had so often trodden its banks. The water even in the
intensest heats, still retains its icy coldness; and, although the
thermometer was above 80° in the shade, the hand, plunged for a few
seconds into the Fibrenus, caused a complete numbness(402).” Near to the
house, the Fibrenus was divided into equal streams by a little island,
which was fringed with a few plane-trees, and on which stood a
portico(403), where Cicero often retired to read or meditate, and composed
some of his sublimest harangues. Just below this islet, each branch of the
stream rushed by a sort of cascade, into the cerulean Liris(404), on which
the Fibrenus bestowed additional freshness and coolness, and after this
union received the name of the more noble river(405). The epithet
_taciturnus_, applied to the Liris by Horace, and _quietus_, by Silius
Italicus, must be understood only of the lower windings of its course. No
river in Italy is so noisy as the Liris about Arpino and Cicero’s villa;
for the space of a mile and a half after receiving the Fibrenus, it formed
no less than six cascades, varying in height from three to twenty
feet(406). This spot, embellished with all the ornaments of hills and
valleys, and wood and water-falls, was one of Cicero’s most favourite
retreats. When Atticus first visited it, he was so charmed, that, instead
of wondering as before that it was such a favourite residence of his
friend, he expressed his surprise that he ever retired elsewhere(407);
declaring, at the same time, his contempt of the marble pavements, arched
ceilings, and artificial canals of magnificent villas, compared with the
tranquillity and natural beauties of Arpinum. Cicero, indeed, appears at
one time to have thought of the island, formed by the Fibrenus, as the
place most suitable for the monument which he intended to raise to his
beloved daughter Tullia(408).

The situation of this villa was close to the spot where now stands the
city of Sora(409). “The Liris,” says Eustace, “still bears its ancient
name till it passes Sora, when it is called the Garigliano. The Fibrenus,
still so called, falls into it a little below Sora, and continues to
encircle the island in which Cicero lays the scene of the dialogue _De
Legibus_. Arpinum, also, still retains its name(410).” Modern travellers
bear ample testimony to the scenery round Sora being such as fully
justifies the fond partiality of Cicero, and the admiration of Atticus.
“Nothing,” says Mr Kelsall, “can be imagined finer than the surrounding
landscape. The deep azure of the sky, unvaried by a single cloud—Sora on a
rock at the foot of the precipitous Apennines—both banks of the Garigliano
covered with vineyards—the _fragor aquarum_, alluded to by Atticus in the
work _De Legibus_—the coolness, rapidity, and ultramarine hue of the
Fibrenus,—the noise of its cataracts—the rich turquoise colour of the
Liris—the minor Apennines round Arpino, crowned with umbrageous oaks to
their very summits, present scenery hardly elsewhere to be equalled,
certainly not to be surpassed, even in Italy(411).” The spot where
Cicero’s villa stood, was, in the time of Middleton, possessed by a
convent of monks, and was called the villa of St Dominic. It was built in
the year 1030, from the fragments of the Arpine villa!

  “Art, Glory, Freedom, fail—but Nature still is fair.”

The first conference, _De Legibus_, is held in a walk on the banks of the
Fibrenus; the other two in the island which it formed, and which Cicero
called Amalthea, from a villa belonging to Atticus in Epirus. These three
books are all that are now extant. It appears, however, that, at the
commencement of the fifth dialogue, the sun having then passed the
meridian, and its beams striking in such a direction that the speakers
were no longer sheltered from its rays by the young plane-trees, which had
been recently planted, they left the island, and descending to the banks
of the Liris, finished their discourse under the shade of the alder-trees,
which stretched their branches over its margin(412).

An ancient oak, which stood in Cicero’s pleasure-grounds, led Atticus to
inquire concerning the augury which had been presented to Marius, a native
of Arpinum, from that very oak, and which Cicero had celebrated in a poem
devoted to the exploits of his ferocious countryman, Cicero hints, that
the portent was all a fiction; which leads to a discussion on the
difference between poetry and history, and the poverty of Rome in the
latter department. As Cicero, owing to the multiplicity of affairs, had
not then leisure to supply this deficiency, he is requested by his guests,
to give them, in the meanwhile, a dissertation on Laws—a subject with
which he was so conversant, that he could require no previous preparation.
It is agreed, that he should not treat of particular or arbitrary laws,—as
those concerning _Stillicide_, and the forms of judicial procedure—but
should trace the philosophic principles of jurisprudence to their remotest
sources. From this recondite investigation he excludes the Epicureans, who
decline all care of the republic, and bids them retire to their gardens.
He entreats that the new Academy should be silent, since her bold
objections would soon destroy the fair and well-ordered structure of his
lofty system. Zeno, Aristotle, and the immediate followers of Plato, he
represents as the teachers who best prepare a citizen for performing the
duties of social life. Them he professes chiefly to follow; and, in
conformity with their system, he announces in the first book, which treats
of laws in general, that man being linked to a supreme God by reason and
virtue, and the whole species being associated by a communion of feelings
and interests, laws are alike founded on divine authority and natural

According to this sublime hypothesis, the whole universe forms one immense
commonwealth of gods and men, who participate of the same essence, and are
members of the same community. Reason prescribes the law of nature and
nations; and all positive institutions, however modified by accident or
custom, are drawn from the rule of right which the Deity has inscribed on
every virtuous mind. Some actions, therefore, are just in their own
nature, and ought to be performed, not because we live in a society where
positive laws punish those who pay no regard to them, but for the sake of
that equity which accompanies them, independently of human ordinances.
These principles may be applicable to laws in a certain sense; but, in
fact, it is rather moral right and justice than laws that the author
discusses—for bad or pernicious laws he does not admit to be laws at all.
To do justice, to love mercy, and to worship God with a pure heart, were,
doubtless, laws in his meaning, (that is, they were right,) previous to
their enactment, and no human enactment to the contrary could abrogate
them. His principles, however, apply to laws in this sense, and not to
arbitrary civil institutions.

Having, in the first discourse, laid open the origin of laws, and source
of obligations, he proceeds, in the remaining books, to set forth a body
of laws conformable to his own plan and ideas of a well-ordered
state;—announcing, in the first place, those which relate to religion and
the worship of the gods; secondly, such as prescribe the duties and powers
of magistrates. These laws are, for the most part, taken from the ancient
government and customs of Rome, with some little modification calculated
to obviate or heal the disorders to which the republic was liable, and to
give its constitution a stronger bias in favour of the aristocratic
faction. The species of instruction communicated in these two books, has
very little reference to the sublime and general principles with which the
author set out. Many of his laws are arbitrary municipal regulations. The
number of the magistrates, the period of the duration of their offices,
with the suffrages and elections in the Comitia, were certainly not
founded in the immutable laws of God or nature; and the discussion
concerning them has led to the belief, that the second and third books
merely comprehended a collection of facts, from which general principles
were to be subsequently deduced.

At the end of the third book it is mentioned, that the executive power of
the magistracy, and rights of the Roman citizens, still remain to be
discussed. In what number of books this plan was accomplished, is
uncertain. Macrobius, as we have seen, quotes the fifth book(413); and
Goerenz thinks it probable there were six,—the fourth being on the
executive power, the fifth on public, and the sixth on private rights.

What authors Cicero chiefly followed and imitated in his work _De
Legibus_, has been a celebrated controversy since the time of Turnebus. It
seems now to be pretty well settled, that, in substance and principles, he
followed the Stoics; but that he imitated Plato in the style and dress in
which he arrayed his sentiments and opinions. That philosopher, as is well
known, after writing on government in general, drew up a body of laws
adapted to that particular form of it which he had delineated. In like
manner, Cicero chose to deliver his sentiments, not by translating Plato,
but by imitating his manner in the explication of them, and adapting
everything to the constitution of his own country. The Stoic whom he
principally followed, was probably Chrysippus, who wrote a book Περι
Νομου(414), some passages of which are still extant, and exhibit the
outlines of the system adopted in the first book _De Legibus_. What of
general discussion appears in the third book is taken from Theophrastus,
Dio, and Panætius the Stoic.

_De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum_.—This work is a philosophical account of
the various opinions entertained by the Greeks concerning the Supreme Good
and Extreme Evil, and is by much the most subtle and difficult of the
philosophic writings of Cicero. It consists of five books, of that sort of
dialogue, in which, as in the treatise _De Oratore_, the discourse is not
dramatically represented, but historically related by the author. The
constant repetition of “said I,” and “says he,” is tiresome and clumsy,
and not nearly so agreeable as the dramatic form of dialogue, where the
names of the different speakers are alternately prefixed, as in a play.
The whole is addressed to Marcus Brutus in an Introduction, where the
author excuses his study of philosophy, which some persons had blamed as
unbecoming his character and dignity. The conference in the first two
books is supposed to be held at Cicero’s Cuman villa, which was situated
on the hills of old Cumæ, and commanded a prospect of the Campi Phlegræi,
the bay of Puteoli, with its islands, the Portus Misenus the harbour of
the Roman fleet, and Baiæ, the retreat of the most wealthy patricians.
Here Cicero received a visit from Lucius Torquatus, a confirmed Epicurean,
and from a young patrician, Caius Triarius, who is a mute in the ensuing
colloquy. Torquatus engages their host in philosophical discussion, by
requesting to know his objections to the Epicurean system. These Cicero
states generally; but Torquatus, in his answer, confines himself to the
question of the Supreme Good, which he placed in pleasure. This tenet he
supports on the principle, that, of all things, Virtue is the most
pleasurable; that we ought to follow its laws, in consequence of the
serenity and satisfaction arising from its practice; and that honourable
toil, or even pain, are not always to be avoided, as they often prove
necessary means towards obtaining the most exquisite gratifications.
Cicero, in his refutation, which is contained in the second book, gives
rather a different representation of the philosophy of Epicurus, from his
great poetic contemporary Lucretius. The term ἡδονη, (voluptas,) used by
Epicurus to express his Supreme Good, can only, as Cicero maintains, mean
sensual enjoyment, and can never be so interpreted as to denote
tranquillity of mind. But supposing virtue to be cultivated merely as
productive of pleasure, or as only valuable because agreeable—a cheat, who
had no remorse or conscience, might enjoy the _summum bonum_ in defrauding
a rightful owner of his property; and no act would thus be accounted
criminal, if it escaped the brand of public infamy. On the other hand, if
pain be accounted the Supreme Evil, how can any man enjoy felicity, when
this greatest of all misfortunes may at any moment seize him!

In the third and fourth books, the scene of the dialogue is changed. In
order to inspect some books of Aristotelian philosophy, Cicero walks over
to the villa of young Lucullus, to whom he had been appointed guardian, by
the testament of his illustrious father. Here he finds Cato employed in
perusing certain works of Stoical authors; and a discussion arises on that
part of the Stoical system, relating to the Supreme Good, which Cato
placed in virtue alone. Cicero, in his answer to Cato, attempts to
reconcile this tenet with the doctrines of the Academic philosophy, which
he himself professed, by showing that the difference between them
consisted only in the import affixed to the term _good_—the Academic sect
assigning a pre-eminence to virtue, but admitting that external advantages
are good also in their decree. Now, the Stoics would not allow them to be
good, but merely valuable, eligible, or preferable; so that the sects
could be reconciled in sentiments, if the terms were a little changed. The
Academical system is fully developed in the fifth book, in a dialogue held
within the Academy; and, at the commencement, the associations which that
celebrated, though then solitary spot, was calculated to awaken are finely
described. “I see before me,” says Piso, “the perfect form of Plato, who
was wont to dispute in this very place: These gardens not only recall him
to my memory, but present his very person to my senses—I fancy to myself
that here stood Speusippus—there Xenocrates—and here, on this bench, sat
his disciple Polemo. To me, our ancient Senate-house seems peopled with
the like visionary forms; for often when I enter it, the shades of Scipio,
of Cato, and of Lælius, and, in particular, of my venerable grandfather,
rise up to my imagination.” Here Piso, who was a great Platonist, gives an
account, in the presence of Cicero and Cicero’s brother Quintus, of the
hypothesis of the old Academy concerning moral good, which was also that
adopted by the Peripatetics. According to this system, the _summum bonum_
consists in the highest improvement of all the mental and bodily
faculties. The perfection, in short, of everything consistent with nature,
enters into the composition of supreme felicity. Virtue, indeed, is the
highest of all things, but other advantages must also be valued according
to their worth. Even pleasures become ingredients of happiness, if they be
such as are included in the _prima naturæ_, or primary advantages of
nature. Cicero seems to approve this system, and objects only to one of
the positions of Piso, That a wise man must be always happy. Our author
thus contrasts with each other the different systems of Greek philosophy,
particularly the Epicurean with the Stoical tenets; and hence, besides,
refuting them in his own person, he makes the one baffle the other, till
he arrives at what is most probable, the utmost length to which the middle
or new Academy pretended to reach. The chief part of the work _De
Finibus_, is taken from the best writings of the different philosophers
whose doctrines he explains. The first book closely follows the tract of
Epicurus, Κυριων δοξων. Cicero’s second book, in which he refutes
Epicurism, is borrowed from the stoic Chrysippus, who wrote ten books Of
the beautiful, and of pleasure, (Περι τοῦ καλοῦ και της ἡδονης,) wherein
he canvassed the Epicurean tenets concerning the Supreme Good and Evil.
His third book is derived from a treatise of the same Chrysippus, entitled
Περι τελων(415). The fourth, where he refutes the Stoics, is from the
writings of Polemo, who, following the example of his master Xenocrates,
amended the Academic doctrines, and nearly accommodated them on this
subject of Good and Evil to the opinions of the ancient Peripatetics. Some
works of Antiochus of Ascalon, who, in the time of Cicero, was the head of
the old Academy, supplied the materials for the concluding dialogue.

The work _De Finibus_ was written in 708, and though begun subsequently to
the _Academica_, was finished before it. The period, however, of the three
different conferences of which it consists, is laid a considerable time
before the date of its publication. It is evident that the first dialogue
is supposed to be held in 703, since Torquatus, the principal speaker, who
perished in the civil war, is mentioned as _Prætor Designatus_, and this
prætorship he bore in the year 704. The following conference is placed
subsequently, at least, to the death of the great Lucullus, who died in
701. The last dialogue is carried more than thirty years back, being laid
in 674, when Cicero was in his twenty-seventh year, and was attending the
lessons of the Athenian philosophers. For this change, the reason seems to
have been, that as Piso was the fittest person whom the author could find
to support the doctrines of the old Academy, and as he had renounced his
friendship during the time of the disturbances occasioned by the Clodian
faction, it became necessary to place the conference at a period when they
were fellow-students at Athens. The critics have observed some
anachronisms in this last book, in making Piso refer to the other two
dialogues, of which he had no share, and could have had no knowledge, as
being held at a later period than that of the conference he attended.

_Academica_.—This work is termed Academica, either because it chiefly
relates to the Academic philosophy, or because it was composed at the
villa of Puteoli, where a grove and portico were called by Cicero, from an
affected imitation of the Athenians, his Academy(416). There evidently
existed what may be termed two editions of the _Academica_, neither of
which we now possess perfect—what we have being the second book of the
first edition, and the first of the second. In the first edition, the
speakers were Cicero himself, Catulus, Lucullus, and Hortensius. The first
book was inscribed Catulus, and the second Lucullus, these persons being
the chief interlocutors in their respective divisions. The first dialogue,
or Catulus, was held in the villa of that senator. Every word of it is
unfortunately lost, but the import may be gathered, from the references to
it in the Lucullus, or second book, which is still extant. It appears to
have contained a sketch of the history of the old and the new Academy, and
then to have entered minutely into the doctrines and principles of the
latter, to which Catulus was attached. Catulus explained them as they had
been delivered by Carneades, whose lectures his father had attended, and
in his old age imparted their substance to his son. He refuted the
philosophy of Philo, where that writer differed from Carneades, (which,
though of the new Academy, he did in some particulars,) and also the
opinions of Antiochus, who followed the old Academy. Hortensius seems to
have made a short reply, but the more ample discussion of the system of
the old Academy was reserved for Lucullus. Previous, however, to entering
on this topic, our philosophers pass over from the Cuman villa of Catulus
to that of Hortensius, at Bauli, one of the many magnificent seats
belonging to that orator, and situated a little above the luxurious Baiæ,
in the direction towards Cumæ, on an inlet of the Bay of Naples. Here they
had resolved to remain till a favourable breeze should spring up, which
might carry Lucullus to his Neapolitan, and Cicero to his Pompeian villa.
While awaiting this opportunity, they repaired to an open gallery, which
looked towards the sea, whence they descried the vessels sailing across
the bay, and the ever changeful hue of its waters, which appeared of a
saffron colour under the morning beam, but became azure at noon, till, as
the day declined, they were rippled by the western breeze, and empurpled
by the setting sun(417). Here Lucullus commenced his defence of the old
Academy, and his disputation against Philo, according to what he had
learned from the philosopher Antiochus, who had accompanied him to
Alexandria, when he went there as Quæstor of Egypt. While residing in that
city, two books of Philo arrived, which excited the philosophic wrath of
Antiochus, and gave rise to much oral discussion, as well as to a book
from his pen, entitled _Sosus_, in which he attempted to refute the
doctrines so boldly promulgated by Philo. Lucullus was thus enabled fully
and faithfully to detail the arguments of the chief supporter and reviver
in those later ages of the old Platonic Academy. His discourse is chiefly
directed against that leading principle of the new Academy, which taught
that nothing can be known or ascertained. Recurring to nature, and the
constitution of man, he confirms the faith we have in our external senses,
and the mental conclusions deduced from them. To this Cicero replies, from
the writings of Clitomachus, and of course enlarges on the delusion of the
senses—the false appearances we behold in sleep, or while under the
influence of phrensy, and the uncertainty of everything so fully
demonstrated by the different opinions of the great philosophers, on the
most important of all subjects, the Providence of the Gods—the Supreme
Good and Evil, and the formation of the world.

These two books, the Catulus and Lucullus, of which, as already mentioned,
the last alone is extant, were written after the termination of the civil
wars, and a copy of them sent by Cicero to Atticus. It occurred, however,
to the author soon afterwards, that the characters introduced were not
very suitable to the subjects discussed, since Catulus and Lucullus,
though both ripe scholars, and well-educated men, could not, as statesmen
and generals, be supposed to be acquainted with all the _minutiæ_ of
philosophic controversy contained in the books bearing their names. While
deliberating if he should not rather put the dialogue into the lips of
Cato and Brutus, he received a letter from Atticus, acknowledging the
present of his work, but mentioning that their common friend, Varro, was
displeased to find that none of his treatises were addressed to him, or
inscribed with his name. This intimation, and the incongruity of the
former characters with the subject, determined the author to dedicate the
work to Varro, and to make him the principal speaker in the dialogue(418).
This change, and the reflection, perhaps, on certain defects in the
arrangement of the old work, as also the discovery of considerable
omissions, particularly with regard to the tenets of Arcesilaus, the
founder of the new academy, induced him to remodel the whole, to add in
some places, to abridge in others, and to bestow on it more lustre and
polish of style. In this new form, the _Academica_ consisted of four
books, a division which was better adapted for treating his subject: But
of these four, only the first remains. The dialogue it contains is
supposed to be held during a visit which Atticus and Cicero paid to Varro,
in his villa near Cumæ. His guests entreat him to give an account of the
principles of the old Academy, from which Cicero and Atticus had long
since withdrawn, but to which Varro had continued steadily attached. This
first book probably comprehends the substance of what was contained in the
Catulus of the former edition. Varro, in complying with the request
preferred to him, deduces the origin of the old Academy from Socrates; he
treats of its doctrines as relating to physics, logic, and morals, and
traces its progress under Plato and his legitimate successors. Cicero
takes up the discourse when this historical account is brought down to
Arcesilaus, the founder of the new Academy. But the work is broken off in
the most interesting part, and just as the author is entering on the life
and lectures of Carneades, who introduced the new Academy at Rome. Cicero,
however, while he styles it the new Academy, will scarcely allow it to be
new, as it was in fact the most genuine exposition of those sublime
doctrines which Plato had imbibed from Socrates. The historical sketch of
the Academic philosophy having been nearly concluded in the first book,
the remaining books, which are lost, contained the disputatious part. In
the second book the doctrines of Arcesilaus were explained; and from one
of the few short fragments preserved, there appears to have been a
discussion concerning the remarkable changes that occur in the colour of
objects, and the complexion of individuals, in consequence of the
alterations they undergo in position or age, which was one of Arcesilaus’
chief arguments against the certainty of evidence derived from the senses.
The third and fourth books probably contained the doctrines of Carneades
and Philo, with Varro’s refutation of them, according to the principles of
Antiochus. From a fragment of the third book, preserved by Nonius, it
appears that the scene of the dialogue was there transferred to the banks
of the Lucrine lake, which lay in the immediate vicinity of Varro’s Cuman

These four books formed the work which Cicero wished to be considered as
the genuine and improved Academics. The former edition, however, which he
had sent to Atticus, had gone abroad, and as he could not recall it, he
resolved to complete it, by prefixing an introductory eulogy of Catulus to
the first, and of Lucullus to the second book,—extolling, in particular,
the incredible genius of the latter, which enabled him, though previously
inexperienced in the art of war, merely by conversation and study, during
his voyage from Rome, to land on the coast of Asia, with the acquirements
of a consummate commander, and to extort the admission from his
antagonist, Mithridates, who had coped with Sylla, that he was the first
of warriors.

This account of the two editions of the Academics, which was first
suggested by Talæus(420), has been adopted by Goerenz(421); and it appears
to me completely confirmed by the series of Cicero’s letters to Atticus,
contained in the 13th book of his Epistles. It is by no means, however,
unanimously assented to by the French and German commentators. Lambinus,
seeing that Nonius quoted, as belonging to the fourth book of the
_Academica_, passages which we find in the Lucullus, or second book of the
first edition, considered and inscribed it as the fourth of the new
edition, instead of the second of the old, in which he was followed by
many subsequent editors; but this is easily accounted for, since the new
edition, being remodelled on the old, many things in the last or second
book of the old edition would naturally be transferred to the fourth or
last of the new, and be so cited by those grammarians who wrote when the
whole work was extant. Ranitz denies that there ever were two editions of
the _Academica_ made public, or preserved, and that, so far from the last
three books being lost, the Lucullus contains the whole of these three,
but from the error of transcribers they have been run into each
other(422). This critic is right, indeed, in the notion he entertains,
that Cicero wished the first edition of the _Academica_ to be destroyed,
or to fall into oblivion, but it does not follow that either of these
wishes was accomplished; and indeed it is proved, from Cicero’s own
letters, that the older edition had passed into extensive circulation.

_Tusculanæ Disputationes_, are so called by Cicero, from having been held
at his seat near Tusculum—a town which stood on the summit of the Alban
hill, about a mile higher up than the modern Frescati, and communicated
its name to all the rural retreats in its neighbourhood. This was Cicero’s
chief and most favourite villa. “It is,” says he, “the only spot in which
I completely rest from all my uneasiness, and all my toils.”—“It stood,”
says Eustace, “on one of the _Tumuli_, or beautiful hills grouped together
on the Alban Mount. It is bounded on the south by a deep dell, with a
streamlet that falls from the rock, then meanders through the recess, and
disappears in its windings. Eastward rises the lofty eminence, once
crowned with Tusculum—Westward, the view descends, and passing over the
Campagna, fixes on Rome, and the distant mountains beyond it.—On the
south, a gentle swell presents a succession of vineyards and orchards; and
behind it towers the summit of the Alban Mount, once crowned with the
temple of Jupiter Latiaris. Thus Cicero, from his portico, enjoyed the
noblest and most interesting view that could be imagined to a Roman and a
Consul; the temple of the tutelary divinity of the empire, the seat of
victory and triumph, and the theatre of his glorious labours,—the Capital
of the World(423).” A yet more recent traveller informs us, that “the
situation of the ancient Tusculum is delightful. The road which leads to
it is shaded with umbrageous woods of oak and ilex. The ancient trees and
soft verdant meadows around it, almost remind us of some of the loveliest
scenes of England; and the little brook that babbles by, was not the less
interesting from the thought, that its murmurs might perchance have once
soothed the ear of Cicero(424).”

The distance of Tusculum from Rome, which was only four leagues, afforded
Cicero an easy retreat from the fatigues of the Senate and Forum. Being
the villa to which he most frequently resorted, he had improved and
adorned it beyond all his other mansions, and rendered its internal
elegance suitable to its majestic situation. It had originally belonged to
Sylla, by whom it was highly ornamented. In one of its apartments there
was a painting of his victory near Nola, during the Marsic war, in which
Cicero had served under him as a volunteer. But its new master had
bestowed on this seat a more classical and Grecian air. He had built
several halls and galleries in imitation of the schools and porticos of
Athens, which he termed Gymnasia. One of these, which he named the
Academia, was erected at a little distance from the villa, on the
declivity of the hill facing the Alban Mount(425). Another Gymnasium,
which he called the Lyceum, stood higher up the hill than the Academy: It
was adjacent to the villa, and was chiefly designed for philosophical
conferences. Cicero had given a general commission to Atticus, who spent
much of his time in Greece, to purchase any elegant or curious piece of
Grecian art, in painting or sculpture, which his refined taste might
select as a suitable ornament for his Tusculan villa. He, in consequence,
received from his friend a set of marble Mercuries, with brazen heads,
with which he was much pleased; but he was particularly delighted with a
sort of compound emblematical figures called _Hermathenæ_ and _Hermeraclæ_
representing Mercury and Minerva, or Mercury and Hercules, jointly on one
base; for, Hercules being the proper deity of the Gymnasium, Minerva of
the Academy, and Mercury common to both, they precisely suited the purpose
for which he desired them to be procured. One of these Minerval Mercuries
pleased him so wonderfully, and stood in such an advantageous position,
that he declared the whole Academy at Tusculum appeared to have been
contrived in order to receive it(426). So intent was he on embellishing
this Tusculan villa with all sorts of Grecian art, that he sent over to
Atticus the plans and devices for his ceilings, which were of stucco-work,
in order to bespeak various pieces of sculpture and painting to be
inserted in the compartments; as also the covers for two of his wells or
fountains, which, by the custom of those times, were often formed after
some elegant pattern, and adorned with figures in relief(427).

La Grotta Ferrata, a convent of Basilian friars, is now, according to
Eustace, built on the site of Cicero’s Tusculan villa. Nardini, who wrote
about the year 1650, says, that there had been recently found, among the
ruins of Grotta Ferrata, a piece of sculpture, which Cicero himself
mentions in one of his Familiar Epistles. In the middle of last century,
there yet remained vast subterranean apartments, as well as a great
circumference and extent of ruins(428). But these, it would appear, have
been still farther dilapidated since that period. “Scarce a trace,” says
Eustace, “of the ruins of Tusculum is now discoverable: Great part
remained at the end of the 10th century, when a Greek monk from Calabria
demolished it, and erected on the site, the monastery of Grotta Ferrata.
At each end of the portico is fixed in the wall a fragment of basso
relievo. One represents a philosopher sitting with a scroll in his hand,
in a thinking posture—in the other, are four figures supporting the feet
of a fifth of colossal size, supposed to represent Ajax. These, with the
beautiful pillars which support the church, are the only remnants of the
decorations and furniture of the ancient villa. ‘_Conjiciant_,’ says an
inscription near the spot, ‘_quæ et quanta fuerunt_.’(429)”

When Cæsar had attained the supremacy at Rome, and Cicero no longer gave
law to the Senate, he became the head of a sort of literary or
philosophical society. Filelfo, who delivered public lectures at Rome, on
the Tusculan Disputations, attempted to prove that he had stated meetings
of learned men at his house, and opened a regular Academy at
Tusculum(430). This notion was chiefly founded on a letter of Cicero to
Pætus, where he says that he had followed the example of the younger
Dionysius, who, being expelled from Syracuse, taught a school at Athens.
At all events, it was his custom, in the opportunities of his leisure, to
carry some friends with him from Rome to the country, where the
entertainments they enjoyed were chiefly speculative. In this manner,
Cicero, on one occasion, spent five days at his Tusculan villa; and after
employing the morning in declamation and rhetorical exercises, retired in
the afternoon with his friends to the gallery, called the Academy, which
he had constructed for the purpose of philosophical conference. Here
Cicero daily offered to maintain a thesis on any topic proposed to him by
his guests; and the five dialogues thus introduced, were, as we are
informed by the author, afterwards committed to writing, nearly in the
words which had actually passed(431). They were completed early in 709,
and, like so many of his other works, are dedicated to Brutus—each
conference being at the same time furnished with an introduction
expatiating on the excellence of philosophy, and the advantage of
naturalizing the wisdom of the Greeks, by transfusing it into the Latin
language. In the first dialogue, entitled _De Contemnenda Morte_, one of
the guests, who is called the _Auditor_ through the remainder of the
performance, asserts, that death is an evil. This proposition Cicero
immediately proceeds to refute, which naturally introduces a disquisition
on the immortality of the soul—a subject which, in the pages of Cicero,
continued to be involved in the same doubt and darkness that had veiled it
in the schools of Greece.

It is true, that in the ancient world some notion had been entertained,
and by a few some hope had been cherished, that we are here only in the
infancy of our existence, and that the grave might be the porch of
immortality, and not the goal of our career. The natural love that we have
for life, amidst all its miseries—the grief that we sometimes feel at
being torn from all that is dear to us—the desire for posterity and for
posthumous fame—the humiliating idea, that the thoughts which wander
through eternity, should be the operations of a being destined to flutter
for a moment on the surface of the earth, and then for ever to be buried
in its bosom—all, in short, that is selfish, and all that is social in our
nature, combined in giving importance to the inquiry, If the thinking
principle was to be destroyed by death, or if that great change was to be
an introduction to a future state of existence. Having thus a natural
desire for the truth of this doctrine, the philosophers of antiquity
anxiously devised arguments, which might justify their hopes. Sometimes
they deduced them from metaphysical speculations—the spirituality, unity,
and activity of the soul—sometimes from its high ideas of things moral and
intellectual. Is it possible, they asked, that a being of such excellence
should be here imprisoned for a term of years, only to be the sport of the
few pleasures and the many pains which chequer this mortal life? Is not
its future destination seen in that satiety and disrelish, which attend
all earthly enjoyments—in those desires of the mind for things more pure
and intellectual than are here supplied—in that longing and endeavour,
which we feel after something above us, and perfective of our nature? At
other times, they have found arguments in the unequal distribution of
rewards and punishments; and in our sighs over the misfortunes of virtue,
they have recognized a principle, which points to a future state of
things, where that shall be discovered to be good which we now lament as
evil, and where the consequences of vice and virtue shall be more fully
and regularly unfolded, than in this inharmonious scene. They have then
looked abroad into nature, and have seen, that if death follows life, life
seemingly emanates from death, and that the cheerful animations of spring
succeed to the dead horrors of winter. They have observed the wonderful
changes that take place in some sentient beings—they have considered those
which man himself has undergone—and, charmed by all these speculations,
they have indulged in the pleasing hope, that our death may, like our
birth, be the introduction to a new state of existence. But all these fond
desires—all these longings after immortality, were insufficient to dispel
the doubts of the sage, or to fill the moralist with confidence and
consolation. The wisest and most virtuous of the philosophers of
antiquity, and who most strongly indulged the hope of immortality, is
represented by an illustrious disciple as expressing himself in a manner
which discloses his sad uncertainty, whether he was to be released from
the tomb, or for ever confined within its barriers.

In the age of Cicero, the existence of a world beyond the grave was still
covered with shadows, clouds, and darkness. “Whichsoever of the opinions
concerning the substance of the soul be true,” says he, in his first
Tusculan Disputation, “it will follow, that death is either a good, or at
least not an evil—for if it be brain, blood, or heart, it will perish with
the whole body—if fire, it will be extinguished—if breath, it will be
dissipated—if harmony, it will be broken—not to speak of those who affirm
that it is nothing; but other opinions give hope, that the vital spark,
after it has left the body, may mount up to Heaven, as its proper

Cicero then proceeds to exhaust the whole Platonic reasoning for the
soul’s immortality, and its ascent to the celestial regions, where it will
explore and traverse all space—receiving, in its boundless flight,
infinite enjoyment. From his system of future existence, Cicero excludes
all the gloomy fables feigned of the descent to Avernus, the pale murky
regions, the sluggish stream, the gaunt hound, and the grim boatman. But
even if death is to be considered as the total extinction of sense and
feeling, our author still denies that it should be accounted an evil. This
view he strongly supports, from a consideration of the insignificance of
those pleasures of which we are deprived, and beautifully illustrates,
from the fate of many characters distinguished in history, who, by an
earlier death, would have avoided the greatest ills of life. Had Metellus
died sooner, he would not have laid his sons on the funeral pile—had
Pompey expired, when the inhabitants of all Italy were decked with wreaths
and garlands, as testimonies of joy for his restoration to health from the
fever with which he was seized in Campania, he would not have taken arms
unprepared for the contest, nor fled his home and country; nor, having
lost a Roman army, would he have fallen on a foreign shore by the sword of
a slave(432). He completes these illustrations by reference to his own
misfortunes; and the arguments which he deduced from them, received, in a
few months, a strong and melancholy confirmation.—“Etiam ne mors nobis
expedit? qui et domesticis et forensibus solatiis ornamentisque privati,
certe, si ante occidissemus, mors nos a malis, non a bonis abstraxisset.”

The same unphilosophical guest, who had asserted that death was a
disadvantage, and whom Cicero, in charity to his memory, does not name, is
doomed, in the second dialogue, _De Tolerando Dolore_, to announce the
still more untenable proposition, that pain is an evil. But Cicero
demonstrated, that its sufferings may be overcome, not by remembrance of
the silly Epicurean maxims,—“Short if severe, and light if long,” but by
fortitude and patience; and he accordingly censures those philosophers,
who have represented pain in too formidable colours, and reproaches those
poets, who have described their heroes as yielding to its influence.

In the third book, _De Ægritudine Lenienda_, the author treats of the best
alleviations of sorrow. To foresee calamities, and be prepared for them,
is either to repel their assaults, or to mitigate their severity. After
they have occurred, we ought to remember, that grieving is a folly which
cannot avail us, and that misfortunes are not peculiar to ourselves, but
are the common lot of humanity. The sorrow of which Cicero here treats,
seems chiefly that occasioned by deprivation of friends and relatives, to
which the recent loss of his daughter Tullia, and the composition of his
treatise _De Consolatione_, had probably directed his attention.

The fourth book treats _De Reliquis animi Perturbationibus_, including all
those passions and vexations, which the author considers as diseases of
the soul. These he classes and defines—pointing out, at the same time, the
remedy or relief appropriate to each disquietude. In the fifth book, in
which he attempts to prove that virtue alone is sufficient for perfect
felicity—_Virtutem ad beate vivendum se ipsâ esse contentam_—he coincides
more completely with the opinions of the Stoics, than in his work _De
Finibus_, where he seems to assent, to the Peripatetic doctrine, “that
though virtue be the chief good, the perfection of the other qualities of
nature enters into the composition of supreme happiness.”

In these Tusculan Disputations, which treat of the subjects most important
and subservient to the happiness of life, the whole discourse is in the
mouth of Tully himself;—the Auditor, whose initial letter some editors
have whimsically mistaken for that of Atticus, being a mere man of straw.
He is set up to announce what is to be represented as an untenable
proposition: but after this duty is performed, no English hearer or Welsh
uncle could have listened with less dissent and interruption. The great
object of Cicero’s continued lectures, is by fortifying the mind with
practical and philosophical lessons, adapted to the circumstances of life,
to elevate us above the influence of all its passions and pains.

The first conference, which is intended to diminish the dread of death, is
the best; but they are all agreeable, chiefly from the frequent allusion
to ancient fable, the events of Greek and Roman history, and the memorable
sayings of heroes and sages. There is something in the very names of such
men as Plato and Epaminondas, which bestows a sanctity and fervour on the
page. The references also to the ancient Latin poets, and the quotations
from their works, particularly the tragic dramas, give a beautiful
richness to the whole composition; and even on the driest topics, the mind
is relieved by the recurrence of extracts characteristic of the vigour of
the Roman Melpomene, who, though unfit, as in Greece,

  “To wake the soul by tender strokes of art,”

long trod the stage with dignity and elevation.

_Paradoxa_.—This tract contains a defence of six peculiar opinions or
paradoxes of the Stoics, somewhat of the description of those which Cato
was wont to promulgate in the Senate. These are, that what is morally
fitting (_honestum_) is alone good,—that the virtuous can want nothing for
complete happiness—that there are no degrees in crimes or good
actions—that every fool is mad—that the wise alone are wealthy—that the
wise man alone is free, and that every fool is a slave. These absurd and
quibbling positions the author supports, in a manner certainly more
ingenious than philosophical. The _Paradoxa_, indeed, seem to have been
written as a sort of exercise of rhetorical wit, rather than as a serious
disquisition in philosophy; and each paradox is personally applied or
directed against an individual. There is no precision whatever in the
definitions; the author plays on the ambiguity of the words, _bonum_ and
_dives_, and his arguments frequently degenerate into particular examples,
which are by no means adequate to support his general proposition.

_De Naturâ Deorum_.—Of the various philosophical works of Cicero, the most
curious perhaps, and important, is that on the Nature of the Gods. It is
addressed to Brutus, and is written in dialogue. This form of composition,
besides the advantages already pointed out, is peculiarly fitted for
subjects of delicacy and danger, where the author dreads to expose himself
to reproach or persecution. On this account chiefly it seems to have been
adopted by the disciples of Socrates. That philosopher had fallen a victim
to popular fury,—to those imputations of impiety which have so often and
so successfully been repeated against philosophers. In the schools of his
disciples, a double doctrine seems to have been adopted for the purpose of
escaping persecution, and Plato probably considered the form of dialogue
as best calculated to secure him from the imputations of his enemies. It
was thus, in later times, that Galileo endeavoured to shield himself from
the attacks of error and injustice, and imagined, that by presenting his
conclusions in the Platonic manner, he would shun the malignant vigilance
of the Court of Inquisition(433).

In the dialogue _De Naturâ Deorum_, the author presents the doctrines of
three of the most distinguished sects among the ancients—the Epicureans,
the Stoics, and the Academics—on the important subject of the Nature of
the Divine Essence, and of Providence. He introduces three illustrious
persons of his country, each elucidating the tenets of the sect that he
preferred, and contending for them, doubtless, with the chief arguments
which the learning or talents of the author himself could supply. Cicero
represents himself as having gone to the house of C. Cotta the Pontifex
Maximus, whom he found sitting in his study with C. Velleius, a Senator,
who professed the principles of Epicurus, and Q. Lucilius Balbus, a
supporter of the doctrines of the Stoics.—“As soon as Cotta saw me, ‘You
are come,’ says he, ‘very seasonably, for I have a dispute with Velleius
upon an important subject, in which, considering the nature of your
studies, it is not improper for you to join.’—‘Indeed,’ said I, ‘I am come
very seasonably, as you say, for here are three chiefs of the three
principal sects met together.’ ” Cotta himself is a new Academic, and he
proceeds to inform Cicero that they were discoursing on the nature of the
gods, a topic which had always appeared to him very obscure, and that
therefore he had prevailed on Velleius to state the sentiments of Epicurus
upon the subject. Velleius is requested to go on with his arguments; and
after recapitulating what he had already said, “with the confidence
peculiar to his sect, dreading nothing so much as to seem to doubt about
anything, he began, as if he had just then descended from the council of
the gods(434).”

The discourse of Velleius consists, in a considerable degree, of raillery
and declamations directed against the doctrines of different sects, of
which he enumerates a great variety, and which supposes in Cicero
extensive philosophical erudition, or rather, perhaps, from the slight
manner in which they are passed over, that he had taken his account of
them from some ancient Diogenes Laertius, or Stanley(435).—“I have
hitherto,” says Velleius, “rather exposed the dreams of dotards than the
opinions of philosophers; and whoever considers how rashly and
inconsiderately their tenets are advanced, must entertain a veneration for
Epicurus, and rank him in the number of those beings who are the subject
of this dispute, for he alone first founded the existence of the gods, on
the impression which nature herself hath made on the minds of men.”

Velleius having concluded his discourse, (the remainder of which can now
have little interest as relating to the form of the gods and their
apathy,) Cotta, after some compliments to him, enters on a confutation of
what he had advanced; and, while admitting that there are gods, he
pronounces the reasons given by Velleius for their existence to be
altogether insufficient. He then proceeds to attack the other positions of
Velleius, with regard to the form of the gods, and their exemption from
the labours of creation and providence. His arguments against
Anthropomorphism are excellent; and in reply to the hypothesis of Epicurus
concerning the indolence of the gods, he inquires, “What reason is there
that men should worship the gods, when the gods, as you say, not only do
not regard men, but are entirely careless of everything, and absolutely do
nothing? But they are, you say, of so glorious a nature, that a wise man
is induced by their excellence to adore them. Can there be any glory in
that nature, which only contemplates its own happiness, and neither will
do, nor does, nor ever did anything? Besides, what piety is due to a being
from whom you receive nothing, or how are you indebted to him who bestows
no benefits?”

When Cotta has concluded his refutation of Velleius, with which the first
book closes, Balbus is next requested to give the sentiments of the
Stoics, on the subject of the gods, to which, making a slight excuse, he
consents. His first argument for their existence, after shortly alluding
to the magnificence of the world, and the prevalence of the doctrine, is
“the frequent appearance of the gods themselves. In the war with the
Latins,” he continues, “when A. Posthumius, the Dictator, attacked
Octavius Mamilius, the Tusculan, at Regillus, Castor and Pollux were seen
fighting in our army on horseback, and since that time the same offspring
of Tyndarus gave notice of the defeat of Perseus; for P. Vatienus,
grandfather of the present youth of that name, coming in the night to
Rome, from his government of Reate, two young men on white horses appeared
to him, and told him King Perseus was that day taken prisoner. This news
he carried to the Senate, who immediately threw him into prison, for
speaking inconsiderately on a state affair; but when it was confirmed by
letters from Paullus, he was recompensed by the Senate with land and
exemption. The voices of the Fauns have been often heard, and deities have
appeared in forms so visible, that he who doubts must be hardened in
stupidity or impiety.”

Balbus, after farther arguing for the existence of the gods, from events
consequent on auguries and auspices, proceeds to what is more peculiarly
the doctrine of the Stoics. He remarks,—“that Cleanthes, one of the most
distinguished philosophers of that sect, imputes the idea of the gods
implanted in the minds of men, to four causes—The first is, what I just
now mentioned, a pre-knowledge of future things: The second is, the great
advantages we enjoy from the temperature of the air, the fertility of the
earth, and the abundance of various kinds of benefits: The third is, the
terror with which the mind is affected by thunder, tempests, snow, hail,
devastation, pestilence, earthquakes, often attended with hideous noises,
showers of stones, and rain like drops of blood. His fourth cause,”
continues Balbus, “and that the strongest, is drawn from the regularity of
the motion, and revolution of the heavens, the variety, and beauty, and
order of the sun, moon, and stars; the appearance only of which is
sufficient to convince us they are not the effects of chance; as when we
enter into a house, a school, or court, and observe the exact order,
discipline, and method therein, we cannot suppose they are so regulated
without a cause, but must conclude there is some one who commands, and to
whom obedience is paid; so we have much greater reason to think that such
wonderful motions, revolutions, and order of those many and great bodies,
no part of which is impaired by the vast infinity of age, are governed by
some intelligent being.”

This argument is very well stated, but Balbus, in a considerable degree,
weakens its effect, by proceeding to contend, that the world, or universe
itself, (the stoical deity,) and its most distinguished parts, the sun,
moon, and stars, are possessed of reason and wisdom. This he founds partly
on a metaphysical argument, and partly on the regularity, beauty, and
order of their motions.

Balbus, after various other remarks, enters on the topic of the creation
of the world, and its government by the providence of the gods. He justly
observes, that nothing can be more absurd than to suppose that a world, so
beautifully adorned, could be formed by chance, or by a fortuitous
concourse of atoms(436). “He who believes this possible,” says he, “may as
well believe, that if a great number of the one-and-twenty letters,
composed either of gold, or any other metal, were thrown on the ground,
they would fall into such order as legibly to form the Annals of Ennius. I
doubt whether fortune could make a single verse of them.” He quotes a very
beautiful passage from a now lost work of Aristotle, in which that
philosopher urges the argument that may be deduced from providential
design, with more soundness and imagination than are usual with him.
Balbus then proceeds to display the marks of deliberate plan in the
universe, beginning with astronomy. In treating of the constellations, he
makes great use of Cicero’s poetical version of Aratus, much of which he
is supposed, perhaps with little probability, or modesty in the author, to
have by heart; and, accordingly, we are favoured with a considerable
number of these verses. He also adduces manifold proofs of design and
sovereign wisdom, from a consideration of plants, land animals, fishes,
and the structure of the human body; a subject on which Cicero discovers
more anatomical knowledge than one should have expected. Balbus also
contends that the gods not only provide for mankind universally, but for
individuals. “The frequent appearances of the gods,” he observes,
“demonstrate their regard for cities and particular men. This, indeed, is
also apparent from the foreknowledge of events, which we receive either
sleeping or waking.”

Cicero makes Balbus, in the conclusion of his discourse, express but
little confidence in his own arguments.—“This is almost the whole,” says
he, “that has occurred to my mind, on the nature of the gods, and that I
thought proper to advance. Do you, Cotta, if I may advise, defend the same
cause. Remember that in Rome you keep the first rank—remember you are
Pontifex. It is a pernicious and impious custom, either seriously or
seemingly to argue against the gods.”

In the third book of this very remarkable work, Cicero exhibits Cotta as
refuting the doctrines of Balbus. “But before I enter on the subject,”
says Cotta, “I have a word to say concerning myself; for I am greatly
influenced by your authority, and your exhortation at the conclusion of
your discourse, to remember I was Cotta, and Pontifex; by which, I
presume, you intimated that I should defend the religion and ceremonies
which we received from our ancestors: Truly, I always have, and always
will defend them, nor shall the arguments, either of the learned or
unlearned, ever remove the opinions I have imbibed concerning the worship
of the immortal gods. In matters of religion, I submit to the rules of the
High Priests, T. Coruncanius, P. Scipio, and P. Scævola. These, Balbus,”
continues he, “are my sentiments, both as a priest and Cotta. But you must
bring me to your opinion by the force of your reason; for a philosopher
should prove to me the religion he would have me embrace; but I must
believe without proof the religion of our ancestors.”

The Pontifex thus professing to believe the existence of the gods merely
on the authority of his ancestors, proceeds to ridicule this very
authority. He represents the appearances of Castor and Pollux, and those
others adduced by Balbus, as idle tales. “Do you take these for fabulous
stories?” says Balbus. “Is not the temple built by Posthumius, in honour
of Castor and Pollux, to be seen in the Forum? Is not the decree of the
Senate concerning Vatienus still subsisting? Ought not such authorities to
move you?”—“You oppose me,” replies Cotta, “with stories; but I ask
reasons of you.”

A chasm here follows in the original, in which Cotta probably stated the
reasons of his scepticism, in spite of the acts of the Senate, and so many
public memorials of supernatural facts. “You believe,” continues Cotta,
“that the Decii, in devoting themselves to death, appeased the gods. How
great, then, was the iniquity of the gods, that they could not be
appeased, but at the price of such noble blood!—As to the voice of the
Fauns, I never heard it; if you assure me you have, I shall believe you;
though I am absolutely ignorant what a Faun is. Truly, Balbus, you have
not yet proved the existence of the gods. I believe it, indeed, but not
from any arguments of the Stoics. Cleanthes, you said, attributes the idea
that men have of the gods to four causes. The first is a foreknowledge of
future events; the second,—tempests and other shocks of nature; the
third,—the utility and plenty of things we enjoy; the fourth,—the
invariable order of the stars and heavens. Foreknowledge I have already
answered. With regard to tempests in the air, the sea, and the earth, I
own, that many people are affrighted by them, and imagine that the
immortal gods are the authors of them. But the question is not, whether
there be people who believe there are gods, but whether there are gods or
not. As to the two other causes of Cleanthes, one of which is derived from
the plenty we enjoy, the other from the invariable order of the seasons
and heavens, I shall treat on them when I answer your discourse concerning
the providence of the gods.”

In the meantime, Cotta goes on to refute the Stoical notions with regard
to the reason and understanding attributed to the sun, moon, and stars. He
then proceeds to controvert, and occasionally to ridicule, the opinions
entertained of numerous heathen gods; the three Jupiters, and other
deities, and sons of deities.—“You call Jupiter and Neptune gods,” says
he; “their brother Pluto, then, is one; Charon, also, and Cerberus, are
gods, but that cannot be allowed. Nor can Pluto be placed among the
deities; how then can his brothers?” Cotta next ridicules the Stoics for
the delight they take in the explication of fables, and in the etymology
of names; after which he says, “Let us proceed to the two other parts of
our dispute. 1st, Whether there is a Divine Providence that governs the
world? and, lastly, Whether that Providence particularly regards mankind?
For these are the remaining propositions of your discourse.”

There follows a considerable _hiatus_ in the original, so that we are
deprived of all the arguments of Cotta on the proposition maintained by
Balbus, that there is a Divine Providence which governs the world. At the
end of this chasm, we find him quoting long passages from tragedies, and
arguing against the advantages of reason, from the ill use which has been
made of it. He then adduces a number of instances, drawn from history and
observation, of fortunate vice, and of wrecked and ruined virtue, in order
to overturn the doctrine of _particular providence_; contending, that as
no family or state can be supposed to be formed with any judgment or
discipline, if there are no rewards for good actions, or punishment for
bad, so we cannot believe that a Divine Providence regulates the world,
when there is no distinction between the honest and the wicked.

“This,” concludes Cotta, “is the purport of what I had to say concerning
the nature of the gods, not with a design to destroy their existence, but
merely to show what an obscure point it is, and with what difficulties an
explanation of it is attended.” Balbus observing that Cotta had finished
his discourse, “You have been very severe,” says he, “against the being of
a Divine Providence, a doctrine established by the Stoics, with piety and
wisdom; but, as it grows too late, I shall defer my answer to another
day.”—“There is nothing,” replied Cotta, “I desire more than to be
confuted.”—“The conversation ended here, and we parted. Velleius judged
that the arguments of Cotta were the truest, but those of Balbus seemed to
me to have the greater probability.”

It seems likely that this profession or pretext, that the discourse is
left unfinished, may (like the occasional apologies of Cotta) be
introduced to save appearances(437). It is evident, however, that Cicero
intended to add, at least, new prefaces to the two latter books of this
work, probably from suspecting, as he went on, that the discourses are too
long to have taken place in one day, as they are now represented. Balbus
says, in the second book, “Velut a te ipso, hesterno die dictum est(438).”
Fulvius Ursinus had remarked that this was an inadvertence, either in
Cicero or a transcriber, as the discourse is continued throughout the same
day. That it was not owing to a transcriber, or to any inadvertence in
Cicero, but to a design of altering the introductions to the second and
third books, appears from a passage in book third, where Cotta says to
Balbus, “Omniaque, quæ a te _nudiustertius_ dicta sunt(439).” Now, it is
extremely unlikely that there should have been two such instances of
inadvertency in the author, or carelessness in the copyist.

The work on the Nature of the Gods, though in many respects a most
valuable production, and a convincing proof of the extensive learning of
its author, gives a melancholy picture of the state of his mind. Unfitted
to bear adversity, and borne down by the calamities of his country, and
the death of his beloved daughter, (misfortunes of which he often
complains,) Cicero seems to have become a sceptic, and occasionally to
have doubted even of a superintending Providence. Warburton appears to be
right in supposing, that Cicero was advanced in years before he seriously
adopted the sceptical opinions of the new Academy. “This farther appears,”
says he, after some remarks on this head, “from a place in his Nature of
the Gods, where he says, that his espousing the new Academy of a sudden,
was a thing altogether unlooked for(440). The change, then, was late, and
after the ruin of the republic, when Cicero retired from business, and had
leisure in his recess to plan and execute this noble undertaking. So that
a learned critic appears to have been mistaken, when he supposed the
choice of the new Academy was made in his youth. ‘This sect,’ says he,
‘did best agree with the vast genius, and ambitious spirit, of _young
Cicero_(441).’ ”

It appears not, however, to have been, as Warburton supposes, altogether
from a systematic plan, of explaining to his countrymen the philosophy of
the Greeks, that Cicero became a sceptic; but partly from gloomy views of
nature and providence. It seems difficult otherwise to account for the
circumstance, that Cotta, an ancient and venerable Consul, the _Pontifex_
of the metropolis of the world, should be introduced as contending, even
against an Epicurean, for the non-existence of the gods. Lord Bolingbroke
has justly remarked, “that Cotta disputes so vehemently, and his arguments
extend so far, that Tully makes his own brother accuse him directly, and
himself by consequence indirectly, of atheism.—‘Studio contra Stoicos
disserendi deos mihi videtur funditus tollere.’ Now, what says Tully in
his own name? He tells his brother that Cotta disputes in that manner,
rather to confute the Stoics than to destroy the religion of
mankind.—‘Magis quam ut hominum deleat religionem.’ But Quintus answers,
that is, Tully makes him answer, he was not the bubble of an artifice,
employed to save the appearance of departing from the public religious
institutions. ‘Ne communi jure migrare videatur(442).’ ” Cotta, indeed,
goes so far in his attack on Providence, that Lord Bolingbroke, who is not
himself a model of orthodoxy, takes up the other side of the question
against the Roman Pontiff, and pleads the cause of Providence with no
little reason and eloquence.(443)

In the foregoing analysis, or abridgment of the work on the Nature of the
Gods, it will have been remarked, that two chasms occur in the argument of
Cotta. Olivet enters into some discussion with regard to the latter and
larger chasm. “I cannot,” says he, “see any justice in the accusation
against the primitive Christians, of having torn this passage out of all
the MSS. What appearance is there, that through a pious motive they should
have erased this any more than many others in the same book, which they
must undoubtedly have looked upon as no less pernicious?” Olivet seems
inclined to suspect the Pagans; but, in my opinion, the chasms in the
discourse of Cotta, if not accidental, are to be attributed rather to
Christian than pagan zeal. Arnobius, indeed, speaking of this work, says,
That many were of opinion that it ought to have been destroyed by the
Roman Senate, as the Christian faith might be approved by it, and the
authority of antiquity subverted(444). There is no evidence, however, that
any such destruction or mutilation was attempted by the Pagans; and we
find that the satire directed against the heathen deities has been
permitted to remain, while the chasms intervene in portions of the work,
which might have been supposed by a pious zealot, to bear, in some
measure, against the Christian, as well as the Pagan faith. In the first
of them, the Pontifex begins, and is proceeding to contend, that in spite
of Acts of the Senate, temples, statues, and other commemorations of
miraculous circumstances, all such prodigies were nothing but mere fables,
however solemnly attested, or generally believed. Now, the transcriber
might fear, lest a similar inference should be drawn by the sceptic, to
that which has in fact been deduced by the English translator of this
work, in the following passage of a note:—“Hence we see what little credit
ought to be paid to facts, said to be done out of the ordinary course of
nature. These miracles are well attested: They were recorded in the annals
of a great people—believed by many learned and otherwise sagacious
persons, and received as religious truths by the populace; but the
testimonies of ancient records, the credulity of some learned men, and the
implicit faith of the vulgar, can never prove that to have been, which is
impossible in the nature of things ever to be.” At the beginning of the
other and larger chasm, Cotta was proceeding to argue against the
proposition of the Stoics, that there is a Divine Providence which governs
the world. Now, there is a considerable analogy between the system of the
ancient Stoics, and the Christian scheme of Providence, both in the
theoretical doctrine, and in the practical inference, of the propriety of
a cheerful and unqualified submission to the chain of events—to the
dispensations of nature in the Stoical, and of God in the purer doctrine.
To Christian zeal, therefore, rather than to pagan prudence, we must
attribute the two chasms which now intervene in the discourse of Cotta.

In the remarks which have been now offered on this work, _De Naturâ
Deorum_, I trust I have brought no unfounded or uncharitable accusation
against Cicero. He was a person, at least in his own age and country, of
unrivalled talents and learning—he was a great, and, on the whole, a good
man—but his mind was sensitive, and feeble against misfortune. There are
æras, and monuments perhaps in every æra, when we are ready to exclaim
with Brutus, “That virtue is an empty name:” And the doubts and darkness
of such a mind as that of Cicero, enriched with all the powers of genius,
and all the treasures of philosophy, afford a new proof of the necessity
for the appearance of that Divine Messenger, who was then on the eve of
descending upon earth.

_De Divinatione_.—The long account which has been given of the dialogue on
the Nature of the Gods, renders it unnecessary to say much on the work _De
Divinatione_. This treatise may be considered, in some measure, as a
supplement to that _De Naturâ Deorum_. The religion of the Romans
consisted of two different branches—the worship of the gods, and the
observation of the signs by which their will was supposed to be revealed.
Cicero having already discussed what related to the nature and worship of
the gods, a treatise on Divination formed a natural continuation of the
subject(445). In his work on this topic, which was one almost peculiar to
the Romans, Cicero professes to relate the substance of a conversation
held at Tusculum with his brother, in which Quintus, on the principles of
the Stoics, supported the credibility of divination, while Cicero himself
controverted it. The dialogue consists of two books, the first of which
comprehends an enumeration by Quintus of the different kinds or classes of
divination, with the reasons or presumptions in their favour. The second
book contains a refutation by Cicero of his brother’s arguments.

Quintus, while walking with his brother in the Lyceum at Tusculum, begins
his observations by stating, that he had read the third book which Cicero
had lately written, on the Nature of the Gods, in which Cotta seemed to
contend for atheism, but had by no means been able to refute Balbus. He
remarks, at the same time, that the subject of divination had not been
treated of in these books, perhaps in order that it might be separately
discussed more fully, and that he would gladly, if his brother had leisure
and inclination, state his own opinions on the subject. The answer of
Cicero is very noble.—“Ego vero, inquam, Philosophiæ, Quinte, semper vaco.
Hoc autem tempore, quum sit nihil aliud quod libenter agere possim multo
magis aveo audire de divinatione quid sentias.”

Quintus, after observing that divinations of various kinds have been
common among all people, remarks, and afterwards frequently repeats, that
it is no argument against different modes of divination, that we cannot
explain how or why certain things happen. It is sufficient, that we know
from experience and history, that they do happen(446). He contends that
Cicero himself supports the doctrine of divination, in the poem on his
Consulship, from which he quotes a long passage, sufficient to console us
for the loss of that work. He argues, that although events may not always
succeed as predicted, it does not follow that divination is not an art,
more than that medicine is not an art, because cures may not always be
effected. In the course of this book we have a complete account of the
state contrivances which were practised by the Roman government, to instil
among the people those hopes and fears whereby it regulated public
opinion, in which view it has been justly termed a chapter in the history
of man. The great charm, however, of the first book, consists in the
number of histories adduced by Quintus, in proof of the truth of different
kinds of omens, dreams, portents, and divinations.—“Negemus omnia,” says
he, “comburamus annales.” He states various circumstances consistent with
his and his brother’s own knowledge; and, among others, two remarkable
dreams, one of which had occurred to Cicero, and one to himself. He asks
if the Greek history be also a fable.—“Num etiam Græcorum historia mentita
est?” and, in short, throughout takes the following high ground:—“Quid
est, igitur, cur dubitandum sit, quin sint ea, quæ disputavi, verissima?
Si ratio mecum facit, si eventa, si populi, si nationes, si Græci, si
barbari, si majores etiam nostri, si summi philosophi, si poetæ, et
sapientissimi viri qui res publicas constituerunt, qui urbes condiderunt;
si denique hoc semper ita putatum est: an dum bestiæ loquantur,
expectamus, hominum consentiente auctoritate, contenti non sumus(447)?”

The second book of this work is introduced by a preface, in which Cicero
enumerates the philosophical treatises which he had lately written. He
then proceeds to state, that at the conclusion of the discourse of
Quintus, which was held while they were walking in the Lyceum, they sat
down in the library, and he began to reply to his brother’s arguments. His
commencement is uncommonly beautiful.—“Atque ego; Accurate tu quidem,
inquam, Quinte, et Stoice Stoicorum sententiam defendisti: quodque me
maxime delectat, plurimis nostris exemplis usus es, et iis quidem claris
et illustribus. Dicendum est mihi igitur ad ea, quæ sunt a te dicta, sed
ita, nihil ut affirmem, quæram omnia, dubitans plerumque, et mihi ipse
diffidens(448).” It is unnecessary to give any summary of the arguments of
Cicero against auguries, auspices, astrology, lots, dreams, and every
species of omens and prodigies. His discourse is a masterpiece of
reasoning; and if sufficiently studied during the dark ages of Europe,
would have sufficed, in a great degree, to have prevented or dispelled the
superstitious gloom. Nothing can be finer than the concluding chapter on
the evils of superstition, and Cicero’s efforts to extirpate it, without
injuring religion. The whole thread, too, of his argumentative eloquence,
is interwoven and strengthened by curious and interesting stories. As a
specimen of the agreeable manner in which these are introduced, the
twenty-fourth chapter may be cited:—“Vetus autem illud Catonis admodum
scitum est, qui mirari se aiebat, quod non rideret haruspex, haruspicem
quum vidisset. Quota enim quæque res evenit prædicta ab ipsis? Aut si
evenit quippiam, quid afferri potest, cur non casu id evenerit? Rex
Prusias, quum Annibali apud eum exsulanti depugnari placeret, negabat se
audere, quod exta prohiberent. An tu, inquit, carunculæ vitulinæ mavis,
quam imperatori veteri, credere? Quid? Ipse Cæsar, quum a summo haruspice
moneretur, ne in Africam ante brumam transmitteret, nonne transmisit? Quod
ni fecisset, uno in loco omnes adversariorum copiæ convenissent. Quid ego
haruspicum responsa commemorem, (possum equidem innumerabilia,) quæ aut
nullos habuerunt exitus, aut contrarios? Hoc civili bello, Dii Immortales!
Quam multa luserunt—quæ nobis in Græciam Româ responsa haruspicum missa
sunt? Quæ dicta Pompeio? Etenim ille admodum extis et ostentis movebatur.
Non lubet commemorare, nec vero necesse est, tibi præsertim, qui
interfuisti. Vides tamen, omnia fere contra, ac dicta sunt, evenisse.” One
great charm of all the philosophical works of Cicero, and particularly of
this treatise, consists in the anecdotes with which they abound. This
practice of intermingling histories, might have been partly owing to
Tully’s habits as a pleader—partly to the works having been composed in
“narrative old age.” His moral conclusions seem thus occasionally to have
the certainty of physical experiments, by the support which they receive
from occurrences, suggested to him by his wide experience; while, at the
same time,—

  “His candid style, like a clean stream doth slide,
    And his bright fancy, all the way,
    Doth like the sun-shine on it play(449).”

_De Fato_.—This tract, which is the last of Cicero’s philosophical works,
treats of a subject which occupied as important a place in the metaphysics
and theology of the ancients, as free will and necessity have filled in
modern speculation. The dialogue _De Fato_ is held in the villa of Cicero,
called the Puteolan or the Academia, which was situated on the shore of
Baiæ, between the lake Avernus and the harbour of Puteoli. It stood in the
curve of the bay, and almost on the beach, so as to enjoy the breezes and
murmurs of the sea. The house was built according to the plan of the
Academy at Athens, being adorned with a portico and grove, for the
purposes of philosophical conference(450); and with a gallery, which
surrounded a square court in the centre. “Twelve or thirteen arches of the
Puteolan villa,” says Mr Kelsall, “are still seen on the side next the
vineyard, and, intermixed as they are with trees, are very picturesque
seen from the sea. These ruins are about one mile from Pozzuolo, and have
always been styled _l’Academia di Cicerone_. Pliny is very circumstantial
in the description of the site, ‘_Ab Averno lacu Puteolos tendentibus
imposita littori_.’ The classical traveller will not forget that the
Puteolan villa is the scene of some of the orator’s philosophical works. I
searched in vain for the mineral spring commemorated by Laurea Tullius, in
the well-known complimentary verses preserved by Pliny; for it was defaced
by the convulsions which the whole of this tract experienced in the 16th
century, so poetically described in Gray’s hexameters.” After the death of
Cicero, the villa was acquired by Antistius Vetus, who repaired and
improved it. It was subsequently possessed by the Emperor Hadrian, who,
while expiring here(451), breathed out the celebrated address to his
fleeting, fluttering soul, on its approaching departure for those cold and
pallid regions, that must have formed in his fancy such a gloomy contrast
to the glowing sunshine and animated shore which he left with so much

The dialogue is held between Cicero and Hirtius, on one of the many
occasions on which they met to consult concerning the situation of public
affairs. Hirtius was the author of the Commentaries on the Civil Wars, and
perished a few months afterwards, at the battle of Modena, in the moment
of victory. The wonderful events which had recently occurred, and the
miserable fate of so many of the greatest and most powerful of the Romans,
naturally introduced a conversation on destiny. We have now neither the
commencement nor conclusion of the dialogue; but some critics have
supposed that it originally consisted of two books, and that the fragment
we at present possess formed part of the second book—an opinion which
seems justified by a passage in the seventeenth chapter of the second
book, where the first conversation is cited. Others, however, refer these
words to a separate and previous work on Fate. The part of the dialogue
now extant, contains a refutation of the doctrine of Chrysippus the Stoic,
which was that of fatality. “The spot,” says Eustace, “the subject, the
speakers, both fated to perish in so short a time, during the contest
which they both foresaw, and endeavoured in vain to avert, were
circumstances which give a peculiar interest to this dialogue, and
increase our regret that it has not reached us in a less mutilated

I have now enumerated what may be strictly regarded as the philosophical
and theological writings of Cicero. Some of the advantages to be derived
from these productions, have already been pointed out during our progress.
But on a consideration of the whole, it is manifest that the chief profit
accruing from them, is the satisfactory evidence which they afford of the
little reason we have to regret the loss of the writings of Zeno,
Cleanthes, Chrysippus, and other Greek philosophers. The intrinsic value
of these works of Cicero, consists chiefly in what may be called the Roman
portion of them—in the anecdotes of distinguished Romans, and of the
customs and opinions of that sovereign people.

We now proceed to the _moral_ writings of Cicero, of which the most
important is the work _De Officiis_. The ancient Romans had but an
imperfect notion of moral obligations; their virtues were more stern than
amiable, and their ardent exclusive patriotism restricted the wide claims
of philanthropy, on the one hand, and of domestic duties, on the other.
Panætius, a Greek philosopher, who resided at Rome, in the time of Scipio,
wrote a book entitled Περι Καθηκοντος. He divided his subject according to
the threefold considerations which he conceived should operate in
determining our resolutions with regard to the performance of moral
duties; 1. Whether the thing itself be virtuous or shameful; 2. Whether it
conduce to utility and the enjoyment of life; 3. What choice is to be made
when an apparent utility seems to clash with virtue. Cicero followed
nearly the same arrangement. In the first book he treats of what is
virtuous in itself, and shows in what manner our duties are founded in
morality and virtue—in the right perception of truth, justice, fortitude,
and decorum; which four qualities are referred to as the constituent parts
of virtue, and the sources from which all our duties are drawn. In the
second book, the author enlarges on those duties which relate to utility,
the improvement of life, and the means employed for the attainment of
wealth and power. This division of the work principally regards political
advancement, and the honourable means of gaining popularity, as
generosity, courtesy, and eloquence. Thus far Cicero had, in all
probability, closely followed the steps of Panætius. Garve, in his
commentary on this work(453), remarks, that it is quite clear, when he
comes to the more subtle and philosophic parts of his subject, that Cicero
translates from the Greek, and that he has not always found words in his
own language to express the nicer distinctions of the Greek schools. The
work of Panætius, however, was left imperfect, and did not treat of the
third part of the subject, the choice and distinction to be made when
there was a jarring or inconsistency between virtue and utility. On this
topic, accordingly, Cicero was left to his own resources. The discussion,
of course, relates only to the subordinate duties, as the true and
undoubted _honestum_ never can be put in competition with private
advantage, or be violated for its sake. As to the minor duties, the great
maxim inculcated is that nothing should be accounted useful or profitable
but what is strictly virtuous, and that, in fact, there ought to be no
separation of the principles of virtue and utility. Cicero enters into
some discussion, however, and affords some rules to enable us to form a
just estimate of both in cases of doubt, where seeming utility comes into
competition with virtue. Accordingly, he proposes and decides a good many
questions in casuistry, in order to fix in what situations one may seek
private gain with honour. He takes his examples from Roman history, and
particularly considers the case of Regulus in the obligation of his oath,
and the advice which he gave to the Roman Senate. The author disclaims
having been indebted to any preceding writers on this subject; but it
appears, from what he afterwards states, that the sixth book of the work
of Hecato, a scholar of Panætius, was full of questions of this kind: As,
for example—If something must be thrown into the sea to lighten a vessel
in a storm, whether one should sacrifice a valuable horse, or a worthless
slave? Whether, if, during a shipwreck, a fool has got hold of a plank, a
wise man ought to take it from him, if he be able? If one, unknowingly,
receives bad money for his goods, may he pay it away to a third hand,
after he is aware that it is bad? Diogenes, it seems, one of the three
philosophic ambassadors who came to Rome from Athens, in the end of the
sixth century, maintained the affirmative of this last proposition.

The subject being too extensive for dialogue, (the form of his other
philosophical treatises,) the author has addressed the work _De Officiis_
to his son, and has represented it as written for his instruction. “It
is,” says Kelsall, “the noblest present ever made by a parent to a child.”
Cicero declares, that he intended to treat in it of all the duties(454);
but it is generally considered to have been chiefly drawn up as a manual
of political morality, and as a guide to young Romans of his son’s age and
distinction, which might enable them to attain political eminence, and to
tread with innocence and safety “the slippery steeps of power.”

_De Senectute_.——

  “O Thou all eloquent, whose mighty mind
  Streams from the depths of ages on mankind,
  Streams like the day—who angel-like hast shed
  Thy full effulgence on the hoary head;
  Speaking in Cato’s venerable voice—
  “Look up and faint not—faint not, but rejoice”—
  From thy Elysium guide us(455).”

The treatise _De Senectute_ is not properly a dialogue, but a continued
discourse, delivered by Cato the Censor, at the request of Scipio and
Lælius. It is, however, one of the most interesting pieces of the kind
which have descended to us from antiquity; and no reader can wonder that
Cicero experienced such pleasure in its composition, that the delightful
employment, not only, as he says, made him forget the infirmities of old
age, but rendered that portion of existence agreeable. In consequence of
the period of life to which Cicero had attained, at the time of its
composition, and the circumstances in which he was then placed, it must,
indeed, have been penned with peculiar interest and feeling. It was
written by him in his 63d year, and is addressed to his friend Atticus,
(who reached the same term of existence,) with a view of rendering to both
the accumulating burdens of age as light as possible. In order to give his
precepts the greater force, he represents them as delivered by the elder
Cato, (while flourishing in the eighty-fourth year of a vigorous and
useful old age,) on occasion of young Scipio and Lælius expressing their
admiration at the wonderful ease with which he still bore the load of
life. This affords the author an opportunity of entering into a full
explanation of his ideas on the subject. His great object is to show that
the closing period of life may be rendered, not only tolerable, but
comfortable, by internal resources of happiness. He reduces those causes
which are commonly supposed to constitute the infelicity of advanced age,
under four general heads:—That it incapacitates from mingling in the
affairs of the world—that it produces infirmities of body—that it
disqualifies for the enjoyment of sensual gratifications—and that it
brings us to the verge of death. Some of these supposed disadvantages, he
maintains, are imaginary, and for any real pleasures of which old men are
deprived, others more refined and higher may be substituted. The whole
work is agreeably diversified and illustrated by examples of eminent Roman
citizens, who had passed a respected and agreeable evening of life.
Indeed, so much is said of those individuals who reached a happy old age,
that it may rather be styled a Treatise on Old Men, than on Old Age. On
the last point, the near approach of death, it is argued, conformably to
the first book of the Tusculan Questions, that if death extinguish the
soul’s existence, it is utterly to be disregarded, but much to be desired,
if it convey her to a happier region. The apprehension of future
punishment, as in the Tusculan Disputations, is laid entirely aside, and
it is assumed as a principle, that, after death, we either shall not be
miserable, or be superlatively happy. In other respects, the tract _De
Senectute_ almost seems a confutation of the first book of the Tusculan
Questions, which is chiefly occupied in showing the wretchedness of
long-protracted existence. The sentiments put into the mouth of Cato, are
acknowledged by Cicero as his own; but, notwithstanding this, and also a
more elegant and polished style of composition than could be expected from
the Censor, many characteristics of his life, conversation, and manners,
are brought before us—his talk is a little boastful, and his sternness,
though softened down by old age into an agreeable gossipping garrulity, is
still visible; and, on the whole, the discourse is so managed, that we
experience, in reading it, something of that complaisant respect, which we
feel in intercourse with a venerable old man, who has around him so much
of the life to come, as to be purified at least from the grosser desires
of this lower world.

It has been remarked as extraordinary, that, amidst the anxious
enumeration of the comforts of age, those arising from domestic society
are not mentioned by Cicero; but his favourite daughter Tullia was now no
more, and the husband of Terentia, the father of Marcus Cicero, and the
father-in-law of Dolabella, may have felt something on that subject, of
which he was willing to spare himself the recollection. But though he has
omitted what we number among its chief consolations, still he has
represented advanced age under too favourable a view. He denies, for
instance, that the memory is impaired by it—asserting, that everything
continues to be remembered, in which we take an interest, for that no old
man ever forgot where he had concealed his treasure. He has, besides, only
treated of an old age distinguished by deeds or learning, terminating a
life great and glorious in the eyes of men. The table of the old man whom
he describes, is cheered by numerous friends, and his presence, wherever
he appears, is hailed by clients and dependants. All his examples are
drawn from the higher and better walks of life. In the venerable picture
of the Censor, we have no traces of second childhood, or of the slippered
pantaloon, or of that melancholy and almost frightful representation, in
the tenth satire of Juvenal. But even persons of the station, and dignity,
and talents of Cato, are, in old age, liable to weaknesses and
misfortunes, with which the pleasing portrait, that Tully has drawn, is in
no way disfigured:—

  “In life’s last scene, what prodigies surprise,
  Fears of the brave, and follies of the wise!
  From Marlborough’s eyes the tears of dotage flow,
  And Swift expires a driveller and a show.”

The treatise _De Senectute_ has been versified by Denham, under the title
of _Cato Major_. The subject of the evils of old age is divided, as by
Cicero, into four parts. “I can neither,” says he, in his preface, “call
this piece Tully’s nor my own, being much altered from the original, not
only by the change of the style, but by addition and subtraction.” In
fact, the fine sentiments are Cicero’s—the doggerel English verse, into
which he has converted Cicero’s classical prose, his own. The fourth part,
on the approach of death, is that which is best versified.

This tract is also the model of the dialogue _Spurinna, or the Comforts of
Old Age_, by Sir Thomas Bernard. Hough, Bishop of Worcester, who is in his
ninetieth year at the date of the conference, supposed to be held in 1739,
is the Cato of the dialogue. The other interlocutors are Gibson, Bishop of
London, and Mr Lyttleton, subsequently Lord Lyttleton. After considering,
in the same manner as Cicero, the disadvantages of old age, the English
author proceeds to treat of its advantages, and the best mode of
increasing its comforts. Many ideas and arguments are derived from Cicero;
but among the consolations of advanced age, the promises of revelation
concerning a future state of happiness, to which the Roman was a stranger,
are prominently brought forward, and the illustrations are chiefly drawn
from British, instead of Grecian or Roman history.

_De Amicitiâ_.—In this, as in all his other dialogues, Cicero has most
judiciously selected the persons whom he introduces as speakers. They were
men of eminence in the state; and though deceased, the Romans had such a
just veneration for their ancestors, that they would listen with the
utmost interest even to the supposed conversation of the ancient heroes or
sages of their country. Such illustrious names bestowed additional dignity
on what was delivered, and even now affect us with sentiments of
veneration far superior to that which is felt for the itinerant sophists,
who, with the exception of Socrates, are the chief speakers in the
dialogues of Plato.

The memorable and hereditary friendship which subsisted between Lælius and
the younger Scipio Africanus, rendered them the most suitable characters
from whom the sentiments expressed on this delightful topic could be
supposed to flow. Their mutual and unshaken attachment threw an additional
lustre over the military glory of the one, and the contemplative wisdom of
the other. “Such,” says Cicero in the introduction to the treatise _De
Republicâ_, “was the common law of friendship between them, that Lælius
adored Africanus as a god, on account of his transcendent military fame;
and that Scipio, when they were at home, revered his friend, who was older
than himself, as a father(456).” The kindred soul of Cicero appears to
have been deeply struck with this delightful assemblage of all the noblest
and loveliest qualities of our nature. The friendship which subsisted
between himself and Atticus was another beautiful example of a similar
kind: And the dialogue _De Amicitiâ_ is accordingly addressed with
peculiar propriety to Atticus, who, as Cicero tells him in his dedication,
could not fail to discover his own portrait in the delineation of a
perfect friend. This treatise approaches nearer to dialogue than that _De
Senectute_, for there is a story, with the circumstances of time and
place. Fannius, the historian, and Mucius Scævola, the Augur, both
sons-in-law of Lælius, paid him a visit immediately after the sudden and
suspicious death of Scipio Africanus. The recent loss which Lælius had
thus sustained, leads to an eulogy on the inimitable virtues of the
departed hero, and to a discussion on the true nature of that tie by which
they had been so long connected. Cicero, while in his earliest youth, had
been introduced by his father to Mucius Scævola; and hence, among other
interesting matters which he enjoyed an opportunity of hearing, he was one
day present while Scævola related the substance of the conference on
Friendship, which he and Fannius had held with Lælius a few days after the
death of Scipio. Many of the ideas and sentiments which the mild Lælius
then uttered, are declared by Scævola to have originally flowed from
Scipio, with whom the nature and laws of friendship formed a favourite
topic of discourse. This, perhaps, is not entirely a fiction, or merely
told to give the stamp of authenticity to the dialogue. Some such
conversation was probably held and related; and I doubt not, that a few of
the passages in this celebrated dialogue reflect the sentiments of Lælius,
or even of Africanus himself.

The philosophical works of Cicero, which have been hitherto enumerated,
are complete, or nearly so. But it is well known that he was the author of
many other productions which have now been entirely lost, or of which only
fragments remain.

Of these, the most important was the Treatise _De Republicâ_, which, in
the general wreck of learning, shared the fate of the institutions it was
intended to celebrate. The greater part of this dialogue having
disappeared along with the _Origines_ of Cato, the works of Varro, and the
History of Sallust, we have been deprived of all the writings which would
have thrown the most light on the Roman institutions, manners, and
government—of everything, in short, which philosophically traced the
progress of Rome, from its original barbarism to the perfection which it
had attained in the age of the second Scipio Africanus.

There are few monuments of ancient literature, of which the disappearance
had excited more regret, than that of the work _De Republicâ_, which was
long believed to have been the grand repository of all the political
wisdom of the ancients. The great importance of the subject—treated, too,
by a writer at once distinguished by his genius and former official
dignity; the pride and predilection with which the author himself speaks
of it, and the sublimity and beauty of the fragment entitled _Somnium
Scipionis_, preserved from it by Macrobius, all concurred to exalt this
treatise in the imagination of the learned, and to exasperate their
vexation at its loss. The fathers of the church, particularly Lactantius,
had afforded some insight into the arguments employed in it on different
topics; several fragments existed in the works of the grammarians, and a
complete copy was extant as late as the 11th century. Since that time the
literary world have been flattered at different periods with hopes of its
discovery; but it is only within the last few years that such a portion of
it has been recovered, as may suffice, in a considerable degree, to
satisfy curiosity, though not perhaps to fulfil expectation.

It is well known to many, and will be mentioned more fully in the
_Appendix_, that owing to a scarcity of papyrus and parchment, it was
customary, at different times, to erase old, in order to admit new,
writing. To a MS. of this kind, the name of Palimpsest has been given—a
term made use of by Cicero himself. In a letter to the lawyer Trebatius,
who had written to him on such a sheet, Cicero says, “that while he must
praise him for his parsimony in employing a palimpsest, he cannot but
wonder what he had erased to scribble such a letter, except it were his
law notes: For I cannot think,” adds he, “that you would efface my letter
to substitute your own(457).” This practice became very common in the
middle ages, when both the papyrus and parchment were scarce, and when the
classics were, with few exceptions, no longer the objects of interest.
Montfaucon had remarked, that these obliterated MSS. were perhaps more
numerous than those which had been written on for the first time(458). But
though in some cases the original writing was still visible on close
observation, no practical use was made of such inspection till Angelo Mai
published some fragments recovered from palimpsest MSS. in the Ambrosian
library, of which he was keeper. Encouraged by his success, he persevered
in this new pursuit, and published at intervals fragments of considerable
value. At length, being called to Rome as a recompense for his learned
labours, Mai prosecuted in the Vatican those noble researches which he had
commenced at Milan; and it is to him we now owe the discovery and
publication of a considerable portion of Cicero _De Republicâ_, which had
been expunged, (it is supposed in the 6th century,) and crossed by a new
writing, which contained a commentary by St Augustine on the Psalms(459).

The work _De Republicâ_ was begun by Cicero in the month of May, in the
year 699, when the author was in the fifty-second year of his age, so
that, of all his philosophical writings, it was at least the earliest
commenced. In a letter to his brother Quintus, he tells him that he had
employed himself in his Cuman and Pompeian villas, in writing a large and
laborious political work; that, should it succeed to his mind, it would be
well, but, if not, he would cast it into that sea which was in view when
he wrote it; and, as it was impossible for him to be idle, commence some
other undertaking(460). He had proceeded, however, but a little way, when
he repeatedly changed the whole plan of the work; and it is curious to
perceive, that an author of so perfect a genius as Cicero, had similar
advices from friends, and the same discouragement, and doubts, and
irresolution, which agitate inferior writers.

When he had finished the first and second books, they were read to some of
his friends at his Tusculan villa. Sallust, who was one of the company
present, advised him to change his plan, and to treat the subject in his
own person—alleging that the introduction of those ancient philosophers
and statesmen, to whom Cicero had assigned parts in the dialogue, instead
of adding gravity, gave a fictitious air to the argument, which would have
greater weight if delivered from Cicero himself, as being the work, not of
a sophist or contemplative theorist, but of a consular senator and
statesman, conversant in the greatest affairs, and writing only what his
own experience had taught him to be true. These reasons seemed to Cicero
very plausible, and for some time made him think of altering his plan,
especially since, by placing the scene of the dialogue so far back, he had
precluded himself from touching on those important revolutions in the
Republic, which were later than the period to which he had confined
himself. But after some deliberation, feeling reluctant to throw away the
two books which were already finished, and with which he was much pleased,
he resolved to adhere to his original plan(461). And as he had preferred
it from the first, for the sake of avoiding offence, so he pursued it
without any other alteration than that he now limited to six what he had
before proposed to extend to nine books. These six were made public
previously to his departure for the government of Cilicia. While there, he
received the epistolary congratulations of his friends on their
success(462), and in his answers he discloses all the delight of a
gratified and successful author(463).

Mai discusses at considerable length the question, To whom the treatise
_De Republicâ_ was dedicated. The beginning of the proœmium to the first
book, which might have determined this point, is lost; but the author
says, “Disputatio repetenda memoriâ est, quæ mihi, _tibique quondam
adolescentulo_, est a P. Rutilio Rufo, Zmyrnæ cùm simul essemus, complures
dies exposita.” Cicero was at Smyrna in the twenty-ninth year of his age,
and it is evident that his companion, to whom this treatise is dedicated,
was younger than himself, as he says, “Mihi, _tibique_ quondam
_adolescentulo_.” Atticus was two years older than Cicero, and therefore
could not be the person. In fact, there is every reason to suppose that
the treatise _De Republicâ_ was dedicated to its author’s younger brother
Quintus, who, as we know from the proœmium of the last book, _De Finibus_,
was with Cicero at Athens during the voyage, in the course of which he
touched at Smyrna—who probably attended him to Asia,—and whose age suited
the expression “mihi, tibique adolescentulo.” Add to this, that Cicero,
when he mentions to his brother, (in the passage of the letter above
referred to,) that he meant to alter the plan of his work, says, “Nunc
loquar ipse _tecum_, et tamen illa quæ institueram ad te, si Romam venero,
mittam(464).” The work in its first concoction, therefore, was addressed
to Quintus, and, as the author, after some hesitation, published it nearly
in its original form, it can scarcely be doubted that it was still
dedicated to his brother.

The first book _De Republicâ_, which was one of those read by Cicero to
Sallust and some other friends, in his Tusculan villa, is, as already
mentioned, imperfect at the commencement. Not much, however, seems to be
wanting, and a prologue of considerable length still remains, in which the
author (pleading, perhaps, his own cause) combats the opinions of
philosophers, who, preferring a contemplative to an active life, blame
those who engage in public affairs. To the former he opposes the example
of many wise and great men, and answers those objections to a busy
political life, which have been repeatedly urged against it. This prologue
contains some good reasoning, and, like all the writings of its
illustrious author, displays a noble patriotic feeling. He remarks, that
he had entered into this discussion as introductory to a book concerning
the republic, since it seemed proper, as prefatory to such a work, to
combat the sentiments of those who deny that a philosopher should be a
statesman. “As to the work itself,” says he, addressing (as I have
supposed) his brother, “I shall lay down nothing new or peculiar to
myself, but shall repeat a discussion which once took place among the most
illustrious men of their age, and the wisest of our state, such as it was
related to myself, and to you when a youth, by P. Rutilius Rufus, when we
were with him some days at Smyrna—in which discussion nothing of
importance to the right constitution of a commonwealth, appears to have
been omitted.”

The author then proceeds to mention, that during the consulship of
Tuditanus and Aquilius, (as he had heard from Rufus,) the younger Scipio
Africanus determined to pass the Latin festivals (Latinæ Feriæ) in his
gardens, where some of his most intimate friends had promised to visit
him. The first of these who makes his appearance is his nephew, Quintus
Tubero, a person devoted to the Stoical philosophy, and noted for the
austerity of his manners. A remark which Tubero makes about two suns, a
prodigy which, it seems, had lately appeared in the heavens, leads Scipio
to praise Socrates for his abandonment of physical pursuits, as neither
very useful to man, nor capable of being thoroughly investigated—a
sentiment (by the way) which, with all due submission to the Greek
philosopher, does little credit to his sagacity, as physical inquiries
have been not only highly useful to mankind, but are almost the only
subjects in which accurate science has been attained. Furius, Philus, and
Rutilius, who is stated to have related the discussion to Cicero, now
enter, and, at last, comes Lælius, attended by his friend, Spurius
Mummius, (brother to the well-known connoisseur in the fine arts who took
Corinth,) and by his two sons-in-law, C. Fannius and Q. Scævola. After
saluting them, Scipio, as it was now winter, takes them to a sunny spot,
in a meadow, and in proceeding thither the party is joined by M. Manilius.

“In this choice of his principal speakers, Cicero,” as has been well
remarked, “was extremely judicious and happy. It was necessary that the
persons selected should have been distinguished both as statesmen and as
scholars, in order that a philosophical discussion might appear consistent
with their known characters, and that a high political reputation might
give authority to their remarks on government. Scipio and Lælius united
both these requisites in a remarkable degree. They were among the earliest
of the Romans who added the graces of Grecian taste and learning to the
manly virtues of their own ruder country. These accomplishments had
refined and polished their characters, without at all detracting from
their force and purity. The very name of the Scipios, the _duo fulmina
belli_, was the symbol of military talent, patriotism, and magnanimity:
Lælius was somewhat less distinguished in active life; but enjoyed, on the
other hand, a still higher reputation for contemplative wisdom(465).”

After the party had been all seated, the subject of the two suns is
resumed; and Lælius, while he remarks that they had enough to occupy
attention in matters more at hand, adds, that since they were at present
idle, he for his part, had no objection to hear Philus, who was fond of
astronomical pursuits, on the subject. Philus, thus encouraged, proceeds
to give an account of a kind of Orrery, which had been formed by
Archimedes, and having been brought to Rome by Marcellus, its structure,
as well as uses, had on one occasion, when Philus was present, been
explained by C. Sulpicius Gallus. The application of this explanation to
the phenomenon of the two suns is lost, as a _hiatus_ of eight pages here
occurs in the palimpsest. Probably, the solution of the problem would not,
if extant, make a great figure in the _Philosophical Transactions_. But
one cannot fail to admire the discursive and active genius of Cicero, who
considered all knowledge as an object deserving ardent pursuit(466).

At the end of the _hiatus_, we find Scipio, in reference to Gallus’s
astronomical knowledge, which had been celebrated by Philus, relating,
that when his father, Paulus Æmilius, commanded in Macedonia, the army
being terrified by an eclipse, Gallus had calmed their fears by explaining
the phænomenon—an anecdote, which, with another similar to it here told of
Pericles, proves the value of physical pursuits, and their intimate
connection with the affairs of life. This inference seems to have been
drawn in a passage which is lost; and several beautiful sentiments follow,
similar to some of those in the _Somnium Scipionis_, on the calm exquisite
delights of meditation and science, and on the littleness of all earthly
things, when compared with immortality or the universe. “Quid porro,” says
Scipio, in the most elevated tone of moral and intellectual grandeur—“quid
porro aut præclarum putet in rebus humanis, qui hæc deorum regna
perspexerit? aut diuturnum, qui cognoverit quid sit æternum? aut
gloriosum, qui viderit quàm parva sit terra, primum universa, deinde ea
pars ejus quam homines incolant, quamque nos in exiguâ ejus parte adfixi,
plurimis ignotissimi gentibus, speremus tamen nostrum nomen volitare et
vagari latissime? Agros, vero, et ædificia, et pecudes, et immensum
argenti pondus atque auri, qui bona nec putare nec appellare soleat, quod
earum rerum videatur ei, levis fructus, exiguus usus, incertus dominatus,
sæpe etiam teterrimorum hominum immensa possessio. Quàm est hic fortunatus
putandus, cui soli vere liceat omnia non Quiritium sed sapientium jure pro
suis vindicare! nec civili nexo, sed communi lege naturæ, quæ vetat ullam
rem esse cujusquam nisi ejus qui tractare et uti sciat: qui imperia
consulatusque nostros in necessariis non in expetendis rebus muneris
fungendi gratiâ subeundos, non præmiorum aut gloriæ causâ adpetendos
putet: qui denique ut Africanum avum meum scribit Cato solitum esse
dicere, possit idem de se prædicare, nunquam se plus agere, quàm nihil cùm
ageret; nunquam minus solum esse, quàm cùm solus esset.

“Quis enim putare vere potest plus egisse Dionysium tum cùm omnia moliendo
eripuerit civibus suis libertatem, quàm ejus civem Archimedem, cùm istam
ipsam Sphæram, nihil cùm agere videretur, effecerit? Quis autem non magis
solos esse qui in foro turbâque quicum conloqui libeat non habeant, quam
qui nullo arbitro vel secum ipsi loquantur, vel quasi doctissimorum
hominum in concilio adsint cùm eorum inventis scriptisque se oblectent?
Quis vero divitiorem quemquam putet, quàm eum cui nihil desit, quod quidem
natura desideret? aut potentiorem quàm illum, qui omnia quæ expetat,
consequatur? aut beatiorem quàm qui sit omni perturbatione animi

Lælius, however, is no way moved by these sonorous arguments; and still
persists in affirming, that the most important of all studies are those
which relate to the _Republic_, and that it concerned them to inquire, not
why two suns had appeared in heaven, but why, in the present
circumstances, (alluding to the projects of the Gracchi,) there were two
senates, and almost two peoples. In this state of things, therefore, and
since they had now leisure, their fittest object would be to learn from
Scipio what he deemed the best condition of a commonwealth. Scipio
complies with this request, and begins with defining a republic; “Est
igitur respublica res populi—populus autem non omnis hominum cœtus quoquo
modo congregatus, sed cœtus multitudinis juris consensu.” In entering on
the nature of what he had thus defined, he remounts to the origin of
society, which he refers entirely to that social spirit which is one of
the principles of our nature, and not to hostility, or fear, or compact. A
people, when united, may be governed by _one_, by _several_, or by a
_multitude_, any one of which simple forms may be tolerable if well
administered, but they are liable to corruptions peculiar to themselves.
Of these three simple forms, Scipio prefers the monarchical; and for this
choice he gives his reasons, which are somewhat metaphysical and
analogical. But though he more approves of a pure regal government than of
the two other simple forms, he thinks that none of them are good, and that
a perfect constitution must be compounded of the three. “Quod cùm ita sit,
tribus primis generibus longe præstat, meâ sententiâ, regium; regio autem
ipsi præstabit id quod erit æquatum et temperatum ex tribus optimis rerum
publicarum modis. Placet enim esse quiddam in re publicâ præstans et
regale; esse aliud auctoritate principum partum ac tributum; esse quasdam
res servatas judicio voluntatique multitudinis. Hæc constitutio primum
habet æqualitatem quamdam magnam, quâ carere diutius vix possunt liberi;
deinde firmitudinem.”

In this panegyric on a mixed constitution, Cicero has taken his idea of a
perfect state from the Roman commonwealth—from its consuls, senate, and
popular assemblies. Accordingly, Scipio proceeds to affirm, that of all
constitutions which had ever existed, no one, either as to the
distribution of its parts or discipline, was so perfect as that which had
been established by their ancestors; and that, therefore, he will
constantly have his eye on it as a model in all that he means to say
concerning the best form of a state.

This explains what was the chief scope of Cicero in his work _De
Republica_—an eulogy on the Roman government, such as it was, or he
supposed it to have been, in the early ages of the commonwealth. In the
time of Cicero, when Rome was agitated by the plots of Catiline, and
factions of Clodius, with the proscriptions of Sylla but just terminated,
and the usurpation of Cæsar impending, the Roman constitution had become
as ideal as the polity of Plato; and in its best times had never reached
the perfection which Cicero attributes to it. But when a writer is
disgusted with the present, and fearful for the future, he is ever ready
to form an _Utopia_ of the past(467).

In the _second_ book, which, like the first, is imperfect at the
beginning, (though Mai seems to think that only a few words are wanting;)
Scipio records a saying of Cato the Censor, that the constitution of Rome
was superior to that of all other states, because _they_ had been modelled
by single legislators, as Crete by Minos, and Sparta by Lycurgus, whereas
the Roman commonwealth was the result of the gradually improved experience
and wisdom of ages. “To borrow, therefore,” says he, “a word from Cato, I
shall go back to the _origin_ of the Roman state; and show it in its
birth, childhood, youth, and maturity—a plan which seems preferable to the
delineation of an imaginary republic like that of Plato.”

Scipio now begins with Romulus, whose birth, indeed, he seems to treat as
a fable; but in the whole succeeding development of the Roman history, he,
or, in other words, Cicero, exercises little criticism, and indulges in no
scepticism. He admires the wisdom with which Romulus chose the site of his
capital—not placing it in a maritime situation, where it would have been
exposed to many dangers and disadvantages, but on a navigable river, with
all the conveniences of the sea.—“Quî potuit igitur divinitus et
utilitates complecti maritimas Romulus et vitia vitare? quàm quòd urbem
perennis amnis et æquabilis et in mare late influentis posuit in ripâ, quo
posset urbs et accipere ex mari quo egeret, et reddere quo redundaret:
eodemque ut flumine res ad victum cultumque maxime necessarias non solum
mari absorberet sed etiam advectas acciperet ex terrâ: ut mihi jam tum
divinâsse ille videatur, hanc urbem sedem aliquando ut domum summo esse
imperio præbituram: nam hanc rerum tantam potentiam non ferme facilius
aliâ in parte Italiæ posita urbs tenere potuisset.”—In like manner he
praises the sagacity of the succeeding rulers of the Roman state.
“Faithful to his plan,” says M. Villemain, “of referring all to the Roman
constitution, and of forming rather a history than a political theory,
Cicero proceeds to examine, as it were chronologically, the state of Rome
at the different epochs of its duration, beginning with its kings. This
plan, if it produced any new light on a very dark subject, would have much
more interest for us than ideas merely speculative. But Cicero scarcely
deviates from the common traditions, which have often exercised the
scepticism of the learned. He takes the Roman history nearly as we now
have it, and his reflections seem to suppose no other facts than those
which have been so eloquently recorded by Livy.” But although, for the
sake of illustration, and in deference to common opinion, he argues on the
events of early Roman history, as delivered by vulgar tradition, it is
evident that, in his own belief, they were altogether uncertain; and if
any new authority on that subject were wanting, Cicero’s might be added in
favour of their total uncertainty; for Lælius thus interrupts his account
of Ancus Martius—“Laudandus etiam iste rex—sed obscura est historia
Romana;” and Scipio replies, “Ita est: sed temporum illorum tantum fere
regum illustrata sunt nomina.”

At the close of Scipio’s discourse, which is a perpetual panegyric on the
successive governments of Rome, and, with exception of the above passage,
an uncritical acquiescence in its common history, Tubero remarks, that
Cicero had rather praised the Roman government, than examined the
constitution of commonwealths in general, and that hitherto he had not
explained by what discipline, manners, and laws, a state is to be
constituted or preserved. Scipio replies, that this is to be a farther
subject of discussion; and he seems now to have adopted a more
metaphysical tone: But of the remainder of the book only a few fragments
exist; from which, however, it appears, that a question was started, how
far the exact observance of justice in a state is politic or necessary.
This discussion, at the suggestion of Scipio, is suspended till the
succeeding day(468).

As the _third_ book of Cicero’s treatise began a second day’s colloquy, it
was doubtless furnished with a proœmium, the greater part of which is now
lost, as also a considerable portion of the commencement of the dialogue.
Towards the conclusion of the preceding book, Scipio had touched on the
subject, how far the observance of justice is useful to a state, and
Philus had proposed that this topic should be treated more fully, as an
opinion was prevalent, that policy occasionally required injustice.
Previously to the discovery of Mai, we knew from St Augustine, _De
Civitate Dei_, that in the third book of the treatise _De Republicâ_,
Philus, as a disputant, undertook the cause of injustice, and was answered
by Lælius. In the fragment of the third book, Philus excuses himself from
becoming (so to speak) the devil’s advocate; but at length agrees to
offer, not his own arguments on the subject, but those of Carneades, who,
some years before, had one day pleaded the cause of justice at Rome, and
next day overturning his own arguments, became the patron of injustice.
Philus accordingly proceeds to contend, that if justice were something
real, it would be everywhere the same, whereas, in one nation, that is
reckoned equitable and holy, which in another is unjust and impious; and,
in like manner, in the same city, what is just at one period, becomes
unjust at another. In the palimpsest, these sophisms, which have been
revived in modern times by Mandeville and others, are interrupted by
frequent chasms in the MS. Lælius, as we learn from St Augustine, and from
a passage in Aulus Gellius, was requested by all present to undertake the
defence of justice; but his discourse, with the exception of a few
sentences, is wholly wanting in the palimpsest. At the close he is highly
complimented by Scipio, but a large _hiatus_ again intervenes. After this,
Scipio is found contending, that wealth and power, Phidian statues, or the
most magnificent public works, do not constitute a republic, but the _res
populi_, the good of the whole, and not of any single governing portion of
the state. He then concludes with affirming, that of all forms of
government, the purely democratic is the worst, and next to that, an
unmixed aristocracy.

Of the _fourth_ book only one leaf remains in the palimpsest, the contents
of which seem to confirm what we learn from other sources, that it treated
of Education and Morals. It is particularly to be regretted that this book
has disappeared. It is easy to supply abstract discussions about justice,
democracy, and power, and, if they be not supplied, little injury is
sustained; but the loss of details relating to manners and customs, from
such a hand as that of Cicero, is irreparable. The fifth book is nearly as
much mutilated as the fourth, and of the sixth not a fragment remains in
the palimpsest, so that Mai’s discovery has added nothing to the beautiful
extract from this book, entitled the _Somnium Scipionis_, preserved by
Macrobius. The conclusion of the work _De Republicâ_, had turned on
immortality of fame here, and eternity of existence elsewhere. The
_Somnium Scipionis_ is intended to establish, under the form of a
political fiction, the sublime dogma of the soul’s immortality, and was
probably introduced at the conclusion of the work, for the purpose of
adding the hopes and fears of future retribution to the other motives to
virtuous exertion. In illustration of this sublime topic, Scipio relates
that, in his youth, when he first served in Africa, he visited the court
of Massinissa, the steady friend of the Romans, and particularly of the
Cornelian family. During the feasts and entertainments of the day, the
conversation turned on the words and actions of the first great Scipio.
His adopted grandchild having retired to rest, the shade of the departed
hero appeared to him in sleep, darkly foretold the future events of his
life, and encouraged him to tread in the paths of patriotism and true
glory, by announcing the reward provided in Heaven for those who have
deserved well of their country.

I have thought it proper to give this minute account of the treatise _De
Republicâ_, for the sake of those who may not have had an opportunity of
consulting Mai’s publication, and who may be curious to know somewhat of
the value and extent of his discovery. On the whole, I suspect that the
treatise will disappoint those whose expectations were high, especially if
they thought to find in it much political or statistical information. It
corresponds little to the idea that one would naturally form of a
political work from the pen of Cicero—a distinguished statesman, always
courted by the chiefs of political parties, and at one time himself at the
head of the government of his country. But, on reflection, it will not
appear surprising that we receive from this work so little insight into
the doubtful and disputed points of Roman polity. Those questions, with
regard to the manner in which the Senate was filled up—the force of
degrees of the people, and the rank of the different jurisdictions, which
in modern times have formed subjects of discussion, had not become
problems in the time of Cicero. The great men whom he introduces in
conversation together, understood each other on such topics, by a word or
suggestion; and I am satisfied that those parts of the treatise _De
Republicâ_, which are lost, contained as little that could contribute to
the solution of such difficulties, as the portions that have been

But though the work of Cicero will disappoint those who expect to find in
it much political information, still, as in his other productions, every
page exhibits a rich and glowing magnificence of style, ever subjected to
the controul of a taste the most correct and pure. It contains, like all
his writings, some passages of exquisite beauty, and everywhere breathes
an exalted spirit of virtue and patriotism. The Latin language, so noble
in itself, and dignified, assumes additional majesty in the periods of the
Roman Consul, and adds an inexpressible beauty and loftiness to the
natural sublimity of his sentiments. No writings, in fact, are so full of
moral and intellectual grandeur as those of Cicero, none are more
calculated to elevate and purify our nature—to inculcate the TU VERO
ENITERE, in the path of knowledge and virtue, and to excite not merely a
fond desire, or idle longing, but strenuous efforts after immortality.
Indeed, the whole life of the Father of his Country was a noble
fulfilment, and his sublime philosophic works are but an expansion of that
golden precept, _tu vero enitere_, enjoined from on high, to his great
descendant, by the Spirit of the first Africanus(469).

About a century after the revival of letters, when mankind had at length
despaired of any farther discovery of the philosophic writings of Cicero,
the learned men of the age employed themselves in collecting the scattered
fragments of his lost works, and arranging them according to the order of
the books from which they had been extracted. Sigonius had thus united the
detached fragments of the work _De Republicâ_, and he made a similar
attempt to repair another lost treatise of Cicero, entitled _De
Consolatione_. But in this instance he not merely collected the fragments,
but connected them by sentences of his own composition. The work _De
Consolatione_ was written by Cicero in the year 708, on occasion of the
death of his much-loved Tullia, with the design of relieving his own mind,
and consecrating to all posterity the virtues and memory of his
daughter(470). In this treatise, he set out with the paradoxical
propositions, that human life is a punishment, and that men are brought
into the world only to pay the forfeit of their sins(471). Cicero chiefly
followed Crantor the Academic(472), who had left a celebrated piece on the
same topic; but he inserted whatever pleased him in any other author who
had written on the subject. He illustrated his precepts, as he proceeded,
by examples from Roman history, of eminent characters who had borne a
similar loss with that which he had himself sustained, or other severe
misfortunes, with remarkable constancy(473),—dwelling particularly on the
domestic calamities of Q. Maximus, who buried a consular son; of Æmilius
Paullus, who lost two sons in two days; and of M. Cato, who had been
deprived of a son, who was Prætor-Elect(474). Sigonius pretended, that the
patched-up treatise _De Consolatione_, which he gave to the public, was
the lost work of Cicero, of which he had discovered a MS. The imposture
succeeded for a considerable time, but was at length detected and pointed
out by Riccoboni(475).

Cicero also wrote a treatise in two books, addressed to Atticus, on the
subject of Glory, which was the predominant and most conspicuous passion
of his soul. It was composed in the year 710, while sailing along the
delightful coast of the Campagna, on his voyage to Greece:—

  “On as he moved along the level shore,
  These temples, in their splendour eminent
  Mid arcs, and obelisks, and domes, and towers,
  Reflecting back the radiance of the west,
  Well might he dream of GLORY(476)!”

This treatise was extant in the 14th century. A copy had been presented to
Petrarch, from his vast collection of books, by Raymond Soranzo, a
Sicilian lawyer(477). Petrarch long preserved this precious volume with
great care, and valued it highly. Unfortunately a man called Convenoli,
who resided at Avignon, and who had formerly been his preceptor, begged
and obtained the loan of it; and having afterwards fallen into indigent
circumstances, pawned it for the relief of his necessities, to some
unknown person, from whom Petrarch never could regain its possession. Two
copies, however, were still extant in the subsequent century, one in a
private library at Nuremburg, and another in that of a Venetian nobleman,
Bernard Giustiniani, who, dying in 1489, bequeathed his books to a
monastery of nuns, to whom Petrus Alcyonius was physician. Filelfo was
accused, though on no good foundation, of having burned the Nuremburg
copy, after inserting passages from it in his treatise _De Contemptu
Mundi_(478). But the charge of destroying the original MS. left by
Giustiniani to the nuns, has been urged against Alcyonius on better
grounds, and with more success. Paulus Manutius, of whose printing-press
Alcyonius had been at one time corrector, charged him with having availed
himself of his free access to the library of the nuns, whose physician he
was, to purloin the treatise _De Gloria_, and with having destroyed it, to
conceal his plagiarisms, after inserting from it various passages in his
dialogue _De Exilio_(479). The assertion of Manutius is founded only on
the disappearance of the MS.,—the opportunities possessed by Alcyonius of
appropriating it, and his own critical opinion of the dialogue _De
Exilio_, in which he conceives that there are many passages composed in a
style evincing a writer of talents, far superior to those of its nominal
author. This accusation was repeated by Paulus Jovius and others(480).
Mencken, in the preface to his edition of the dialogue _De Exilio_, has
maintained the innocence of Alcyonius, and has related a conversation
which he had with Bentley on the subject, in the course of which that
great scholar declared, that he found nothing in the work of Alcyonius
which could convict him of the imputed plagiarism(481). He has been
defended at greater length by Tiraboschi, on the strong grounds that
Giustiniani lived after the invention of printing, and that had he
actually been in possession of Cicero’s treatise _De Gloriâ_, he would
doubtless have published it—that it is not said to what monastery of nuns
Giustiniani bequeathed this precious MS.—that the charge against Alcyonius
was not advanced till after his death, although his dialogue _De Exilio_
was first printed in 1522, and he survived till 1527; and, finally, that
so great a proportion of it relates to modern events, that there are not
more than a few pages which could possibly have been pilfered from Cicero,
or any writer of his age(482). M. Bernardi, in a dissertation subjoined to
a work above mentioned, _De la Republique_, has revived the accusation, at
least to a certain extent, by quoting various passages from the work of
Alcyonius, which are not well connected with the others, and which, being
of a superior order of composition, may be conjectured to be those he had
detached from the treatises of Cicero. On the whole, the question of the
theft and plagiarism of Alcyonius still remains undecided, and will
probably continue so till the discovery of some perfect copy of the tract
_De Gloriâ_—an event rather to be earnestly desired than reasonably

A fourth lost work of Cicero, is his _Hortensius sive de Philosophia_.
Besides the orator after whom it is named, Catulus, Lucullus, and Cicero
himself, were speakers in the dialogue. In the first part, where
Hortensius discourses, it was intended to exalt eloquence above
philosophy. To his arguments Cicero replied, showing the service that
philosophy rendered to eloquence, even in an imperfect state of the social
progress, and its superior use in an improved condition of society, in
which there should be no wrong, and consequently no tribunals of justice.
All this appears from the account given of the _Hortensius_ by St
Augustine, who has also quoted from it many beautiful passages—declaring,
at the same time, that it was the perusal of this work which first
inspired him with a love of wisdom.—“Viluit mihi repente omnis vana spes,
et immortalitatem sapientiæ concupiscebam æstu cordis incredibili(483).”
This dialogue continued to be preserved for a long period after the time
of St Augustine, since it is cited as extant in his own age by the famous
Roger Bacon(484).

It was not till after the æra of Augustus, that works originally destined
for the public assumed the name and form of letters. But several
collections of epistles, written, during the period on which we are now
engaged, to relatives or friends in private confidence, were afterwards
extensively circulated. Those of Cornelia, the daughter of the elder
Scipio Africanus, and mother of the Gracchi, addressed chiefly to her
sons, were much celebrated; but the most ample collection now extant, is
that of the Letters of Cicero.

These may be divided into four parts,—1. The Epistolæ Familiares, or
Miscellaneous Correspondence; 2. Those to Atticus; 3. To his brother
Quintus; 4. To Brutus.

The correspondence, usually entitled _Ad Familiares_, includes a period of
about twenty years, commencing immediately after Cicero’s consulate, and
ending a few months before his death. The letters which this collection
comprehends, are so extremely miscellaneous, that it is impossible even to
run over their contents. Previous to the battle of Pharsalia, it chiefly
consists of epistles concerning the distribution of consular provinces,
and the political intrigues relating to that constantly recurring subject
of contention,—recommendatory letters sent with acquaintances going into
the provinces—details to absent friends, with regard to the state of
parties at Rome, particularly the designs of Pompey and Cæsar, and the
factions of Milo and Clodius; and, finally, entertaining anecdotes
concerning the most popular and fashionable amusements of the Capital.

Subsequently to the battle of Pharsalia, and during the supremacy of
Cæsar, the letters are principally addressed to the chiefs of the Pompeian
party, who were at that time in banishment for their adherence to the same
cause in which Cicero had been himself engaged. These epistles are chiefly
occupied with consolatory reflections on the adverse circumstances in
which they were placed, and accounts of his own exertions to obtain their
recall. In the perusal of these letters, it is painful and humiliating to
observe the gratification which Cicero evidently appears to have received
at this period, from the attentions, not merely of Cæsar, but of his
creatures and favourites, as Balbus, Hirtius, and Pansa.

After the assassination of Cæsar, the correspondence for the most part
relates to the affairs of the Republic, and is directed to the heads of
the conspiracy, or to leading men in the state, as Lepidus and Asinius
Pollio, who were then in the command of armies, and whom he anxiously
exhorts to declare for the commonwealth, and stand forward in opposition
to Antony.

There are a good many letters inserted in this collection, addressed to
Cicero by his friends. The greatest number are from his old client Cælius,
who appears to have been an admirable gossip. They are written to Cicero,
during his absence from Rome, in his government of Cilicia, and give him
news of party politics—intelligence of remarkable cases tried in the
Forum—and of the fashionable scandal of the day. The great object of
Cælius seems to have been to obtain in return, the dedication of one of
Cicero’s works, and a cargo of panthers from Asia, for his exhibition of
games to the Roman people. Towards the conclusion, there are a good many
letters from generals, who were at the head of armies in the provinces at
the death of Cæsar, and continued their command during the war which the
Senate waged against Antony. All of them, but particularly Asinius Pollio,
and Lepidus, appear to have acted with consummate treachery and
dissimulation towards Cicero and the Senate. On the whole, though the
_Epistolæ Familiares_ were private letters, and though some private
affairs are treated of in them, they chiefly relate to public concerns,
comprehending, in particular, a very full history of Cicero’s government
in Cilicia, the civil dissensions of Rome, and the war between Pompey and
Cæsar. Seldom, however, do they display any flashes of that eloquence with
which the orator was so richly endued; and no transaction, however
important, elevated his style above the level of ordinary conversation.

The _Epistolæ ad Atticum_, are also of great service for the History of
Rome. “Whoever,” says Cornelius Nepos, “reads these letters of Cicero,
will not want for a connected history of the times. So well does he
describe the views of the leading men, the faults of generals, and the
changes of parties in the state, that nothing is wanting for our
information; and such was his sagacity, we are almost led to believe that
it was a kind of divination; for Cicero not only foretold what afterwards
happened in his own lifetime, but, like a prophet, predicted events which
are now come to pass(485).” Along with this knowledge, we obtain more
insight into Cicero’s private character, than from the former series of
letters, where he is often disguised in the political mask of the great
theatre on which he acted, and where many of his defects are concealed
under the graceful folds of the _toga_. It was to Atticus that he most
freely unbosomed his thoughts—more completely than even to Tullia,
Terentia, or Tiro. Hence, while he evinces in these letters much affection
for his family—ardent zeal for the interests of his friends—strong
feelings of humanity and justice—warm gratitude to his benefactors, and
devoted love to his country, he has not repressed his vanity, or concealed
the faults of a mental organization too susceptible of every impression.
His sensibility, indeed, was such, that it led him to think his
misfortunes were peculiarly distinguished from those of all other men, and
that neither himself nor the world could ever sufficiently deplore them:
hence the querulous and plaintive tone which pervades the whole
correspondence, and which, in the letters written during his exile,
resembles more the wailings of the _Tristia_ of Ovid, than what might be
expected from the first statesman, orator, and philosopher of the Roman
Republic. In every page of them, too, we see traces of his inconsistencies
and irresolution—his political, if not his personal timidity—his rash
confidence in prosperity, his alarm in danger, his despondence in
adversity—his too nice jealousies and delicate suspicions—his proneness to
offence, and his unresisting compliance with those who had gained him by
flattery, and hypocritical professions of attachment to the commonwealth.
Atticus, it is clear, was a bad adviser for his fame, and perhaps for his
ultimate safety; and to him may be in a great measure attributed that
compromising conduct which has detracted so much from the dignity of his
character. “You succeeded,” says Cicero, speaking of Cæsar and Pompey, “in
persuading me to keep well with the one, because he had rendered me
services, and with the other, because he possessed great power(486).”
Again, “I followed your advice so punctually, that neither of them had a
favourite beyond myself;” and after the war had actually broken out, “I
take it very kind that you, in so friendly a manner, advise me to declare
as little as possible for either party(487).” Such fatal counsels, it is
evident, accorded too well with his own inclinations, and palliated,
perhaps, to himself the weaknesses to which he gave way. These weaknesses
of Cicero it would, indeed, be in vain to deny; but _his_ feelings are
little to be envied who can think of them without regret, or speak of them
without indulgence.

It is these letters, however, which have handed down the remembrance of
Atticus to posterity, and have rendered his name almost as universally
known as that of his illustrious correspondent. “Nomen Attici perire,”
says Seneca, “Ciceronis Epistolæ non sinunt. Nihil illi profuissent gener
Agrippa, et Tiberius progener, et Drusus Cæsar pronepos. Inter tam magna
nomina taceretur nisi Cicero illum applicuisset.”

Perhaps the most interesting correspondence of Cicero is that with his
brother Quintus, who was some years younger than the orator. He attained
the dignity of Prætor in 693, and afterwards held a government in Asia as
Pro-prætor for four years. He returned to Rome at the moment in which his
brother was driven into exile; and for some time afterwards, was chiefly
employed in exerting himself to obtain his recall. As Cæsar’s lieutenant,
he served with credit in Gaul; but espoused the republican party at the
breaking out of the civil war. He was pardoned, however, by Cæsar, and was
slain by the blood-thirsty triumvirate established after his death.
Quintus was a man of warm affections, and of some military talents, but of
impatient and irritable temper. The orator had evidently a high opinion of
his qualifications, and has introduced him as an interlocutor in the
dialogues _De Legibus_ and _De Divinatione_.

The correspondence with Quintus is divided into three books. The first
letter in the collection, is one of the noblest productions of the kind
which has ever been penned. It is addressed to Quintus on occasion of his
government in Asia being prolonged for a third year. Availing himself of
the rights of an elder brother, as well as of the authority derived from
his superior dignity and talents, Cicero counsels and exhorts his brother
concerning the due administration of his province, particularly with
regard to the choice of his subordinate officers, and the degree of trust
to be reposed in them. He earnestly reproves him, but with much fraternal
tenderness and affection, for his proneness to resentment; and he
concludes with a beautiful exhortation, to strive in all respects to merit
the praise of his contemporaries, and bequeath to posterity an untainted
name. The second letter transmits to Quintus an account of some complaints
which Cicero had heard in Rome, with regard to his brother’s conduct in
the administration of his government. The two following epistles, which
conclude the first book, are written from Thessalonica, in the
commencement of his exile. The first of these, beginning, “Mi frater, mi
frater, mi frater,” written in a sad state of agitation and depression, is
a fine specimen of eloquent and pathetic expostulation. It is full of
strong and almost unbounded expressions of attachment, and exhibits much
of that exaggeration, both in sentiment and language, in which Cicero
indulged so frequently in his orations.

The second and third books of letters, addressed to his brother in
Sardinia and Gaul, give an interesting account of the state of public
affairs during the years 697, 698, and part of 699, as also of his
subsisting domestic relations during the same period.

Along with his letters to Quintus, there is usually printed an epistle or
memoir, which Quintus addressed to his brother when he stood candidate for
the consulship, and which is entitled _De Petitione Consulatûs_. It gives
advice with regard to the measures he should pursue to attain his object,
particularly inculcating the best means to gain private friends, and
acquire general popularity. But though professedly drawn up merely for the
use of his brother, it appears to have been intended by the author as a
guide, or manual, for all who might be placed in similar circumstances. It
is written with considerable elegance, and perfect purity of style, and
forms an important document for the history of the Roman republic, as it
affords us a clearer insight than we can derive from any other work now
extant, into the intrigues resorted to by the heads of parties to gain the
suffrages of the people.

The authenticity of the _Correspondence between Cicero and Brutus_, has
formed the subject of a literary controversy, perhaps the most celebrated
which has ever occurred, except that concerning the Epistles of Phalaris.

It is quite ascertained, that a correspondence had been carried on between
Cicero and Brutus; and a collection of the letters which had passed
between them, extending to not less than eight books, existed for several
ages after Cicero’s death. They were all written during the period which
elapsed from the assassination of Cæsar to the tragical end of the orator,
which comprehended about a year and a half; and it appears from the
fragments of them, cited by Plutarch and the grammarians, that they
chiefly related to the memorable political events of that important
interval, and to a literary controversy which subsisted between Cicero and
Brutus, with regard to the attributes of perfect eloquence(488).

This collection is mentioned, and passages cited from it, by Quintilian,
Plutarch, and even Nonius Marcellus(489), who lived about the year 400.
After this, all trace of it is lost, till, in the fourteenth century, we
find some of the disputed letters in the possession of Petrarch; and it
has been conjectured that Petrarch himself was the discoverer of
them(490). Eighteen of these letters, which were all that were then known,
were published at Rome in 1470. Many years afterwards, five more, but in a
mutilated state, were found in Germany, and these, in all subsequent
editions, were printed along with the original eighteen. All the letters
relate to the situation of public affairs after the death of Cæsar. They
contain a good deal of recrimination: Brutus blaming Cicero for his
dangerous elevation of Octavius, and conferring honours on him too
profusely; Cicero censuring Brutus for having spared the life of Antony at
the time of the conspiracy.

Now the point in dispute is, If these twenty-three letters be parts of the
original eight books of the genuine correspondence of Cicero and Brutus,
so often cited by Plutarch, Quintilian, and Nonius; or if they be the
forgery of some monk or sophist, during the dark ages which elapsed
between the time of Nonius and Petrarch.

From their very first appearance, the eighteen letters, which had come
into the possession of Petrarch, passed among the learned for original
epistles of Cicero and Brutus; and the five discovered in Germany, though
doubted for a while, were soon received into the same rank with the
others. Erasmus seems to have been the first who suspected the whole to be
the declamatory composition of some rhetorician or sophist. They
continued, however, to be cited by every other commentator, critic, and
historian, as the unquestionable remains of the great author to whom they
were ascribed. Middleton, in particular, in his Life of Cicero, freely
referred to them as biographical authorities, along with the Familiar
Epistles, and those to Atticus.

Matters were in this situation, when Tunstall, in 1741, addressed a Latin
Epistle to Middleton, written professedly to introduce a proposal for a
new edition of Cicero’s letters to Atticus, and his brother Quintus. In
the first part of this epistle, he attempted to retrieve the original
readings of these authentic treasures of Ciceronian history, and asserted
their genuine sense against the corruptions or false interpretations of
them, which had led to many erroneous conclusions in Middleton’s Life of
Cicero. In the second part, he denies the authenticity of the whole
correspondence between Cicero and Brutus, which he alleges is the
production of some sophist or scholiast of the middle ages, who probably
wrote them, according to the practice of those days, as an exercise for
his rhetorical talents, and with the view either of drawing up a
supplement to the Epistles to Atticus, so as to carry on the history from
the period at which they terminate, or to vindicate Cicero’s character
from the imputation of rashness, in throwing too much power into the hands
of Octavius. Tunstall farther thinks, that the leading subject of these
letters was suggested to the sophist by a passage in Plutarch’s Life of
Brutus, where it is mentioned that Brutus had remonstrated with Cicero,
and complained of him to their mutual friend Atticus, for the court he
paid to Octavius, which showed that his aim was not to procure liberty for
his country, but a kind master to himself.

Middleton soon afterwards published an English translation of the whole
correspondence between Brutus and Cicero, with notes; and, in a prefatory
dissertation, written with considerable and unprovoked asperity, he
attempted to vindicate the authority of the epistles, and to answer the
objections of Tunstall. His adversary replied in an immense English work,
of more than 400 pages, entitled, “Observations on the present Collection
of Epistles between Cicero and Brutus, representing several evident marks
of Forgery in those Epistles, in answer to the late pretences of Dr
Middleton: 1744.”

It is difficult to give any sketch of the argumentative part of this famed
controversy, as the merit of all such discussion consists in the extreme
accuracy and minuteness of investigation. The main scope, however, of the
objections, is thus generally exhibited by Tunstall in his Latin epistle.
He declares, “that as he came fresh from the perusal of Cicero’s genuine
letters, he perceived that those to Brutus wanted the beauty and
copiousness of the Ciceronian diction—that the epistles, both of Brutus
and Cicero, were drawn in the same style and manner of colouring, and
trimmed up with so much art and diligence, that they seemed to proceed
rather from scholastic subtlety and meditation, than from the genuine acts
and affairs of life—that when, both before and after the date of the
letters to Atticus, several epistles had been addressed from Brutus to
Cicero, and from Cicero to Brutus, it was strange that those which
preceded the letters to Atticus should have been lost, and those alone
remain which appear to have been industriously designed for an epilogue to
the Epistles to Atticus—that such reasons induced him to suspect, but on
looking farther into the letters themselves, he discovered many
absurdities in the sense, many improprieties in the language, many
remarkable predictions of future events, both on Brutus’s side and
Cicero’s; but what was most material, a great number of historical facts,
not only quite new, but wholly altered, and some even apparently false,
and contradictory to the genuine works of Cicero.”

Such was the state of the controversy, as it stood between Tunstall and
Middleton. In 1745, the year after Middleton had published his translation
of the epistles, Markland engaged in this literary contest, and came
forward in opposition to the authenticity of the letters, by publishing
his “Remarks on the Epistles of Cicero to Brutus, and of Brutus to Cicero,
in a Letter to a Friend.” The arguments of Tunstall had chiefly turned on
historical inconsistencies—those of Markland principally hinge on phrases
to be found in the letters, which are not Ciceronian, or even of pure

I must here close this long account of the writings of Cicero—of Cicero,
distinguished as the Consul of the republic—as the father and saviour of
his country—but not less distinguished as the orator, philosopher, and
moralist of Rome.—“Salve primus omnium Parens Patriæ appellate,—primus in
togâ triumphum linguæque lauream merite, et facundiæ, Latiarumque
Literarum parens: atque (ut Dictator Cæsar, hostis quondam tuus, de te
scripsit,) omnium triumphorum lauream adopte majorem; quanto plus est,
ingenii Romani terminos in tantum promovisse, quàm imperii(491).”


In the former volume of this work, I had traced the progress of the
language of the Romans, and treated of the different poets by whom it was
adorned till the era of Augustus. I had chiefly occasion, in the course of
that part of my inquiry, to compare the poetical productions of Rome with
those of Greece, and to show that the Latin poetry of this early age,
being modelled on that of Athens or Alexandria, had acquired an air of
preparation and authorship, and appeared to have been written to obtain
the cold approbation of the public, or smiles of a Patrician patron, while
the native lines of the Grecian bards seem to be poured fourth like the
Delphic oracles, because the god which inspired them was too great to be
contained within the bosom. In the prose compositions of the Romans, which
have been considered in the present volume, though the _exemplaria Græca_
were still the models of style, we have not observed the same servility of
imitation. The agricultural writers of Latium treated of a subject in a
great measure foreign to the maritime feelings and commercial occupations
of the Greeks; while, in the Latin historians, orators, and philosophers,
we listen to a tone of practical utility, derived from the familiar
acquaintance which their authors exercised with the affairs of life. The
old Latin historians were for the most part themselves engaged in the
affairs they related, and almost every oration of Cicero was actually
delivered in the Senate or Forum. Among the Romans, philosophy was not, as
it had been with many of the Greeks, an academic dream or speculation,
which was substituted for the realities of life. In Rome, philosophic
inquiries were chiefly prosecuted as supplying arguments and illustrations
to the patron for his conflicts in the Forum, and as guiding the citizen
in the discharge of his duties to the commonwealth. Those studies, in
short, alone were valued, which, as it is beautifully expressed by Cicero,
in the person of Lælius—“Efficiant ut usui civitati simus: id enim esse
præclarissimum sapientiæ munus, maximumque virtutis documentum puto.”


  “Some felt the silent stroke of mouldering age,
  Some hostile fury, some religious rage:
  Barbarian blindness, Christian zeal conspire,
  And Papal piety, and Gothic fire.”
                  POPE’S _Epistle to Addison_.


In order to be satisfied as to the authenticity of the works commonly
called Classical, it is important to ascertain in what manner they were
given to the public by their respective authors—to trace how they were
preserved during the long night of the dark ages—and to point out by whom
their perishing remains were first discovered at the return of light. Nor
will it be uninteresting to follow up this sketch by an enumeration of the
principal Editions of the Classics mentioned in the preceding pages, and
of the best Translations of them which, from time to time, have appeared
in the Italian, French, and English languages.

The manuscripts of the Latin Classics, during the existence of the Roman
republic and empire, may be divided into what have been called _notata_
and _perscripta_. The former were those written by the author himself, or
his learned slaves, in contractions or signs which stood for syllables and
words; the latter, those which were fully transcribed in the ordinary
characters by the _librarius_, who was employed by the _bibliopolæ_, or
booksellers, to prepare the productions of an author for public sale.

The books written in the hand of the authors were probably not very
legible, at least if we may judge of others by Cicero. His brother Quintus
had complained that he could not read his letters, and Cicero says in
reply: “Scribis te meas literas superiores vix legere potuisse; hoc facio
semper ut quicumque calamus in manus meas venerit, eo sic utar tamquam

But the works,—at least the prose works,—of the Romans were seldom written
out in the hand of the author, and were generally dictated by him to some
slave or freedman instructed in penmanship. It is well known that many of
the orations of Cicero, Cato, and their great rhetorical contemporaries,
were taken down by short-hand writers stationed in the Senate or Forum.
But even the works most carefully prepared in the closet were _notata_, in
a similar manner, by slaves and freedmen. There was no part of his learned
compositions on which Cicero took more pains, or about which his thoughts
were more occupied(493), than the dedication of the _Academica_ to Varro,
and even this he _dictated_ to his slave Spintharus, though he did so
slowly, word by word, and not in whole sentences to Tiro, as was his
practice in his other productions. “Male mihi sit,” says he in a letter to
Atticus, “si umquam quidquam tam enitar. Ergo ne Tironi quidem dictavi,
qui totas _periochas_ persequi solet, sed Spintharo syllabatim(494).”

This practice of authors dictating their works created a necessity, or at
least a conveniency, of writing with rapidity, and of employing
contractions, or conventional marks, in almost every word.

Accordingly, from the earliest periods of Roman literature, words were
contracted, or were signified by notes, which sometimes stood for more
than one letter, sometimes for syllables, and at other times for whole
words. Funccius, who maintains that Adam was the first short-hand
writer(495), has asserted, with more truth, that the Romans contracted
their words from the remotest ages of the republic, and to a greater
degree than any other ancient nation. Sometimes the abbreviations
consisted merely in writing the initial letter instead of the whole word.
Thus P. C. stood for Patres Conscripti; C. R., for Civis Romanus; S. N.
L., for Socii Nominis Latini. This sort of contraction being employed in
words frequently recurring, and which in one sense might be termed public,
and being also universally recognized, would rarely produce any
misapprehension or mistake. But frequently the abbreviations were much
more complex, and the leading letters of words in less common use being
_notata_, the contractions became of much more difficult and dubious
interpretation. For example, _Meit._ expressed meminit; _Acus._, Acerbus;
_Quit._, quærit; _Ror._, Rhetor.

For the sake, however, of yet greater expedition in writing, and perhaps,
in some few instances for the purpose of secrecy, signs or marks, which
could be currently made with one dash or scratch with the _stylus_, and
without lifting or turning it, came to be employed, instead of those
letters which were themselves the abbreviations of words. Some writers
have supposed that these signs were entirely arbitrary(496), whilst others
have, with more probability, maintained that their forms can be resolved
or analysed into the figures, or parts of the figures, of the letters
themselves which they were intended to represent, though they have often
departed far from the shape of the original characters(497). Ennius is
said to have invented 1100 of these signs(498), which he no doubt employed
in his multifarious compositions. Others came into gradual use in the
manual operation of writing with rapidity to dictation. Tiro, the
favourite freedman of Cicero, greatly increased the number, and brought
this sort of tachygraphy to its greatest perfection among the Romans. In
consequence of this fashion of authors dictating their works, expedition
came to be considered of the utmost importance; it was regarded as the
chief accomplishment of an amanuensis; and he alone was considered as
perfect in his art, whose pen could equal the rapidity of utterance:

  Hic et scriptor erit felix, cui litera verbum est,
  Quique notis linguam superet, cursumque loquentis,
  Excipiens longas per nova compendia voces(499).

These lines were written by a poet of the age of Augustus, and it appears
from Martial(500), Ausonius(501), and Prudentius, that this system of
dictation by the author, and rapid notation by his amanuensis, continued
in practice during the later ages of the empire.

Such was the mode in which most of the writings of the ancients came
originally from their authors, and were delivered to those friends who
were desirous to possess copies, or to the booksellers to be _perscripta_,
or transcribed, for publication.

There exists sufficient proof of the high estimation in which accurate
transcriptions of the works of their own writers were held by the Romans.
The correctness of printing, however, could not be expected. In the
original notation, some mistakes might probably be made from carelessness
of pronunciation in the author who dictated, and haste in his amanuensis;
but the great source of errors in MSS. was the blunders made by the
_librarius_ in copying out from the noted exemplar. There was the greatest
ambiguity and doubt in the interpretation, both of words contracted in the
ordinary character and in the artificial signs. Sometimes the same word
was expressed by different letters; thus MR. MT. MTR. all expressed
_Mater_. Sometimes, on the other hand, the same set of letters expressed
different words; for instance, ACT. signified _Actor_, _Auctoritas_, and
_Hactenus_. The collocation of the letters was often inverted from the
order in which they stood in the word when fully expressed; and frequently
one letter had not merely its own power, but that of several others. Thus
AMO. signified _animo_, because M had there not only its own force, but,
as its shape in some measure announces, the power of _ni_ also. Matters
were still worse, when not only abbreviations, but signs had been resorted
to. These were variously employed by different writers, and were also
differently interpreted by transcribers. Some of these signs were
extremely similar in form: it was scarcely possible to discriminate the
sign which denoted the syllable _ab_ from that which expressed the
syllable _um_; and the signs of the syllables _is_ and _it_ were nearly
undistinguishable; while _ad_ and _at_ were precisely the same. The mark
which expressed the word _talis_, being a little more sloped or inclined,
expressed _qualis_; and the difference in the Tironian signs which stood
for the complete words _Ager_ and _Amicus_, was scarcely perceptible(502).

The ancient Latin writers also employed a number of marks to denote the
accents of words, and the quantities of syllables. The oldest writers, as
Livius Andronicus and Nævius, always placed two vowels when a syllable was
to be pronounced long(503). Attius, the great tragic author, was the first
to relinquish this usage; and after his time, in conformity to the new
practice which he had adopted, a certain mark was placed over the long
vowels. When this custom also (which is stigmatised by Quintilian as
_ineptissimus_(504)) fell into disuse, the mark was frequently
misunderstood, and Funccius has given several examples of corruptions and
false readings from the mistake of transcribers, who supposed that it was
intended to express an _m_, an _n_, or other letters(505).

In addition to all this, little attention was paid to the separation of
words and sentences, and the art of punctuation was but imperfectly

Finally, and above all, the orthography of Latin was extremely fluctuating
and uncertain. We have seen, in an early part of this work, how it varied
in the time of the republic, and it, in fact, never became fixed. Mai
talks repeatedly, in his preface, of the strange inconsistencies of
spelling in the Codex, which contained Cicero’s work _De Republica_; and
Cassiodorus, who of all his contemporaries chiefly cultivated literature
during the reign of the barbarians in Italy, often regrets that the
ancient Romans had left their orthography encumbered with the utmost
difficulties. “Orthographia,” says he, “apud Græcos plerumque sine
ambiguitate probatur expressa; inter Latinos vero sub ardua difficultate
relicta monstratur; unde etiam modo studium magnum lectoris inquiret.”

In consequence of this dictation to short-hand, and this uncertain
orthography, we find that the corruption of the classics had begun at a
very early period. The ninth Satire of Lucilius was directed against the
ridiculous blunders of transcribers, and contained rules for greater
correctness. Cicero, in his letters to his brother Quintus, bitterly
complains of the errors of copyists,—“De Latinis vero, quo me vertam,
nescio; ita mendose et scribuntur, et veneunt(506).” Strabo says, that in
his time booksellers employed ignorant transcribers, who neglected to
compare what they wrote with the exemplar; which, he adds, has occurred in
many works, copied for the purpose of being sold, both at Rome and
Alexandria(507). Martial, too, thus cautions his reader against the
mistakes occasioned by the inaccuracy and haste of the venders of books,
and the transcribers whom they employed:

  “Si qua videbuntur chartis tibi, lector, in istis,
    Sive obscura nimis, sive Latina parum;
  Non meus est error: nocuit Librarius illis,
    Dum properat versus annumerare tibi(508).”

Aulus Gellius repeatedly complains of the inaccuracy of copies in his
time: We learn from him, that the writings of the greatest Classics were
already corrupted and falsified, not only by the casual errors of
copyists, but by the deliberate perversions of critics, who boldly altered
everything that was too elegant or poetical for their own taste and
understanding(509). To the numerous corruptions in the text of Sallust he
particularly refers(510).

The practice, too, of abridging larger works, particularly histories, and
extracting from them, was injurious to the preservation of MSS. This
practice, occasioned by the scarcity of paper, began as early as the time
of Brutus, who extracted even from the meagre annals of his country. These
excerpts seldom compensated for the originals, but made them be neglected,
and in consequence they were lost.

It seems also probable, that the destruction of the treasures of classical
literature commenced at a very early period. Varro’s library, which was
the most extensive private collection of books in Italy, was ruined and
dispersed when his villa was occupied by Antony(511); and some of his own
treatises, as that addressed to Pompey on the duties of the Consulship,
were irretrievably lost. Previous to the art of printing, books, in
consequence of their great scarcity and value, were chiefly heaped up in
public libraries. Several of these were consumed in the fire, by which so
many temples were burned to the ground in the reign of Nero(512),
particularly the library in the temple of Apollo, on the Palatine Hill,
which was founded by Augustus, and contained all the Roman poets and
historians previous to his age. This literary establishment having been
restored as far as was possible by Domitian, suffered a second time by the
flames; and the extensive library of the Capitol perished in a fire during
the reign of Commodus(513). When it is considered, that at these periods
the copies of Latin works were few, and chiefly confined within the walls
of Rome, some notion may be formed of the extent of the loss sustained by
these successive conflagrations.

From the portentous æra of the death of Pertinax, the brief reign of each
succeeding emperor ended in assassination, civil war, and revolution. The
imperial throne was filled by soldiers of fortune, who came like shadows,
and like shadows departed. Rome at length ceased to be the fixed and
habitual residence of her sovereigns, who were now generally employed at a
distance in the field, in repelling foreign enemies, or repressing
usurpers. While it is certain, that during this period many of the finest
monuments of the arts were destroyed, and some of the most splendid works
of architecture defaced, it can hardly be supposed that the frail texture
of the parchment, or papyrus, should have resisted the stroke of sudden
ruin, or the gradual mouldering of neglect.

But the chief destruction took place after the removal of the seat of
empire by Constantine. The loss of so many classical works subsequently to
that æra, has been attributed chiefly to the irruption of the northern
barbarians; but it was fully as much owing to the blind zeal of the early
Christians. Many of the public libraries were placed in temples, and hence
were the more exposed to the fury of the proselytes to the new faith. This
devastation began in Italy in the fourth century, before the barbarians
had penetrated to the heart of the empire; and, in the same century, if
Sulpicius Severus may be credited, Bishop Martin undertook a crusade
against the temples of the Gauls(514). St Augustine, St Jerome, and
Lactantius, indeed, knew the classics well; but they considered them as a
sort of forbidden fruit: and St Jerome, as he himself informs us, was
whipped by an angel for perusing Plautus and Cicero(515). The following or
fifth century, was distinguished by the first capture of Rome, and its
successive devastations by Alaric, Genseric, and Attila. In the latter
part of the century, Milan, too, was plundered; which, next to Rome, was
the chief repository of books in Italy.

Monachism, which, in its first institution, particularly in the east, had
been so destructive of literary works, became, when more advanced in its
progress, a chief cause of their preservation. When the monks were at
length united, in a species of civil union, under the fixed rules of St
Benedict, in the beginning of the sixth century, the institution
contributed, if not to the diffusion of literature, at least to the
preservation of literary works. There was no prohibition in the ordinances
of St Benedict against the reading of classical writings, as in those of
St Isidore: and the consequence was, that wherever any abbot, or even
monk, had a taste for letters, books were introduced into the convent. We
have a remarkable example of this in the instance of Cassiodorus, whose
genius, learning, and virtue, shed a lustre on one of the darkest periods
of Italian history. After his pre-eminent services as minister of state
during the reign of Theodoric, and regency of Amalasuntha, he retired, in
the year 540, when he had reached the age of seventy, to the monastery of
Monte Casino, situated in a most delightful spot, near the place of his
birth, in Calabria. There he became as serviceable to literature as he had
formerly been to the state; and the convent to which he betook himself
deserves to be first mentioned in any future history of the preservation
of the Classics. Before his entrance into it, he possessed an extensive
library, with which he enriched the cloister(516); and subsequently
enlarged it by a collection of MSS., which he caused to be brought to him
from various quarters of Italy. There is still extant his order to a monk
to procure for him Albinus’ treatise on Music; which shows, that his
collection was not entirely confined to theological treatises: while his
work _De Artibus ac Disciplinis liberalium Literarum_, is an ample
testimony of his classical learning, and of the value which he attached to
it. His library contained, at least, Ennius, Terence, Lucretius, Varro,
Cicero, and Sallust(517). The monks of his convent were excited by him to
the transcription of MSS.; and, in his work _De Orthographia_, he did not
disdain to give minute directions for copying with facility and

Thus, in collecting an ample library—in diffusing copies of ancient
MSS.—in verbal instructions, written lectures, and the composition of
voluminous works—he closed, in the service of religion and learning, a
long and meritorious life.

The example of Cassiodorus was followed in other convents. About half a
century after his death, Columbanus founded a monastery of Benedictines at
Bobbio, a town situated among the northern Apennines. This religious
society, as Tiraboschi informs us, was remarkable, not only for the
sanctity of its manners, but the cultivation of literature. It was
fortunate that receptacles for books had now been thus provided, as
otherwise the treasures of classical literature in Italy would, in all
likelihood, have perished during the wars of Belisarius, and Narses, and
the invasion of Totila. It is in the age of Cassiodorus,—that is, the
beginning and middle of the sixth century,—that Tiraboschi places the
serious and systematic commencement of the transcription of the
classics(518). He mentions the names of some of the most eminent copyists;
but a fuller list had been previously furnished by Fabricius(519).

In Gregory the Great, who was Pope at the end of the sixth and beginning
of the seventh century, literature, according to popular belief, found an
enemy in the west, as fatal to its interests as the Caliph Omar had been
in the east. This pontiff was accused of burning a classical library, and
also some valuable works, which had replaced those formerly consumed in
the Palatine library. John of Salisbury is the sole authority for this
charge; and even he, who lived six centuries after the age of Gregory,
only mentions it as a tradition and report: “Fertur Beatus Gregorius
bibliothecam combussisse gentilem, quo divinæ paginæ gratior esset locus,
et major auctoritas, et diligentia studiosior(520);” and again, “Ut
traditur a majoribus, incendio dedit probatæ lectionis scripta, Palatinus
quæcunque tenebat Apollo(521).” Cardan informs us, that Gregory also
caused the plays of Nævius, Ennius, and Afranius, to be burned. That he
suppressed the works of Cicero, rests on the authority of a passage in an
edict published by Louis XI., dated 1473, and quoted by Lyron in his
_Singularitéz Historiques_(522). St Antonius, who was Archbishop of
Florence in the middle of the fifteenth century, is cited by Vossius as
the most ancient author who has asserted that he burned the decades of
Livy(523). These charges have been strenuously supported by Brucker(524),
while Tiraboschi, on the other hand, has endeavoured to vindicate the
memory of the pontiff from all such aspersions(525). Bayle has adopted a
prudent neutrality(526). Dendina(527) and Ginguené(528), the most recent
authors who have touched on the subject, seem to consider the question,
after all that has been written on it, as still doubtful, and not likely
to receive any farther elucidation. It appears certain, that Gregory
disliked classical, or profane literature, on account of the oracles,
idolatry, and rites, with which it is associated, and that he prohibited
its study by the clergy(529);—whence may, perhaps, have originated the
reports of his wilfully destroying the then surviving libraries and books
of Rome.

During the course of the two centuries which followed the death of
Gregory, Italy was divided between the Greeks and Lombards, and was torn
by spiritual dissensions. The most numerous and barbarous swarm which had
yet crossed the Alps was the Lombards, who descended on Italy, under their
king, Alboinus, in 568, immediately after the death of Narses. It was no
longer a tribe or army by which Italy was invaded; but a whole nation of
old men, women, and children, covered its plains. This ignorant and
ferocious race spread themselves from the Alps to Rome during the seventh
and eighth centuries. And although Rome itself escaped the Lombard
dominion, the horrors of a perpetual siege can alone convey an adequate
idea of its distressed situation. The feuds of the Lombard chiefs, their
wars with the Greeks, who still remained masters of Rome, and at length
with the Franks, (all which contests were marked with fire and massacre,)
made a desert of the Peninsular garden(530). Hitherto the superstitious
feelings of the northern hordes had inspired them with some degree of
respect for the sacerdotal order which they found established in Italy.
Reverence for the person of the priest had extended itself to the security
of his property, and while the palace and castle were wrapt in flames, the
convent escaped sacrilege. But the Lombards extended their fury to objects
which their rude predecessors had generally respected; and learning was
now attacked in her most vulnerable part. Amid the general destruction,
the monasteries and their libraries were no longer spared; and with
others, that of Monte Casino, one of the most valuable and extensive in
Italy, was plundered by the Lombards(531). Some books preserved in the
sack of the libraries were carried back by these invaders to their native
country, and a few were saved by monks, who sought refuge in other
kingdoms, which accounts for the number of classical MSS. subsequently
discovered in France and Germany(532).

Amid the ruin of taste and letters in these ages, it is probable that but
few new copies were made from the MSS. then extant. Some of the classics,
however, were still spared, and remained in the monastic libraries.
Anspert, who was Abbot of Beneventum, in the eighth century, declares that
he had never studied Homer, Cicero, or Virgil, which implies, that they
were still preserved, and accessible to his perusal(533).

The division of Italy between the Lombards and Greeks continued till the
end of the eighth century, when Charlemagne put an end to the kingdom of
the former, and founded his empire. Whether this monarch himself had any
pretensions to the character of a scholar, is more than doubtful; but
whether he possessed learning or not, he was a generous patron of those
who did. He assembled round his court such persons as were most
distinguished for talents and erudition; he established schools and
pensioned scholars; and he founded also a species of Academy, of which
Alcuin was the head, and in which every one adopted a scriptural or
classic appellation. This tended to multiply the MSS. of the classics, and
many of them found a place in the imperial library mentioned by Eginhard.
Charlemagne also established the monastery of Fulda, and, in consequence,
copies of these MSS. found their way to Germany in the beginning of the
ninth century(534). The more recent Latin writers, as Boethius, Macrobius,
and Capella, were chiefly popular in his age; but Virgil, Cicero, and
Livy, were not unknown. Alcuin’s poetical account of the library at York,
founded by Archbishop Egbert, and of which he had been the first
librarian, affords us some notion of the usual contents of the libraries
at that time.—

  “Illic invenies veterum vestigia patrum;
  Quicquid habet pro se Latio Romanus in orbe,
  Græcia vel quicquid transmisit clara Latinis.”

Then, after enumerating the works of all the Fathers which had a place in
the library, he proceeds with his catalogue.—

  “Historici veteres, Pompeius, Plinius, ipse
  Acer Aristoteles rhetor, atque Tullius ingens;
  Quid quoque Sedulius, vel quid canit ipse Juvencus,
  Alcuinus, et Clemens Prosper, Paulinus orator;
  Quid Fortunatus vel quid Lactantius edunt.
  Quæ Maro Virgilius, Statius, Lucanus et auctor,
  Artis grammaticæ vel quid scripsere magistri.”

But though there were libraries in other countries, Italy always contained
the greatest number of classical MSS. In the ninth century, Lupus, who was
educated at Fulda, and afterwards became Abbot of Ferrieres, a monastery
in the Orleanois, requested Pope Benedict III. to send him Cicero _de
Oratore_ and Quintilian, of both of which he possessed parts, but had
neither of them complete(535); and in another letter he begs from Italy a
copy of Suetonius(536). The series of his letters gives us a favourable
impression of the state of profane literature in his time. In his very
first letter to Einhart, who had been his preceptor, he quotes Horace and
the Tusculan Questions. Virgil is repeatedly cited in the course of his
epistles, and the lines of Catullus are familiarly referred to as
authorities for the proper quantities of syllables. Lupus did not confine
his care to the mere transcription of MSS. He bestowed much pains on the
rectification of the texts, as is evinced by his letter to Ansbald, Abbot
of Prum, where he acknowledges having received from him a copy of the
epistles of Cicero, which would enable him to correct the MSS. of them
which he himself possessed(537).

It was a rule in convents, that those who embraced the monasteric life
should employ some hours each day in manual labour; but as all were not
fit for those occupations which require much corporeal exertion, many of
the monks fulfilled their tasks by copying MSS. Transcription thus became
a favourite exercise in the ninth century, and was much encouraged by the
Abbots(538). In every great convent there was an apartment called the
_Scriptorium_, in which writers were employed in transcribing such books
as were deemed proper for the library. The heads of monasteries borrowed
their classics from each other, and, having copied, returned them(539).—By
this means, books were wonderfully multiplied. Libraries became the
constant appendages of cloisters, and in Italy existed nowhere else. We do
not hear, during this period, of either royal or private libraries. There
was little information among the priests or parochial clergy, and almost
every man of learning was a member of a convent.

But while MSS. thus increased in the monasteries, there were, at the same
time, during this century, many counteracting causes, which rendered them
more scarce than they would otherwise have been. During the Norman
invasion, the convents were the chief objects of plunder. From the time,
too, of the conquest of Alexandria by the Saracens, in the seventh
century, when the Egyptian papyrus almost ceased to be imported into
Europe, till the close of the tenth, when the art of making paper from
cotton rags seems to have been introduced, there were no materials for
writing except parchment, a substance too expensive to be readily spared
for mere purposes of literature(540). The scarcity of paper, too, not only
prevented the increase of classical MSS., but occasioned the loss of some
which were then in existence, from the characters having been deleted, in
order to make way for a more favourite production. The monkish scribes
were accustomed to peel off the surface of parchment MSS., or to
obliterate the ink by a chemical process, for the purpose of fitting them
to receive the works of some Christian author; so that, by a singular and
fatal metamorphosis, a classic was frequently translated into a vapid
homily or monastic legend. That many valuable works of antiquity perished
in this way, is evinced by the number of MSS. which have been discovered,
evidently written on erased parchments. Thus the fragments of Cicero’s
Orations, lately found in the Ambrosian library, had been partly
obliterated, to make room for the works of Sedulius, and the Acts of the
Council of Chalcedon; and Cicero’s treatise _de Republica_ had been
effaced, in order to receive a commentary of St Augustine on the Psalms.

The tenth century has generally been accounted the age of deepest darkness
in the west of Europe. During its course, Italy was united by Otho I. with
the German empire, and was torn by civil dissensions. Muratori gives a
detailed account of the plundering of Italian convents, which was the
consequence of these commotions, and of the irruption of the Huns in
899(541). Still, however, Italy continued to be the great depository of
classical MSS.; and in that country they were occasionally sought with the
utmost avidity. Gerbert, who became Pope in the last year of the tenth
century, by name of Silvester II., spared neither pains nor expense in
procuring transcriptions of MSS. This extraordinary man, impelled by a
thirst of science, had left his home and country at an early period of
life: He had visited various nations of Europe, but it was in Spain, then
partly subject to the Arabs, that he had chiefly obtained an opportunity
of gratifying his mathematical talent, and desire of general information.
Being no less ready to communicate than eager to acquire learning, he
founded a school on his return to Italy, and greatly increased the library
at Bobbio, in Lombardy, to the abbacy of which he had been promoted. While
Archbishop of Rheims, in France, that kingdom experienced the effects of
his enlightened zeal. During his papacy, obtained for him by his pupil
Otho III., he persevered in his love of learning. In his generosity to
scholars, and his expenditure of wealth for the employment of copyists, as
well as for exploring the repositories in which the mouldering relics of
ancient learning were yet to be found, we trace a liberality, bordering on
profusion.—“Nosti,” says he, in one of his epistles to the monk Rainaldo,
“quanto studio librorum exemplaria undique conquiram; nosti quot
scriptores in urbibus, aut in agris Italiæ passim habeantur. Age ergo, et
te solo conscio, ex tuis sumptibus fac ut mihi scribantur Manilius de
Astronomia, et Victorinus. Spondeo tibi, et certum teneo quod, quicquid
erogaveris, cumulatim remittam(542).” Having by this means exhausted
Italy, Silvester directed his researches to countries beyond the Alps, as
we perceive from his letter to Egbert, Abbot of Tours.—“Cui rei preparandæ
bibliothecam assidue comparo; et sicut Romæ dudum, et in aliis partibus
Italiæ, in Germanià quoque, et Belgicà, scriptores auctorumque exemplaria
multitudine nummorum redemi; adjutus benevolentia et studio amicorum
comprovincialium: sic identidem apud vos per vos fieri sinite ut exorem.
Quos scribi velimus, in fine epistolæ designabimus(543).” This list,
however, is not printed in any of the editions of Gerbert’s Letters, which
I have had an opportunity of consulting.

It thus appears that there were zealous researches for the classics, and
successful discoveries of them, long before the age of Poggio, or even of
Petrarch; but so little intercourse existed among different countries, and
the monks had so little acquaintance with the treasures of their own
libraries, that a classical author might be considered as lost in Italy,
though familiar to a few learned men, and still lurking in many of the

Gerbert, previous to his elevation to the Pontificate, had, as already
mentioned, been Abbot of Bobbio; and the catalogue which Muratori has
given of the library in that convent, may be taken as an example of the
description and extent of the classical treasures contained in the best
monastic libraries of the tenth century. While the collection, no doubt,
chiefly consists of the works of the saints and fathers, we find Persius,
Valerius Flaccus, and Juvenal, contained in one volume. There are also
enumerated in the list Cicero’s Topica, and his Catilinarian orations,
Martial, parts of Ausonius and Pliny, the first book of Lucretius, four
books of Claudian, the same number of Lucan, and two of Ovid(544). The
monastery of Monte Casino, which was the retreat, as we have seen, of
Cassiodorus, was distinguished about the same period for its classical
library.—“The monks of Casino, in Italy,” observes Warton, “were
distinguished before the year 1000, not only for their knowledge of the
sciences, but their attention to polite learning, and an acquaintance with
the classics. Their learned Abbot, Desiderius, collected the best of the
Roman writers. This fraternity not only composed learned treatises on
music, logic, astronomy, and the Vitruvian architecture, but likewise
employed a portion of their time in transcribing Tacitus, Jornandes,
Ovid’s Fasti, Cicero, Seneca, Donatus the grammarian, Virgil, Theocritus,
and Homer.”

During the eleventh century, the Benedictines having excited scandal by
their opulence and luxury, the Carthusian and Cistertian orders attracted
notice and admiration, by a self-denying austerity; but they valued
themselves not less than the Benedictines, on the elegance of their
classical transcriptions; and about the same period, translations from the
Classics into the _Lingua volgare_, first commenced in Italy.

At the end of the eleventh century, the Crusades began; and during the
whole course of the twelfth century, they occupied the public mind, to the
exclusion of almost every other object or pursuit. Schools and convents
were affected with this religious and military mania: All sedentary
occupations were suspended, and a mark of reproach was affixed to every
undertaking which did not promote the contagion of the times.

About the middle of the thirteenth century, and after the death of the
Emperor Frederic II., Italy was for the first time divided into a number
of petty sovereignties, unconnected by any system of general union, except
the nominal allegiance still due to the Emperor. This separation, while it
excited rivalry in arms, also created some degree of emulation in
learning. Many Universities were established for the study of theology and
the exercise of scholastic disputation; and though the classics were not
publicly diffused, they existed within the walls of the convent, and were
well known to the learned men of the period. Brunetto Latini, the teacher
of Dante, and author of the _Tesoro_, translated into Italian several of
Cicero’s orations, some parts of his rhetorical works, and considerable
portions of Sallust(545). Dante, in his _Amoroso Convito_, familiarly
quotes Livy, Virgil, and Cicero _de Officiis_; and Mehus mentions various
translations of Seneca, Ovid, and Virgil, which had been executed in the
age of Dante, and which he had seen in MSS. in the different libraries of

It was Petrarch, however, who, in the fourteenth century, led the way in
drawing forth the classics from the dungeons where they had been hitherto
immured, and holding up their light and glory to the eyes of men. While
enjoying the reputation of having perfected the most melodious and
poetical language of Europe, Petrarch has acquired a still higher title to
fame, by his successful exertions in rousing his country from a slumber of
ignorance which threatened to be eternal. In his earliest youth, instead
of the dry and dismal works which at that time formed the general reading,
he applied himself to the reading of Virgil and Cicero; and when he first
commenced his epistolary correspondence, he strongly expressed his wish
that their fame should prevail over the authority of Aristotle and his
commentators; and declared his belief of the high advantages the world
would enjoy if the monkish philosophy should give place to classical
literature. Petrarch, as is evinced by his letters, was the most assiduous
recoverer and restorer of ancient MSS. that had yet existed. He was an
enthusiast in this as he was in every thing else that merited
enthusiasm—love, friendship, glory, patriotism, and religion. He never
passed an old convent without searching its library, or knew of a friend
travelling into those quarters where he supposed books to be concealed,
without entreaties to procure for him some classical MS. It is evident
that he came just in time to preserve from total ruin many of the
mouldering remains of classical antiquity, and to excite among his
countrymen a desire for the preservation of those treasures when its
gratification was on the very eve of being rendered for ever
impracticable. He had seen, in his youth, several of Cicero’s now lost
treatises, and Varro’s great work _Rerum Divinarum et Humanarum_(547),
which has forever disappeared from the world; and it is probable that had
not some one, endued with his ardent love of letters, and indefatigable
research, arisen, many similar works which we now enjoy, would soon have
sunk into a like oblivion.

About the same period, Boccaccio also collected several Latin MSS., and
copied such as he could not purchase. He transcribed so many of the Latin
poets, orators, and historians, that it would appear surprising had a
copyist by profession performed so much. In a journey to Monte Casino, a
place generally considered as remarkably rich in MSS., he was both
astonished and afflicted to find the library exiled from the monastery
into a barn, which was accessible only by a ladder. He opened many of the
books, and found much of the writing effaced by damp. His grief was
redoubled when the monks told him, that when they wanted money, they
erased an ancient writing, wrote psalters and legends on the parchment,
and sold the new MSS. to women and children(548).

But though, in the fourteenth century, copies of the classics were
multiplied and rendered more accessible to the world, and though a few
were made by such hands as those of Petrarch and Boccaccio, the
transcriptions in general were much less accurate than those of a former
period. The Latin tongue, which had received more stability than could
otherwise have been expected, from having been consecrated in the service
of the church, had now at length become a dead language, and many of the
transcribers did not understand what they wrote. Still more mistakes than
those produced by ignorance, were occasioned by the presumption of
pretenders to learning, who were often tempted to alter the text, in order
to accommodate the sense to their own slender capacity and defective
taste. Whilst a remedy has been readily found for the gross oversight or
neglect of the ignorant and idle, in substituting one letter for another,
or inserting a word without meaning, errors affecting the sense of the
author, which were thus introduced, have been of the worst species, and
have chiefly contributed to compose that mass of various readings, on
which the sagacity of modern scholars has been so copiously exercised. In
a passage of Coluccio Salutati’s treatise _De Fato_, published by the Abbé
Mehus, the various modes in which MSS. were depraved by copyists are fully
pointed out(549). To such extent had these corruptions proceeded, that
Petrarch, talking of the MSS. of his own time, and those immediately
preceding it, asks, “Quis scriptorum inscitiæ medebitur, inertiæque
corrumpenti omnia ac miscenti? Non quæro jam aut queror Orthographiam, quæ
jam dudum interiit; qualitercunque utinam scriberent quod jubentur. An si
redeat Cicero aut Livius, ante omnes Plinius Secundus, sua scripta
religentes intelligent?” So sensible was Coluccio Salutati of the injury
which had been done to letters by the ignorance or negligence of
transcribers, that he proposed, as a check to the evil, that public
libraries should be every where formed, the superintendence of which
should be given to men of learning, who might carefully collate the MSS.
intrusted to them, and ascertain the most correct readings(550). To this
labour, and to the detection of counterfeit works, of which many, from
various motives, now began to be circulated, Coluccio devoted a
considerable portion of his own time and studies. His plan for the
institution of public libraries did not succeed; but he amassed a private
one, which, in that age, was second only to the library of Petrarch. A
considerable classical library, though consisting chiefly of the later
classics, particularly Seneca, Macrobius, Apuleius, and Suetonius, was
amassed by Tedaldo de Casa, whose books, with many remarks and emendations
in his own hand, were inspected by the Abbé Mehus in the library of
Santa-Croce at Florence(551).

The path which had been opened up by Petrarch, Boccaccio, and Coluccio
Salutati, in the fourteenth century, was followed out in the ensuing
century with wonderful assiduity and success by Poggio Bracciolini,
Filelfo, and Ambrosio Traversari, Abbott of Camaldoli, under the guidance
and protection of the Medicean Family and Niccolo Niccoli.

Of all the learned men of his time, Poggio seems to have devoted himself
with the greatest industry to the search for classical MSS. No
difficulties in travelling, or indifference in the heads of convents to
his literary inquiries, could damp his zeal. His ardour and exertions were
fortunately crowned with most complete success. The number of MSS.
discovered by him in different parts of Europe, during the space of nearly
fifty years, will remain a lasting proof of his unceasing perseverance,
and of his sagacity in these pursuits. Having spent his youth in
travelling through different countries, he at length settled at Rome,
where he continued as secretary, in the service of eight successive
Pontiffs. In this capacity he, in the year 1414, accompanied Pope John
XXIII. to the Council of Constance, which was opened in that year. While
residing at Constance, he made several expeditions, most interesting to
letters, in intervals of relaxation during the prosecutions of Jean Hus
and Jerome of Prague, of which he had the official charge. His chief
excursion was to the monastery of St Gal, about twenty miles distance from
Constance, where his information led him to expect that he might find some
MSS. of the ancient Roman writers(552). The earliest Abbots, and many of
the first monks of St Gal, had been originally transferred to that
monastery from the literary establishment founded by Charlemagne at Fulda.
Werembert and Helperic, who were sent to St Gal from Fulda in the ninth
century, introduced in their new residence a strong taste for letters, and
the practice of transcribing the classics. In examining the _Histoire
Litteraire de la France_, by the Benedictines, we find that no monastery
in the middle ages produced so many distinguished scholars as St Gal. In
this celebrated convent, which, (as Tenhove expresses it) had been so long
the Dormitory of the Muses, Poggio discovered some of the most valuable
classics,—not, however, in the library of the cloister, but covered with
dust and filth, and rotting at the bottom of a dungeon, where, according
to his own account, no criminal condemned to death would have been
thrown(553). This evinces that whatever care may at one time have been
taken of classical MSS. by the monks, they had subsequently been
shamefully neglected.

The services rendered to literature by Ambrosio of Camaldoli were inferior
only to those of Poggio. Ambrosio was born at Forli in 1386, and was a
disciple of Emanuel Chrysoloras. At the age of fourteen, he entered into
the convent of Camaldoli at Florence, and thirty years afterwards became
the Superior of his order. In the kind conciliatory disposition of
Ambrosio, manifested by his maintaining an uninterrupted friendship with
Niccolo Niccoli, Poggio, and Filelfo, and by moderating the quarrels of
these irascible _Literati_—in his zeal for the sacred interests,
discipline, and purity of his convent, to which his own moral conduct
afforded a spotless example—and, finally, in his enthusiastic love of
letters, in which he was second only to Petrarch, we behold the brightest
specimen of the monastic character, of which the memory has descended to
us from the middle ages. Though chiefly confined within the limits of a
cloister, Ambrosio had perhaps the best pretensions of any man of his age,
to the character of a polite scholar. The whole of the early part of his
life, and the leisure of its close, were employed in collecting ancient
MSS. from every quarter where they could be procured, and in maintaining a
constant correspondence with the most distinguished men of his age. His
letters which have been published in 1759, at Florence, with a long
preface and life by the Abbé Mehus, contain the fullest information that
can be any where found with regard to the recovery of ancient classical
MSS. and the state of literature at Florence in the fifteenth century.

It would appear from these Epistles, that though the monks had been
certainly instrumental in preserving the precious relics of classical
antiquity, their avarice and bigotry now rather obstructed the prosecution
of the researches undertaken for the purpose of bringing them to light. It
was their interest to keep these treasures to themselves, because it was a
maxim of their policy to impede the diffusion of knowledge, and because
the transcription of MSS. was to them a source of considerable emolument.
Hence they often threw obstacles in the way of the inquiries of the
learned, who were obliged to have recourse to various artifices, in order
to draw classical MSS. from the recesses of the cloister(554).

The exertions of Poggio and Ambrosio, however, were stimulated and aided
by the munificent patronage of many opulent individuals of that period,
who spared no expense in reimbursing and rewarding those who had made
successful researches after these favourite objects of pursuit. “To such
an enthusiasm,” says Tiraboschi, “was this desire carried, that long
journeys were undertaken, treasures were levied, and enmities were
excited, for the sake of an ancient MS.; and the discovery of a book was
regarded as almost equivalent to the conquest of a kingdom.”

The most zealous promoters of these researches, and most eager collectors
of MSS. during the fifteenth century, were the Cardinal Ursini, Niccolo
Niccoli and the Family of Medici.

Niccolo Niccoli, who was an humble citizen of Florence, devoted his whole
time and fortune to the acquisition of ancient MSS. In this pursuit he had
been eminently successful, having collected together 800 volumes, of which
a great proportion contained Roman authors. Poggio, in his funeral oration
of Niccolo, bears ample testimony to his liberality and zeal, and
attributes the successful discovery of so many classical MSS. to the
encouragement which he had afforded. “Quod autem,” says he, “egregiam
laudem meretur, summam operam, curamque adhibuit ad pervestigandos
auctores, qui culpâ temporum perierant. Quâ in re verè possum dicere,
omnes libros fere, qui noviter tum ab aliis reperti sunt, tum a me ipso,
qui integrum Quintilianum, Ciceronis nostri orationes, Silium Italicum,
Marcellinum, Lucretii partem, multosque præterea e Germanorum Gallorumque
ergastulis, meâ diligentiâ eripui, atque in lucem extuli, Nicholai suasu,
impulsu, cohortatione, et pæne verborum molestiâ esse Latinis literis
restitutos(555).” Several of these classical works Niccolo copied with his
own hand, and with great accuracy, after he had received them(556). The
MSS. in his hand-writing were long known and distinguished by the beauty
and distinctness of the characters. Nor did he content himself with mere
transcription: He diligently employed himself in correcting the errors of
the MSS. which were transmitted to him, and arranging the text in its
proper order. “Quum eos auctores,” says Mehus, “ex vetustissimis codicibus
exscriberet, qui suo potissimum consilio, aliorum vero operâ inventi sunt,
non solum mendis, quibus obsiti erant, expurgavit, sed etiam distinxit,
capitibusque locupletavit(557).” Such was the judgment of Niccolo, in this
species of emendation, that Politian always placed the utmost reliance on
his MS. copies(558); and, indeed, from a complimentary poem addressed to
him in his own time, it would seem that he had carefully collated
different MSS. of the same work, before he transcribed his own copy—

  “Ille hos errores, unâ exemplaribus actis
  Pluribus ante oculos, ne postera oberret et ætas,

Previous to the time of Niccolo, the only libraries of any extent or value
in Italy, were those of Petrarch, Coluccio Salutati, and Boccaccio. The
books which had belonged to Petrarch and Coluccio, were sold or dispersed
after the decease of their illustrious possessors. Boccaccio’s library had
been bequeathed by him to a religious order, the Hermits of St Augustine;
and this library was repaired and arranged by Niccolo, for the use of the
convent, and a proper hall built for its reception(559). Niccolo was
likewise the first person in modern times who conceived the idea of
forming a public library. Previous to his death, which happened in 1437,
he directed that his books should be devoted to the use of the public; and
for this purpose he appointed sixteen curators, among whom was Cosmo de
Medici. After his demise, it appeared that he was greatly in debt, and
that his liberal intentions were likely to be frustrated by the insolvency
of his circumstances. Cosmo therefore offered to his associates, that if
they would resign to him the exclusive right of the disposal of the books,
he would himself discharge all the debts of Niccolo, to which proposal
they readily acceded. Having thus obtained the sole direction of the MSS.,
he deposited them for public use in the Dominican Monastery of St Marco,
at Florence, which he had himself erected at an enormous expense(560).
This library, for some time celebrated under the name of the _Bibliotheca
Marciana_, or library of St Marc, was arranged and catalogued by Tommaso
da Sarzana Calandrino, at that time a poor but zealous scholar in the
lower orders of the clergy, and afterwards Pope, by the name of Nicholas
V. The building which contained the books of Niccolo having been destroyed
by an earthquake in 1454, Cosmo rebuilt it on such a plan, as to admit a
more extensive collection. After this it was enriched by private donations
from citizens of Florence, who, catching the spirit of the reigning
family, vied with each other in the extent and value of their gifts(561).

When Cosmo, having finally triumphed over his enemies, was recalled from
banishment, and became the first citizen of Florence, “which he governed
without arms or a title,” he employed his immense wealth in the
encouragement of learned men, and in collecting, under his own roof, the
remains of the ancient Greek and Roman writers. His riches, and extensive
mercantile intercourse with different parts of Europe and Asia, enabled
him to gratify a passion of this kind beyond any other individual. He gave
injunctions to all his friends and correspondents, to search for and
procure ancient MSS., in every language, and on every subject. From these
beginnings arose the celebrated library of the Medici, which, in the time
of Cosmo, was particularly distinguished for MSS. of Latin
classics—possessing, in particular, full and accurate copies of Virgil,
Cicero, Seneca, Ovid, and Tibullus(562). This collection, after the death
of its founder, was farther enriched by the attention of his descendants,
particularly his grandson, Lorenzo, under whom it acquired the name of the
Medicean-Laurentian Library. “If there was any pursuit,” says the
biographer of Lorenzo, “in which he engaged more ardently, and persevered
more diligently, than the rest, it was in that of enlarging his
collections of books and antiquities. His emissaries were dispersed
through every part of the globe, for the purpose of collecting books, and
he spared no expense in procuring, for the learned, the materials
necessary for the prosecution of their studies(563).” In the execution of
his noble design, he was assisted by Ermolao Barbaro, and Paulo Cortesi;
but his principal coadjutor was Politian, to whom he committed the care
and arrangement of his collection, and who made excursions, at intervals,
through Italy, to discover and purchase such remains of antiquity as
suited the purposes of his patron. An ample treasure of books was
expected, during his last illness, under the care of Lascaris. When the
vital spark was nearly extinguished, he called Politian to his side, and
grasping his hand, told him he could have wished to have lived to see the
library completed(564).

After the death of Lorenzo, some of the volumes were dispersed, when
Charles VIII. of France invaded Italy; and, on the expulsion of the Medici
family from Florence, in 1496, the remaining volumes of the Laurentian
collection were united with the books in the library of St Mark.

It being the great object of Lorenzo to diffuse the spirit of literature
as extensively as possible, he permitted the Duke of Urbino, who
particularly distinguished himself as a patron of learning, to copy such
of his MSS. as he wished to possess. The families, too, of Visconti at
Milan, of Este at Ferrara, and Gonzaga at Mantua, excited by the glorious
example set before them, emulated the Medici in their patronage of
classical literature, and formation of learned establishments. “The
division of Italy,” says Mr Mills, “into many independent principalities,
was a circumstance highly favourable to the nourishing and expanding
learning. Every city had a Mæcenas sovereign. The princes of Italy
rivalled each other in literary patronage as much as in political power,
and changes of dominion did not affect letters(565).” Eight Popes, in
succession, employed Poggio as their secretary, which greatly aided the
promotion of literature, and the collecting of MSS. at Rome. The last
Pontiff he served was Nicholas V., who, before his elevation, as we have
seen, had arranged the library of St Mark at Florence. From his youth he
had shown the most wonderful avidity for copies of ancient MSS., and an
extraordinary turn for elegant and accurate transcription, with his own
hand. By the diligence and learning which he exhibited in the schools of
Bologna, he secured the patronage of many literary characters. Attached to
the family of Cardinal Albergati, he accompanied him in several embassies,
and seldom returned without bringing back with him copies of such ancient
works as had been previously unknown in Italy. The titles of some of these
are mentioned by his biographer, who adds, that there was no Latin author,
with whose writings he was unacquainted. This enabled him to be useful in
the arrangement of many libraries formed at this period(566). His
promotion to the Pontifical chair, in 1447, was, in the circumstances of
the times, peculiarly auspicious to the cause of letters. With the
assistance of Poggio, he founded the library of the Vatican. The scanty
collection of his predecessors had been nearly dissipated or destroyed, by
frequent removals from Rome to Avignon: But Nicholas more than repaired
these losses; and before his death, had collected upwards of 5000 volumes
of Greek and Roman authors—and the Vatican being afterwards increased by
Sixtus IV. and Leo X. became, both in extent and value, the first library
in the world.

It is with Poggio, that the studies peculiar to the commentator may be
considered as having commenced, at least so far as regards the Latin
classics. Poggio lived from 1380 to 1459. He was succeeded towards the
close of the fifteenth century, and during the whole course of the
sixteenth, by a long series of Italian commentators, among whom the
highest rank may be justly assigned to Politian.—(Born, 1454–died, 1494.)
To him the world has been chiefly indebted for corrections and
elucidations of the texts of Roman authors, which, from a variety of
causes, were, when first discovered, either corrupt, or nearly illegible.
In the exercise of his critical talents, Politian did not confine himself
to any one precise method, but adopted such as he conceived best suited
his purpose—on some occasions only comparing different copies, diligently
marking the variations, rejecting spurious readings, and substituting the
true. In other cases he proceeded farther, adding _scholia_ and notes,
illustrative of the text, either from his own conjecture, or the authority
of preceding writers. To the name of Politian, I may add those of his
bitter rival and contemporary, Georgius Merula, (born, 1420–died, 1494);
Aldus Manutius, (1447–1516); his son Paullus; Landini, author of the
_Disputationes Camaldulenses_, (1424–1504); Philippus Beroaldus,
(1453–1505); Petrus Victorius, (1498–1585); Robortellus, (1516–1567). Most
of these commentators were entirely verbal critics; but this was by far
the most useful species of criticism which could be employed at the period
in which they lived. We have already seen, that in the time of Petrarch,
classical manuscripts had been very inaccurately transcribed; and,
therefore, the first great duty of a commentator, was to amend and purify
the text. Criticisms on the general merits of the author, or the beauties
of particular passages, and even expositions of the full import of his
meaning, deduced from antiquities, mythology, history, or geography, were
very secondary considerations. Nor, indeed, was knowledge far enough
advanced at the time, to supply such illustrations. Grammar, and verbal
criticism, formed the porch by which it was necessary to enter that temple
of sublimity and beauty which had been reared by the ancients; and without
this access, philosophy would never have enlightened letters, or letters
ornamented philosophy. “I cannot, indeed, but think,” says Mr Payne
Knight, in his Analytical Essay on the Greek Alphabet, “that the judgment
of the public, on the respective merits of the different classes of
critics, is peculiarly partial and unjust. Those among them who assume the
office of pointing out the beauties, and detecting the faults, of literary
composition, are placed with the orator and historian, in the highest
ranks, whilst those who undertake the more laborious task of washing away
the rust and canker of time, and bringing back those forms and colours,
which are the objects of criticism, to their original purity and
brightness, are degraded with the index-maker and antiquary among the
pioneers of literature, whose business it is to clear the way for those
who are capable of more splendid and honourable enterprizes. Nevertheless,
if we examine the effects produced by those two classes of critics, we
shall find that the first have been of no use whatever, and that the last
have rendered the most important services to mankind. All persons of taste
and understanding know, from their own feelings, when to approve and
disapprove, and therefore stand in no need of instructions from the
critic. But whatever may be the taste or discernment of a reader, or the
genius and ability of a writer, neither the one nor the other can appear
while the text remains deformed by the corruptions of blundering
transcribers, and obscured by the glosses of ignorant grammarians. It is
then that the aid of the verbal critic is required; and though his minute
labour in dissecting syllables and analysing letters may appear
contemptible in its operation, it will be found important in its effect.”
It is to those early critics, then, who washed away the rust and canker of
time, and brought back those forms and colours which are the subject of
criticism, that classical literature has been chiefly indebted. The newly
discovered art of printing, which was itself the offspring of the general
ardour for literary improvement, and of the daily experience of
difficulties encountered in prosecuting classical studies, contributed, in
an eminent degree, to encourage this species of useful criticism. At the
instigation of Lorenzo, and other patrons of learning in Italy, many
scholars in that country were induced to bestow their attention on the
collation and correction of the MSS. of ancient authors, in order that
they might be submitted to the press with the greatest possible accuracy,
and in their original purity. Nor was it a slight inducement to the
industrious scholar, that his commentaries were no longer to be hid in the
recesses of a few vast libraries, but were to be now placed in the view of
mankind, and enshrined, as it were, for ever in the immortal page of the
poet or historian whose works he had preserved or elucidated.

With Fulvius Ursinus, who died in the year 1600, the first school of
Italian commentators may be considered as terminating. In the following
century, classical industry was chiefly directed to translation; and in
the eighteenth century, the list of eminent commentators was increased
only by the name of Vulpius, who introduced a new style in classical
criticism, by an amusing collection of verses, both in ancient and modern
poets, which were parallel to passages in his author, not merely in some
words, but in the poetical idea.

The career which had so gloriously commenced in Italy in the end of the
fifteenth century, was soon followed in France and Germany. Julius
Scaliger, a native of Verona, had been naturalized in France, and he
settled there in the commencement of the sixteenth century. In that
country classical studies were introduced, under the patronage of Francis
I., and were prosecuted in his own and the six following reigns, by a long
succession of illustrious scholars, among whom Turnebus (1512–1565),
Lambrinus (1526–1572), the family of the Stephenses, who rivalled the
Manutii of Italy, Muretus (1526–1585), Casaubon (1559–1614), Joseph
Scaliger (1540–1609), and Salmasius (1588–1653), distinguished themselves
by the illustration of the Latin classics, and the more difficult
elucidation of those studies which assist and promote a full intelligence
of their meaning and beauties. Our geographical and historical knowledge
of the ancient world, was advanced by Charles Stephens—its chronology was
ascertained by Scaliger, and the whole circle of antiquities was extended
by Salmasius. After the middle of the seventeenth century, a new taste in
the illustration of classical literature sprung up in France—a lighter
manner and more philosophic spirit being then introduced. The celebrated
controversy on the comparative merit of the ancients and moderns, aided a
more popular elucidation of the classics; and as the preceptors of the
royal family were on the side of the ancients, they promoted the famed
Delphin edition, which commenced under the auspices of the Duke De
Montausier, and was carried on by a body of learned Jesuits, under the
superintendence of Bossuet and Huetius. Elegance and taste were required
for the instruction of a young French Prince; and accordingly, instead of
profound philological learning, or the assiduous collation of MSS., light
notes were appended, explanatory of the mythological and historical
allusions contained in the works of the author, as also remarks on his
most prominent defects and excellencies.

Joseph Scaliger and Salmasius, who were French Protestants, found shelter
for their heretical principles, and liberal reward for their learning, in
the University of Leyden; and with Douza (1545–1604), and Justus Lipsius
(1547–1606), became the fathers and founders of classical knowledge in the
Netherlands. As the inhabitants of that territory spoke and wrote a
language which was but ill adapted for the expression of original thought,
their whole force of mind was directed to throwing their humorous and
grand conceptions on canvass, or to the elucidation of the writings of
those who had been gifted with a more propitious tongue. These studies and
researches were continued by Heinsius (1582–1655), Gerard and Isaac
Vossius (1577–1689), and Gronovius (1611–1671). At this period Schrevelius
(1615–1664) commenced the publication of the Classics, _cum Notis
__Variorum_; and in the end of the seventeenth century, his example was
followed by some of the most distinguished editors. The merit of these
editions was very different, and has been variously estimated. Morhoff,
while he does justice to the editorial works of Gronovius and other
learned men, in which parts of the commentaries of predecessors,
judiciously extracted, were given at full length, has indulged himself in
an invective against other _variorum_ editions, in which everything was
mutilated and incorrect. “Sane ne comparandæ quidem illi” (the editions of
Aldus) “sunt ineptæ Variorum editiones; quam nuper pestem bonis auctoribus
Bibliopolæ Batavi inducere cœperunt, reclamantibus frustra viris
doctis(567).” In the course of the eighteenth century, the Burmans
(1668–1778), Oudendorp (1696–1761), and Havercamp (1684–1742), continued
to support the honour of a school, which as yet had no parallel in
certainty, copiousness, and depth of illustration.

In Germany, the school which had been established by Charlemagne at Fulda,
and that at Paderborn, long flourished under the superintendence of
Meinwerk. The author of the Life of that scholar, speaking of these
establishments, says, “Ibi viguit Horatius, magnus atque Virgilius,
Crispus et Sallustius, et Urbanus Statius.” During the ninth century,
Rabin Maur, a scholar of Alcuin, and head of the cathedral school at
Fulda, became a celebrated teacher; and profane literature was not
neglected by him amid the importance of his sacred lessons. Classical
learning, however, was first thoroughly awakened in Germany, by the
scholars of Thomas A’Kempis, in the end of the fifteenth century. A number
of German youths, who were associated in a species of literary fraternity,
travelled into Italy, at the time when the search for classical MSS. in
that country was most eagerly prosecuted. Rudolph Agricola, afterwards
Professor of Philosophy at Worms, was one of the most distinguished of
these scholars. Living immediately after the invention of printing, and at
a time when that art had not yet entirely superseded the transcription of
MSS., he possessed an extensive collection of these, as well as of the
works which had just issued resplendent from the press. Both were
illustrated by him with various readings on the margin; and we perceive
from the letters of Erasmus the value which even he attached to these
notes, and the use which he made of the variations. Rudolph was succeeded
by Herman von Busche, who lectured on the classics at Leipsic. He had in
his possession a number of the Latin classics; but it is evident from his
letters that some, as for instance Silius Italicus, were still
inaccessible to him, or could only be procured with great difficulty. The
German scholars did not bring so many MSS. to light, or multiply copies of
them, so much as the Italians, because, in fact, their country was less
richly stored than Italy with the treasures bequeathed to us by antiquity;
but they exercised equal critical acuteness in amending the errors of the
MSS. which they possessed. The sixteenth century was the age which
produced in Germany the most valuable and numerous commentaries on the
Latin classics. That country, in common with the Netherlands, was
enlightened, during this period, by the erudition of Erasmus (1467–1536).
In the same and succeeding age, Camerarius (1500–1574), Taubmann
(1565–1613), Acidalius (1567–1595), and Gruterus (1560–1627), enriched the
world with some of the best editions of the classics which had hitherto
appeared. Towards the close of the seventeenth century, classical
literature had for some time rather declined in Germany—polemical theology
and religious wars having at this period exhausted and engrossed the
attention of her universities. But it was revived again about the middle
of the eighteenth by J. Math. Gesner (1691–1761), and Ernesti (1707–1781),
who created an epoch in Germany for the study of the ancient authors.
These two scholars surpassed all their predecessors in taste, in a
philosophical spirit, and in a wide acquaintance with the subsidiary
branches of erudition: They made an advantageous use of their critical
knowledge of the languages; they looked at once to the words and to the
subject of the ancient writers, established and applied the rules of a
legitimate interpretation, and carefully analysed the meaning as well as
the form of the expression. Their task was extended from words to things;
and what has been called Æsthetic annotations, were combined with
philological discussion. “Non volui,” says Gesner, in the Preface to his
edition of Claudian, “commentarios scribere, collectos undique, aut locos
communes: Non volui dictionem poetæ, congestis aliorum poetarum formulis
illustrare; sed cum illud volui efficere poeta ut intelligatur, tum
judicio meo juvare volui juniorum judicium, quid pulchrum, atque decens,
et summorum poetarum simile putarem ostendendo, et contra, ea, ubi errâsse
illum a naturâ, a magnis exemplis, a decoro arbitrarer, cum fide
indicando.” J. Ernesti considers Gesner as unquestionably the first who
introduced what he terms the Æsthetic mode of criticism(568). But the
honour of being the founder of this new school, has perhaps, with more
justice, been assigned by others to Heyne(569) (1729–1811). “From the
middle of last century,” it is remarked, in a late biographical sketch of
Heyne, “several intelligent philologers of Germany displayed a more
refined and philosophic method in their treatment of the different
branches of classical learning, who, without neglecting either the
grammatical investigation of the language, or the critical constitution of
the text, no longer regarded a Greek or Roman writer as a subject for the
mere grammarian and critic; but, considering the study of the ancients as
a school for thought, for feeling, and for taste, initiated us into the
great mystery of reading every thing in the same spirit in which it had
originally been written. They demonstrated, both by doctrine and example,
in what manner it was necessary for us to enter into the thoughts of the
writer, to pitch ourselves in unison with his peculiar tone of conception
and expression, and to investigate the circumstances by which his mind was
affected—the motives by which he was animated—and the influences which
co-operated in giving the intensity and character of his feelings. At the
head of this school stands Heyne; and it must be admitted, that nothing
has contributed so decisively to maintain or promote the study of
classical literature, as the combination which he has effected of
philosophy with erudition, both in his commentaries on ancient authors,
and those works in which he has illustrated various points of antiquity,
or discussed the habit of thinking and spirit of the ancient world.” From
the time of Heyne, almost the whole grand inheritance of Roman literature
has been cultivated by commentators, who have raised the Germans to
undisputed pre-eminence among the nations of Europe, for profound
classical learning, and all the delightful researches connected with
literary history. I have only space to mention the names of Zeunius
(1736–1788), Jani (1743–1790), Wernsdorff (1723–1793); and among those who
still survive, Harles (born 1738), Schütz (1747), Schneider (1751), Wolf
(1757), Beck, (1757), Doering (1759), Mitscherlich (1760), Wetzel (1762),
Goerenz (1765), Eichstädt (1771), Hermann (1772).

While classical literature and topography were so highly cultivated
abroad, England, at the revival of literature, remained greatly behind her
continental neighbours in the elucidation and publication of the precious
remains of ancient learning. It appears from Ames’ Typographical
Antiquities, that the press of our celebrated ancient printers, as Caxton,
Wynkin de Worde, and Pynson, was rarely employed in giving accuracy or
embellishment to the works of the classics; and, indeed, so late as the
middle of the sixteenth century, only Terence and Cicero’s _Offices_ had
been published in this country, in their original tongue. Matters had by
no means improved in the seventeenth century. Evelyn, who had paid great
attention to the subject, gives the following account of the state of
classical typography and editorship in England, in a letter to the Lord
Chancellor Clarendon, dated November 1666: “Our booksellers,” says he,
“follow their own judgment in printing the ancient authors, according to
such text as they found extant when first they entered their copy;
whereas, out of the MSS. collated by the industry of later critics, those
authors are exceedingly improved. For instance, about thirty years since,
Justin was corrected by Isaac Vossius, in many hundreds of places, most
material to sense and elegancy, and has since been frequently reprinted in
Holland, after the purer copy; but with us still according to the old
reading. The like has Florus, Seneca’s Tragedies, and near all the rest,
which have, in the meantime, been castigated abroad by several learned
hands, which, besides that it makes ours to be rejected, and dishonours
our nation, so does it no little detriment to learning, and to the
treasure of the nation in proportion. The cause of this is principally the
stationer driving as hard and cruel a bargain with the printer as he can,
and the printer taking up any smatterer in the tongues, to be the less
loser; an exactness in this no ways importing the stipulation, by which
means errors repeat and multiply in every edition(570).” Since the period
in which this letter is dated, Bentley, who bears the greatest name in
England as a critic, however acute and ingenious, did more by his slashing
alterations to injure than amend the text, at least of the Latin authors
on whom he commented. He substituted what he thought best for what he
actually found; and such was his deficiency in taste, that what he thought
best (as is evinced by his changes on the text of Lucretius), was
frequently destructive of the poetical idea, and almost of the sense of
his author.

I have thought it right, before entering into detail concerning the
_Codices_ and editions of the works of the early classics mentioned in the
text, briefly to remind the reader of the general circumstances connected
with the loss and recovery of the classical MSS. of Rome, and to recall to
his recollection the names of a few of the most celebrated commentators in
Italy, France, Holland, and Germany. This will render the following
Appendix, in which there must be constant reference to the discovery of
MSS. and the labours of commentators, somewhat more distinct and
perspicuous than I could otherwise make it.

                        LIVIUS ANDRONICUS, NÆVIUS.

The fragments of these old writers are so inconsiderable, that no one has
thought of editing them separately. They are therefore to be found only in
the general collections of the whole Latin poets; as Maittaires _Opera et
Fragmenta Veterum Poetarum Latinorum_, London, 1713. 2 Tom. fo., (to some
copies of which a new title-page has been printed, bearing the date, Hag.
Comit. 1721;) or in the collections of the Latin tragic poets, as Delrio’s
_Syntagma Tragœdiæ Latinæ_, Paris, 1620, and Scriverius’ _Collectanea
Veterum Tragicorum_, Lugd. Bat. 1620. It is otherwise with


of whose writings, as we have seen, more copious fragments remain than
from those of his predecessors. The whole works of this poet were extant
in the time of Cassiodorus; but no copy of them has since appeared. The
fragments, however, found in Cicero, Macrobius, and the old grammarians,
are so considerable, that they have been frequently collected together,
and largely commented on. They were first printed in Stephen’s _Fragmenta
Veterum Poetarum Latinorum_, but without any proper connection or
criticism. Ludovicus Vives had intended to collect and arrange them, as we
are informed in one of his notes to St Augustine, _De Civitate Dei_: But
this task he did not live to accomplish(571). The first person who
arranged these scattered fragments, united them together, and classed them
under the books to which they belonged, was Hier. Columna. He adopted the
orthography which, from a study of the ancient Roman monuments and
inscriptions, he found to be that of the Latin language in the age of
Ennius. He likewise added a commentary, and prefixed a life of the poet.
The edition which he had thus fully prepared, was first published at
Naples in 1590, four years after his death, by his son Joannes
Columna(572). This _Editio Princeps_ of Ennius is very rare, but it was
reprinted under the care of Fr. Hesselius at Amsterdam in 1707. To the
original commentary of Columna there are added the annotations on Ennius
which had been inserted in Delrio and Scriverius’ collection of the Latin
tragic poets; and Hesselius himself supplied a very complete _Index
Verborum_. The ancient authors, who quote lines from Ennius, sometimes
mention the book of the _Annals_, or the name of the tragedy to which they
belonged, but sometimes this information is omitted. The arrangement,
therefore, of the verses of the latter description (which are marked with
an asterisk in Columna’s edition), and indeed the precise collocation of
the whole, is in a great measure conjectural. Accordingly, we find that
the order of the lines in the edition of Paulus Merula is very different
from that adopted by Columna. The materials for Merula’s edition, which
comprehends only the _Annals_ of Ennius, had already been collected and
prepared at the time when Columna’s was first given to the world. Merula,
however, conceived that while the great object of Columna had been to
compare and contrast the lines of Ennius with those of other heroic poets,
he himself had been more happy in the arrangement of the verses, and the
restoration of the ancient orthography, which is much more antiquated in
the edition of Merula than in that of Columna. He had also discovered some
fragments of the _Annals_, unknown to Columna, in the MS. of a work of L.
Calp. Piso, a writer of the age of Trajan, entitled _De Continentiâ
Veterum Poetarum_, and preserved in the library of St Victor at Paris. In
these circumstances, Merula was not deterred by the appearance of the
edition of Columna, from proceeding with his own, which at length came
forth at Leyden in the year 1595. The same sort of discrepance which
exists between Columna and Merula’s arrangement of the Annals, appears in
the collocation of the _Tragic Fragments_ adopted by Columna, and that
which has been preferred by Delrio, in his _Syntagma Tragœdiæ Latinæ_.

H. Planck published at Gottingen, in 1807, the fragments of Ennius’s
tragedy of _Medea_. These comprehend all the verses belonging to this
drama, collected by Columna, and some newly extracted by the editor from
old grammarians. The whole are compared with the parallel passages in the
_Medea_ of Euripides. Two dissertations are prefixed; one on the Origin
and Nature of Tragedy among the Romans; and the other, on the question,
whether Ennius wrote two tragedies, or only a single tragedy, entitled
_Medea_. A commentary is also supplied, in which, as Fuhrmann remarks, one
finds many things, but not much:—“Man findet in demselben _multa_, aber
nicht _multum_(573).”

Some fine passages of the fragments of Ennius have been filled up, and the
old readings corrected, by the recent discovery of the work _De Republicâ_
of Cicero, who is always quoting from the ancient poets. Thus the passage
in the Annals, where the Roman people are described as lamenting the death
of Romulus, stands thus in Columna’s edition:—

  —— “O Romole, Romole, _dic ô_
  Qualem te patriæ custodem dii genuerunt,
  Tu produxisti nos intra luminis oras,
  O pater, ô genitor, ô sanguen diis oriundum.”

This fragment may be now supplied, and the verses arranged and corrected,
from the quotation in the first book _De Republicâ_—

  “Pectora pia tenet desiderium; simul inter
  Sese sic memorant—O Romule, Romule _die_,
  Qualem te patriæ custodem di genuerunt,
  O pater, ô genitor, ô sanguen dîs oriundum!
  Tu produxisti nos intra luminis oras.”

The fragments of the Annals of Ennius, as the text is arranged by Merula,
have been translated into Italian by Bernardo Philippini, and published at
Rome in 1659, along with his _Poesie_. I know of no other translations of
these fragments.


There can be no doubt that even the oldest MSS. of Plautus were early
corrupted by transcribers, and varied essentially from each other. Varro,
in his book _De Analogiâ_, ascribes some phrase of which he did not
approve, in the _Truculentus_, to the negligence of copyists. The Latin
comedies, written in the age of Plautus, were designed to be represented
on the stage, and not to be read at home. It is therefore, probable, that,
during the reign of the Republic at least, there were few copies of
Plautus’s plays, except those delivered to the actors. The dramas were
generally purchased by the Ædiles, for the purpose of amusing the people
during the celebration of certain festivals. As soon as the poet’s
agreement was concluded with the Ædile, he lost his right of property in
the play, and frequently all concern in its success. It seems probable,
therefore, that even during the life of the author, these magistrates, or
censors employed by them, altered the verses at their own discretion, or
sent the comedy for alteration to the author: But there is no doubt that,
after his death, the actors changed and modelled the piece according to
their own fancy, or the prevailing taste of the public, just as Cibber and
Garrick wrought on the plays of Shakspeare. Hence new prologues, adapted
to circumstances, were prefixed—whole verses were suppressed, and lines
properly belonging to one play, were often transferred to another. This
corruption of MSS. is sufficiently evinced by the circumstance, that the
most ancient grammarians frequently cite verses as from a play of Plautus,
which can now no longer be found in the drama quoted. Thus, a line cited
by Festus and Servius, from the _Miles_, does not appear in any MSS. or
ancient edition of that comedy, though, in the more recent impressions, it
has been inserted in what was judged to be its proper place(574),
Farther—Plautus, and indeed the old Latin writers in general, were much
corrupted by transcribers in the middle ages, who were not fully
acquainted with the variations which had taken place in the language, and
to whom the Latin of the age of Constantine was more familiar than that of
the Scipios. They were often puzzled and confused by finding a letter, as
c, for example, introduced into a word which they had been accustomed to
spell with a g, and they not unfrequently were totally ignorant of the
import or signification of ancient words. In a fragment of Turpilius, a
character in one of the comedies says, “Qui mea verba venatur pestis
arcedat;” now, the transcriber being ignorant of the verb _arcedat_, wrote
_ars cedat_, which converts the passage into nonsense(575).

The comedies of Plautus are frequently cited by writers of the fourteenth
century, particularly by Petrarch, who mentions the amusement which he had
derived from the _Casina_(576). Previous, however, to the time of Poggio,
only eight of them were known, and we consequently find that the old MSS.
of the fourteenth century just contain eight comedies(577). By means,
however, of Nicolas of Treves, whom Poggio had employed to search the
monasteries of Germany, twelve more were discovered. The plays thus
brought to light were the _Bacchides_, _Menæchmi_, _Mostellaria_, _Miles
Gloriosus_, _Mercator_, _Pseudolus_, _Pœnulus_, _Persa_, _Rudens_,
_Stichus_, _Trinummus_, _Truculentus_. As soon as Poggio heard of this
valuable and important discovery, he urged the Cardinal Ursini to despatch
a special messenger, in order to convey the treasure in safety to Rome.
His instances, however, were not attended to, and the MSS. of the comedies
did not arrive till two years afterwards, in the year 1428, under the
charge of Nicolas of Treves himself(578). They were seized by the Cardinal
immediately after they had been brought to Italy. This proceeding Poggio
highly resented; and having in vain solicited their restoration, he
accused Ursini of attempting to make it be believed that Plautus had been
recovered by his exertions, and at his own expense(579). At length, by the
intervention of Lorenzo, the brother of Cosmo de Medici, the Cardinal was
persuaded to intrust the precious volume to Niccolo Niccoli, who got it
carefully transcribed. Niccolo, however, detained it at Florence long
after the copy from it had been made; and we find his friend Ambrosio of
Camaldoli using the most earnest entreaties on the part of the Cardinal
for its restitution.—“Cardinalis Ursinus Plautum suum recipere cupit. Non
video quam ob causam, Plautum illi restituere non debeas, quem olim
transcripsisti. Oro, ut amicissimo homini geratur mos(580).” The original
MS. was at length restored to the Cardinal, after whose death it fell into
the possession of Lorenzo de Medici, and thus came to form a part of the
Medicean library. The copy taken by Niccolo Niccoli was transferred, on
his decease, along with his other books, to the convent of St Mark.

From a transcript of this copy, which contained the twelve newly-recovered
plays, and from MSS. of the other eight comedies, which were more common
and current, Georgius Merula, the disciple of Filelfo, and one of the
greatest Latin scholars of the age, formed the first edition of the plays
of Plautus, which was printed by J. de Colonia and Vindelin de Spira, at
Venice, 1472, folio, and reprinted in 1482 at Trevisa. It would appear
that Merula had not enjoyed direct access to the original MS. brought from
Germany, or to the copy deposited in the Marcian library; for he says, in
his dedication to the Bishop of Pavia, “that there was but one MS. of
Plautus, from which, as an archetype, all the copies which could be
procured were derived; and if, by any means,” he continues, “I could have
laid my hands on it, the _Bacchides_, _Mostellaria_, _Menæchmi_, _Miles_,
and _Mercator_, might have been rendered more correct; for the copies of
these comedies, taken from the original MS., had been much corrupted in
successive transcriptions; but the copies I have procured of the last
seven comedies have not been so much tampered with by the critics, and
therefore will be found more accurate.” Merula then compares his toil, in
amending the corrupt text, to the labours of Hercules. His edition has
usually been accounted the _editio princeps_ of Plautus; but I think it is
clear, that at least eight of the comedies had been printed previously:
Harles informs us, that Morelli, in one of his letters, had thus written
to him:—“There is an edition of Plautus which I think equally ancient with
the Venetian one of 1472; it is _sine ullâ notâ_, and has neither
numerals, signatures, nor catch-words. It contains the following plays:
_Amphitryo_, _Asinaria_, _Aulularia_, _Captivi_, _Curculio_, _Casina_,
_Cistellaria_, _Epidicus_(581).” Now, it will be remarked, that these were
the eight comedies current in Italy before the important discovery of the
remaining twelve, made by Nicholas of Treves, in Germany; and the
presumption is, that they were printed previous to the date of the edition
of Merula, because by that time the newly-recovered comedies having got
into circulation, it is not likely that any editor would have given to the
world an imperfect edition of only eight comedies, when the whole dramas
were accessible, and had excited so much interest in the mind of the

Eusebius Scutarius, a scholar of Merula, took charge of an edition, which
was amended from that of his master, and was printed in 1490, Milan,
folio, and reprinted at Venice 1495.

In 1499, an edition was brought out at Venice, by the united labour of
Petrus Valla, and Bernard Saracenus. To these, succeeded the edition of
Jo. Bapt. Pius, at Milan, 1500, with a preface by Phillip Beroald. Taubman
says, that “omnes editiones mangonum manus esse passas ex quo Saracenus et
Pius regnum et tyrannidem in literis habuere.” In the Strasburg
impression, 1508, the text of Scutari has been followed, and about the
same time there were several reprints of the editions of Valla and Pius.

The edition of Charpentier, in 1513, was prepared from a collation of
different editions, as the editor had no MSS.; but the editions of Pius
and Saracenus were chiefly employed. Charpentier has prefixed arguments,
and has divided the lines better than any of his predecessors; and he has
also arranged the scenes, particularly those of the _Mostellaria_, to
greater advantage.

Few Latin classics have been more corrupted than Plautus, by those who
wished to amend his text. In all the editions which had hitherto appeared,
the perversions were chiefly occasioned by the anxiety of the editors to
bend his lines to the supposed laws of metre. Nic. Angelius, who
superintended an edition printed by the Giunta at Florence, 1514, was the
first who observed that the corruptions had arisen from a desire “ad
implendos pedum numeros.” He accordingly threw out, in his edition, all
the words which had been unauthorizedly inserted to fill up the verses.
From some MSS. which had not hitherto been consulted, he added several
prologues to the plays; and also the commencement of the first act of the
_Bacchides_, which Lascaris, in one of his letters to Cardinal Bembo, says
he had himself found at Messina, in Sicily. These, however, though they
have been inserted into all subsequent editions of Plautus, are evidently
written by a more modern hand than that of Plautus. Two editions were
superintended and printed by the Manutii, 1516 and 1522; that in 1522,
though prepared by F. Asulanus, from a MS. corrected in the hand of the
elder Aldus and Erasmus, is not highly valued(582). Two editions, by R.
Stephens, 1529 and 1530, were formed on the edition of the Giunta, with
the correction of a few errors. These were followed by many editions in
Italy, France, and Germany, some of which were merely reimpressions, but
others were accompanied with new and learned commentaries.

To no one, however, has Plautus been so much indebted as to Camerarius,
whose zeal and diligence were such, that there was scarcely a verse of
Plautus which did not receive from him some emendation. In 1535, there had
appeared at Magdeburg six comedies (_Aulularia_, _Captivi_, _Miles
Gloriosus_, _Menæchmi_, _Mostellaria_, _Trinummus_,) which he had revised
and commented on, but which were published from his MS. without his
knowledge or authority. The privilege of the first complete edition
printed under his own direction, is dated in 1538.

The text and annotations of Camerarius now served as the basis for most of
the subsequent editions. The Plantin editions, of which Sambucus was the
editor, and which were printed at Antwerp 1566, and Basil 1568, contain
the notes and corrections of Camerarius, with about 300 verses more than
any preceding impression.

Lambinus, in preparing the Paris edition, 1577, collated a number of MSS.
and amassed many passages from the ancient grammarians. He only lived,
however, to complete thirteen of the comedies; but his colleague, Helias,
put the finishing hand to the work, and added an index, after which it
came forth with a prefatory dedication by Lambinus’s son. On this edition,
(in which great critical learning and sagacity, especially in the
discovery of _double entendres_, were exhibited,) the subsequent
impressions, Leyden, 1581(583), Geneva, 1581, and Paris 1587, were chiefly

Lambinus, in preparing his edition, had chiefly trusted to his own
ingenuity and learning. Taubman, the next editor of Plautus of any note,
compiled the commentaries of others. The text of Camerarius was
principally employed by him, but he collated it with two MSS. in the
Palatine library, which had once belonged to Camerarius; and he received
the valuable assistance of Gruterus, who was at that time keeper of the
library at Heidelberg. Newly-discovered fragments—the various opinions of
ancient and modern writers concerning Plautus—a copious _index verborum_—a
preface—a dedication to the triumvirs of literature of the day, Joseph
Scaliger, Justus Lipsius, and Casaubon—in short, every species of literary
apparatus accompanied the edition of Taubman, which first appeared at
Frankfort in 1605. It was very inaccurately printed, however; so
incorrectly indeed, that the editor, in a letter addressed to Jungerman,
in September 1606, acknowledges that he was ashamed of it. Philip Pareus,
who had long been pursuing similar studies with those of Taubman, embraced
the opportunity, afforded by the inaccuracy of this edition, of publishing
in Frankfort, in 1610, a Plautus, which was professedly the rival of that
which had been produced by the united efforts of Taubman and Gruterus, and
which had not only disappointed the expectations of the public, but of the
learned editors themselves. Their feelings on this subject, and the
_opposition Plautus_ edited by Pareus, stimulated Taubman to give an
amended edition of his former one. This second impression, which is much
more accurate than the first, was printed at Wittenberg in 1612, and was
accompanied with the dissertation of Camerarius _De Fabulis Plautonicis_,
and that of Jul. Scaliger, _De Versibus Comicis_. Taubman died the year
after the appearance of this edition: Its fame, however, survived him, and
not only retrieved his character, which had been somewhat sullied by the
bad ink and dirty paper of the former edition, but completely eclipsed the
classical reputation of Pareus. Envious of the renown of his rivals, that
scholar obtained an opportunity of inspecting the MSS. which had been
collated by Taubman and Gruterus. These he now compared more minutely than
his predecessors had done, and published the fruits of his labour at
Neustadt, in 1617. This was considered as derogating from the accuracy and
critical ingenuity of Gruterus, and insulting to the manes of
Taubman.—“Hinc jurgium, tumultus Grutero et Pareo.” Gruterus attacked
Pareus in a little tract, entitled _Asini Cumani fraterculus e Plauto
electis electus per Eustathium Schwarzium puerum_, 1619, and was answered
by Pareus not less bitterly, in his _Provocatio ad Senatum Criticum
adversus personatos Pareomastigos_. From this time Pareus and Gruterus
continued to print successive editions of Plautus, in emulation and odium
of each other. Gruterus printed one at Wittenberg in 1621, with a
prefatory invective against Pareus, and with the _Euphemiæ amicorum in
Plautum Gruteri_. Pareus then attempted to surpass his rival, by
comprehending in his edition a collection of literary miscellanies—as
Bullengerus’ description of Greek and Roman theatres. At length Pareus got
the better of his obstinate opponent, in the only way in which that was
possible—by surviving him; he then enjoyed an opportunity of publishing,
unmolested, his last edition of Plautus, printed at Frankfort, 1641,
containing a Dissertation on the Life and Writings of Plautus; the
Eulogies pronounced on him; Remarks on his Versification; a diatribe _de
jocis et salibus Plautinis_; an exhibition of his Imitations from the
Greek Poets; and, finally, the _Euphemiæ_ of Learned Friends. Being now
relieved of all apprehensions from the animadversions of Gruterus, he
boldly termed his edition “Absolutissimam, perfectissimam, omnibusque
virtutibus suis ornatissimam.”

I have now brought the history of this notable controversy to a
conclusion. During its subsistence, various other editions of Plautus had
been published—that of Isaac Pontanus, Amsterdam, 1620, from a MS. in his
own possession—that of Nic. Heinsius, Leyden, 1635, and that of
Buxhornius, 1645, who had the advantage of consulting a copy of Plautus,
enriched with MS. notes, in the handwriting of Joseph Scaliger.

Gronovius at length published the edition usually called the _Variorum_.
Bentley, in his critical emendations on Menander, speaks with great
contempt of the notes which Gronovius had compiled. The first Variorum
edition was printed at Leyden in 1664, the second in 1669, and the third,
which is accounted the best, at Amsterdam, 1684.

The Delphin edition was nearly coeval with these Variorum editions, having
been printed at Paris, 1679. It was edited under care of Jacques l’Œuvre
or Operarius, but is not accounted one of the best of the class to which
it belongs. The text was principally formed on the last edition of
Gruterus, and the notes of Taubman were chiefly employed. The
_Prolegomena_ on the Life and Writings of Plautus, is derived from various
sources, and is very copious. None of the old commentators could publish
an edition of Plautus, without indulging in a dissertation _De Obscœnis_.
In every Delphin edition of the classics we are informed, that _consultum
est pudori Serenissimi Delphini_; but this has been managed in various
ways. Sometimes the offensive lines are allowed to remain, but the
_interpretatio_ is omitted, and in its place star lights are hung out
alongside of the passage: but in the Delphin Plautus they are concentrated
in one focus, “_in gratiam_,” as it is expressed, “_provectioris ætatis_,”
at the end of the volume, under the imposing title “PLAUTI OBSCŒNA:”

  “And there we have them all at one full swoop;
    Instead of being scattered through the pages,
  They stand forth marshalled in a handsome troop,
    To meet the ingenuous youth of future ages.
  Till some less rigid editor shall stoop
    To call them back into their separate cages;
  Instead of standing staring all together,
  Like garden gods, and not so decent either(584).”

What is termed the Ernesti edition of Plautus, and which is commonly
accounted the best of that poet, was printed at Leipsic, 1760. It was
chiefly prepared by Aug. Otho, but Ernesti wrote the preface, containing a
full account of the previous editions of Plautus.

The two editions by the Vulpii were printed at Padua, 1725 and 1764.

The text of the second Bipontine edition, 1788, was corrected by Brunck.
The plan of the Bipontine editions of the Latin classics is well known.
There are scarcely any annotations or commentary subjoined; but the text
is carefully corrected, and an account of previous editions is prefixed.

In the late edition by Schmieder (Gottingen, 1804), the text of Gronovius
has been principally followed; but the editor has also added some
conjectural emendations of his own. The commentary appears to have been
got up in considerable haste. The preliminary notices concerning the Life
and Writings of Plautus, and the previous editions of his works, are very
brief and unsatisfactory. There is yet a more recent German edition by
Bothe, which has been published in volumes from time to time at Berlin.
Two MSS. never before consulted, and which the editor believes to be of
the eleventh or twelfth century, were collated by him. His principal aim
in this new edition is to restore the lines of Plautus to their proper
metrical arrangement.

With a similar view of restoring the proper measure to the verses, various
editions of single plays of Plautus have, within these few years, been
printed in Germany. Of this sort is the edition of the _Trinummus_, by
Hermann (Leipsic, 1800), and of the _Miles_ (Weimar, 1804), by Danz, who
has made some very bold alterations on the text of his author.

_Italy_ having been the country in which learning first revived,—in which
the MSS. of the Classics were first discovered, and the first editions of
them printed,—it was naturally to be expected, that, of all the modern
tongues of Europe, the classics should have been earliest translated into
the Italian language. Accordingly we find, that the most celebrated and
popular of them appeared in the _Lingua Volgare_, previous to the year

With regard to Plautus, Maffei mentions, as the first translation of the
_Amphitryon_, a work in _ottava rima_, printed without a date. This work
was long believed to be a production of Boccaccio(586), but it was in fact
written by Ghigo Brunelleschi, an author of equal or superior antiquity,
and whose initials were mistaken for those of Giovanni Boccaccio. Though
spoken of by Maffei as a dramatic version, it is in fact a tale or novel
founded on the comedy of Plautus, and was called _Geta e Birria_(587).
Pandolfo Collenuccio was the first who translated the _Amphitryon_ in its
proper dramatic form, and _terza rima_. He was in the service of Hercules,
first Duke of Ferrara, who made this version be represented, in January,
1487, in the splendid theatre which he had recently built, and on occasion
of the nuptials of his daughter Lucretia. The _Menechmi_, partly
translated in _ottava_ and partly in _terza rima_, was the first piece
ever acted on that theatre. The Este family were great promoters of these
versions; which, though not printed till the sixteenth century, were for
the most part made and represented before the close of the fifteenth. The
dramatic taste of Duke Hercules descended to his son Alphonso, by whose
command Celio Calcagnino translated the _Miles Gloriosus_. Paitoni
enumerates four different translations of the _Asinaria_, in the course of
the sixteenth century, one of which was acted in the monastery of St
Stephen’s, at Venice.

There were also a few versions of particular plays in the course of the
_eighteenth_ century; but Paitoni, whose work was printed in 1767,
mentions no complete Italian translation of Plautus, nor any version
whatever of the _Truculentus_, or _Trinummus_. The first version of all
the comedies was that of Nic. Eug. Argelio, which was accompanied by the
Latin text, and was printed at Naples, 1783, in 10 volumes 8vo.

The subject of translation was early attended to in _France_. In the year
1540, a work containing rules for it was published by Steph. Dolet, which
was soon followed by similar productions; and, in the ensuing century, its
principles became a great topic of controversy among critics and scholars.
Plautus, however, was not one of the classics earliest rendered. Though
Terence had been repeatedly translated while the language was almost in a
state of barbarism, Plautus did not appear in a French garb, till clothed
in it by the Abbé Marolles, at the solicitation of Furetiere, in 1658. The
Abbé, being more anxious to write many than good books, completed his task
in a few months, and wrote as the sheets were throwing off. His
translation is dedicated to the King, Louis XIV., and is accompanied by
the Latin text. We shall find, as we proceed, that almost all the Latin
authors of this period were translated into French by the indefatigable
Abbé de Marolles. He was unfortunately possessed of the opulence and
leisure which Providence had denied to Plautus, Terence, and Catullus; and
the leisure he enjoyed was chiefly devoted to translation. “Translation,”
says D’Israeli, “was the mania of the Abbé de Marolles; sometimes two or
three classical victims in a season were dragged into his slaughter-house.
The notion he entertained of his translations was their closeness; he was
not aware of his own spiritless style and he imagined that poetry only
consisted in the thoughts, and not in the grace and harmony of

De Coste’s translation of the _Captivi_, in prose, 1716, has been already
mentioned. This author was not in the same hurry as Marolles, for he kept
his version ten years before he printed it. He has prefixed a
Dissertation, in which he maintains, that Plautus, in this comedy, has
rigidly observed the dramatic unities of time and place.

Mad. Dacier has translated the _Amphitryon_, _Rudens_, and _Epidicus_. Her
version, which is accompanied by the Latin text, and is dedicated to
Colbert, was first printed 1683. An examination of the defects and
beauties of these comedies, particularly in respect of the dramatic
unities, is prefixed, and remarks by no means deficient in learning are
subjoined. Some changes from the printed Latin editions are made in the
arrangement of the scenes. In her dissertation on the _Epidicus_, which
was a favourite play of Plautus himself, Mad. Dacier attempts to justify
this preference of the poet, and wishes indeed to persuade us, that it is
a faultless production. Goujet remarks that one is not very forcibly
struck with all the various beauties which she enumerates in perusing the
original, and still less sensible of them in reading her translation.

M. de Limiers, who published a version of the whole plays of Plautus in
1719, has not rendered anew those which had been translated by Mad. Dacier
and by De Coste, but has inserted their versions in his work. These are
greatly better than the others, which are translated by Limiers himself.
All of them are in prose, except the _Stichus_ and _Trinummus_, which the
author has turned into verse, in order to give a specimen of his poetic
talents. In the versifications, he has placed himself under the needless
restraint of rendering each Latin line by only one in French, so that
there should not be a verse more in the translation than the original; the
consequence of which is, that the whole is constrained and obscure.
Examinations and analyses of each piece, expositions of the plots, with
notices of Plautus’ imitations of the ancient writers, and those of the
moderns after him, are inserted in this work.

In the same year in which Limiers published his version, Gueudeville
brought out a translation of Plautus. It is a very free one; and Goujet
says, it is “Plaute travesti, plutot que traduit.” He attempts to make his
original more burlesque by exaggerations; and by singular hyperbolical
expressions; the _obscœna_ are a good deal enhanced; and he has at the end
formed a sort of table, or index, of the obscene passages, referring to
their proper page, which may thus be found without perusing any other part
of the drama. The professed object of the table is, that the reader may
pass them over if he choose.

A contemporary journal, comparing the two translations, observes,—“Il
semble que M. Limiers s’attache davantage à son original, et qu’il en fait
mieux sentir le véritable caractère; et que le Sieur Gueudeville est plus
badin, plus vif, plus bouffon(589).” Fabricius passes on them nearly the
same judgment(590).

The _English_ were early acquainted with the plays of Plautus. It appears
from Holinshed, that in the eleventh year of King Henry VIII.—that is, in
1520—a comedy of Plautus was played before the King(591). We are informed
by Miss Aikin, in her _Memoirs of the Court of Elizabeth_, that when that
Queen visited Cambridge in 1564, she went on a Sunday morning to King’s
Chapel, to hear a Latin sermon, _ad clerum_; “and in the evening, the body
of this solemn edifice being converted into a temporary theatre, she was
there gratified with a representation of the _Aulularia_ of Plautus(592).”
It has been mentioned in the text, that, in 1595, there appeared a
translation of the _Menæchmi_ of Plautus, by W. W.—initials which have
generally been supposed to stand for William Warner, author of _Albion’s
England_. In 1694, Echard published a prose translation of the three
comedies which had been selected by Mad. Dacier—the _Amphitryon_,
_Epidicus_, and _Rudens_. It is obvious, however, that he has more
frequently translated from the French, than from his original author. His
style, besides, is coarse and inelegant; and, while he aims at being
familiar, he is commonly low and vulgar. Some passages of the _Amphitryon_
he has translated in the coarsest dialogue of the streets:—“By the
mackins, I believe Phœbus has been playing the good fellow, and’s asleep
too! I’ll be hanged if he ben’t in for’t, and has took a little too much
of the creature.” In every page, also, we find the most incongruous jumble
of ancient and of modern manners. He talks of the Lord Chief Justice of
Athens, of bridewell, and aldermen; and makes his heathen characters swear
British and Christian oaths, such as, “By the Lord Harry!—’Fore
George!—’Tis as true as the Gospel!”

In the year 1746, Thomas Cooke, the well-known translator of Hesiod,
published proposals for a complete translation of Plautus, but he printed
only the _Amphitryon_. Dr Johnson has told, that Cooke lived twenty years
on this translation of Plautus, for which he was always taking in

In imitation of Colman, who, in his Terence, had introduced a new and
elegant mode of translation in familiar blank verse, Mr Thornton, in 1667,
published a version of seven of the plays after the same
manner,—_Amphitryon_, _Miles Gloriosus_, _Captivi_, _Trinummus_,
_Mercator_, _Aulularia_, _Rudens_. Of these, the translation of the
_Mercator_ was furnished by Colman, and that of the _Captivi_ by Mr
Warner. Thornton intended to have translated the remaining thirteen, but
was prevented by death. The work, however, was continued by Mr. Warner,
who had translated the _Captivi_. To both versions, there were subjoined
remarks, chiefly collected from the best commentators, and from the notes
of the French translators of Plautus.


The MSS. of Terence which were coeval with the age of the author, or
shortly posterior to it, were corrupted from the same cause as the MSS. of
Plautus. Varro says, that, in his time, the copies of Terence then
existing were extremely corrupt. He is, however, one of the classics whose
works cannot properly be said to have been discovered at the revival of
literature, as, in fact, his comedies never were lost. They were commented
on, during the later ages of the empire, by Æmilius Asper, Valerius
Probus, Martius Salutaris, Flavius Caper, and Helenius Acro; and towards
the end of the fifth century, Rufinus wrote a diatribe on the metres of
Terence. Sulpicius Apollinaris, a grammarian of the second century,
composed arguments to the plays, and Ælius Donatus commented on them in
the fourth century. The person styling himself Calliopius, revised and
amended, in the eighth century, a MS. which was long preserved in the
Vatican. Eugraphius commented on Terence, again, in the tenth, and
Calpurnius in the middle of the fifteenth century. Guiniforte delivered
lectures on Terence at Novarra in 1430, and Filelfo at Florence about the
same period(594). Petrarch, too, when Leontius Pilatus, disgusted with
Italy, returned to his native country, gave him a copy of Terence as his
travelling companion,—a foolish present, as Petrarch adds, for there is no
resemblance between the most gloomy of all the Greeks, and the most lively
of the Africans. As Petrarch at this time seems to have cordially disliked
Leontius, it is not probable that the copy of Terence he gave him was very
scarce. All this shows, that the six plays of Terence were not merely
extant, but very common in Italy, during the dark ages. One of the oldest
MSS. of Terence, and that which was probably used in the earliest printed
editions, was preserved in the Vatican library: Fabricius has described it
as written by Hrodogarius in the time of Charlemagne, and as revised by
Calliopius(595). Another MS. of Terence in the Vatican library, is one
which, in the sixteenth century, had fallen into the possession of
Cardinal Bembo. It had been revised by Politian(596), who wrote on it, in
his own hand, that he had never seen one more ancient:—“Ego, Angelus
Politianus, homo vetustatis minime incuriosus, nullum me vidisse, ad hanc
diem, codicem vetustiorem fateor.” Its age, when Fabricius wrote, in 1698,
was, as that author testifies, more than a thousand years, which places
its transcription at the latest in 698. In this MS. there is a division of
verses which is not employed in that above mentioned, written by
Hrodogarius. Politian corrected from it, with his own hand, a copy which
was in the Laurentian library, and collated with it another, which
subsequently belonged to Petrus Victorius. After the death of Cardinal
Bembo, this ancient MS. came into the possession of Fulvius Ursinus, and
was by him bequeathed to the Vatican library(597).

There is much uncertainty with regard to the _Editio Princeps_ of Terence,
and, indeed, with regard to most of the editions of his works which
appeared during the fifteenth century. That printed by Mentelin at
Strasburg, without date, but supposed to be 1468, seems now to be
considered as having the best claims to priority(598). The Terence printed
by Pynson in 1497, was, I believe, the first Latin classic published in
this country. The earliest editions of Terence are without any separation
of verses, the division of them having been first introduced in the
edition of 1487, according to the arrangement made by Politian from
Cardinal Bembo’s copy. Westerhovius, in the _prolegomena_ to his edition,
1726, enumerates not fewer than 248 editions of Terence previous to his
time. Though the presses of the Aldi (1517–21), the Stephenses (1529–52,
&c.), and the Elzevirs (1635), were successively employed in these
editions, the text of Terence does not seem to have engaged the attention
of any of the most eminent scholars or critics of the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries, with the exception of Muretus. The edition of
Faernus, (Florence, 1565,) for which various valuable MSS. were collated,
became the foundation of almost all subsequent impressions, particularly
that of Westerhovius, which is usually accounted the best edition of
Terence. It is nevertheless declared, by Mr Dibdin, “to be more admirable
for elaborate care and research, than the exhibition of any critical
niceties in the construction of the text, or the illustration of difficult
passages.” It contains the Commentaries of Donatus, Calpurnius, and
Eugraphius, and there are prefixed the Life of Terence, attributed to
Suetonius,—a dissertation of D. Heinsius, _Ad Horatii de Plauto et
Terentio judicium_,—Evanthius, _De Tragœdiâ et Comœdiâ_,—and a treatise,
compiled by the editor from the best authorities, concerning the scenic
representations of the Romans.

Bentley’s first edition of Terence was printed at Cambridge in the same
year with that of Westerhovius. One of Bentley’s great objects was the
reformation of the metres of Terence, concerning which he prefixed a
learned dissertation. The boldness of his alterations on the text, which
were in a great measure calculated to serve this purpose, drew down on
him, in his own age, the appellation of “slashing Bentley,” and repeated
castigation from subsequent editors.

Of the more recent editions, that of Zeunius (Leipsic, 1774) is deservedly
accounted the best in point of critical excellence. There are, however,
three German editions still more recent; that by Schmieder, (Halle, 1794,)
by Bothe, (Magdeburg, 1806,) and by Perlet, (Leipsic, 1821;) which last is
chiefly remarkable for its great number of typographical errors—about as
numerous as those in one of the old English _Pearl Bibles_.

The plays of Terence being much less numerous than those of Plautus,
translations of the whole of them appeared at an earlier period, both in
Italian and French. The first complete _Italian_ translation of Terence
was in prose. It is dedicated to Benedetto Curtio, by a person calling
himself Borgofranco; but from the ambiguity of some expressions in this
dedication, there has been a dispute, whether he be the author, or only
the editor of the version—Fontanini supporting the former, and Apostolo
Zeno the latter proposition(599). It was first printed at Venice, 1533;
and Paitoni enumerates six subsequent editions of it in the course of the
sixteenth century. The next version was that of Giovanni Fabrini, which,
as we learn by the title, is rendered word for word from the original; it
was printed at Venice, 1548. A third prose translation, published at Rome,
1612, is dedicated to the Cardinal Borghese by the printer Zanetti, who
mentions, that it was the work of an unknown author, which had fallen
accidentally into his hands: Fontanini, however, and Apost. Zeno, have
long since discovered, that the author was called Cristoforo Rosario.
Crescimbeni speaks favourably of a version by the Marchioness of
Malespini. Another lady, Luisa Bergalli, had translated in _verso
sciolto_, and printed separately, some of the plays of Terence: These she
collected, and, having completed the remainder, published them together at
Venice, in 1733. In 1736, a splendid edition of a poetical translation of
Terence, and accompanied by the Latin, was printed at Urbino, with figures
of the actors, taken from a MS. preserved in the Vatican. It is written in
_verso sciolto_, except the prologues, which are in _versi sdruccioli_.
The author, who was Nicholas Fortiguerra, and who died before his version
was printed, says, that the comedies are _nunc primum Italicis versibus
redditæ_(600); but in this he had not been sufficiently informed, as his
version was preceded by that of Luisa Bergalli, and by many separate
translations of each individual play. A translation of two of Terence’s
plays, the _Andria_ and _Eunuchus_, into _versi sdruccioli_, by Giustiano
de Candia, was printed by Paullus Manutius in 1544(601). Three of
Terence’s plays, the _Andria_, _Eunuchus_, and _Heautontimorumenos_, were
subsequently translated in _versi sdruccioli_, by the Abbé Bellaviti, and
published at Bassan in 1758.

It is not certain who was the author of the first _French_ translation of
Terence, or even at what period he existed. Du Verdier and Fabricius say,
he was Octavien de Saint Gelais, Bishop of Angouleme, who lived in the
reign of Charles VIII. This, however, is doubtful, since Pierre Grosnet, a
French poet, contemporary with the Bishop, while mentioning the other
classics which he had translated, says nothing of any version of Terence
by him, but expressly mentions one by Gilles Cybile—

  “Maistre Gilles nommé Cybile,
  Il s’est montré très-fort habile:
  Car il a tout traduit Therence
  Ou il y a mainte sentence(602).”

The author, whoever he may be, mentions, that the translation was made by
order of the King; but he does not specify by which of the French monarchs
the command was given. His work was first printed, but without date, by
Anthony Verard, so well known as the printer of some of the earliest
romances of chivalry; and as Verard died in 1520, it must have been
printed before that date(603). It is in one volume folio, ornamented with
figures in wood-cuts, and is entitled, _Le Grant Therence en François,
tant en rime qu’en prose, avecques le Latin_. As this title imports, there
is both a prose and verse translation; and the Latin text is likewise
given. It is difficult to say which of the translations is worst; that in
verse, which is in lines of eight syllables, is sometimes almost
unintelligible, and the variation of masculine and feminine rhymes, is
scarcely ever attended to.

The translation, printed 1583, with the Latin text, and of which the
author is likewise unknown, is little superior to that by which it was
preceded. Beauchamp, in his _Recherches sur les Théatres de France_,
mentions two other translations of the sixteenth century—one in 1566, the
other in 1584. The first by Jean Bourlier, is in prose—the second is in
rhyme, and is translated verse for verse. Mad. Dacier includes all the
versions of the sixteenth century in one general censure, only excepting
that of the _Eunuch_ by Baif, printed 1573, in his _jeux poëtiques_. It is
in lines of eight and ten syllables, and was undertaken by order of Queen
Catharine, mother of Charles IX. Mad. Dacier pronounces it to be a good
translation, except that, in about twenty passages, the sense of the
original author has been mistaken. It is remarked by Goujet, in his
_Bibliothéque Françoise_, that if Mad. Dacier had been acquainted with the
_Andrian_, by Bonaventure des Perriers, printed in 1537, she would have
made an exception in favour of it also. Bonaventure was the valet of
Margaret, Queen of Navarre, and after her death the editor of her tales,
and himself the author of a collection in a similar taste. He wrote at a
time when the French language was at its highest perfection, being
purified from the coarseness which appeared in the romances of chivalry,
and yet retaining that energy and simplicity, which it in a great measure
lost, soon after the accession of the Bourbons. This version was one of
Bonaventure’s first productions, as, in the _Avis aux Lecteurs_, he says,
“Que c’etait son apprentissage:” he intended to have translated the whole
plays of Terence, but was prevented by his tragical death. The same comedy
chosen by Bonaventure des Perriers, was translated into prose by Charles
Stephens, brother of the celebrated printers.

The Abbé Marolles has succeeded no better in his translation of Terence,
than in that of Plautus. We recognize in it the same heaviness—the same
want of elegance and fidelity to the original. Chapelain remarks, “Que ce
traducteur etoit l’Antipode du bon sens, et qu’il s’eloignoit partout de
l’intelligence des auteurs qui avoient le malheur de passer par ses
mains.” His translation appeared in 1659, in two volumes 8vo, accompanied
by remarks, in the same taste as those with which he had loaded his

About this period, the Gentlemen of the Port-Royal, in France, paid
considerable attention to the education of youth, and to the cultivation
of classical learning. M. de Sacy, a distinguished member of that
religious association, and well known in his day as the author of the
_Heures de Port-Royal_, translated into prose the _Andria_, _Adelphi_, and
_Phormio_(604). This version, which he printed in 1647, under the assumed
name of M. de Saint-Aubin, is much praised in the _Parnasse Reformé_, and
the _Jugemens des Sçavans_. There were many subsequent editions of it, and
some even after the appearance of the translation by Mad. Dacier. The
version of the other three comedies, by the Sieur de Martignac, was
intended, and announced as a supplement, or continuation of the work of M.
de Sacy.

It still remains for me to mention the translation of Terence by Mad.
Dacier. This lady was advised against the undertaking by her friends, but
she was determined to persevere(605). She rose at five o’clock every
morning, during a whole winter, in the course of which she completed four
comedies; but having perused them at the end of some months, she thought
them too much laboured and deficient in ease. She therefore threw them
into the fire, and, with more moderation, recommenced her labour, which
she at length completed, with satisfaction to herself and the public. Her
translation was printed in 1688, 3 vols. 12mo, accompanied with the Latin
text, a preface, a life of the poet, and remarks on each of his pieces.
She has not entered, as in her translations of Plautus, into a particular
examination of every scene, but has contented herself with some general
observations. This lady has also made considerable changes as to the
commencement and termination of the scenes and acts; and her conjectures
on these points are said to have been afterwards confirmed by an
authoritative and excellent MS., discovered in the _Bibliothéque de
Roi_(606). The first edition was improved on, in one subsequently printed
at Rotterdam in 1717, which was also ornamented with figures from two MSS.
There is yet a more recent translation by Le Monnier, 1771, which is now
accounted the best.

The first translation which appeared in this country, and which is
entitled “Terence in Englysh,” is without date, but is supposed to have
been printed in 1520. It was followed by Bernard’s translation,
1598—Hoole’s, 1670—Echard’s, 1694—and Dr Patrick’s, 1745. All those prose
versions are flat and obsolete, and in many places unfaithful to their
original. At length Colman published a translation in familiar blank
verse, in which he has succeeded extremely well. He has seldom mistaken
the sense of his author, and has frequently attained to his polished ease
of style and manner. The notes, which have been judiciously selected from
former commentators, with some observations of his own, form a valuable
part of the work.


F. Douza was the first who collected the fragments of this satiric poet,
and formed them into a _cento_. Having shewn his MS. and notes to Joseph
Scaliger, he was encouraged to print them, and an edition accordingly came
forth at Leyden, in 1597. It soon, however, became very scarce. A single
copy of it was accidentally discovered by Vulpius, in one of the principal
public libraries of Italy; but, owing to the place which it had occupied,
it had been so destroyed by constant eaves-dropping from the roof of the
house, that when he laid his hands on it, it was scarcely legible. Having
restored, however, and amended the text as far as possible, he reprinted
it at Padua in 1735.


The work of Lucretius, like the Æneid of Virgil, had not received the
finishing hand of its author, at the period of his death. The tradition
that Cicero revised it, and gave it to the public, does not rest on any
authority more ancient than that of Eusebius; and, had the story been
true, it would probably have been mentioned in some part of Cicero’s
voluminous writings, or those of the early critics. Eichstädt(607), while
he denies the revisal by Cicero, is of opinion that it had been corrected
by some critic or grammarian; and that thus two MSS., differing in many
respects from each other, had descended to posterity—the one as it came
from the hand of the poet, and the other as amended by the reviser. This
he attempts to prove from the great inequality of the language—now
obsolete and rugged—now polished and refined—which difference can only, he
thinks, be accounted for, from the original and corrected copies having
been mixed together in some of those middle-age transcriptions, on which
the first printed editions were formed. The old grammarians, too, he
alleges, frequently quote verses of Lucretius, which no longer compose
parts of his poem, and which therefore must have been altogether omitted
by the corrector; and, finally, the readings in the different MSS. are so
widely different, that it is incredible that the variations could have
proceeded from the transcribers or interpolators, and could have been
occasioned only by the author or reviser of the poem.

But though not completely polished by the author, there is no ground for
the conjecture, that the poem ever consisted of more than the present six
books—an opinion which seems to have originated in an orthographical
error, and which is contradictory to the very words of the poet

The work of Lucretius does not appear to have been popular at Rome, and
the MSS. of it were probably not very numerous in the latter ages of the
empire. It is quoted by Raban Maur, Abbot of Fulda, in his book _De
Universo_(609), which was written in the ninth century. The copies of it,
however, seem to have totally disappeared, previous to the revival of
literature; but at length Poggio Bracciolini, while attending the Council
of Constance, whither he repaired in 1414, discovered a MS. in the
monastery of St Gal, about twenty miles from that city(610). It is from
the following lines, in a Latin elegy, by Cristoforo Landini, on the death
of this celebrated ornament of his age, that we learn to whom we are
indebted for the first of philosophic poems. Landini, recording the
discoveries of his friend, exclaims—

  “Illius manu, nobis, doctissime rhetor,
    Integer in Latium, Quintiliane, redis;
  Et te, Lucreti, longo post tempore, tandem
    Civibus et Patriæ reddit habere tuæ.”

Poggio sent the newly-discovered treasure to Niccolo Niccoli, who kept the
original MS. fourteen years. Poggio earnestly demanded it back, and at
length obtained it; but before it was restored, Niccoli made from it, with
his own hand, a transcript, which is still extant in the Laurentian

The edition published at Verona, 1486, which is not a very correct one,
was long accounted the _Editio Princeps_ of Lucretius. A more ancient
impression, however, printed at Brescia, 1473, has recently become known
to bibliographers. It was edited by Ferrandus from a single MS. copy,
which was the only one he could procure. But though he had not the
advantage of collating different MSS., the edition is still considered
valuable, for its accuracy and excellent readings. There are, I believe,
only three copies of it now extant, two of which are at present in
England. The text of Lucretius was much corrupted in the subsequent
editions of the fifteenth century, and even in that of Aldus, published at
Venice in 1500, of which Avancius was the editor, and which was the first
_Latin_ classic printed by Aldus(612). This was partly occasioned by the
second edition of 1486 being unfortunately chosen as the basis of all of
them, instead of the prior and preferable edition, printed at Brescia. In
a few, but very few readings, the second edition has improved on the
first, as, for example, in the beautiful description of the helplessness
of a new-born infant—

  “Navita, nudus humi jacet infans, _indigus_ omni
  Vitali auxilio,” ——

where the Brescian edition reads _indignus_, instead of _indigus_. And
again, in the fifth book—

  “Nec poterat quenquam placidi pellacia ponti,
  Subdola _pellicere_ in fraudem, ridentibus undis,”

where the Brescian edition reads _pollicere_, instead of _pellicere_,
which seems to be wrong. At length Baptista Pius, by aid of some
emendations of his preceptor, Philippus Beroaldus, to which he had access,
and by a laborious collation of MSS., succeeded in a great measure in
restoring the depraved text of his author to its original purity. His
edition, printed at Bologna in 1511, and the two Aldine editions,
published in 1515, under the superintendence of Nevagero, who was a much
better editor than Avancius, continued to be regarded as those of highest
authority till 1563, when Lambinus printed at Paris an edition, prepared
from the collation of five original MSS., and all the previous editions of
any note, except the first and second, which seem to have been unknown to
him. The text, as he boasts in the preface, was corrected in 800 different
places, and was accompanied by a very ample commentary. Lambinus was
succeeded by Gifanius, who was more a grammarian than an acute or tasteful
critic. He amassed together, without discrimination, the notes and
conjectures on Lucretius, of all the scholars of his own and the preceding
age. Douza, in a sot of satirical verses, accused him of having
appropriated and published in his edition, without acknowledgment, some
writings of L. Fruterius, which had been committed to him on death-bed, in
order to be printed. His chief merit lies in what relates to grammatical
interpretation, and the explanation of ancient customs, and in a more
ample collection of parallel passages than had hitherto been made. The
editions of D. Pareus, (Frankfort, 1631,) and of Nardius, (Florence,
1647,) were not better than that of Gifanius; and the Delphin edition of
Lucretius, by M. Le Fay, has long been known as the very worst of the
class to which it belongs. “Notæ ejus,” says Fabricius, “plenæ sunt
pudendis hallucinationibus.” Indeed, so much ashamed of it were his
colleagues, and those who directed this great undertaking of the Delphin
classics, that they attempted, though unsuccessfully, to suppress it.

Nearly a century and a half had elapsed, from the first publication of the
edition of Lambinus, without a tolerable new impression of Lucretius being
offered to the public, when Creech, better known as the translator of
Lucretius, printed, in 1695, a Latin edition of the poet, to whose
elucidation he had devoted his life. His study of the Epicurean system,
and intimate acquaintance with the works of Gassendi, fully qualified him
for the philosophic illustration of his favourite author. On the whole,
however, Havercamp’s edition, Leyden, 1725, is the best which has yet
appeared of Lucretius. It was prepared from the collation of twenty-five
MSS., as well as of the most ancient editions, and contained not only the
whole annotations of Creech and Lambinus, but also some notes of Isaac
Vossius, which had not previously been printed. The prefaces of the most
important editions are prefixed; and the only fault which has been found
with it is, that in his new readings the editor has sometimes injured the
harmony of the versification. Lucretius certainly can not be considered as
one of the classics who have been most fortunate in their editors and
commentators. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, he failed to
obtain the care of the most pre-eminent critics of the age, and was thus
left to the conjectures of second-rate scholars. It was his lot to be
assigned to the most ignorant and barbarous of the Delphin editors; and
his catastrophe has been completed by falling into the hands of Wakefield,
whose edition is one of the most injudicious and tasteless that ever
issued from the press. In preparing this work, which is dedicated to Mr
Fox, the editor had the use of several MSS. in the University of Cambridge
and the British Museum; and also some MS. notes of Bentley, found in a
copy of a printed edition, which originally belonged to Dr Mead. In his
preface, he expresses himself with much asperity against Mr Cumberland,
for withholding from him some other MS. notes of Bentley, which were in
his possession. It would have been fortunate for him if he had never seen
any of Bentley’s annotations, since many of his worst readings are derived
from that source. By an assiduous perusal of MSS. and the old editions, he
has restored as much of the ancient Latin orthography, as renders the
perusal of the poet irksome, though, by his own confession, he has not in
this been uniform and consistent; and he has most laboriously amassed,
particularly from Virgil, a multitude of supposed parallel passages, many
of which have little resemblance to the lines with which they are
compared. The long Latin poem, addressed to Fox, lamenting the horrors of
war, does not compensate for the very brief and unsatisfactory notices, as
to every thing that regards the life and writings of the poet, and the
previous editions of his works. The commentary is dull, beyond the
proverbial dulness of commentaries; and wherever there was a disputed or
doubtful reading, that one is generally selected, which is most tame and
unmeaning—most grating to the ear, and most foreign, both to the spirit of
the poet, and of poetry in general. I shall just select one instance from
each book, as an example of the manner in which the finest lines have been
utterly destroyed by the alteration of a single word, or even letter, and
I shall choose such passages as are familiar to every one. In his
magnificent eulogy of Epicurus, in the first book, Lucretius, in
admiration of the enlightened boldness of that philosopher, described him
as one—

  “Quem neque fama Deûm, nec fulmina, nec minitanti
  Murmure compressit cœlum.”

The expression _Fama Deûm_ implies, that Epicurus could not be restrained
by that imposing character, with which deep-rooted prejudice, and the
authority of fable, had invested the gods of Olympus—a thought highly
poetical, and at the same time panegyrical of the mighty mind which had
disregarded all this superstitious renown. But Wakefield, by the
alteration of a single letter, strips the passage both of its sense and
poetry—he reads,

  “Quem neque _fana_ Deûm, nec fulmina, nec minitanti,”

which imports that the determined mind of Epicurus could not be controlled
by the temples of the gods, which, if it has any meaning at all, is one
most frigid and puerile. This innovation, which the editor calls, in the
note, _egregiam emendationem_, is not supported, as far as he informs us,
by the authority of any ancient MS. or edition whatever, but it was so
written on the margin of the copy of Lucretius, which had belonged to
Bentley, where it was placed, as Wakefield admits, _nude ascripta et
indefensa_. In the second book, Lucretius maintaining that absence of
splendour is no diminution of happiness, says,

  “Si non aurea sunt juvenum simulacra per ædes, &c.
    * * * * *
  Nec citharæ reboant laqueata aurataque _tecta_.”

But Wakefield, instead of _tecta_, reads _templa_, and justifies his
reading, not on the authority of any ancient MSS., but by showing that
_templa_ is used for _tecta_ by some authors, and applied to private
dwellings! The third book commences very spiritedly with an eulogy of

  “E tenebris tantis tam clarum extollere lumen
  Qui primus potuisti, illustrans commoda vitæ,
  Te sequor, O Graiæ gentis decus!”

This sudden and beautiful apostrophe is weakened and destroyed by a change

  “O tenebris tantis tam clarum extollere lumen.”

The lines are rendered worse by the interjection being thus twice repeated
in the course of three verses. In the fourth book, Lucretius, alluding to
the merits of his own work, says,

  “Deinde, quod obscurâ de re tam lucida _pango_
  Carmina, Musæo contingens cuncta lepore.”

Here the word _pango_ presents us with the image of the poet at his lyre,
pouring forth his mellifluous verses, and it has besides, in its sound,
something of the twang of a musical instrument. Wakefield, however, has
changed the word into _pando_, which reminds us only of transcription and
publication. Lucretius, in book fifth, assigns as the reason why mankind
supposed that the abode of the gods was in heaven,

  “Per cœlum volvi quia nox et luna videtur,
  Luna, dies, et nox, et noctis signa _serena_!”

This last word Wakefield has changed into _severa_, which greatly impairs
the beauty of the line. _Noctis signa serena_, are the stars and planets;
but if instead of these be substituted the _signa severa_, the passage
becomes tautological, for the _signa severa_ are introduced immediately
afterwards in the line

  “Noctivagæque faces cœli flammæque volantes.”

I have only selected passages where Wakefield has departed from the usual
readings, without support from any ancient edition or authoritative MS.
whatever. The instances where, in a variation of the MSS. and editions, he
has chosen the worse reading, are innumerable.

The first edition of Wakefield’s Lucretius was printed at London in 1796;
the second at Glasgow, 1813, which is rendered more valuable than the
first, by a running collation in the last volume of the readings of the
_Editio Princeps_, printed at Brescia; that of Verona, 1486—Venice
1495—the Aldine edition, 1500—and the Bipontine, 1782, which places in a
very striking point of view the superiority of the _Editio Princeps_ over
those by which it was immediately succeeded. At the end of this edition,
there are published some MS. notes and emendations, taken from Bentley’s
own copy of Faber’s edition of Lucretius, in the library of the British
Museum. They are not of much consequence, and though a few of them are
doubtless improvements on Faber’s text, yet, taken as a whole, they would
injure the lines of the poet, should they be unfortunately adopted in
subsequent editions.

Eichstädt, in his recent impression, published at Leipsic, has chiefly
followed the text of Wakefield, but has occasionally deviated from it when
he thought the innovations too bold. He had the advantage of consulting
the _Editio Princeps_, which no modern editor enjoyed. He has prefixed
Wakefield’s prefaces, and a long dissertation of his own, on the Life and
Poetical Writings of Lucretius, in which he scarcely does justice to the
poetical genius of his author. The first volume, containing the text and a
very copious verbal index, was printed at Leipsic in 1801. It is intended
that the second volume should comprise the commentary, but it has not yet
been published.

There is hardly any poet more difficult to translate happily than
Lucretius. In the abstruse and jejune philosophical discussions which
occupy so large a proportion of the poem, it is hardly possible, without a
sacrifice of perspicuity, to retain the harmony of versification; and, in
the ornamental passages, the diction is so simple, pure, and melodious,
that it is an enterprize of no small difficulty to translate with fidelity
and elegance.

In consequence, perhaps, of the freedom of his philosophical, and a
misrepresentation of his moral tenets, Lucretius was longer of being
rendered into the _Italian_ language than almost any other classic. It was
near the end of the seventeenth century, before any version was executed,
when a translation into _verso sciolto_, was undertaken by Marchetti,
Professor of Mathematics and Philosophy in the University of Pisa.
Marchetti has evidently translated from the edition of Lambinus—the best
which had at that time appeared. His version, however, though completed in
the seventeenth century, was not published till 1717, three years after
his death, when it was printed, with the date of London, under the care of
a person styling himself Antinoo Rullo, with a prefatory dedication to the
great Prince Eugene, in which the editor terms it, “la più grande, e la
più bella poetic’ opera che nel passato secolo nascesse ad accrescere un
nuovo lume di gloria ad Italia.” Public opinion, both in Italy and other
countries, has confirmed that of the editor, and it is universally
admitted, that the translator has succeeded in faithfully preserving the
spirit and meaning of the Latin original, without forfeiting any of the
beauties of the Italian language. It has been said, that such was the
freedom and freshness of this performance, that unless previously informed
as to the fact, no one could distinguish whether the Latin or Italian
Lucretius was the original. Graziana, himself a celebrated poet, who had
perused it in MS., thus justly characterizes its merits, in a letter
addressed to the author:—“you have translated this poem with great
felicity and ease; unfolding its sublime and scientific materials in a
delicate style and elegant manner; and, what is still more to be admired,
your diction seldom runs into a lengthened paraphrase, and never without
the greatest judgment.” The perusal of this admirable translation was
forbidden by the inquisition, but the prohibition did not prevent a
subsequent impression of it from being printed at Lausanne, in 1761. This
edition, which is in two volumes, contains an Italian translation of
Polignac’s Anti-Lucretius, by F. Maria Ricci. The editor, Deregni, indeed
declares that he would not have ventured to publish any translation of
Lucretius, however excellent, unless accompanied by this powerful
antidote. There are prefixed to this edition historical and critical
notices; as also the preface, and the _Protesta del Traduttore_, which had
been inserted in the first edition.

Most of the _French_ translations of Lucretius are in prose. Of all sorts
of poetry, that called didactic, which consists in the detail of a regular
system, or in rational precepts, which flow from each other in a connected
train of thought, suffers least by being transfused into prose. Almost
every didactic poet, however, enriches his work with such ornaments as
spring out of his subject, though not strictly attached to it; but in no
didactic poem are these passages so numerous and so charming as in that of
Lucretius; and, accordingly, in a prose translation, while all that is
systematic or preceptive may be rendered with propriety, all that belongs
to embellishment, and which forms the principal grace of the original,
appears impertinent and misplaced. The earliest translation of Lucretius
into the French language, was by Guillaume des Autels, about the middle of
the sixteenth century. The Abbé Morolles, already mentioned as the
translator of Plautus and Terence, turned Lucretius into French prose: Of
this version there were two editions, the first of which was printed in
1650. It was addressed to Christina, Queen of Sweden; and, as the author
had been very liberal to this princess in compliment, he hoped she would
be equally liberal in reward; but he was much deceived, and of this
disappointment he bitterly complains in his Memoirs. Of this translation,
Goujet remarks, that one is constantly obliged to have recourse to the
Latin text, in order to comprehend its meaning(613). It was a good deal
amended, however, in the second edition, 1659, under circumstances of
which the author introduces an account in the list of his works subjoined
to his translation of Virgil. Gassendi, who had profoundly studied the
system of Epicurus and Lucretius, having procured a copy of Marolles’
first edition, he sent a few days before his death for the author, and
pointed out to him, with his own hand, those passages in which he thought
his translation defective, and also supplied him with a number of notes in
illustration of the poet. The Abbé was thus provided with ample materials
for the improvement of his work, and so pleased was he with his second
edition, that he got a prohibition against reprinting the first introduced
into the _Privilége_ of the second. He inserted in it a _Discours
Apologetique_, defending the translating and reading of Lucretius, and
prefixed a dedication to M. Lamoignon, President of the Parliament, whom
he now substituted for Queen Christina. Moliere having seen the first
edition of Marolles’ prose translation, was thereby induced to render
Lucretius into French verse. His original intention was to have versified
the whole poem, but he afterwards confined his rhymes to the more
decorative parts, and delivered the rest in plain prose. As he proceeded
with his version, he uniformly rehearsed it both to Chapelle and Rohaut,
who jointly testified their approbation of the performance. But it was
destined to perish when brought very near its completion. A valet of the
translator, who had charge of his dress-wig, being in want of paper to put
it into curl, laid hold of a loose sheet of the version, which was
immediately rent to pieces, and thrown into the fire as soon as it had
performed its office. Moliere was one of the most irritable of the _genus
irritabile vatum_, and the accident was too provoking to be endured. He
resolved never to translate another line, and threw the whole remainder of
his version into the flames, which had thus consumed a part of it(614).
This abortive attempt of Moliere incited the Abbé Marolles to render the
whole of Lucretius into verse. He completed this task in less than four
months, and published the fruits of his labour in 1677. Rapidity of
execution, however, is the only merit of which he has to boast. His
translation is harsh, flat, and inverted; and it is also very diffuse: The
poem of Lucretius consists of 7389 lines, and the version of not less than

Lucretius was subsequently translated into prose by the Baron des
Coutures. His version, printed at Paris 1685, is somewhat better in point
of style than those of Marolles, but is not more faithful to the original,
being extremely paraphrastic. A Life of Lucretius, drawn up from the
materials furnished by Hubert, Gifanius, Lambinus, and other commentators,
is prefixed, and to every book is appended a small body of notes, which
shew that the author was better acquainted with his subject than Marolles.
Still, however, the poem of Lucretius was not much known in France during
the seventeenth century, either in the original or translated form.
Chaulieu, one of the most elegant and polished poets of that age, was so
little acquainted with the moral lessons which it inculcated, as to write
the following lines:—

  —— “Epicure et Lucrece
  M’ont appris que la Sagesse
  Veut qu’au sortir d’un repas,
  Ou des bras de sa maîtresse,
  Content l’on aille là bas.”

At length La Grange translated Lucretius in 1768, and Le Blanc de Guillet
in 1788. Brunet speaks highly of the version of La Grange, which he seems
to think is the best in the French language, and he says that of Le Blanc
de Guillet is _peu recherché_. Mr Good, in mentioning the various
translations of Lucretius, does not allude to the production of La Grange,
but speaks highly of the version of Le Blanc de Guillet. He is sometimes,
he admits, incorrect, and still more frequently obscure: “On the whole,
however,” he continues, “it is a work of great merit, and ranks second
amid the translations of Lucretius, which have yet appeared in any
nation:” Of course, it ranges immediately next to that of Marchetti. This
version is accompanied with the Latin text in alternate pages. It is
decorated with plates, illustrated by notes, and introduced by a
comprehensive preliminary discourse, which contains a biography of the
original author, drawn up from Gifanius and Creech, and also some general
observations on the Epicurean philosophy.

The first attempt to transfer the poem of Lucretius into the _English_
language, was made by Evelyn, the celebrated author of the _Sylva_. It was
one of his earliest productions, having been printed in 1656. It was
accompanied by an appendix of notes, which show considerable acquaintance
with his subject, and there are prefixed to it complimentary letters or
verses by Waller, Fanshaw, Sir Richard Brown, and Christopher Wasse.
Evelyn commenced his arduous task with great enthusiasm, a due admiration
of his original, and anxious desire to do it full justice. On actual
trial, however, he became conscious of his own inability to produce, as he
expresses it, “any traduction to equal the elegancy of the original;” and
he accordingly closed his labours with the first book. To this resolution,
the negligent manner in which his specimen of the translation was printed,
contributed, as he alleges, in no small degree. Prefixed to the copy in
the library at Wotton, is this note in his own handwriting: “Never was
book so abominably misused by the printer; never copy so negligently
surveyed, by one who undertook to look over the proof-sheets with all
exactness and care, namely, Dr Triplet, well known for his ability, and
who pretended to oblige me in my absence, and so readily offered himself.
This good I received by it, that publishing it vainly, its ill success at
the printer’s discouraged me with troubling the world with the rest(616).”
This pretended disgust, however, at the typography of his Lucretius, was
probably a pretext. It is more likely that he was deterred from the
farther execution of his version, either by its want of success, or by the
hints which he received from some of his friends concerning the moral and
religious danger of his undertaking. “For your Lucretius,” says Jeremy
Taylor, in a letter to him, dated 16th April, 1656, “I perceive you have
suffered the importunity of your too kind friends to prevail with you. I
will not say to you that your Lucretius is as far distant from the
severity of a Christian as the fair Ethiopian was from the duty of Bishop
Heliodorus; for indeed it is nothing but what may become the labours of a
Christian gentleman, those things only abated which our evil age needs
not: for which also I hope you either have by notes, or will by preface,
prepare a sufficient antidote; but since you are engaged in it, do not
neglect to adorn it, and take what care of it it can require or need; for
that neglect will be a reproof of your own act, and look as if you did it
with an unsatisfied mind; and then you may make that to be wholly a sin,
from which, only by prudence and charity, you could before be advised to
abstain. But, sir, if you will give me leave, I will impose such a penance
upon you, for your publication of Lucretius, as shall neither displease
God nor you; and since you are busy in these things which may minister
directly to learning, and indirectly to error, or the confidences of men,
who, of themselves, are apt enough to hide their vices in irreligion, I
know you will be willing, and will suffer to be entreated, to employ the
same pen in the glorification of God, and the ministries of eucharist and

In 1682, Creech, who was deterred by no such religious scruples, published
his translation of the whole poem of Lucretius. As a scholar, he was
eminently qualified for the arduous undertaking in which he had engaged:
but he wrote with such haste, that his production everywhere betrays the
inaccuracies of an author who acquiesces in the first suggestions of his
mind, and who is more desirous of finishing, than ambitious of finishing
well. Besides, he is at all times rather anxious to communicate the simple
meaning of his original, than to exhibit any portion of the ornamental
garb in which it is arrayed. Hence, though generally faithful to his
author, he is almost everywhere deficient in one of the most striking
characteristics of the Roman poet—grandeur and felicity of expression. He
is often tame, prosaic, and even doggerel; and he sometimes discovers the
conceits of a vitiated taste, in the most direct opposition to the simple
character and majestic genius of his Roman original. Pope said, “that
Creech had greatly hurt his translation of Lucretius, by imitating Cowley,
and bringing in turns even into some of the most grand parts(618).” It is
also remarked by Dr Drake, “that in this version the couplet has led in
almost every page to the most ridiculous redundancies. A want of taste,
however, in the selection of language, is as conspicuous in Creech as a
deficiency of skill and address in the management of his
versification(619).” The ample notes with which the translation is
accompanied, are chiefly extracted from the works of Gassendi. A number of
commendatory poems are prefixed, and among others one from Evelyn, in
which he acknowledges, that Creech had succeeded in the glorious
enterprize in which he himself had failed. Dryden was also much pleased
with Creech’s translation, but this did not hinder him from versifying
some of the higher and more ornamental passages, to which Creech had
hardly done justice, as those at the beginning of the first and second
books, the concluding part of the third book, against the fear of death,
and of the fourth concerning the nature of love. On these fine passages
Dryden bestowed the ease, the vigour, and harmony of his muse; but though
executed with his accustomed spirit, his translations want the majestic
solemn colouring of Lucretius, and are somewhat licentious and
paraphrastic. For this, however, he accounts in his Poetical Miscellanies,
in mentioning his translations in comparison with the version of Creech.
“The ways of our translation,” he observes, “are very different—he follows
Lucretius more closely than I have done, which became an interpreter to
the whole poem, I take more liberty, because it best suited with my
design, which was to make him as pleasing as I could. He had been too
voluminous had he used my method in so long a work, and I had certainly
taken his, had I made it my business to translate the whole.”

The translations by Creech and Dryden are both in rhyme. That of Mr Good,
printed in 1805, is in blank verse, and it may well be doubted if this
preference was conducive to the successful execution of his purpose. The
translation is accompanied with the original text of Lucretius, printed
from Wakefield’s edition, and very full notes are subjoined, containing
passages exhibiting imitations of Lucretius by succeeding poets. The
preface includes notices of preceding editions of his author, and the
explanation of his own plan. Then follow a Life of Lucretius, and an
Appendix to the Life, comprehending an analysis and defence of the system
of Epicurus, with a comparative sketch of most other philosophical
theories, both ancient and modern.

The translation of Mr Good was succeeded, in 1813, by that of Dr Busby,
which is in rhyme, and is introduced by enormous _prolegomena_ on the Life
and Genius of Lucretius, and the Philosophy and Morals of his Poem.


The MSS. of Catullus were defaced and imperfect, as far back as the time
of Aulus Gellius(620), who lived in the reigns of Adrian and the
Antonines; and there were _variæ lectiones_ in his age, as well as in the
fifteenth century. There was a MS. of Catullus extant at Verona in the
tenth century which was perused by the Bishop Raterius, who came from
beyond the Alps, and who refers to it in his Discourses as a work he had
never seen till his arrival at Verona. Another was possessed in the
fourteenth century by Pastrengo, a Veronese gentleman, and a friend of
Petrarch(621), who quotes it twice in his work _De Originibus_; but these
and all other MSS. had entirely disappeared amid the confusions with which
Italy was at that time agitated, and Catullus may, therefore, be
considered as one of the classics brought to light at the revival of
literature. The MS. containing the poems of Catullus was not found in
Italy, but in one of the monasteries of France or Germany, (Scaliger says
of France,) in the course of the fifteenth century, and according to
Maffei, in 1425(622). All that we know concerning its discovery is
contained in a barbarous Latin epigram, written by Guarinus of Verona, who
chose to give his information on the subject in an almost unintelligible
riddle. It was prefixed to an edition of Catullus, printed in Italy 1472,
where it is entitled _Hextichum Guarini Veronensis Oratoris Clariss. in
libellum V. Catulli ejus concivis_:

  “Ad Patriam venio longis de finibus exul:
    Causa mei reditûs compatriota fuit.
  Scilicet a calamis tribuit cui Francia nomen,
    Quique notat turbæ prætereuntis iter.
  Quo licet ingenio vestrum celebrate Catullum
    Quovis sub modio clausa papyrus erat.”

The first line explains that the MS. was brought to Italy from beyond the
Alps, and the second that it was discovered by a countryman of Catullus,
that is, by a citizen of Verona. The third line contains the grand
_conundrum_. Some critics have supposed that it points out the name of a
monastery where the MS. was discovered; others, that it designates the
name of the person who found it. Lessing is of this last opinion; and,
according to his interpretation, the line implies, that it was discovered
by some one whose name is the French word for quills or pens, that is,
_plumes_. The name nearest this is Plumatius, on which foundation Lessing
attributes the discovery of Catullus to Bernardinus Plumatius, a great
scholar and physician of Verona, who flourished during the last half of
the fifteenth century(623). This conjecture of Lessing was better founded
than he himself seems to have been aware, as the second syllable in the
name Plumatius is not remote from the French verb _hater_, which, in one
sense, as the epigram expresses it—

  “Notat turbæ prætereuntis iter.”

Lucius Pignorius, who thinks that these lines were not written by Guarinus
of Verona, but that the MS. was discovered by him, also conjectures that
it was found in a barn, since it is said in the last line, that it was
concealed _sub modio_, and bushels are nowhere but in barns(624). This is
taking the line in its most literal signification, but the expression
probably was meant only as proverbial.

The wretched situation in which this MS. was found, and the circumstance
of its being the only one of any antiquity extant, sufficiently accounts
for the numerous and evident corruptions of the text of Catullus, and for
the editions of that poet presenting a greater number of various and
contradictory readings than those of almost any other classic.

After this MS. was brought to Italy, it fell into the hands of Guarinus of
Verona, who took much pains in correcting it, and it was further amended
by his son Baptista Guarinus, as a third person of the family, Alexander
Guarinus, informs us, in the _proœmium_ to his edition of Catullus, 1521,
addressed to Alphonso, third Duke of Ferrara. Baptista Guarinus, as
Alexander farther mentions in his _proœmium_, published an edition of
Catullus from the MS. which he had taken so much pains to correct, but
without any commentary. This edition, however, has now entirely
disappeared; and that of 1472, printed by Spira, at Venice, in which
Catullus is united with Tibullus and Propertius, is accounted the _Editio
Princeps_. The different editions in which these poets have appeared
conjoined, will be more conveniently enumerated hereafter: both in them,
and in the impressions of Catullus printed separately, the editors had
departed widely from the corrected text of Baptista Guarinus. Accordingly,
Alexander Guarinus, in 1521, printed an edition of Catullus, with the view
of restoring the genuine readings of his father and grandfather, who had
wrought on the ancient MS. which was the prototype of all the others. It
would appear, however, that the erroneous readings had become inveterate.
Maffei, in his _Verona Illustrata_(625), points out the absurd and
unauthorized alterations of Vossius and Scaliger on the pure readings of
the Guarini.

Muretus took charge of an edition of Catullus, which was printed by the
younger Aldus Manutius in 1558. This production is not accounted such as
might be expected from the consummate critic and scholar by whom it was
prepared. Isaac Vossius had commented on Catullus; but his annotations lay
concealed for many years after his death, till they were at length brought
to light by his amanuensis Beverland, who, by means of this valuable
acquisition, was enabled to prepare the best edition which had yet
appeared of Catullus, and which was first printed in London in 1684. His
commentary was on every point profoundly learned.—“Poetam,” says Harles,
“commentario eruditissimo, ita tamen ut inverecundiâ illi interdum haud
cederet, illustravit.” Vulpius published a yet better edition at Padua, in
1737, in the preparation of which he made great use of the _Editio
Princeps_. In the notes, he has introduced a new and most agreeable
species of commentary,—illustrating his author by parallel passages from
the ancient and modern poets, particularly the Italian; not such parallel
passages as Wakefield has amassed, where the words _qui_ or _atque_ occur
in both, but where there is an obvious imitation or resemblance in the
thought or image. He has also prefixed a diatribe _De Metris Catullianis_.
In the year 1738, a curious fraud was practised with regard to Catullus.
Carradini de Allio, a scholar of some note, published at Venice an
edition, which he pretended to have printed from an ancient MS.
accidentally discovered by him in a pottery, without a cover or
title-page, and all besmeared with filth. It was dedicated to the Elector
of Bavaria; and though one of the most impudent cheats of the sort that
had been practised since the time of Sigonius and Annius Viterbiensis, it
imposed on many learned men. The credit it obtained, introduced new
disorders into the text of Catullus; and when the fraud was at length
detected, the contriver of it only laughed at the temporary success of his

Doering, in early life, had printed an edition of the principal poem of
Catullus, the _Epithalamium of Peleus and Thetis_. Encouraged by the
success of this publication, he subsequently prepared a complete edition
of Catullus, which came forth at Leipsic in 1788.

The _Epithalamium of Peleus and Thetis_, the chief production of Catullus,
was translated into _Italian_ by Ludovico Dolce, and printed in 1538, at
the end of a small volume of miscellaneous works dedicated to Titian. In
the colophon it is said, “Il fine dell’ epitalamio tradotto per M. Lod.
Dolce, in verso sciolto.” This Epithalamium was also translated in the
eighteenth century, into _Ottava Rima_, by Parisotti, with a long preface,
in which he maintains that the _ottava_, or _terza rima_, is better
adapted for the translation of the Latin classics than _versi sciolti_.
Ginguené, in the preface to his French translation of this Epithalamium,
mentions three other Italian versions of the last century, those of
Neruci, Torelli, and the Count d’Ayano, all of which, he says, possess
considerable merit. He also informs us, that Antonio Conti had commenced a
translation of this poem, which was found incomplete at his death; but it
was accompanied by many valuable criticisms and annotations, which have
been much employed in a Memoir inserted in the transactions of the French
Academy, by M. D’Arnaud, whose plagiarisms from the Italian author have
been pointed out at full length by M. Ginguené, in his preface. Conti
completed a translation of the _Coma Berenices_ in _versi sciolti_,
accompanied by an explanation of the subject, and learned notes, which was
printed along with his works at Venice, in 1739. The _Coma Berenices_ was
also translated in _terza rima_ by the Neapolitan Saverio Mattei, and by
Pagnini in _versi sdruccioli_. At length, in 1803, M. Ugo Foscolo, now
well known in this country as the author of the Letters of Jacopo Ortis,
printed at Milan a translation of this elegy, in blank verse, under the
title of _La Chioma di Berenice, poema di Callimaco, tradotto da Valerio
Catullo, volgarizzato ed illustrato da Ugo Foscolo_. The version is
preceded by four dissertations; the text is accompanied with notes, and
followed by fourteen _considerazioni_, as they are called, in which the
author severely censures and satirizes the pedantic commentators and
philologers of his country. Mr Hobhouse, in his _Illustrations of Childe
Harold_(626), says, that the whole lucubration, extending to nearly 300
pages of large octavo, is a grave and continued irony on the verbal
criticisms of commentators. “Some of the learned,” he continues, “fell
into the snare, and Foscolo, who had issued only a few copies, now added a
Farewell to his readers, in which he repays their praises, by exposing the
mysteries and abuses of the philological art. Those whom he had deceived
must have been not a little irritated to find that his frequent citations
were invented for the occasion, and that his commentary had been purposely
sprinkled with many of the grossest faults.”

The whole works of Catullus were first translated into Italian by the
Abbot Francis Maria Biacca of Parma, who concealed his real designation,
according to the affected fashion of the times, under the appellation of
Parmindo Ibichense, _Pastor Arcade_. The Abbot died in 1735, and his
version was printed at Milan after his death, in 1740, in the twenty-first
volume of the General Collection of Italian Translations from the Ancient
Latin Poets. The most recent Italian version is that of Puccini, printed
at Pisa in 1805. It is very deficient in point of spirit; and the last
English translator of Catullus observes, “that it is chiefly remarkable
for the squeamishness with which it omits all warmth in the love verses,
while it unblushingly retains some of the most disgusting passages.”

The _French_ have at all times dealt much in prose translations of the
Classics. These did not suit very well for the epic poems, or even
comedies or the Romans; and were totally abhorrent from the lyrical or
epigrammatic productions of Catullus. A great deal of the beauty of every
poem consists in the melody of its numbers. But there are certain species
of poetry, of which the _chief_ merit lies in the sweetness and harmony of
versification. A boldness of figures, too—a luxuriance of imagery—a
frequent use of metaphors—a quickness of transition—a freedom of
digression, which are allowable in every sort of poetry, are to many
species of it essential. But these are quite unsuitable to the character
of prose, and when seen in a prose translation, they appear preposterous
and out of place, because they are never found in any original prose
composition. Now, the beauties of Catullus are precisely of that nature,
of which it is impossible to convey the smallest idea in a prose
translation. Many of his poems are of a lyric description, in which a
greater degree of irregularity of thought, and a more unrestrained
exuberance of fancy, are permitted than in any other kind of composition.
To attempt, therefore, a translation of a lyric poem into prose, is the
most absurd of all undertakings; for those very characters of the
original, which are essential to it, and which constitute its highest
beauty, if transferred to a prose translation, become unpardonable
blemishes. What could be more ridiculous than a French prose translation
of the wild dithyrambics of Atis, or the fervent and almost phrenzied love
verses to Lesbia? It is from poetry that the elegies of Catullus derive
almost all their tenderness—his amorous verses all their delicacy,
playfulness, or voluptuousness—and his epigrams all their sting.

That indefatigable translator of the Latin poets, the Abbé Marolles, was
the first person who _traduced_ Catullus in French. He was an author, of
all others, the worst qualified to succeed in the task which he had
undertaken, as his heavy and leaden pen was ill adapted to express the
elegant light graces of his original. His prose translation was printed in
1653. It was succeeded, in 1676, by one in verse, also by Marolles, but of
which only thirty copies were thrown off and distributed among the
translator’s friends. La Chapelle (not the author of the _Voyage_)
translated most of the poems of Catullus, and inserted them in his
_Histoire Galante_, entitled the _Amours de Catulle_, printed in 1680,
which relates, in the style of an amatory prose romance, the adventures
and intrigues of Catullus, his friends, and mistresses. The next
translation, though not of the whole of his pieces, is by M. Pezay,
printed 1771, who misses no opportunity of ridiculing Marolles and his
work. It is in prose, as is also a more recent French translation by M.
Noel, Paris, 1806. The first volume of Noel’s work contains the _Discours
Preliminaire_ on the Life, Poetry, Editions, and Translations of Catullus;
and the version itself, which is accompanied with the Latin text. The
second volume comprises a very large body of notes, chiefly exhibiting the
imitations of Catullus by French poets. Brunet mentions a translation
still more recent, by M. Mollevaut, which is in verse, and proves that
more justice may be done to Catullus in rhyme than prose.

An _English_ translation of Catullus, usually ascribed to Dr Nott, was
published anonymously in 1795, accompanied with some valuable annotations.
He was the first to give, as he himself says, the whole of Catullus,
without reserve, and in some way or other, to translate all his
indecencies. This version adheres very closely to the original, and has
the merit of being simple and literal, but it is meagre and inelegant: it
is defective in ease and freedom, and but seldom presents us with any of
those graces of poetry, and indeed almost unattainable felicities of
diction, which characterize the original. While writing this, the poetical
translation by Mr Lamb has come to my hands. It is also furnished with a
long preface and notes, which appear to be tasteful and amusing. The chief
objections to the translation are quite the reverse of those which have
been stated to the version by which it was preceded—it seems defective in
point of fidelity, and is too diffuse and redundant. No author suffers so
much by being diluted as Catullus, and he can only be given with effect by
a brevity as condensed and _piquant_ as his own. Indeed, the thoughts and
language of Catullus throw more difficulties in the way of a translator,
than those of almost any other classic author. His peculiarities of
feeling—his idiomatic delicacies of style—that light ineffable grace—that
elegant ease and spirit, with which he was more richly endued than almost
any other poet, can hardly pass through the hands of a translator without
being in some degree sullied or alloyed.

                         LABERIUS—PUBLIUS SYRUS.

The only fragment of any length or importance which we possess of
Laberius, has been saved by Macrobius, in his _Saturnalia_. The fragments
of Publius Syrus were chiefly preserved by Seneca and Au. Gellius, and the
scattered maxims which they had recorded, were collected in various MSS.
of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. They were first printed
together, under the superintendence of Erasmus, in 1502, as revised and
corrected from a MS. in the University of Cambridge. Fabricius published
some additional maxims, which had not previously been printed, in 1550.
Stephens edited them at the end of his Fragments from the Greek and Latin
Comic Poets, 1564; and Bentley published them along with Terence and the
Fables of Phædrus, at Cambridge, in 1726. An improved edition, which had
been prepared by Gruter, was printed under the superintendence of
Havercamp, from a MS. after his death. The most complete edition, however,
which has yet appeared, is that published by Orellius, at Leipsic, 1822.
It contains 879 maxims, arranged in alphabetical order, from which, at
least as the editor asserts, all those which are spurious have been
rejected, and several that are genuine added. A Greek version of the
maxims, by Jos. Scaliger, is given by him on the opposite side of the
page, and he has appended a long commentary, in which he has quoted all
the maxims of preceding or subsequent authors, who have expressed
sentiments similar to those of Publius Syrus.

The sentences were translated into _English_ from the edition of Erasmus,
under the following title: “Proverbs or Adagies, with newe Additions,
gathered out of the Chiliades of Erasmus, by Richard Taverner. Hereunto be
also added, Mimi Publiani. Imprinted at Lo’don, in Fletstrete, at the
signe of the Whyte Harte. _Cum privilegio ad imprimendum solum._” On the
back of the title is “the Prologe of the author, apologizing for his
slender capacitie;” and concluding, “yet my harte is not to be blamed.” It
contains sixty-four leaves, the last blank. On the last printed page are
the “Faultes escaped in printynge,” which are seven in number. Beneath is
the colophon, “Imprinted at London by Richarde Bankes, at the Whyte Harte,
1539.” This book was frequently reprinted. James Elphinston, long known to
the public by his unsuccessful attempt to introduce a new and uniform mode
of spelling into the English language, translated, in 1794, “The
Sentencious Poets—Publius dhe Syrrian—Laberius dhe Roman Knight, &c.
arrainged and translated into correspondent Inglish Mezzure(627).”


It appears from Aulus Gellius, that, even in his time, the works of Cato
had begun to be corrupted by the ignorance of transcribers. As mentioned
in the text, his book on Agriculture, the only one of his numerous
writings which survives, has come down to us in a very imperfect and
mutilated state. A MS. of Cato, but very faulty and incomplete, was in
possession of Niccolo Niccoli; and a letter from him is extant, requesting
one of his correspondents, called Michelotius, to borrow for him a very
ancient copy from the Bishop Aretino, in order that his own might be
rendered more perfect(628). Most of the editions we now have, follow a MS.
which is said to have been discovered at Paris by the architect Fra
Giocondo of Verona, and was brought by him to Italy. Varro’s treatise on
Agriculture was first discovered by Candidi, as he himself announces in a
letter to Niccolo Niccoli(629).

The agricultural works of Cato and Varro have generally been printed
together, and also along with those of Columella and Palladius, under the
title of _Rei Rusticæ Scriptores_. There is no ancient MS. known, in which
all the _Rei Rusticæ Scriptores_ are collected together. They were first
combined in the _Editio Princeps_, edited by Georgius Merula, and printed
at Venice, in 1470. The next edition, superintended by Bruschius, and
printed in 1482, has almost entirely disappeared. In many passages, its
readings were different from those of all other editions, as appears from
the annotations communicated from Rome, by Pontedera to Gesner, while he
was preparing his celebrated edition(630). Philippus Beroaldus corrected a
good many faults and errors which had crept into the _Editio Princeps_.
His emendations were made use of in the edition of Bologna, 1494, by
Benedict Hector. Gesner has assiduously collated that edition with the
_Editio princeps_, and he informs us, that it contained many important
corrections. Though differing in some respects, he considers all the
editions previous to that of Aldus, as belonging to the same class or
family. The Aldine edition, printed 1514, was superintended by Fra
Giocondo of Verona, who, having procured at Paris some MSS. not previously
consulted, introduced from them many new readings, and filled up several
chasms in the text, particularly the fifty-seventh chapter(631). This
edition, however, is not highly esteemed; “Sequitur,” says Fabricius,
“novi nec optimi generis editio Aldina:” And Schneider, the most recent
editor of the _Rei Rusticæ Scriptores_, affirms that Giocondo corrupted
and perverted almost every passage which he changed. Nicholas Angelius
took charge of the edition published by the Giunta at Florence, in 1515.
His new readings are ingenious; but many of them are quite unauthorized
and conjectural. The Aldine continued to form the basis of all subsequent
editions, till the time of Petrus Victorius, who was so great a restorer
and amender of the _Rei Rusticæ Scriptores_, that he is called their
_Æsculapius_ by Gesner, and _Sospitator_ by Fabricius. Victorius had got
access to a set of MSS. which Politian had collated with the _Editio
Princeps_. The most ancient and important of these MSS., containing Cato,
and almost the whole of Varro, was found by Victorius in the library of St
Mark; another in French characters was in the Medicean library; and a
third had belonged to Franciscus Barbarus, and was transcribed by him from
an excellent exemplar at Padua(632). But though Victorius had the
advantage of consulting these MSS., it does not appear that he possessed
the collation by the able hand of Politian; because that was inserted, not
in the MSS., but in his own printed copy of the _Editio Princeps_; and
Gesner shows at great length that Petrus Victorius had never consulted any
copy whatever of the _Editio Princeps_(633). Victorius first employed his
learning and critical talents on Varro. Some time afterwards, Giovanni
della Casa being sent by the Pope on some public affairs to Florence,
where Victorius at that time resided, brought him a message from the
Cardinal Marcellus Cervinus, requesting that he should exert on Cato some
part of that diligence which he had formerly employed on Varro. Victorius
soon completed the task assigned him. He also resumed Varro, and
attentively revised his former labours on that author(634). At last he
determined to collate whatever MSS. of the Rustic writers he could
procure. Those above-mentioned, as having been inspected by Politian, were
the great sources whence he derived new and various readings.

It is not known that Victorius printed any edition containing the text of
the _Rei Rusticæ Scriptores_ in Italy. His letter to Cervinus speaks as if
he was just about to edit them; but whether he did so is uncertain.
“Quartam classem,” says Harles, “constituit Victorius, sospitator horum
scriptorum: qui quidem num primum in Italiâ recensitos dederit eos cum
Gesnero et Ernesti ignoro(635).” As far as now appears, his corrections
and emendations were first printed in the edition of Leyden, 1541, where
the authors it contains, are said in the title to be _Restituti per Petrum
Victorium, ad veterum exemplarium fidem, suæ integritati_. His
castigations were printed in the year following, but without the text of
the authors, at Florence. The Leyden edition was reprinted at Paris, in
1543, by Robert Stephens, and was followed by the edition of Hier.
Commellinus, 1595.

At length Gesner undertook a complete edition of the _Rei Rusticæ
Scriptores_, under circumstances of which he has given us some account in
his preface. The eminent bookseller, Fritschius, had formed a plan of
printing these authors; and to aid in this object, he had employed
Schoettgenius, a young, but even then a distinguished scholar. A digest of
the best commentators, and a collection of various readings, were
accordingly prepared by him. The undertaking, however, was then deferred,
in expectation of the arrival of MSS. from Italy; and Schoettgenius was
meanwhile called to a distance to some other employment, leaving the
fruits of his labour in the hands of Fritschius. In 1726, that bookseller
came to Gesner, and informed him, that Politian’s collations, written on
his copy of the _Editio Princeps_, had at length reached him, as also some
valuable observations on the rustic writers, communicated from Italy by
Pontedera and Facciolati. Fritschius requested that Gesner should now
arrange the whole materials which had been compiled. Selections from the
commentaries, and the various readings previous to the time of Victorius,
were prepared to his hand; but he commenced an assiduous study of every
thing that was valuable in more recent editions. At length his ponderous
edition came out with a preface, giving a full detail of the labours of
others and his own, and with the prefaces to the most celebrated preceding
editions. Some of the notes had been previously printed, as those of
Meursius, Scaliger, and Fulvius Ursinus—others, as those of Schoettgenius,
Pontedera, and Gesner himself, had never yet seen the light. Though Gesner
never names Pontedera without duly styling him Clarissimus Pontedera, that
scholar was by no means pleased with the result of Gesner’s edition, and
attacked it with much asperity, in his great work, _Antiquitatum
Rusticarum_. Gesner’s first edition was printed at Leipsic, 1735. Ernesti
took charge of the publication of the second edition; and, in addition to
the dissertation of Ausonius Popma, _De Instrumento Fundi_, which formed
an appendix to the first, he has inserted Segner’s description and
explanation of the aviary of Varro.

The most recent edition of the _Scriptores Rei Rusticæ_, is that of
Schneider, who conceives that he has perfected the edition of Gesner, by
having collated the ancient edition of Bruschius, and the first Aldine
edition, neither of which had been consulted by his predecessor.

Besides forming parts of every collection of the _Rei Rusticæ Scriptores_,
the agricultural treatises of Cato and Varro have been repeatedly printed
by themselves, and apart from those of Columella and Palladius. Ausonius
Popma, in his separate edition of Cato, 1590, has chiefly, and without
much acknowledgment, employed some valuable annotations and remarks
contained in the _Adversaria_ of Turnebus. This edition was accompanied by
some other fragments of Cato. These, however, were of small importance;
and the principal part of the publication being the work on Agriculture,
its sale was much impeded by Commellinus’ full edition of the agricultural
writers, published five years afterwards. Raphellengius, however,
reprinted it in 1598, with a new title; and with the addition of the notes
of Meursius. Popma again revised his labours, and published an improved
edition in 1620. Varro’s treatise, _De Re Rusticâ_, was published alone in
1545, and with his other writings, by Stephens, in 1569. Ausonius Popma
also edited it in 1601, appropriating, according to his custom, the notes
and observations of others.

Cato’s work _De Re Rusticâ_, has been translated into _Italian_ by Pagani,
whose version was printed at Venice, 1792; and into _French_ by Saboureux,
Paris, 1775. I am not aware of any full _English_ translation of Cato, but
numerous extracts are made from it in Dickson’s _Husbandry of the

Italy has produced more translations of the Latin writers than any other
country; and one would naturally suppose, that the agricultural writings
of those who had cultivated the same soil as themselves, would be
peculiarly interesting to the Italians. I do not know, however, of any
version of Varro in their language. There is an _English_ translation, by
the Rev. Mr Owen, printed at Oxford in 1800. In his preface, the author
says,—“Having collated many copies of this work of the Roman writer in my
possession, and the variations being very numerous, I found it no easy
task to make a translation of his treatise on agriculture. To render any
common Arabic author into English, would have been a labour less difficult
to me some years ago, than it has been to translate this part of the works
of this celebrated writer.”


This historian was criticized in a work of Asinius Pollio, particularly on
account of his affected use of obsolete words and expressions. Sulpicius
Apollinaris, the grammarian, who lived in the reigns of the Antonines,
boasted that he was the only person of his time who could understand
Sallust. His writings were illustrated by many of the ancient grammarians,
as Asper and Statilius Maximus. In the course of the ninth century, we
find Lupus, Abbot of Ferriers, in one of his letters, praying his friend
Regimbertus to procure for him a copy of Sallust(636); and there was a
copy of his works in the Library of Glastonbury Abbey, in the year
1240(637). The style of Sallust is very peculiar: He often omits words
which other writers would insert, and inserts those which they would omit.
Hence his text became early, and very generally, corrupted, from
transcribers and copyists leaving out what they naturally enough supposed
to be redundancies, and supplying what they considered as deficiencies.

There appeared not less than three editions of Sallust in the course of
the year 1470. It has been much disputed, and does not seem to be yet
ascertained, which of them is the _Editio Princeps_. One was printed under
the care of Merula, by Spira, at Venice; but the other two are without
name of place or printer: It has been conjectured, that of these two, the
one which is in folio was printed at Rome(638); and the other, in quarto,
at Paris, by Gering, Crantz, and Friburg(639). The Venice Edition is
usually accounted the _Editio Princeps_(640), but Fuhrmann considers both
the Paris and Roman editions as prior to it. The Roman, he thinks, in
concurrence with the opinion of Harles, is the earliest of all. The
Bipontine editors style the Parisian impression the _Primaria Princeps_.
Besides these three, upwards of thirty other editions were published in
the course of the fifteenth century. One of them was printed at Venice,
1493, from the _Recension_ of Pomponius Lætus, who has been accused by
subsequent editors of introducing many of the corruptions which have crept
into the text of Sallust(641). There were also a number of commentaries in
this century, by scholars, who did not themselves publish editions of the
historian, but greatly contributed to the assistance of those who prepared
them in the next. The commentary of Laurentius Valla, in particular, which
was first printed at Rome in 1490, and in which scarcely a single word is
passed over without remark or explanation, enriched most of the editions
which appeared in the end of the fifteenth, and the beginning of the
subsequent century(642). The first of any note in the sixteenth century,
were those of Aldus, Venice, 1509, and 1521. Carrio, who published an
edition at Antwerp in 1579, collected many of the fragments of Sallust’s
great History of Rome; and he amended the text of the Catilinarian and
Jugurthine Wars, as he himself boasts, in several thousand places. The
edition of Gruter, in 1607, in which the text received considerable
alterations, on the authority of the Palatine MS., obtained in its time
considerable reputation. The earliest _Variorum_ edition is in 1649; but
the best is that printed at Leyden, with the notes of Gronovius, in 1690.
An immense number of MSS., and copies of the most ancient editions, were
collated by Wasse for the Cambridge edition, 1710. He chiefly followed the
text of Gruter, but he has added the notes of various commentators, and
also some original observations of his own, particularly comparisons,
which he has instituted between his author and the ancient Greek writers.
The editions of Cortius (Leipsic, 1724), and of Havercamp (Amsterdam,
1742), are both excellent. The former, in preparing his work, consulted
not less than thirty MSS., fifteen of which were preserved in the
Wolfenbuttel library. He also assiduously collated most of the old
editions, and found some good readings in those of Venice, 1470–1493, and
that of Leipsic, 1508. Most of the editions, however, of the fifteenth
century, he affirms, are very bad; and, according to him, a greater number
of the errors, which had crept into the text of Sallust, are to be
attributed to them, than to the corruptions of Pomponius Lætus. Cortius
chiefly erred in conceiving that Sallust’s conciseness consisted solely in
paucity of words, so that he always preferred the readings where the
greatest number of them were thrown out, though the meaning was thereby
obscured, and sometimes altogether lost. The readings in Havercamp’s
edition are all founded on those of Wasse and Gruter. The text is
overloaded with notes: “Textus,” says Ernesti, “velut cymba in oceano, ita
in notis natat.” The various readings are separated from the notes, being
inserted between the text and the commentary. In the first volume, we have
the text of Sallust, and the annotations—in the second, the prefaces of
different editors of Sallust—his life—the fragments of his works—and the
judgments pronounced by ancient authors on his writings. The text of
Teller’s edition, Berlin, 1790, is formed on that of Cortius, but departs
from it, where the editor conceived himself justified by the various
readings of a rare and ancient edition, published at Brescia, 1495, which
he had consulted. It is totally unprovided with _prolegomena_, or notices,
with regard to the life and writings of the author, or his works; but
there is appended to it a recension of the celebrated Spanish Translation,
executed under the auspices of the Infant Don Gabriel, and a very full
_Index Latinitatis_. The best of the recent German editions, is that of
Lange, Halle, 1815. In this work, the editor chiefly follows Havercampus.
His great object was to restore the purity of the text, which he believed
to have been greatly corrupted by the rash and unauthorized alterations of
preceding editors, more particularly of Cortius. Notes are subjoined,
partly illustrative of Sallust’s genius and talents, and partly of that
portion of Roman history, of which he treated.

Sallust has been translated into _Italian_, by a Genoese of the name of
Agost. Ortica, (Venice, 1518). The work of Ortica also comprehends a
version of Cicero’s fourth Catilinarian orations, and the supposed reply
of Catiline. The style is barbarous, involved, and obscure, and in some
passages nearly unintelligible. In point of style, the translation of
Lelio Carani (Florence, 1530) is purer, but it is too paraphrastic, and
has not always accurately expressed the meaning of the original. The
version of Paulo Spinola (1564) was scarcely more happy. These three
translations having become scarce by the middle of last century, and being
defective in many of the most essential qualities of a translation, the
Doctor Battista Bianchi, Professor of Latin at Sienna, undertook an
improved translation, in which he attempted to imitate the brevity of
Sallust, though he did not, like some of his predecessors, insert obsolete
Italian words, corresponding to the antique Latin expressions adopted by
his original. To this translation, first printed at Venice, 1761, there is
prefixed a long and elaborate preface, in which the author discusses the
historical and literary merits of Sallust, and enumerates the translations
of his works which had at that time appeared in the different languages of
Europe. After this follows the life of the Latin author. There are
likewise annotations at the foot of the page, and an index at the end of
the whole. The next Italian translation of any note which appeared, was
that by Alfieri, which is considered in Italy as a masterpiece: His prose
style, which was founded on that of the classic writers, qualified him
admirably for the task.

There have been more translations of Sallust in _French_, than in any
other language. It was translated, it is said, as far back as the reign of
King John of France, who died in 1364. “Le Roi Jean,” says Villaret,
“ainsi qu’on l’a rapporté, avoit fait entreprendre des versions de
quelques auteurs Latins, tels que Salluste et Tite-Live(643).” I do not
suppose, however, that this translation was given to the press on the
invention of printing. The first version printed was that of Baudoin, in
1617; which was succeeded, in the course of the same century, by the
futile attempts of Cassagne and Du Teil. The version of the Abbé Le
Masson, which appeared in the commencement of the ensuing century, was
accompanied with a defence of the moral character of the historian. It was
followed, in a few years afterwards, by that of the Abbé Thyvon, which,
though it does not convey an adequate idea of the strength and sententious
brevity of the original, is for the most part extremely faithful to the
meaning of the author. Its deficiency in the former qualities, seems to
have induced M Dotteville to attempt a new translation, as he appears to
be always striving at terseness and conciseness of style. “His Sallust,”
says the most recent English translator, “like his Tacitus, is harsh and
dry; and his fruitless endeavours to vie in brevity with either historian,
are sufficient to prove, if such proof were needful, how absurd an attempt
it is in any translator, for the sake of seizing some peculiar feature of
resemblance, or some fancied grace of diction, to violate the genius of
his native language.” A similar criticism is extended, in the following
paragraph, to the version of M. Beauzie, though it is admitted to be the
most faithful and accurate that ever appeared in the French language. The
translation of Dotteville was first printed in 1760, and that of Beauzie
fifteen years afterwards. About the same time M. de Brosses, President of
the Parliament of Dijon, published a History of Rome during the Seventh
Century, which professes to be chiefly made up from the fragments of
Sallust. The War of Jugurtha comes first in the historical
arrangement—then follow the events which intervened between that contest
and the Conspiracy of Catiline, taken from the fragments of Sallust, which
are interwoven with the body of the narrative—and, lastly, the Conspiracy.
The work, which extends to three volumes 4to, comprehends very full notes,
and includes a life of Sallust, which, though written in an indifferent
style, displays considerable learning and research. Although the version
of De Brosses was generally accounted one of the best translations of the
Classics, which had appeared in the French, or any other language, it does
not seem to have been considered as precluding subsequent attempts. A
translation by Dureau Delamalle appeared in 1808, and one by Mollevaut,
yet more recent, which has gone through at least three editions. Still,
however, many persons in France prefer the version of Dotteville to the
more modern translations.

It would appear, that the writings of Sallust became known and popular in
_England_ soon after the revival of literature. A translation of the
Jugurthine War, executed by “Sir Alexander Barclay, Priest, at the command
of the Duke of Norfolke, and printed by Richard Pynson,” in folio, was
published as early as the reign of Henry VIII. It bears on the
title-page—“Here begynneth the famous Cronycle of the Warre which the
Romaynes had against Jugurth, usurper of the Kyngdome of Numidy: Which
Cronycle was compyled in Latin by the renowned Sallust. And translated
into English by Sir Alexander Barclay, Preest, at commandment of the right
hye and mighty Prince, Thomas Duke of Northfolke.” The volume is without
date, but is supposed to have been printed about 1540. It was twice
reprinted in 1557, and in one of these editions was accompanied with
Catiline’s Conspiracy, translated by Thomas Paynel. The version of
Barclay, though a good one for the time, having become obsolete, not less
than three translations appeared in the middle and end of the seventeenth
century—one by William Crosse, and the other two by anonymous authors.
These early translations are all “Faithfully done in Englysh,” according
to the taste of the time, which, if the sense were tolerably rendered, was
little solicitous for accuracy, and still less for elegance of
diction(644). In Rowe’s translation, 1709, the sense of the author is
given with correctness, but the style is feeble and colloquial. Gordon,
better known as the translator of Tacitus, also translated Sallust in
1744. His version is accompanied with a series of discourses on topics
connected with Roman history, as on faction and parties, public
corruption, and civil wars. The Epistles of Sallust to Cæsar on
Government, are also translated by him, and their authenticity vindicated.
In 1751, Dr Rose published a new translation of the Catilinarian and
Jugurthine Wars. “This translation,” says Steuart, “is justly entitled to
the esteem in which it has been held, and the author himself to
considerable praise, for his endeavours to combine the advantages of a
free and literal version. His chief defect proceeds from what constitutes
the great difficulty in all classical translation—the uniting a clear
transfusion of the sense with the ease and freedom of original
composition. To the critical reader, this will be abundantly obvious, if
he compare the version of Sallust with the original pieces of Dr Rose
himself. In the speeches, too, where the ancient writers laid out all
their energy, and in which they should be followed by a like effort of the
translator, the author is cold and languid, and he rises on no occasion
above the level of ordinary narrative.” The most recent English
translation is that by the author above quoted—1806, two volumes quarto.
Two long Essays, with notes, are prefixed to it—the one on the Life, and
the other on the Literary Character and Writings of Sallust. The Spanish
translation of Sallust, executed under the auspices of the Infant Don
Gabriel, has been much celebrated on account of its plates and
incomparable typography. It was printed in 1772.


Lupus, Abbot of Ferriers, says, in one of his letters, that no historic
work of Cæsar was extant, except his Commentaries on the Gallic War, of
which he promises to send his correspondent, the Bishop Heribold, a copy,
as soon as he can procure one(645). The other Commentaries, _De Bello
Civili_, and _De Bello Alexandrino_, of which he speaks as being also
extant, were written, he affirms, by Hirtius. It thus appears, that though
Lupus was mistaken as to the author of the work _De Bello Civili_, the
whole series of memoirs now known by the name of Cæsar’s Commentaries, was
extant in the ninth century. About a century afterwards, Pope Gerbert, or
Sylvester II., writes to the Archbishop of Rheims to procure the loan of a
copy of Cæsar from the Abbot of Terdon, who was possessed of one, and to
have it transcribed for him(646). Cæsar’s Commentaries are repeatedly
quoted in the _Speculum Historiale_ of Vincent de Beauvais, a work of the
thirteenth century, and in various other productions of the same period.
It is probable, therefore, that copies of them were not very scarce in
that age; but they had become so rare by the middle of the fifteenth
century, that Candidi, in a letter to Niccolo Niccoli, announces the
discovery of a MS. of Cæsar as a great event.

Andrea, Bishop of Aleria, took charge of the first edition of Cæsar, and
an erudite epistle by him is prefixed to it. It came forth at Rome, from
the printing-press of Sweynheim and Pannartz, as early as the year 1469.
Of this _Editio Princeps_ of Cæsar, only 275 copies were thrown off; but
it was reprinted at the same place in 1472. There were a good many
editions published towards the end of the fifteenth century, most of which
have now become rare. The first of the ensuing century was that of
Philippus Beroaldus, (Bologna 1504). It was followed by the Aldine
editions, (Venice 1513–19,) which are not so remarkable either for
accuracy or beauty as the other early editions of the Classics which
issued from the celebrated press of the Manutii. The first had seven pages
of errata—“Mendis scatet,” say the Bipontine editors. In the edition,
1566, there were inserted plates of warlike instruments, encampments, and
the most celebrated places mentioned in Cæsar’s campaigns, which became a
common ornament and appendage in subsequent impressions.

Fulvius Ursinus published an edition of considerable note in 1570. Ursinus
had discovered a MS. written in the middle of the tenth century, which he
chiefly employed in the correction of the text. He is accused of having
committed a literary theft in the publication of this work, it being
alleged that he had received many annotations from Petrus Ciacconius,
which he mixed up with his own, and inserted as such, suppressing
altogether the name of the real author.

The next edition of any eminence, was that of Strada (Frankfort, 1574).
This impression is remarkable for containing forty plates of battles, and
other things relating to the campaigns of Cæsar; as also inscriptions,
found in various cities of Spain. It is also distinguished as having been
the prototype of Clarke’s splendid edition of Cæsar, which Mr Dibdin
pronounces to be “the most sumptuous classical volume which this country
ever produced. It contains,” says he, “eighty-seven copperplates, which
were engraved at the expense of the different noblemen to whom they are
dedicated. Of these plates, I am not disposed to think so highly as some
fond admirers: The head of Marlborough, to whom this courtly work is
dedicated, by Kneller and Vertue, does not convey any exalted idea of that
renowned hero; and the bust of Julius Cæsar, which follows it, will appear
meagre and inelegant to those who have contemplated a similar print in the
quarto publication of Lavater’s Physiognomy. The plates are in general
rather curious than ably executed; and compared with what Flaxman has done
for Homer and Æschylus, are tasteless and unspirited. The type of this
magnificent volume is truly beautiful and splendid, and for its fine
lustre and perfect execution, reflects immortality on the publisher. The
text is accompanied with various readings in the margin; and at the end of
the volume, after the fragments of Cæsar, are the critical notes of the
editor, compiled with great labour from the collation of ancient MSS. and
former editions. A MS. in the Queen’s library, and one belonging to the
Bishop of Ely, were particularly consulted by Dr Clarke. The work closes
with a large and correct index of names and places. It is upon the whole a
most splendid edition, and will be a lasting monument of the taste, as
well as erudition of the editor.”

The best edition since the time of Dr Clarke’s, is that by Oudendorp,
printed at Leyden in 1737. This editor had the use of many ancient MSS.,
particularly two of the beginning of the ninth century, one of which had
belonged to Julius Bongarsius, and the other to Petrus Bellovacensis. “The
preceding commentators on Cæsar,” says Harles, “have all been eclipsed by
the skill and researches of Oudendorp, who, by a careful examination of
numerous MSS. and editions, has often successfully restored the true
ancient reading of his author.” He has inserted in his publication
Dodwell’s disquisition concerning the author of the books _De Bello
Alexandrino_, and Scaliger’s _Topographical Description of Gaul_. Morus
reprinted this edition, but with many critical improvements, at Leipsic,
1780. He has illustrated the military tactics of Cæsar, from Ritter’s
History of the Gauls, and from the books of Guischardus, _De Re Militari
Veterum_. The best modern German edition is that of Oberlin, (Leipsic,
1805). It is founded on the basis of those of Oudendorp and Morus, with
additional observations, and a careful revision of the text. In the
preface, those writings in which the faith due to Cæsar’s Commentaries is
attempted to be shaken, are reviewed and refuted; and there are added
several fragments of Cæsar, as also those notices of ancient authors
concerning him, which had been neglected or omitted by Morus.

Cæsar was first rendered into _Italian_ by Agost. Ortica, the translator
of Sallust. He says, in the preface, that his version was executed in a
very hurried manner, as it was transcribed and printed all in the course
of six months. Argelati could not ascertain the date of the most ancient
edition, which was printed at Milan, but he thinks that it was as old as
the fifteenth century(647). This impression was followed by not fewer than
twelve others, before the middle of the sixteenth century. A subsequent
translation, by F. Baldelli, appeared at Venice, 1554. This edition was,
succeeded by many others, particularly one at Venice in 1595, quarto, of
which Palladio, the great architect, took charge. He inserted in it
various engravings of battles, encampments, sieges, and other military
operations, from plates which had been executed by his two sons, Leonida
and Orazio, and had come into his hands soon after their premature
decease. He prepared the edition chiefly for the sake of introducing these
designs, and thereby honouring the memory of his children. To this edition
there is a preface by Palladio on the military affairs of the Romans,
their legions, arms, and encampments. A splendid impression of Baldelli’s
version, accompanied with Palladio’s designs, was thrown off at Venice in
1619. In 1737, a translation appeared at Venice, bearing to be printed
from an ancient MS. of Cæsar, in Italian, which the editor says he had
discovered, (_where_ he does not specify,) and had in some few places
corrected and modernized. Paitoni has exposed this literary fraud, and has
shown, that it is just the translation of Baldelli, with a few words
altered at the beginning of paragraphs. In some respects, however, it is a
good edition, containing various tables and notices conducive to the
proper understanding of the author.

We have seen that several translations of the Latin classics were executed
by order of the French king, John. Charles V., who succeeded him in 1364,
was a still warmer patron of learning, and was himself tolerably versed in
Latin literature. “Tant que compettement,” says Christine de Pise, in her
Memoirs of him, “entendoit son Latin.” By his order and directions the
first _French_ translation of Cæsar was undertaken(648). But the earliest
French translation of Cæsar’s Commentaries which was printed, was that of
Robert Gaguin, dedicated to Charles VIII. and published in 1488. Of the
recent French versions the most esteemed is that by Turpin de Crissi,
accompanied by historical and critical notes, and printed at Montargis,

The part of Cæsar’s Commentaries which relates to the Gallic wars was
translated into _English_ as early as 1565, by Arthur Golding, who
dedicated his work to Sir William Cecil, afterwards Lord Burleigh. In
1695, a translation of the whole Commentaries was printed with the
following title: “The Commentaries of Cæsar, of his Wars in Gallia, and of
the Civil Wars betwixt him and Pompey, _with many excellent and judicious
Observations_ thereupon; as also, the Art of our Modern Training; by
Clement Edmonds, Esq.” The best translation is that by “William Duncan,
Professor of Philosophy in the University of Aberdeen, printed at London,
1755,” with a long preliminary Discourse concerning the Roman Art of War.


Some of Cicero’s orations were studied harangues, which he had prepared
and written over previous to their delivery. This, however, was not the
case with the greater proportion of his speeches, most of which were
pronounced without much premeditation, but were afterwards copied out,
with such corrections and embellishments as bestowed on them a greater
polish and lustre than when they had originally fallen from his lips.
Before the invention of printing had increased the means of satisfying
public curiosity, as no oration was given to the world but by the author
himself, he had always the power of altering and improving by his
experience of the effect it produced at delivery. Pliny informs us, that
many things on which Cicero had enlarged at the time when he actually
spoke in the Senate and the Forum, were retrenched when he ultimately gave
his orations to the public in writing(649). Cicero himself had somewhere
declared, that the defence of Cornelius had occupied four days, whence
Pliny concludes, that those orations which, when delivered at full length,
took up so much time at the bar, were greatly altered and abridged, when
he afterwards comprised them in a single volume. The orations, in
particular, for Muræna and Varenus, he says, seem now to contain merely
the general heads of a discourse. Sometimes, however, they were extended
and not curtailed, by the orator in the closet, as was confessedly the
case in the defence of Milo. A few of the orations which Cicero had
delivered, he did not consider as at all worthy of preservation. Thus, of
the oration for Dejotarus, he says, in one of his letters to Dolabella, “I
did not imagine that I had preserved among my papers the trifling speech
which I made in behalf of Dejotarus; however, I have found it, and sent it
to you, agreeably to your request(650).” This accounts for many speeches
of Cicero, the delivery of which is recorded in history, being now lost.
It appears, however, that those which he considered deserving of his care,
though they may be widely different from the state in which they were
originally pronounced, came pure from the hand of the author, either in
the shape in which he would have wished to have delivered them, or in that
which he considered best adapted for publication and perusal. They were
probably transcribed by himself, and copies of them multiplied by his
freedmen, such as Tyro and Tyrannio, whom he had accustomed to accurate
transcription. His orations had also the good fortune to meet, at a very
early period, with a judicious and learned commentator in the person of
Asconius Pedianus, a grammarian in the reign of Nero, part of whose
Commentary was discovered by Poggio, along with other classical works, in
the monastery of St Gall, near Constance.

All the orations of Cicero were not lost during the middle ages. Pope
Gerbert, in one of his letters, asks from the Abbot Gesilbert a copy of
the concluding part of the speech for Dejotarus; and he writes to another
of his correspondents, to bring him Cicero’s treatise _De Republicâ_, and
the Orations against Verres, “Comitentur iter tuum Tulliana opuscula, et
de Republicâ et in Verrem(651):” Brunetto Latini, who died in 1294,
translated into Italian the orations for Dejotarus, Marcellus, and
Ligarius, which were afterwards printed at Lyons in 1568(652). These three
harangues being in a great measure complimentary addresses to Cæsar, and
containing no sentiment but what might be safely expressed in presence of
an unlimited sovereign, more transcripts had been made of them in Rome’s
tyrannical ages, than of those orations which breathed forth the expiring
spirit of liberty.

Cicero was the idol of Petrarch, the great restorer of classical
literature. He never could speak of him but in terms of deep and
enthusiastic admiration. The sweetness and sonorousness of Tully’s periods
charmed his ear; and though unable to penetrate the depths of his
philosophy, yet his vigorous fancy often soared with the Roman orator into
the highest regions of imagination. Hence, while eager for the discovery
of all the classics, his chief diligence was exercised in endeavouring to
preserve such works of Cicero as were then known, and to recover such as
were lost(653). Petrarch received in loan from Lapo of Castiglionchio a
copy of several of Cicero’s orations, among which were the Philippics, and
the oration for Milo. These he kept by him for four years, that he might
transcribe them with his own hand, on account of the blunders of the
copyists in that age. This we learn from the letters of Lapo, published by
the Abbé Mehus. Coming to Liege when about twenty-five years of age, that
is, in 1329, Petrarch remained there till two orations of Cicero, which he
had discovered in that city, were transcribed, one by his own hand, and
another by a friend, both of which were immediately transmitted by him to
Italy. He was detained at Liege for some time by the difficulty of
procuring even the worst sort of ink. Several other orations of Cicero
were discovered by Petrarch in different parts of Italy.

Dominico Arretino, who was nearly contemporary with Petrarch, declares, in
one of his works, entitled _Fons_, that he had seen eleven of Cicero’s
orations, and that a person had told him that he actually possessed and
had read twenty of them(654). It appears, however, that in the time of
Cosmo de Medici those works of Cicero which were extant were very much
corrupted. “Illorum librorum,” says Niccolo Niccoli, speaking of some of
the works of Cicero, “magna pars interierit, hi vero qui supersunt adeo
mendosi sunt, ut paulo ab interitu distent;” hence, in the middle of the
fifteenth century, the discovery of a new MS. of Cicero was hailed as a
new acquisition. At Langres, in a library of the monks of Clugni, in
Burgundy, Poggio found the oration for Cæcina, which he immediately
transcribed, and sent various copies of it to his friends in Italy. In the
monasteries around Constance he discovered the two orations against
Rullus, _De Lege Agrariâ_, and that to the people on the same subject;
also the orations _Pro Rabirio_, and _Pro Roscio_. A note on the MS. copy
of the oration _in Pisonem_, preserved in the abbey of Santa Maria, in
Florence, records the fact of this harangue having been likewise
discovered by Poggio(655).

A compendium of Cicero’s treatise _De Inventione_ was well known in the
dark ages, having been translated into Italian, in an abridged form, in
the thirteenth century, by a professor of Bologna. This was almost the
first prose work which had appeared in the language, and was printed at
Lyons with the _Ethica d’Aristotile_, by Brunetto Latini, who also
translated the first book _De Inventione_(656). Lupus of Ferrieres
possessed a copy of Cicero’s _Rhetorica_, as he himself informs us(657),
but it was incomplete; and he accordingly asks Einhart, who had been his
preceptor, for the loan of his MS. of this work, in order that his own
might be perfected. Ingulphus, who flourished in England towards the close
of the eleventh century, declares, that he was sent from Westminster to
the school at Oxford, where he learned Aristotle, and the first two books
of Tully’s _Rhetorica_(658). Now, if the first two books of the
_Rhetorica_, which are all that have hitherto been discovered, were used
as an elementary work in the public school at Oxford, they can hardly be
supposed to have been very scarce in Italy. From the jurisconsult, Raymond
Superantius, or Sorranza, to whom he had been indebted for the books _De
Gloriâ_, Petrarch received an imperfect copy of the tract _De Oratore_, of
which the MSS., though generally incomplete, were by no means uncommon at
that period. “Ab hoc habui,” says he, “et Varronis et Ciceronis aliqua:
Cujus unum volumen de communibus fuit; sed inter ipsa communia libri de
Oratore ac de Legibus imperfecti, ut fere semper inveniuntur.” Nearly half
a century from the death of Petrarch had elapsed, before the discovery of
a complete copy of Cicero’s rhetorical works. It was about the year 1418,
during the Popedom of Martin V., and while Poggio was in England, that
Gerard Landriani, Bishop of Lodi, found in that city, among the ruins of
an ancient monastery, a MS., containing Cicero’s treatise _De Oratore_,
his _Brutus_ and _Orator_. He carried the MS. with him to Milan, and there
gave it to Gaspar Bazizza. The character, however, in which it was
written, was such, that few scholars or antiquaries in that city could
read it. At length Cosmus, a young Veronese scholar, deciphered and
transcribed the dialogue _De Oratore_. Blondus Flavius, the author of the
_Italia Illustrata_, who had come in early youth from his native place,
Forli, to Milan, transcribed the _Brutus_, and sent copies of it to
Guarinus of Verona, and Leonard Justiniani, at Venice. By these means the
rhetorical works of Cicero were soon diffused all over Italy. The
discovery was hailed as a triumph, and subject of public congratulation.
Poggio was informed of it while in England, and there awaited the arrival
of a copy with the most lively impatience(659).

The philosophic writings of Cicero have descended to us in a more
imperfect state than his oratorical dialogues or orations. In consequence
of the noble spirit of freedom and patriotism which they breathe, their
proscription would no doubt speedily follow that of their author. There is
a common story of a grandson of Augustus concealing one of Cicero’s
philosophic works, on being detected while perusing it by his grandfather,
and though he received his gracious permission to finish it, the anecdote
shews that it was among the _libri prohibiti_. The chief reading, indeed,
of Alexander Severus, was the _Republic_ and _Offices_(660): But Alexander
was an imperial phœnix, which never revived in the Roman empire; and we
hear little of Cicero during the reigns of the barbarian sovereigns of
Italy in the middle ages.

Petrarch procured an imperfect copy of Cicero’s treatise _De Legibus_,
from the Lawyer Raymond Sorranza(661), who had a most extensive library,
and to whom, as we have just seen, he had been indebted for a MS. of the
dialogue _De Oratore_.

No further discovery was subsequently made of the remaining parts of the
work _De Legibus_. The other philosophical writings of Cicero were found
by Petrarch among the books in his father’s library, or were recovered for
him by the persons whom he employed for this purpose in almost every
quarter of Italy: “Abeuntibus amicis,” says he, “et, ut fit, petentibus
numquid e patriâ suâ vellem, respondebam,—nihil præter libros Ciceronis.”
Petrarch frequently quotes the treatise _De Finibus_, as a work with which
he was familiar. Leonard Aretine, however, has been generally considered
as the discoverer of that dialogue, as also of the treatise _De Naturâ

“There is no collection of my letters,” says Cicero, in one of his
epistles to Atticus; “but Tiro has about seventy of them, and you can
furnish some more. I must look over and correct them, and then they may be
published.” This, however, never was accomplished by himself. After the
revolution of the Roman state, the publication of his letters must have
been dangerous, on account of the freedom with which he expresses himself
concerning Octavius, and the ministers of his power. Cornelius Nepos
mentions, that some of Cicero’s letters were published, but that sixteen
books of Epistles to Atticus, from his consulship to his death, though
extant, were by no means in common circulation(663). The reigns of the
princes who succeeded Augustus, were not more favourable to freedom than
his own; and hence the Familiar Letters, as well as those to Atticus,
probably remained long in the cabinets of the curious, before they
received any critical inspection. The Letters of Cicero, however, were
well known in the middle ages, and even in those times pains were taken to
have accurate copies of them. Lupus Ferrariensis procured duplicates of
Cicero’s Epistles, in order to collate them with his own MSS., and thus to
make up a correct and complete collection(664). John of Salisbury cites
two of Cicero’s letters to Caius Cassius; one of which is now contained in
the twelfth, and the other in the fifteenth book of the _Familiar
Epistles_. In the Life of Julius Cæsar, which passes under the name of
Julius Celsus, and which was written during the middle ages, extracts are
occasionally made from the _Familiar Epistles_. They had become scarce,
however, at the time when Petrarch found a copy of them at Verona, a place
where he little expected to make such a discovery(665). This old MS.,
which Victorius thinks of the age of the Florentine Pandects, ultimately
came into the Medicean library; and a copy which Petrarch had transcribed
from it, was brought from Padua to Florence by Niccolo Niccoli, at whose
death it was placed in the library of St Marc in that city(666). Several
scholars who inspected both have observed, that the transcript by Petrarch
differed in some respects from the original(667). It was also marked with
various corrections and glosses, in the hand-writing of Niccolo Niccoli
himself(668). All the other MSS. of the Familiar Epistles flowed from this
discovered by Petrarch, as we learn from a passage of Lagomarsinus, who
speaks thus of the different _codices_ of the _Epistolæ Familiares_:
“Quibus tamen ego codicibus non tantum tribuo, quantum uni illi omnium
quotquot ubique terrarum, idem epistolarum corpus continentes, extant,
vetustissimo, (et ex quo cæteros omnes qui usquam sunt tanquam e fonte ac
capite manâsse, et Angelus Politianus, et Petrus Victorius memoriæ
prodiderunt,) qui Florentiæ in Mediceo-Laurentianæ Bibliothecæ XLIX.
adservatur numero IX. extra notatus(669).” There has been a good deal of
doubt and discussion how these Letters first came to obtain the title of
_Familiares_. They are not so called in any original MS. of Cicero, nor
are they cited by this name in any ancient author, as Aulus Gellius, or
Priscian. These writers generally quote each book of the Epistles by the
name of the person to whom the first letter in that book is addressed.
Thus Gellius cites the first book by the name of the Letters to Lentulus,
because it commences with a letter to him. Nor are the MSS. in which the
appellation of the _Epistolæ Familiares_ is employed uniform in the title.
In some MSS. they are called _Epistolæ Familiares_, in others, _Epistolæ
ad Familiares_, and in a Palatine MS. _Libri Epistolarum Familiarum_.

Previous to the year 1340, Petrarch also discovered the _Epistles to
Atticus_(670) which had been missing for many centuries; and on perusing
them, declared that he now recognized Cicero as an inconsiderate and
unfortunate old man. He copied them over with his own hand, and arranged
them in their proper order. The MS. in his hand-writing passed, after his
death, into the possession of Coluccio Salutati, and subsequently became
the property of Coluccio’s disciple Leonard Aretine. Donatus, the son of
Leonard, succeeded to it, and by him it was transferred to Donatus
Acciaiolus. After his decease, it fell into the hands of an obscure
grammarian, who gave it to Bartollomeo Cavalcanti, in whose library it was
consulted by P. Victorius, and was afterwards bestowed on him by the
owner. Victorius, highly valuing this MS., which he first recognised to be
in the hand-writing of Petrarch, conceived that it would be preserved with
greatest security in some public collection; and he accordingly presented
it to Cosmo, the first Duke of Tuscany, to be deposited in the Medicean
library(671). With regard to the most ancient MS. from which Petrarch made
the copy, it unfortunately was lost, as Petrus Victorius laments in one of
his Epistles(672). “Utinam inveniretur exemplum, unde has ad Atticum
descripsit Petrarca, ut exstat illud, quo usus est in describendis alteris
illis, quæ Familiares appellantur, de cujus libri antiquitate, omni
veneratione digna, magnifice multa vereque alio loco prædicavi.” It thus
appears, that the Epistles to Atticus were well known to Petrarch. Still,
however, as they were scarce in the fifteenth century, Poggio, who found a
copy, while attending the Council of Constance, was considered in his own
age as the discoverer of the entire collection of the _Epistles to
Atticus_, and has been regarded in the same light by modern writers.

The three books of the Letters of Cicero to his brother Quintus, were
found by an Italian grammarian, Casparinus of Bergamo, who died in the
year 1431; and who some time before his death had taken great pains to
amend their corrupted text(673). That they were much corrupted, may be
conjectured from what we know of the manner in which they were originally
written, for it appears, from one of the Letters of Cicero(674), that
Quintus had complained that he could scarcely read some of his former
letters. Now, when Quintus could scarcely read his brother’s hand-writing,
what must have been the difficulties and mistakes of the _Librarius_ by
whom they were first collected and copied?

Cicero’s translation of Aratus appears to have been extant in the ninth
century. Lupus of Ferrieres had an imperfect copy of it, and begs a
complete copy from his correspondent Ansbald. “Tu autem,” says he, “huic
nostro cursori Tullium in Arato trade; ut ex eo, quem me impetraturum
credo, quæ deesse illi Egil noster aperuit, suppleantur.(675)”

Various editions of separate portions of the writings of Cicero were
printed before the publication of a complete collection of his works. _The
Orations_—the treatise _De Oratore_—the _Opera Philosophica_—the _Epistolæ
Familiares_—and _Ad Atticum_, were all edited in Italy between the years
1466 and 1471—most of them being printed at Rome by Sweynheim and
Pannartz. The most ancient printing-press in Italy was that established at
the Monastery of Subiaco, in the Campagna di Roma, by these printers.
Sweynheim and Pannartz were two German scholars, who had been induced to
settle at that convent by the circumstance that it was chiefly inhabited
by German monks. In 1467, they went from Subiaco, to Rome(676); after this
removal, they received in correcting their editions, the assistance of a
poor but eminent scholar, Giandrea de Bussi; and were aided by the
patronage of Andrea, Bishop of Aleria, who furnished prefaces to many of
their classical editions. Notwithstanding the rage for classical MSS.
which had so recently existed, and the novelty, usefulness, and importance
of the art which they first introduced into Italy, as also the support
which they received from men of rank and learning, they laboured under the
greatest difficulties, and prosecuted their undertaking with very
inadequate compensation, as we learn from a petition presented, 1472, in
their names, to Pope Sextus, by the chief patron, the Bishop of Aleria.
Their necessities were probably produced by the number of copies of each
impression which they threw off, and which exceeding the demand, they were
so encumbered by those left on their hands, as to be reduced to the
greatest poverty and distress(677). The first book which they printed at
Rome, was the _Epistolæ Familiares_ of Cicero.

Alexander Minutianus, who published an edition of the whole works at
Milan, 1498, in four volumes folio, was the first person who comprised the
scattered publications of Cicero in one uniform book. Harles informs us,
in one passage, that Minutianus did not consult any MSS. in the
preparation of this edition, but merely collated the editions of the
separate parts of Cicero’s writings previously published, so that his work
is only a continued reimpression of preceding editions(678); but he
elsewhere mentions, that he had inspected the MSS. of the Orations which
Poggio had brought from Germany to Italy(679). In the Orations, Minutianus
chiefly followed the Brescian edition, 1483, which was itself founded on
that of Rome. The work was printed off, not according to the best
arrangement, but as the copies of the preceding editions successively
reached him, which he himself acknowledges in the preface. “Sed quam
necessitas præscripsit dum vetustiora exemplaria ex diversis et longinquis
locis exspectamus.” “If we peruse Saxius,” says Mr Dibdin, “we shall see
with what toil, and at what a heavy expense, this celebrated work of
Minutianus was compiled.” De Bure and Ernesti are lavish in their praises
of its typographical beauty. The latter says it is printed “grandi modulo,
chartis et literis pulchris et splendidis.” The Aldine edition, which was
published in parts from 1512 to 1523, is not accounted a very critical or
correct one, though the latter portion of it was printed under the care of
Naugerius. It would be endless to enumerate the subsequent editions of
Cicero. That of Petrus Victorius, however, whom Harles calls _Ciceronis
Æsculapius_, printed at Venice in 1534–37, in four volumes folio, should
not be forgotten, as there is no commentator to whom Cicero has been more
indebted than to Victorius, particularly in the correction and emendation
of the Epistles. The edition of Lambinus, Paris, 1566, also deserves
notice. Lambinus was an acute and daring commentator, who made many
corrections on the text, but adopted some alterations too rashly. From his
time downwards, Harles thinks that the editors of Cicero may be divided
into two classes; some following the bold changes introduced by Lambinus,
and others preferring the more scrupulous text of Victorius. Of the latter
class was Gruterus, who, in his edition published at Hamburgh, 1618,
appears to have obstinately rejected even the most obvious emendations
which had been recently made on the text of his author. The three editions
of Ernesti’s Cicero, (Lips. 1737, Hal. Sax. 1758–74,) and the three of
Olivet’s, (Paris, 1740, Geneva, 1758, Oxon. 1783,) are too well known to
be particularized or described. Olivet did not collate MSS.; but he
compared with each other what he considered as the four most important
editions of Cicero; those of P. Victorius, Paullus Manutius, Lambinus, and
Gruterus. In 1795, the first volume of a new edition of Cicero, by Beck,
was printed at Leipsic, and since that period, three more volumes, at long
intervals, have fallen from the press. The last volume which appeared, was
in 1807; and along with the three by which it was preceded, comprehends
the Orations of Cicero. The preface contains a very full account of
preceding editions, and the most authoritative MSS. of Cicero. Ernesti’s
editions were adopted as the basis of the text; but the editor departs
from them where he sees occasion. He does not propose many new emendations
of his own; but he seems a very acute judge of the merit of various
readings, and a judicious selector from the corrections of others. While
this edition of Beck was proceeding in Germany, Schütz brought forth
another, which is now completed, except part of the _Index Latinitatis_.
There are few notes subjoined to the text; but long summaries are prefixed
to each oration and work of Cicero; and the _Rhetorica ad Herennium_ is
introduced by an ample dissertation concerning the real author of that
treatise. A new arrangement of the _Epistolæ Familiares_ has also been
adopted. They are no longer printed, as in most other editions, in a
chronological series, but are classed according to the individuals to whom
they are addressed. The whole publication is dedicated to Great Britain
and the Allied Sovereigns, in a long columnar panegyric.

There have also been lately published in Germany, several learned and
critical editions of separate portions of the works of Cicero,
particularly his Philosophical Writings. The edition of all his
Philosophic Treatises, by Goerenz, which is now proceeding and already
comprehends the _Academica_, the dialogues _De Legibus_ and _De Finibus_,
is distinguished by intelligent Prefaces and Excursuses on the periods of
the composition of the respective Dialogues; as also on the design of the
author in their composition.

The translations of Cicero are so numerous, that for the Italian
translations I must refer the reader to Paitoni, _Biblioteca degli autori
antichi Greci e Latini Volgarizzati_, Tom. I. p. 219; and Argelati,
_Biblioteca degli Volgarizzatori_, Tom. I. p. 214. For French versions, to
Goujet, _Bibliotheque Françoise_, Tom. II. p. 221; and, for English, to
Brüggemann, _View of the Editions and Translations of the Ancient Greek
and Latin authors_, p. 481.


For the benefit of those who wish to prosecute their inquiries into the
subject of Roman Literature, I have subjoined a note of some of the most
important Books which treat of the subject. An asterisk is prefixed to the
titles of those works which have been consulted by me in the compilation
of the preceding pages.

AIMERICHIUS.—_Specimen veteris Romanæ Literaturæ deperditæ vel adhuc
latentis, seu Syllabus Historicus et Criticus veterum olim notæ
eruditionis Romanorum, ab urbe conditâ ad Honorii Augusti excessum, eorum
imprimis quorum Latina opera vel omnino vel ex parte desiderantur_.
Ferrara, 1784. 8vo.

“This work is intended to give an idea of Roman literature, from the
foundation of the city to the death of the Emperor Honorius. The preface,
written by a friend of the author, gives an account of the manner in which
the Romans lived, both in the capital and in the provinces, during this
long period. The historical and literary Syllabus contains, under nine
articles, a variety of literary matters. In the first, the Abbé
Aimerichius gives us brief notices, and a critical review of the ancient
Roman writers, both Pagan and Christian, whose works were extant in public
or private libraries, before the death of the Emperor Honorius. In the
second, we have the titles and subjects of several works which have been
lost, but which have been cited or indicated by contemporary writers, or
writers nearly such, whose testimonies are related by our author. The
third contains an account of the most celebrated public or private
libraries, that were known at Rome before the death of Honorius: and, in
the fourth, we have the author’s inquiries concerning the pronunciation of
the Romans, their manner of writing, and the changes which took place in
their orthography. In the fifth, the Abbé treats of the magistracies that
could not be obtained, either at Rome or in the provinces, but by men of
letters, as also of rites and sacrifices, of luxury, riches, public shows,
&c. In the sixth, he gives his particular opinion concerning the ancient
literature of the Romans, and the mixture of the Latin and Greek languages
which they employed, both in their conversation and in their writings. The
seventh contains an indication of the principal heresies that disturbed
the church, from the time of the Apostles to that of Honorius; and the
eighth several memorable facts and maxims, not generally known, which
belong to the literary, civil, military, and ecclesiastical history of
this period. In the concluding article, the Abbé takes notice of the Latin
works which had been lost for a considerable time, and shows how, and by
whom, they were first discovered.”—From this account, which I have
extracted from Horne’s _Introduction to the Study of Bibliography_, I
regret extremely that I have had no opportunity of consulting the work of

BLESSIG.—_De Origine Philosophiæ apud Romanos_. Strasburgh, 1770. 4to.

BECMANNUS.—_Manductio ad linguam Latinam cum Tractatu de Originibus Linguæ
Latinæ_. 1608. 8vo.

*CASAUBON.—_De Satyrica Græcorum Poësi et Romanorum Satira libri duo, in
quibus etiam Poëtæ recensentur, qui in utrâque poësi floruerunt_. Halæ,
1774. 8vo.

This treatise, which is one of the most learned and agreeable productions
of Casaubon, is the source of almost everything that has been written by
modern authors, on the subject of the satiric poetry of the Romans.
Casaubon traces its early history in the Fescennine verses, the Atellane
fables, and the satires of Ennius and Lucilius, and vindicates to the
Romans the invention of this species of composition, for which, he
contends, they had no model in the poetry of the Greeks.

CELLARIUS.—_Dissertatio de Studiis Romanorum Literariis_. Halle, 1698.

CORRADUS.—_Quæstura—Partes duæ, quarum altera de Ciceronis Vitâ et
Libris—Altera Ciceronis Libros permultis locis emendat._ Lips. 1754. 8vo.

*CRUSIUS.—_Lives of the Roman Poets_. London, 1733. 2 Vols.

*EBERHARDT.—_Uber den Zustand der Schönen Wissenschaften bei den Römern_.
Altona, 1801. 8vo.

This work was written by a Swede, and in the Swedish language. It
contains, in its original form, a very superficial and inaccurate sketch
of the subject; but some valuable notes and corrections accompany the
German translation.

*FABRICIUS.—_Bibliotheca Latina, digesta et aucta diligentiâ Jo. Aug.
Ernesti_. Lips. 1773. 3 Tom. 8vo.

The well-known and justly-esteemed _Bibliotheca_ of Fabricius gives an
account of all the Latin writers from Plautus to Marcian Capella. In most
of the articles we have a biographical sketch of the author—a list of his
writings—an account of the most authoritative MSS. of his works—of the
best editions, and of the most celebrated translations in the modern
languages of Europe.

FUHRMANN.—_Handbuch der Classischen Literatur, oder Anleitung zur Kentniss
der Griechischen und Römischen Classischen Schriftsteller, ihren
Schriften, und der besten Ausgaben, und Uebersetzungen derselben_.
Rudolstadt, 1809–10.

Two of the volumes of this work relate to Roman literature. It is chiefly
bibliographical, containing very full accounts of the editions and
translations of the Classics which have appeared, particularly in Germany;
but there are also some critical accounts of the works of the Roman
authors: these are chiefly extracted from Journals and Reviews, and, in
consequence, the author frequently repeats the same thing in different
words, and still more frequently contradicts himself.

*FUHRMANN.—_Anleitung zur Geschichte der Classischen Literatur der
Griechen und Römer_. Rudolstadt, 1816.

An abridgment of the preceding work.

*FUNCCIUS.—_De Origine et Pueritiâ, De Adolescentiâ, Virili Ætate, et
Senectute Linguæ Latinæ_. Frankfort, 1720.

This is one of the most learned and valuable works extant on the subject
of Latin literature. In the first tract, _De Pueritiâ_, the author chiefly
treats of the origin and progress of the Roman language.

*GAUDENTIUS PAGANINUS.—_De Philosophiæ ap. Romanos Ortu et Progressu_.
Pisa, 1643, 4.

A very dull and imperfect account of the state of philosophy among the
Romans, from the earliest periods to the time of Boethius.

*HANKIUS. (MART.)—_De Romanarum Rerum Scriptoribus_. Lips. 1687. 4to.

The first part of this work contains a succinct account of the ancient
Roman Annalists and Historians. The latter part relates to modern writers
who treated of Roman affairs.

*HARLES. (TH. CHRIST.)—_Introductio in Notitiam Literaturæ Romanæ,
imprimis Scriptorum Latinorum_. Noriberg. 1781. 2 Tom. 8vo.

This work of Harles, as far as it extends, is written on the same plan,
and is much of the same description, as the _Bibliotheca_ of Fabricius. It
is not continued farther, however, than the Augustan age inclusive.

*HARLES. (TH. CHRIST.)—_Brevior Notitia Literaturæ Romanæ, imprimis
Scriptorum Latinorum_. Lips. 1788. 1 Tom. 8vo.

*HARLES. (TH. CHRIST.)—_Supplementa ad Breviorem Notitiam Literaturæ
Romanæ_. Lips. 1788. 2 Tom. 8vo.

This work, and the preceding, are on the same plan as the _Introductio_;
but bring down the history of Roman writers, and the editions of their
works, to the latest periods. It is much to be regretted, that these works
of Harles had not been incorporated into one; since, taken separately,
each is incomplete, and collectively, they abound in repetitions.

*KLÜGLING. (C. F.)—_Supplementa ad Breviorem Notitiam Literaturæ Romanæ_.
Lips. 1817.

This Supplement to Harles, contains an account of the editions of the
Classics which had appeared chiefly in Germany, subsequent to the
publication of the _Brevior Notitia_.

KÖNIG.—_De Satirâ Romanorum_. Oldenburgh, 1796.

KRIEGK.—_Diatribe de Veterum Romanorum Peregrinationibus Academicis_.
Jenæ, 1704. 4to.

LEO (ANNIBAL DI).—_Memorie di Pacuvio_. Neapol. 1763.

MEIEROTTO.—_De Præcipuis rerum Romanarum Scriptoribus_. Berlin, 1792.

*MÜLLER.—_Einleitung zu nöthiger Kentniss und Gebrauche der alten
Lateinischen Schriftsteller_. Dresden, 1747. 5 Tom. 8vo.

*MOINE D’ORGEVAL.—_Considerations sur le Progrés des Belles Lettres chez
les Romains_. Paris, 1749.

*OSANNUS.—_Analecta Critica, Poësis Romanorum scænicæ reliquias
illustrantia_. Berlin, 1717.

This is a work of considerable ingenuity and research. It contains some
discussion concerning the date at which regular comedies and tragedies
were first exhibited at Rome; but it is chiefly occupied with comparisons
between the Fragments of the ancient Latin Dramatists, and the
corresponding passages in the Greek originals.

*SAGITTARIUS (CASP.)—_Commentatio de Vitâ et Scriptis Liv. Andronici,
Nævii, Ennii, Cæcilii, Pacuvii, Attii, Attilii, Lucilii, Afranii,
Catonis_. Altenburg, 1672.

This is a small volume of 110 pages, which has now become extremely

SAGITTARIUS (CASP.)—_De Vitâ, scriptis, editionibus, interpretibus,
lectione, atque imitatione Plauti, Terentii, Ciceronis_. Altenburg, 1671.

*SCHOELL.—_Histoire Abregée de la Litterature Romaine_. Paris, 1815. 4
Tom. 8vo.

See above. Preface, p. xiii.

*TIRABOSCHI.—_Storia della Litteratura Italiana_. Modena, 1787. Tom. I.
and II.

See above. Preface, p. xiii.

*VOSSIUS (GERARD).—_De Historicis Latinis Libri tres_. Lugd. Bat. 1651.

*WALCHIUS.—_Historia Critica Latinæ Linguæ_. Lips. 1761.

*ZIEGLER.—_De Mimis Romanorum_. Gotting. 1789.

                           CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE.

  |              | Born.  | Dies.  |
  |              | A.U.C. | A.U.C. |
  |L. Andronicus |        | 534    |
  |Nævius        |        | 550    |
  |Ennius        | 515    | 585    |
  |Plautus       | 525    | 570    |
  |Cæcilius      |        | 586    |
  |Terence       | 560    | 594    |
  |Pacuvius      | 534    | 624    |
  |Attius        | 584    | 664    |
  |Lucilius      | 605    | 659?   |
  |Lucretius     | 658    | 702    |
  |Catullus      | 667    | 708?   |
  |Laberius      |        | 710    |
  |Cato          | 519    | 605    |
  |Varro         | 637    | 727    |
  |Sallust       | 668    | 718    |
  |Cæsar         | 656    | 709    |
  |Hortensius    | 640    | 703    |
  |Cicero        | 647    | 710    |


      Afranius, his Comedies, vol. i. p. 170.
      Agriculture, advantages of Italy for, ii. 6–11.
      Antias, Q. Valerius, Latin Annalist, ii. 74.
      Antipater, Cælius, Latin Annalist, ii. 72.
      Antonius, Marcus, character of his eloquence, ii. 117.
            His death, 119.
      Arcesilaus founds the New Academy, ii. 208.
      Asellio, Sempronius, Latin Annalist, ii. 73.
      Atellane Fables, i. 229.
      Attius, his Tragedies, i. 214.

      Brutus, his Historical Epitomes, ii. 107.

      Cæcilius, his Comedies, i. 168.
      Cæcina, his history, ii. 108.
      Cæsar compared with Xenophon, ii. 94.
            His Commentaries, 95–101.
            His Ephemeris, whether the same work with his Commentaries,
            His Anticatones, 102.
            His Analogia, 103.
      Calvus, Licinius, his Epigrams, i. 322.
            His orations, ii. 131.
      Carmen Saliare, i. 43.
      Carneades teaches the Greek philosophy at Rome, ii. 211.
      Cato, the Censor, his work on Agriculture, ii. 12–16.
            His Orations, 16.
            His work De Originibus, 18.
            On Medicine, 20–21.
      Catullus, i. 271–320.
      Cethegus, Marcus, an orator, ii. 110.
      Cicero, his Orations, ii. 152.
            Compared with Demosthenes, 192.
            His works on Rhetoric, 193.
            De Oratore, 195.
            Brutus, 198.
            The Orator, 199.
            Topica, 200.
            Rhetorica ad Herennium, inquiry concerning the author of, 202.
            His philosophical works—De Legibus, 223.
            De Finibus, 229.
            Academica, 232.
            Tusculanæ Disputationes, 236.
            De Naturâ Deorum, 243.
            De Officiis, 257.
            De Senectute, 259.
            De Republica, 263.
            His Epistles, 278.
      Columna Rostrata, inscription on the, i. 46.
      Cotta, his style of oratory, ii. 122.
      Crassus, Lucius, character of his eloquence, ii. 120.
            His death, ibid.
            Compared with Antony, 121.

      Decemviral Laws, ii. 134.
      Dialogue, remarks on this species of composition, ii. 194.

      Eloquence, Roman, commencement of, ii. 109.
      Ennius, his tragedies, i. 67.
            Annals, 78.
            Translation of Euhemerus, 94.
      Etruscans, their origin, i. 20.
            Their conquests, 26.
            Religion, 29.
            Arts, 35.
      Eugubian Tables, i. 47.

      Fabius Pictor, Latin Annalist, ii. 67–71.
      Fratres Arvales, hymn of the, i. 43.

      Galba, Sergius, an orator, ii. 110.
      Gracchi, oratory of the, ii. 113.

      Hirtius, his continuation of Cæsar’s Commentaries, ii. 105.
      History, Roman, uncertainty of, ii. 57–67.
      Hortensius, his luxury and magnificence, ii. 124.
            His villas at Tusculum, Bauli, and Laurentum, 124, 125.
            Character of his eloquence, 127.
            His descendants, 130, Note.

      Jurisconsults, Roman, account of, ii. 138.

      Laberius, i. 328.
      Lælius, his oratory compared with that of Scipio, ii. 111.
      Latin Language, its origin, i. 32.
            Its changes, 48.
      Laws, Roman, ii. 133–138.
      Leges Regiæ, ii. 133.
      Livius Andronicus, i. 54–58.
      Lucceius, his History of the Social War, ii. 107.
      Lucilius, i. 238–248.
      Lucretius, i. 250–271.
      Lucullus, his patronage of learning, ii. 51.
      Luscius Lavinius, i. 171.

      Magna Græcia, its settlements, i. 50.
      Mimes, their origin and subjects, i. 324.

      Nævius, i. 58–62.

      Pacuvius, i. 209.
      Plautus, i. 96–168.
      Philosophy, Greek, introduction of, at Rome, ii. 209.
      Plebiscita, account of the, ii. 136.
      Prætor, account of the office of, ii. 141.
      Publius Syrus, i. 332.

      Quadrigarius, Claudius, Latin Annalist, ii. 73.

      Sallust, his character, ii. 82.
            His Gardens, ibid.
            His conspiracy of Catiline, and Jugurthine war, 84–88.
            His Roman History, 92.
      Satire, Roman, origin of, i. 232.
      Senatusconsultum, what, ii. 137.
      Sisenna, Roman Annalist, ii. 75.
      Sulpicius, his worthless character, ii. 121.
            His style of oratory, 122.
      Sylla, his library, ii. 50.
            His Memoirs of his Life, 77.
            His character, 78.

      Terence, i. 175–206.
            Compared with Plautus, 206.
      Theatre, Roman, its construction, i. 337–353.
      Tyrannio, his library, ii. 52.
      Trabea, i. 173.

      Varro, his farms and villas, ii. 25.
            His work on Agriculture, 28–34.
            De Lingua Latina, 34.
            Other works of Varro, 40.




_    1 Voyage du Jeune Anacharsis_, T. II. c. 20.

_    2 Antiquitat. Rom._ Lib. I.

_    3 Geograph._ Lib. VI.

_    4 Hist. Nat._ Lib. XVIII. c. 11.; XXXVII. c. 12.

    5 Virgil, _Georg._ Lib. II.

    6 Plutarch, _in Numa_.

    7 Livy, _Epitome_, Lib. XVIII. Valer. Maxim. Lib. IV. c. 4. § 6.

    8 Cicero, _De Senectute_, c. 16.

    9 Rapin, _Hortorum_, Lib. IV.

   10 Bonstetten, _Voyage dans le Latium_, p. 274.

   11 J. C. L. Sismondi, _Tableau de l’Agriculture Toscane_, and
      Chasteauvieux, _Lettres Ecrites d’Italie_. Paris, 1816. 2 Tom.

   12 Plutarch, _in Cato._

   13 Plutarch, _in Cato._

   14 Plin. _Hist. Nat._ Lib. XIV. c. 4; Lib. XVI. c. 39.

   15 Plutarch, _in Cato._

   16 Ibid.

_   17 In Cato._

   18 C. 160.

   19 Cicero, _Brutus_, c. 17.

   20 Vegetius, Lib. I. c. 8.

   21 Plutarch, _in Cato._

   22 Valerius Maximus, Lib. VIII. c. 7. Valerius says, he was in his 86th
      year; but Cato did not survive beyond his 85th. Cicero, _in Bruto_,
      c. 20. Pliny, _Hist. Nat._ Lib. XIX. c. 1.

   23 Livy, Lib. XXXIX. c. 40.

   24 Lib. XXXIV. c. 2.

_   25 Noct. Attic._ Lib. VII. c. 3.

_   26 Brutus_, c. 17.

   27 Lib. XXXIX. c. 40.

_   28 Noct. Attic._ Lib. X. c. 3.

_   29 Hist. Nat._ Lib. VIII. c. 5.

_   30 Brutus_, c. 17.

_   31 Brutus_, c. 87.

   32 Quintil. _Inst. Orat._ Lib. III. c. 1.

   33 Pliny, _Hist. Nat._ Lib. XXV. c. 2.

   34 Pliny, _Hist. Nat._ Lib. XXV. c. 2.

   35 Livy, Lib. IV. c. 25.

   36 Plin. _Hist. Nat._ Lib. XXIX. c. 1.

   37 Plutarch, _in Cato._

   38 Plin. _Hist. Nat._ Lib. XX. c. 9.

   39 Ibid. Lib. XXIX. c. 1.

   40 Pliny, _Hist. Nat._ Lib. XXIX. c. 1.

_   41 Stor. del. Let. Ital._ Part. III. Lib. III. c. 5. § 5.

   42 See Spon, _Recherches Curieuses d’Antiquité_. Diss. 27. Bayle,
      _Dict. Hist._ art. Porcius, Rem. H.

      In what degree of estimation medicine was held at Rome, and by what
      class of people it was practised, were among the _quæstiones vexatæ_
      of classical literature in our own country in the beginning and
      middle of last century. Dr Mead, in his _Oratio Herveiana_, and
      Spon, in his _Recherches d’Antiquité_, followed out an idea first
      suggested by Casaubon, in his animadversions on Suetonius, that
      physicians in Rome were held in high estimation, and were frequently
      free citizens; that it was the surgeons who were the _servile
      pecus_; and that the erroneous idea of physicians being slaves,
      arose from confounding the two orders. These authors chiefly rested
      their argument on classical passages, from which it appears that
      physicians were called the friends of Cicero, Cæsar, and Pompey.
      Middleton, in a well known Latin dissertation, maintains that there
      was no distinction at Rome between the physician, surgeon, and
      apothecary, and that, till the time of Julius Cæsar at least, the
      art of medicine was exercised only by foreigners and slaves, or by
      freedmen, who, having obtained liberty for their proficiency in its
      various branches, opened a shop for its practice.—_De Medicorum apud
      veteres Romanos degentium Conditione Dissertatio_. _Miscellaneous
      Works_, Vol. IV. See on this topic, _Schlæger, Histor. litis, De
      Medicorum apud veteres Romanos degentium Conditione. Helmst._ 1740.

_   43 Noct. Attic._ Lib. VII. c. 10.

_   44 De Officiis_, Lib. I. c. 29. Multa sunt multorum facete dicta: ut
      ea, quæ a sene Catone collecta sunt, quæ vocant apophthegmata.

_   45 Sat._ Lib. I. 2.

   46 For Cato’s family, see Aulus Gellius, _Noct. Attic._ Lib. XIII. c.

   47 We have many minute descriptions of the villas of luxurious Romans,
      from the time of Hortensius to Pliny, but there are so few accounts
      of those in the simpler age of Scipio, that I have subjoined the
      description of Seneca, who saw this mansion precisely in the same
      state it was when possessed and inhabited by the illustrious
      conqueror of Hannibal. “Vidi villam structam lapide quadrato, murum
      circumdatum sylvæ, turres quoque in propugnaculum villæ utrimque
      subrectas. Cisternam ædificiis et viridibus subditam, quæ sufficere
      in usum exercitûs posset. Balneolum angustum, tenebricosum ex
      consuetudine antiquâ. Magna ergo me voluptas subit contemplantem
      mores Scipionis et nostros. In hoc angulo, ille Carthaginis horror,
      cui Roma debet quod tantum semel capta est, abluebat corpus
      laboribus rusticis fessum; exercebat enim operâ se, terramque, ut
      mos fuit priscis, ipse subigebat. Sub hoc ille tecto tam sordido
      stetit—hoc illum pavimentum tam vile sustinuit.” Senec. _Epist._ 86.

   48 Lib. II.

_   49 Trionfo della Fama_, c. 3.

   50 Varro, _De Re Rusticâ_, Lib. II. proœm.

   51 Cæsar, _Comment. de Bello Civili_, Lib. II. c. 17, &c.

   52 Suetonius, _in Jul. Cæs._ c. 44.

_   53 Epist. Fam._ Lib. IX. Ep. 6. Ed. Schütz.

_   54 De Re Rusticâ_, Lib. II.

   55 Cicero, _Philip._ II. c. 40.

   56 See Castell’s _Villas of the Ancients_.

_   57 De Re Rusticâ_, Lib. III. c. 5.

_   58 Classical Tour in Italy_.

   59 Appian, _De Bello Civili_, Lib. IV. 47.

   60 Berwick’s _Lives of Asin. Pollio, M. Varro, &c._

_   61 Scaligerana prima_, p. 144.

   62 Πολυγραφωτατος. _Epist. ad Attic._ Lib. III. Ep. 18.

   63 Cicero, _De Divinat._ Lib. I. c. 18. Seneca, _Epist._ 98.

   64 Suetonius, _De Illust. Grammat._ c. 1.

   65 Suetonius (_De Illust. Gram._) says, that he was sent by Attalus, at
      the moment of the death of Ennius. Now, Ennius died in 585, at which
      time Eumenes reigned at Pergamus, and was not succeeded by Attalus
      till the year 595; so that Suetonius was mistaken, either as to the
      year in which Crates came to Rome, or the king by whom he was sent—I
      rather think he was wrong in the latter point; for, if Crates was
      the first Greek rhetorician who taught at Rome, which seems
      universally admitted, he must have been there before 593, in which
      year the rhetoricians were expressly banished from Rome, along with
      the philosophers.

   66 Suetonius, c. 2.

   67 Court de Gebelin, _Monde Primitif_, T. VI. Disc. Prelim. p. 12.

_   68 Epist. ad Attic._ Lib. XIII. Ep. 12.

   69 Ibid. Lib. XIII. Ep. 18.

_   70 Epist. Famil._ Lib. IX. Ep. 8.

   71 Aulus Gellius, Lib. I. c. 18

   72 See also as to the Celtic derivations, Court de Gebelin, _Monde
      Primitif_. Disc. Prelim. T. VI. p. 23.

   73 Jupiter, Juno, Saturnus, Vulcanus, Vesta, et alii plurimi quos Varro
      conatur ad mundi partes sive elementa transferre. (_St August.
      Civit. Dei_, Lib. VIII. c. 5.)

   74 Lactantius, _Div. Inst._ Lib. I. c. 6.

   75 Bolingbroke, _Use and Study of History_, Lett. 3.

   76 Au. Gellius, Lib. XIV. c. 7.

   77 St Augustine, _De Civitat. Dei_, Lib. XIX. c. 1.

   78 Antiochus of Ascalon, a teacher of the old Academy.

   79 Fabricius, _Biblioth. Latin._ Lib. I. c. 7.

   80 Au. Gellius, _Noct. Attic._ Lib. XIII. c. 11.

_   81 Ibid._ Lib. VII. c. 16.

   82 Tom. I. p. 241.

   83 It was long believed, that Pope Gregory the First had destroyed the
      works of Varro, in order to conceal the plagiarisms of St Augustine,
      who had borrowed largely from the theological and philosophic
      writings of the Roman scholar. This, however, is not likely. That
      illustrious Father of the Christian Church is constantly referring
      to the learned heathen, without any apparent purpose of concealment;
      and he extols him in terms calculated to attract notice to the
      subject of his eulogy. Nor did St Augustine possess such meagre
      powers of genius, as to require him to build up the city of the true
      God from the crumbling fragments of Pagan temples.

_   84 Academ. Poster._ Lib. I. c. 3.

   85 Morhof, _Polyhistor_. Tom. I. Lib. I. Falsterus, _Hist. Rei Liter.
      ap. Roman._

   86 Middendorp, _De Academ._ Lib. III.

   87 Tiraboschi, _Stor. dell Lett. Ital._ Part III. Lib. III. c. 8.

   88 Plin. _Hist. Nat._ Lib. XVIII. c. 3.

   89 Plutarch, _in Paul. Æmil._

   90 Id. _in Sylla_.

   91 Plutarch, _in Lucullo_.

_   92 Ibid._

_   93 Epist. ad Attic._ Lib. IV. Ep. 4 and 8.

_   94 Epist. ad Quint. Frat._ Lib. II. Ep. 4. According to some writers,
      it was a younger Tyrannio, the disciple of the elder, who arranged
      Cicero’s library, and taught his nephew.—Mater, _Ecole
      d’Alexandrie_, Tom. I. p. 179.

   95 Suidas, _Lexic._

   96 Plin. _Hist. Nat._ Lib. VII. c. 30.

   97 Plin. _Hist. Nat._ Lib. XXXV. c. 14.

   98 Au. Gellius, Lib. IV. c. 9.

   99 Plutarch, _in Cicero._

_  100 Chron. Euseb._

  101 Suetonius, _in August._ c. 94.

  102 Au. Gellius, _Noct. Attic._ Lib. XIX. c. 14.

_  103 Ibid._

  104 Au. Gellius, Lib. X. c. 4.

  105 See farther, with regard to Nigidius Figulus, Bayle, _Dict. Histor._
      Art. Nigidius, and _Mem. de l’Acad. des Inscriptions_, Tom. XXIX. p.

  106 Au. Gellius, _Noct. Attic._ Lib. XIII. c. 9.

  107 Griffet, _De Arte Regnandi_.

_  108 De Oratore_, Lib. II. c. 13.

  109 Vopiscus, _Vit. Taciti Imp._

_  110 Römische Geschichte_, Tom. I. p. 367.

  111 Cicero, _De Oratore_, Lib. II. c. 13.

  112 Lib. I. c. 2.

  113 Quæ in Commentariis Pontificum aliisque publicis privatisque erant
      monumentis, incensâ urbe, pleræque interîere. Livy, Lib. VI. c. 1.

  114 Livy, Lib. VI. c. 1.

  115 Polybius, Lib. III. c. 22, 25, 26.

_  116 Epist._ Lib. II. Ep. 1.

  117 Lib. IV. p. 257. ed. Sylburg, 1586.

  118 Lib. II. p. 111.

  119 Lib. III. p. 174.

  120 Lib. IV. c. 7.

  121 Lib. III. c. 22.

_  122 Hist. Nat._ Lib. XXXIV. c. 14.

_  123 Hist. Nat._ Lib. XXXIV. c. 14.

  124 Livy, Lib. IV. c. 23.

  125 Dionys. Halic. Lib. I. p. 60.

  126 Pliny, _Hist. Nat._ Lib. XXXV. c. 2.

_  127 In Numa_.

  128 Lib. VIII. c. 40.

  129 His laudationibus historia rerum nostrarum est facta mendosior.
      Multa enim scripta sunt in iis, quæ facta non sunt—falsi triumphi,
      plures consulatus, genera etiam falsa. _Brutus_, c. 16.

  130 Lib. III. c. 20.

_  131 L’Evesque, Hist. Critique de la Republique Romaine_, T. I.

  132 Livy, Lib. V. c. 21.

  133 Bankes, _Civil History of Rome_, Vol. I.

_  134 Brutus_, c. 11.

  135 Livy, Lib. II. c. 40.

  136 The question concerning the authenticity or uncertainty of the Roman
      history, was long, and still continues to be, a subject of much
      discussion in France.—“At Paris,” said Lord Bolingbroke, “they have
      a set of stated paradoxical orations. The business of one of these
      was to show that the history of Rome, for the four first centuries
      was a mere fiction. The person engaged in it proved that point so
      strongly, and so well, that several of the audience, as they were
      coming out, said, the person who had set that question had played
      booty, and that it was so far from being a paradox, that it was a
      plain and evident truth.”—SPENCE’S _Anecdotes_, p. 197. It was
      chiefly in the _Memoires de l’Academie des Inscriptions_, &c. that
      this literary controversy was plied. M. de Pouilly, in the Memoirs
      for the year 1722, produced his proofs and arguments against the
      authenticity. He was weakly opposed, in the following year, by M.
      Sallier, and defended by M. Beaufort, in the Memoirs of the Academy,
      and at greater length in his _Dissert. sur l’Incertitude des cinq
      premiers siècles de l’Hist. Romaine_, (1738,) which contains a clear
      and conclusive exposition of the state of the question. The dispute
      has been lately renewed in the Memoirs of the Institute, in the
      proceedings of which, for 1815, there is a long paper, by M.
      Levesque, maintaining the total uncertainty of the Roman history
      previous to the invasion of the Gauls; while the opposite side of
      the question has been strenuously espoused by M. Larcher. This
      controversy, though it commenced in France, has not been confined to
      that country. Hooke and Gibbon have argued for the certainty,
      (_Miscell. Works_, Vol. IV. p. 40,) and Cluverius for the
      uncertainty, of the Roman history, (_Ital. Antiq._ Lib. III. c. 2.)
      Niebuhr, the late German historian of Rome, considers all before
      Tullus Hostilius as utterly fabulous. The time that elapsed from his
      accession to the war with Pyrrhus, he regards as a period to be
      found in almost every history, between mere fable and authentic
      record. Beck, in the introduction to his German translation of
      Ferguson’s Roman Republic, _Ueber die Quellen der altesten Römischen
      Geschichte und ihren Werth_, has attempted to vindicate the
      authenticity of the Roman history to a certain extent; but his
      reasonings and citations go little farther than to prove, what never
      can be disputed, that there is much truth in the general outline of
      events—that the kings were expelled—that the Etruscans were finally
      subdued; and that consuls were created. He admits, that much rested
      on tradition; but tradition, he maintains, is so much interwoven
      with every history, that it cannot be safely thrown away. The
      remainder of the treatise is occupied with a feeble attempt to show,
      that more monuments existed at Rome after its capture by the Gauls,
      than is generally supposed, and that Fabius Pictor made a good use
      of them.

  137 Pliny, _Hist. Nat._ Lib. XXXV. c. 4.

  138 Hankius, _De Romanar. Rerum Scriptor._ Pars I. c. 1.

  139 Lib. VII.

  140 Lib. IV. p. 234.

_  141 In Romulo_.

  142 Lib. III. c. 9.

  143 Lib. I.

  144 Lib. III. c. 8.

  145 Ernesti has attempted, but I think unsuccessfully, to support the
      authenticity of the Annals of Fabius against the censures of
      Polybius, in his dissertation, entitled, _Pro Fabii Fide adversus
      Polybium_, inserted in his _Opuscula Philologica_, Leipsic,
      1746—Lugd. Bat. 1764. He attempts to show, from other passages, that
      Polybius was a great detractor of preceding historians, and that he
      judged of events more from what was probable and likely to have
      occurred, than from what actually happened, and that no historian
      could have better information than Fabius. To the interrogatories
      which Polybius puts to Fabius, with regard to the causes assigned by
      him as the origin of the second Punic war, Ernesti replies for him,
      that the Senate of Carthage could no more have taken the command
      from Hannibal in Spain, or delivered him up, than the Roman Senate
      could have deprived Cæsar of his army, when on the banks of the
      Rubicon; and as to the support which Hannibal received while in
      Italy, it is answered, that it was quite consistent with political
      wisdom, and the practice of other nations, for a government
      involuntarily forced into a struggle, by the disobedience or evil
      counsels of its subjects, to use every exertion to obtain ultimate
      success, or extricate itself with honour, from the difficulties in
      which it had been reluctantly involved.

  146 Lib. I. p. 64.

  147 Fabium æqualem temporibus hujusce belli potissimum auctorem habui.
      Lib. XXII. c. 7.

_  148 Brutus_, c. 27.

_  149 Hist. Nat._ Lib. XI. c. 53.

_  150 Noct. Attic._ Lib. XI. c. 14.

  151 He also probably suggested to Sallust a phrase which has given much
      scandal in so grave a historian. Cicero says, in one of his letters,
      (_Epist. Famil._ Lib. IX. Ep. 22,) “At vero Piso, in annalibus suis,
      queritur, adolescentes peni deditos esse.”

_  152 Römische Geschichte_, Tom. I. p. 245.
      As his account of Roman affairs was written in Greek, I omit in the
      list of Latin annalists Lucius Cincius Alimentus, who was
      contemporary with Fabius, having been taken prisoner by Hannibal
      during the second Punic war. But though his history was in Greek, he
      wrote in Latin a biographical sketch of the Sicilian Rhetorician
      Gorgias Leontinus, and also a book, _De Re Militari_, which has been
      cited by Au. Gellius, and acknowledged by Vegetius as the foundation
      of his more elaborate Commentaries on the same subject.

_  153 Brutus_, c. 26.

  154 The passage is a fragment from the first book of Sallust’s lost
      history. Mar. Victorinus _in prim. Ciceronis de Inventione_.

_  155 De Fontibus et Auctoritate Vitarum Parallel. Plutarchi_, p. 134.
      Gotteng. 1820.

  156 Lib. I. c. 7.

_  157 Brutus_, c. 26.

  158 Lib. I. c. 7.

  159 Æl. Spartianus, _in Hadriano_.

  160 Au. Gellius, _Noct. Attic._ Lib. II. c. 13.

_  161 De Legibus_, Lib. I. c. 2.

  162 Lib. V. c. 18.

_  163 Brutus_, c. 35.

_  164 Noct. Attic._ Lib. IX. c. 13.

_  165 Noct. Attic._ Lib. XIII. c. 28.

  166 Ibid. Lib. VII. c. 19.

_  167 Noct. Attic._ Lib. VI. c. 8.

  168 See above, Vol. I. p. 322.

_  169 Brutus_, c. 63.

  170 Lib. II. c. 9.

_  171 Jugurtha_, c. 95.

_  172 Brutus_, c. 63.

_  173 De Legibus_, Lib. I. c. 2.

_  174 Brutus_, c. 29. Some persons have supposed that Cicero did not here
      mean Xenophon’s _Cyropædia_, but a life of Cyrus, written by
      Scaurus. This, indeed, seems at first a more probable meaning than
      that he should have bestowed a compliment apparently so extravagant
      on the Memoirs of Scaurus; but his words do not admit of this
      interpretation.—“Præclaram illam quidem, sed neque tam rebus nostris
      aptam, nec tamen Scauri laudibus anteponendam.”

  175 Lib. VII.

_  176 In Mario_.

  177 Lib. II. c. 13.

  178 Lib. II. c. 5. Lib. VI. c. 4.

  179 Plutarch, _in Lucullo_.

  180 Plutarch, _In Sylla_.—Appian.

_  181 In Mario_.

_  182 Memoirs of the Court of Augustus_, Vol. I.

_  183 In Vespasiano_, c. 8.

  184 Malheureux sort de l’histoire! Les spectateurs sont trop peu
      instruits, et les acteurs trop interessés pour que nous puissions
      compter sur les recits des uns ou des autres.—GIBBON’S _Miscell.
      Works_, Vol. IV.

_  185 Noct. Att._ Lib. XVII. c. 18.

  186 Nardini, _Roma Antica_. Lib. IV. c. 7.

  187 Steuart’s _Sallust_, Essay I.

_  188 Classical Tour_, Vol. II. c. 6.

_  189 Sat._ Lib. I. Sat. 2.

  190 Suetonius, _De Grammaticis_.

_  191 Leben des Sallust_.

  192 Bankes, _Civil Hist. of Rome_, Vol. II.

  193 The authors of the Universal History suppose that these books were
      Phœnician and Punic volumes, carried off from Carthage by Scipio,
      after its destruction, and presented by him to Micipsa; and they
      give a curious account of these books, of which some memory still
      subsists, and which they conjecture to have formed part of the royal
      collection of Numidia.

  194 Senec. _Epist._ 114.

  195 It is curious into what gross blunders the most learned and accurate
      writers occasionally fall. Fabricius, speaking of these letters,
      says, “Duæ orationes (sive epistolæ potius) de Rep. ordinandâ ad
      Cæsarem missæ, cum in Hispanias proficisceretur contra Petreium et
      Afranium, _victo Cn. Pompeio_.”—_Bibliothec. Latin._ Lib. I. c. 9.

_  196 Lectiones Subsecivæ_, Lib. I. c. 3. Lib. II. c. 2.

  197 Asinius Pollio, however, as we learn from Suetonius, thought that
      the Commentaries were drawn up with little care or accuracy, that
      the author was very credulous as to the actions of others, and that
      he had very hastily written down what regarded himself, with the
      intention, which he never accomplished, of afterwards revising and
      correcting.—Sueton. _in Cæsar._ c. 56.

  198 Bankes, _Civil Hist. of Rome_, Vol. II.

  199 Neque Druides habent, qui rebus divinis præsint; neque sacrificiis
      student. Deorum numero eos solos ducunt, quos cernunt, et quorum
      opibus aperte juvantur—Solem, et Vulcanum, et Lunam: reliquos ne
      famâ quidem acceperunt. Lib. VI. c. 21.

  200 Deorum maximè Mercurium colunt, cui, certis diebus, humanis quoque
      hostiis, litare fas habent. Herculem ac Martem concessis animalibus
      placant ... Lucos ac nemora consecrant, deorumque nominibus
      appellant Secretum illud, quod solâ reverentia vident. _De Mor.
      Germ._ c. 9.

_  201 Germ. Antiqua_, Lib. I. c. 3.

_  202 Brutus_, c. 72.

  203 See Plutarch _In Cæsare_, where it is related that Cæsar wrote
      verses and speeches, and read them to the pirates by whom he was
      taken prisoner, on his return to Rome from Bithynia, where he had
      sought refuge from the power of Sylla.

_  204 Hist. Critic. Ling. Lat._ p. 537.

_  205 Epist. ad Attic._ Lib. XII. ep. 40.

  206 Middleton’s _Life of Cicero_, Vol. II, p. 347, 2d ed.

_  207 Hist. Nat._ Lib. XVIII. c. 26.

  208 Sueton. _In Cæsar._ c. 56.

  209 Cicero, _Brutus_ c. 72.

  210 Au. Gellius, _Noct. Attic._ Lib. I. c. 10.

  211 Charisius, Lib. I.

  212 Au. Gellius, Lib VII, c. 9.

  213 Sueton. _In Cæsar._ c. 56.

  214 Ibid.

  215 See above, Vol. I. p. 204.

  216 See also Blondellus, _Hist. du Calendrier Romain_. Paris, 1682, 4to;
      Bianchinus, _Dissert. de Calendario et Cyclo Cæsaris_, Rom. 1703,
      folio; and Court de Gebelin, _Monde Primit._ T. IV.

  217 Mihi non illud quidem accidit, ut Alexandrino atque Africano bello
      interessem; quæ bella tamen ex parte nobis Cæsaris sermone sunt
      nota. _De Bell. Gall._ Lib. VIII.

  218 Imperfecta ab rebus gestis Alexandriæ confeci, usque ad exitum, non
      quidem civilis dissensionis, cujus finem nullum videmus, sed vitæ
      Cæsaris. _De Bell. Gall._

_  219 De Hist. Lat._ Lib. I. c. 13.

  220 Sueton. _In Cæsar._ c. 72.

_  221 Epist. Famil._ Lib. V. Ep. 12.

  222 Lib. IV. Ep. 6.

_  223 De Ling. Lat._ Lib. IV.

_  224 Hist. Nat._ Lib. VIII. c. 2.

_  225 Epist. Famil._ Lib. VI. Ep. 7.

  226 “Duæ sunt artes,” says Cicero, “quæ possunt locare homines in
      amplissimo gradu dignitatis: una imperatoris, altera oratoris boni:
      Ab hoc enim pacis ornamenta retinentur; ab illo belli pericula
      repelluntur.” _Orat. pro Muræna_, c. 14.

  227 Ratio ipsa in hanc sententiam ducit, ut existimem sapientiam sine
      eloquentia parum prodesse civitatibus. _Rhetoricorum_, Lib. I. c. 1.

  228 Lib. II.

_  229 Brutus_, c. 22.

_  230 De Orat._ Lib. I. c. 60.

_  231 Rhetoric. seu De Inventione_, Lib. I. c. 1.

  232 Plutarch, _In Tiber. Graccho_.

  233 Plutarch, _In Tiber. Graccho_.

_  234 Noct. Attic._ Lib. X. c. 3.

  235 Plutarch, _In Tib. Graccho_.

_  236 De Orator._ Lib. III. c. 60. Plutarch and Cicero’s accounts of the
      eloquence of C. Gracchus, seem not quite consistent with what is
      delivered on the subject by Gellius.

  237 Funccius, _De Virili Ætate Lat. Ling._ c. 1. § 24.

  238 Lib. IV. Od. 1.

  239 Cicero, _De Oratore_, Lib. II. c. 2.

  240 Valer. Maxim. Lib. VII. c. 3.

  241 Valer. Maxim. Lib. III. c. 7; and Lib. VI. c. 8.

_  242 De Oratore_, Lib. II. c. 28, 29, 48, 49.

_  243 Id._ Lib. II. c. 47.

  244 Plutarch _In Mario_. Valerius Maximus, Lib. VIII. c. 9.

  245 Cicero, _De Oratore_, Lib. III. c. 3.

_  246 Id._ Lib. I. c. 33.

  247 Cicero, _De Orat._. Lib. I. c. 26, 27.

  248 Cicero, _De Orat._ Lib. II. c. 1.

  249 Plutarch, _In Sylla_.

_  250 De Oratore_, Lib. III. c. 3.

  251 Plutarch, _In Sylla_.

_  252 De Oratore_, Lib. III. c. 3.

_  253 Brutus_, c. 89.

_  254 Brutus_, c. 63.

  255 Ibid.

_  256 De Oratore_, Lib. III. c. 61.

  257 Cicero, _Brutus_, c. 89.

  258 Ibid.

  259 Ibid.

  260 Plin. _Hist. Nat._ Lib. XVII. c. 1.

  261 Ibid. Lib. XXXIII. c. 11.

  262 Nardini, _Roma Antica_, Lib. VI. c. 15.

  263 Sueton. _in Augusto_, c. 72.

  264 Varro, _De Re Rustica_, Lib. III. c. 6.

  265 Macrobius, _Saturnalia_, Lib. III. c. 13.

  266 Plin. _Hist. Nat._ Lib. XIV. c. 14.

  267 Ibid. Lib. XXV. c. 11.

  268 Varro, _De Re Rustica_, Lib. III. c. 3.

  269 Ibid. Lib. III. c. 17.

  270 Ibid.

  271 Plin. _Hist. Nat._ Lib. IX. c. 55.

  272 Cicer. _Academica_, Lib. II. c. 25, 31, 33.

  273 Bonstetten, _Voyage dans le Latium_, p. 152–160. Nibby, _Viaggio
      Antiquario ne contorni di Roma_, T. II.

  274 Varro, _De Re Rustica_, Lib. III. c. 13.

  275 Cicero, _Brutus_, c. 95.

  276 Varro, _De Re Rustica_. Cicero, _Epist. ad Attic._ Lib. V. Ep. 2.

  277 Seren. Samonicus, _De Medicina_, c. 15.

  278 Cicero, _Epist. Familiares_, Lib. VIII. Ep. 2.

_  279 Dio__ Cassius_, Lib. XXXIX.

  280 Quint. _Inst. Orat._ Lib. XI. c. 3.

_  281 Epist. ad Atticum_, Lib. III. Ep. 9, &c.

  282 As a proof of his astonishing memory, it is recorded by Seneca,
      that, for a trial of his powers of recollection, he remained a whole
      day at a public auction, and when it was concluded, he repeated in
      order what had been sold, to whom, and at what price. His recital
      was compared with the clerk’s account, and his memory was found to
      have served him faithfully in every particular. Senec. _Præf._ Lib.
      I. _Controv._

  283 Aulus Gellius, _Noct. Attic._ Lib. I. c. 5.

  284 Valerius Maximus, Lib. VIII. c. 10.

  285 Ibid.

  286 Macrobius, _Saturnalia_, Lib. III. c. 13.

  287 Ibid.

  288 Meiners, _Decadence des Mœurs chez les Romains_.

  289 Hortensius was first married to a daughter of Q. Catulus, the
      orator, who is one of the speakers in the Dialogue _De Oratore_.
      (Cicero, _De Oratore_, Lib. III. c. 61.) He afterwards asked, and
      obtained from Cato, his wife Marcia; who, having succeeded to a
      great part of the wealth of Hortensius on his death, was then taken
      back by her former husband. (Plutarch, _In Catone_.) By his first
      wife, Hortensius had a son and daughter. In his son Quintus, he was
      not more fortunate than his rival, Cicero, in his son Marcus.
      Cicero, while Proconsul of Cilicia, mentions, in one of his letters,
      the ruffian and scandalous appearance made by the younger Hortensius
      at Laodicea, during the shows of gladiators.—“I invited him once to
      supper,” says he, “on his father’s account; and, on the same
      account, only once.” (_Epist. Ad Attic._ Lib. VI. Ep. 3.) Such,
      indeed, was his unworthy conduct, that his father at this time
      entertained thoughts of disinheriting him, and making his nephew,
      Messala, his heir; but in this intention he did not persevere.
      (Valer. Maxim. Lib. V. c. 9.) After his father’s death, he joined
      the party of Cæsar, (Cicero, _Epist. Ad Att._ Lib. X. Ep. 16, 17,
      18,) by whom he was appointed Proconsul of Macedonia; in which
      situation he espoused the side of the conspirators, subsequently to
      the assassination of Cæsar. (Cicero, _Philip._ X. c. 5 and 6.) By
      order of Brutus, he slew Caius Antonius, brother to the Triumvir,
      who had fallen into his hands; and, being afterwards taken prisoner
      at the battle of Philippi, he was slain by Marc Antony, by way of
      reprisal, on the tomb of his brother. (Plutarch, _In M. Bruto_.)
      Hortensia, the daughter, inherited something of the spirit and
      eloquence of her father. A severe tribute having been imposed on the
      Roman matrons by the Triumvirs, Antony, Octavius, and Lepidus, she
      boldly pleaded their cause before these noted extortioners, and
      obtained some alleviation of the impost. (Valer. Maxim. Lib. VIII.
      c. 3.)
      Quintus, the son of the orator, left two children, Q. Hortensius
      Corbio, and M. Hortensius Hortalus. The former of these was a
      monster of debauchery; and is mentioned by his contemporary,
      Valerius Maximus, among the most striking examples of those
      descendants who have degenerated from the honour of their ancestors.
      (Lib. III. c. 5.) This wretch, not being likely to become a father,
      and the wealth of the family having been partly settled on the wife
      of Cato, partly dissipated by extravagance, and partly confiscated
      in the civil wars, Augustus Cæsar, who was a great promoter of
      matrimony, gave Hortensius Hortalus a pecuniary allowance to enable
      him to marry, in order that so illustrious a family might not become
      extinct. He and his children, however, fell into want during the
      reign of his benefactor’s successor. Tacitus has painted, with his
      usual power of striking delineation, that humiliating scene, in
      which he appeared, with his four children, to beg relief from the
      Senate; and the historian has also recorded the hard answer which he
      received from the unrelenting Tiberius. Perceiving, however, that
      his severity was disliked by the Senate, the Emperor said, that, if
      they desired it, he would give a certain sum to each of Hortalus’s
      male children. They returned thanks; but Hortalus, either from
      terror or dignity of mind, said not a word; and, from this time,
      Tiberius showing him no favour, his family sunk into the most abject
      poverty: (Tacit. _Annal._ Lib. II. c. 37 and 38.) And such were the
      descendants of the orator with the park, the plantations, the ponds,
      and the pictures!

  290 Catull. _Carm._ 53.

  291 Pliny, _Epist._ Lib. I. ep. 2.

_  292 Brutus_, c. 80.

  293 Ibid.

  294 According to some authorities it was a short while before, and
      according to others a short while after, the expulsion of Tarquin.

  295 “Exactis deinde regibus leges hæ exoleverunt; iterumque cœpit
      populus Romanus incerto magis jure et consuetudine ali, quam per
      latam legem.”—POMPON. LÆTUS, _De Leg._ II. § 3.

  296 Gibbon, _Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire_, c. 44.

_  297 De Legibus_, Lib. II. c. 23. _De Oratore_, Lib. I, c. 42.

  298 “Decem tabularum leges,” says Livy, “nunc quoque, in hoc immenso
      aliarum super aliis acervatarum legum cumulo, fons omnis publici
      privatique est juris.”

  299 Cicero, _De Oratore_, Lib. II. c. 33.

  300 Saint Prix, _Hist. du Droit Romain_, p. 23. Ed. Paris, 1821.

_  301 Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire_, c. 44.

  302 Cicero, _De Orat._ Lib. I. c. 57.

  303 Ibid. Lib. I. c. 58.

  304 It must be admitted, however, that Cicero, in other passages of his
      works, has given the study of civil law high encomiums, particularly
      in the following beautiful passage delivered in the person of
      Crassus: “Senectuti vero celebrandæ et ornandæ quid honestius potest
      esse perfugium, quàm juris interpretatio? Equidem mihi hoc subsidium
      jam inde ab adolescentiâ comparavi, non solum ad causarum usum
      forensem, sed etiam ad decus atque ornamentum senectutis; ut cùm me
      vires (quod fere jam tempus adventat) deficere cœpissent, ab
      solitudine domum meam vindicarem.” (_De Oratore_, Lib. I. c. 45.)
      Schultingius, the celebrated civilian, in his dissertation _De
      Jurisprudentia Ciceronis_, tries to prove, from various passages in
      his orations and rhetorical writings, that Cicero was well versed in
      the most profound and nice questions of Roman jurisprudence, and
      that he was well skilled in international law, as Grotius has
      borrowed from him many of his principles and illustrations, in his
      treatise _De Jure Belli et Pacis_.

_  305 De Oratore_, Lib. I.

_  306 Ibid._ Lib. II. c. 49.

  307 “An non pudeat, certam creditam pecuniam periodis postulare, aut
      circa stillicidia affici?”—Quint. _Inst. Orat._ Lib. VIII. c. 3.

  308 Polletus, _Historia Fori Romani, ap. Supplement. ad Graevii et
      Gronov. antiquitat._ T. I. p. 351.

_  309 In Verrem_, Act. I. c. 14.

  310 Nardini, _Roma Antica_, Lib. V. c. 2, &c.

  311 Virg. _Æneid._ Lib. VII.

  312 “Parvis de rebus,” says he, “sed fortasse necessariis consulimur,
      Patres conscripti. De Appiâ viâ et de monetâ Consul—De Lupercis
      tribunus plebis refert. Quarum rerum etsi facilis explicatio
      videtur, tamen animus aberrat a sententiâ, suspensus curis
      majoribus.”—C. I.

_  313 Orator_, c. 30.

_  314 Orator_, c. 30. spe et expectatione laudati.

_  315 De Officiis_, Lib. II. c. 14.

_  316 Brutus_, c. 91.

  317 Cæcilius was _a Jew_, who had been domiciled in Sicily; whence
      Cicero, playing on the name of Verres, asks, “Quid Judæo cum
      _Verre_?” (a boar.)

  318 He ultimately, however, met with a well-merited and appropriate
      fate. Having refused to give up his Corinthian vases to Marc Antony,
      he was proscribed for their sake, and put to death by the rapacious

  319 Livy, Lib. XXV. c. 40.

  320 Gillies, _History of Greece_, Part II. T. IV. c. 27.

_  321 Lectures on Rhetoric_, &c. Vol. II. Lect. XXVIII.

  322 Lib. II. Ep. 1.

  323 Wolf, in the preface to his edition of the Oration for Marcellus,
      mentions having seen a scholastic declamation, entitled, _Oratio
      Catilinæ, in M. Ciceronem_. It concludes thus,—“Me consularem
      patricium, civem et amicum reipublicæ a faucibus inimici consulis
      eripite; supplicem atque insontem pristinæ claritudini, omnium
      civium gratiæ, et benevolentiæ vestræ restitute. _Amen._”

  324 Funccius, _De Viril. Ætat. Ling. Lat._ Pars II. c. 2.

  325 Aonius Palearius wrote a declamation in answer to this speech,
      entitled, _Contra Murænam_.

_  326 Origin and Progress of Language_, Book IV.

_  327 Correspondence_, p. 85.

  328 Jenisch, _Parallel der beiden grösten Redner des Althertum_, p. 124,
      ed. Berlin, 1821.

  329 Plutarch, _In Cicero._

_  330 Philip._ VI. c. 1.

  331 Juvenal, _Satir._ X. v. 118.

  332 Quintil. _Inst. Orat._ Lib. V.

_  333 Orator_, c. 67, 70.

_  334 Hist. Nat._ Lib. VII. c. 30.

  335 Plutarch, _In Cicer._

  336 Macrobius, _Saturnal._ Lib. III. c. 14.

_  337 Noct. Attic._ Lib. I. c. 7.

_  338 Dio Cassius_, XXXIX. c. 9.

_  339 Epist. ad Attic._ Lib. IV. Ep. 1.

_  340 Epist. ad Attic._ Lib. IV. Ep. 2.

  341 See Nichol’s _Literary Anecdotes_. Harles, also, seems to suppose
      that Bishop Ross was in earnest:—“Orationem pro Sulla spuriam esse
      audacter pronunciavit vir quidam doctus in—A Dissertation, in which
      the defence of P. Sulla, &c. is proved to be spurious.”—HARLES,
      _Introduct. in Notitiam Literat. Rom._ Tom. II. p. 153.

_  342 Bib. Lat._ Lib. I. c. 8.

  343 Lib. IV. Ep. 2.

  344 “Cum Appendice De Oratione, quæ vulgo fertur, M. T. Ciceronis pro Q.
      Ligario,” in which the author attempts to abjudicate from Cicero the
      beautiful oration for Ligarius, which shook even the soul of Cæsar,
      while he has translated into his own language the two wretched
      orations, _Post Reditum_, and _Ad Quirites_, insisting on the
      legitimacy of both, and enlarging on their truly classical beauties!
      In his Preface, he has pleasantly enough parodied the arguments of
      Wolf against the oration for Marcellus, ironically showing that they
      came not from that great scholar, but from a _pseudo_ Wolf, who had
      assumed his name.

_  345 Paral. der Beyden Grösten Redner des Altherthums_.

_  346 Brutus_, c. 12, &c.

_  347 Epist. Famil._ Lib. I. Ep. 9.

_  348 Epist. ad Attic._ Lib. XII. Ep. 5, &c.

_  349 Epist. Famil._ Lib. VI. Ep. 18.

_  350 Ibid._ Lib. VII. Ep. 19.

_  351 Inst. Orat._ Lib. XII. c. 10.

_  352 Brutus_, c. 91. Is dedit operam (si modo id consequi potuit) ut
      nimis redundantes nos juvenili quâdam dicendi impunitate et licentiâ
      reprimeret; et quasi extra ripas diffluentes coerceret.

_  353 Observat. Critic. in Sophoc. et Ciceron._ Lips. 1802.

  354 Fuhrmann, _Handbuch der Classisch. Literat._

_  355 De Nat. et Const. Rhetor._ c. 13.

_  356 Dissert. Utrum ars Rhetorica ad Herennium Ciceroni falsò

_  357 De Re Poet._ Lib. III. c. 31. and 34.

  358 See P. Burmanni Secund. _In __Præf.__ ad Rhetoric. ad Herennium._
      Also Fabricius, _Bib. Lat._ Lib. I. c. 8.

_  359 Paradise Regained_.

_  360 De Orat._ Lib. I. c. 10. Ab illo fonte et capite Socrate.

_  361 Academ._ Lib. II. c. 5.

_  362 De Natur. Deor._ Lib. I. c. 43.

  363 Pliny, _Hist. Nat._ Lib. XXXV. c. 11.

_  364 Mem. de l’Instit. Royale_, Tom. XXX.

  365 Cicero styles him Princeps Stoicorum, (_De Divin._ Lib. II. c. 47,)
      and eruditissimum hominem, et pæne divinum (_Pro Muræna_, c. 31.)

  366 Censuerunt ut M. Pomponius Prætor animadverteret uti e republicâ
      fideque suâ videretur Romæ ne essent. (Au. Gellius, _Noct. Attic._
      Lib. XV. c. 11.)

  367 Ælian, _Histor. Var._ Lib. III. c. 17.

  368 Plutarch, _In Catone_.

  369 Au. Gellius, _Noct. Attic._ Lib. VII. c. 14.

_  370 De Oratore_, Lib. III. c. 18.

_  371 Ibid._ Lib. II. c. 38.

  372 Hæc in philosophiâ ratio contra omnia disserendi, nullamque rem
      aperte judicandi, profecta a Socrate, repetita ab Arcesilao,
      confirmata a Carneade, usque ad nostram viguit ætatem. _De Nat.
      Deor._ Lib. I. c. 5.

_  373 Academ. Prior._ Lib. II. c. 48.

  374 Valer. Max. Lib. VIII. c. 7.

_  375 Academ. Prior._ Lib. II. c. 31.

  376 Quintil. _Inst. Orat._ Lib. XII. c. 1. Lactant. _Instit._ Lib. V. c.

  377 Plutarch, _In Catone_. Plin. _Hist. Nat._ Lib. VII. c. 30.

_  378 Divin. Institut._ Lib. V. c. 16.

  379 Plutarch, _De Fortitud. Alexandri_.

  380 Diog. Laert. _In Clitomacho_.

  381 Cicero, _Academic. Prior._ Lib. II. c. 32.

_  382 Academic. Prior._ Lib. II. c. 32.

  383 Mater, _Ecole d’Alexandrie_, Tom. II. p. 131.

  384 Dans la Grèce, aprés ces épreuves, commençoit enfin la vie champêtre
      dans les jardins du Lycée ou de l’Academie, où l’on entreprenoit un
      cours de philosophie, que les véritables amateurs avoient l’art
      singulier de ne jamais finir. Ils restoient toute leur vie attachés
      à quelque chef de secte comme Metrodore à Epicure, moudroient dans
      les écoles, et étoient ensuite enterrés à l’ombre de ces mêmes
      arbustes, sous lesquels ils avoient tant médité. (De Pauw,
      _Recherches Philosophiques sur les Grecs_, T. II.)

  385 Cicero, _Academ. Prior._ Lib. II. c. 4.

_  386 Epist. Familiares_.

  387 Garve, _Anmerk. zu Büchern von den Pflichten_. Breslau, 1819.
      Schoell, _Hist. Abregée de la Litterat. Romaine_.

  388 P. XII.

_  389 Ciceron. Opera_, Tom. XIII. p. 15.

_  390 Epist. ad Attic._ Lib. XII. Ep. 52.

_  391 Epist._ Lib. XIII. Ep. 21.

_  392 Dialog. Hipparchus_.

  393 Black’s _Life of Tasso_, Vol. II.

  394 Hulsemann, _Uber die Principien und den Geist der Gesetze_. Leipsic,

  395 Quæque de optimâ republicâ sentiremus, in sex libris ante diximus;
      accommodabimus hoc tempore leges ad illum, quem probamus civitatûs
      statum. _De Legib._ Lib. III. c. 2.

_  396 Epist. ad Quint. Frat._ Lib. II. Ep. 14. Lib. III. Ep. 5 and 6.

_  397 De Legib._ Lib. II. c. 17.

_  398 Ibid._ Lib. I. c. 20.

  399 Hominis Amicissimi, Cn. Pompeii, laudes illustrabit. Lib. I. c. 3.

_  400 De Legibus_, Lib. II. c. 1.

_  401 Ibid._ Lib. I. c. 5.

_  402 Excursion from Rome to Arpino_, p. 89. Ed. Geneva, 1820.

  403 Plin. _Hist. Nat._ Lib. XXXI. c. 2.

  404 “Cæruleus nos Liris amat.”—_Martial_, Lib. XIII. Ep. 83. See also
      Lucan, Lib. II.

_  405 De Legibus_, Lib. II. c. 2.

  406 Kelsall, _Excursion_, p. 116.

_  407 De Legibus_, Lib. II. c. 1.

_  408 Epist. ad Attic._ Lib. XII. Ep. 12.

_  409 Classic Tour through Italy_, by Sir R. C. Hoare, Vol. I. p. 293.

_  410 Classical Tour_, Vol. II. c. 9.

_  411 Classical Excursion from Rome to Arpino_, p. 99. Cicero always
      considered the citizens of Arpinum as under his particular
      protection and patronage; and it is pleasant to find, that its
      modern inhabitants still testify, in various ways, due veneration
      for their illustrious townsman. Their theatre is called the _Teatro
      Tulliano_, of which the drop-scene is painted with a bust of the
      orator; and even now, workmen are employed in building a new
      town-hall, with niches, destined to receive statues of Marius and

  412 Macrob. _Saturnal._ Lib. VI. c. 4.

_  413 Saturnal._ Lib. VI. c. 4.

_  414 Diogenes Laertius_, Lib. VII.

_  415 Diog. Laert._ Lib. VII.

  416 Plin. _Hist. Nat._ Lib. XXXI. c. 3.

_  417 Academ. Prior._ Lib. II. c. 33.

_  418 Epist. Famil._ Lib. IX. Ep. 8.

  419 Et ut nos nunc sedemus ad Lucrinum, pisciculosque exsultantes
      videmus. _De propriet. Serm._ c. 1. 335. voc. _exsultare_.

_  420 Epist. Dedicat. ad Prælect. in Cic. Acad._

_  421 Introduct. in Academic._ Ed. Lips. 1810.

  422 Nec esse, nec dici posse novum opus, ac penitus mutatum; sed
      tantummodo correctum, magis politum, et quoad formam et dictionem,
      hîc et illic, splendidius mutatum. _De Lib. Cic. Academ. Comment._

_  423 Classical Tour_, Vol. II. c. 8.

_  424 Rome in the Nineteenth Century_, Vol. III. Let. 93.

_  425 De Finibus_, Lib. III. and IV. Kelsall, _Excursion from Rome to
      Arpino_, p. 193.

_  426 Epist. ad Attic._ Lib. I. Ep. 1.

  427 Middleton’s _Life of Cicero_, Vol. I. p. 142.

  428 Blainville’s _Travels_, Vol. II.

  429 Eustace, _Classical Tour_, Vol. II. c. 8. Grotta Ferrata was long
      considered both by travellers (Addison, _Letters on Italy_,
      Blainville, _Travels_, &c.) and antiquarians (Calmet, _Hist.
      Univers._ Cluverius, _Italic. Antiq._) as the site of Cicero’s
      Tusculan villa. The opinion thus generally received, was first
      deliberately called in question by Zuzzeri, in a dissertation
      published in 1746, entitled _Sopra un’ antica Villa scoperta sopra
      Frescati nell appartenenze della nuova villa dell collegio Romano_.
      This writer places the site close to the villa and convent of
      Ruffinella, which is higher up the hill than Grotta Ferrata, lying
      between Frescati and the town of Tusculum. He was answered by
      Cardoni, a monk of the Basilian order of Grotta Ferrata, in his
      _Disceptatio Apologetica de Tusculano Ciceronis_, Romæ, 1757.
      Cardoni chiefly rests his argument on a passage of Strabo, where
      that geographer says, that the _Tusculan hill_ is fertile, well
      watered, and surrounded with beautiful villas. Now Cardoni,
      referring this passage (which applies to the Tusculan hill in
      general) solely to the Tusculan villa, argues somewhat unfairly,
      that Strabo’s description answers to Grotta Ferrata, but not to
      Ruffinella. (p. 8, &c.) Nibby in his _Viaggio Antiquario_, supports
      the claims of Ruffinella, on the authority of a passage in
      Frontinus, which he interprets with no greater candour or success.
      (T. II. p. 41.) With exception of Eustace, however, all modern
      travellers, whose works I have consulted, declare in favour of
      Ruffinella. “At the convent of Ruffinella, says Forsyth, farther up
      the hill than Grotta Ferrata, his (Cicero’s) name was found stamped
      on some ancient tiles, which should ascertain the situation of a
      villa in preference to any moveable.”—_Remarks on Italy_, p. 281.
      See also _Rome in the Nineteenth Century_, Vol. III. Letter 92, and
      Kelsall’s _Classical Excursion_, p. 192.

  430 Alex. ab Alexandro, _Dies Geniales_, Lib. I. c. 23. Rossmini, _Vita
      di Filelfo_, T. III. p. 59. Ed. Milan, 1808, 3 Tom. 8vo.

_  431 Tusc. Disp._ Lib. II. c. 3. Lib. III. c. 3.

  432 Juvenal, I think, had probably this passage of the Tusculan
      Disputations in view, in the noble and pathetic lines of his tenth

        “Provida Pompeio dederat Campania febres,” &c.

  433 Some of the advantages and disadvantages of the method of writing in
      dialogue, are stated by Mr. Hume, in the introduction to his
      _Dialogues concerning Natural Religion_, (London, 1779, 8vo,) a work
      apparently modelled on Cicero’s Nature of the Gods.

  434 In the English extracts from Cicero _De Nat. Deor._ I have availed
      myself of a very good but anonymous translation, printed Lond. 1741,

  435 In the Herculanensia, (p. 22,) Sir William Drummond contends, at
      considerable length, that a work _On Piety according to Epicurus_,
      (Περι Ευσεβεῖας κατ’ Επικουρον,) of which a fragment has been
      discovered at Herculaneum, was the prototype of a considerable part
      of the discourse of Velleius. The reader will find a version of the
      passages in which a resemblance appears, in the Quarterly Review,
      (No. V.) where it is also remarked, “that Sir William seems to us to
      have failed altogether in rendering it probable that Cicero had ever
      seen this important fragment, the passages in which there is any
      resemblance, relating, without exception, to what each author is
      reporting of the doctrines of certain older philosophers, as
      expressed in their works; and the reports are not by any means so
      precisely similar as to induce us to suppose that Cicero had even
      taken the very justifiable liberty of saving himself some little
      trouble, by making use of another author’s abstract, from
      Chrysippus, and from Diogenes the Babylonian.” Schütz, the German
      editor of Cicero, enumerates some works, which he thinks Cicero had
      read, and others, which he seems to have known merely from summaries
      and abridgments. The following is his conjecture with regard to the
      writings of Epicurus:—“Epicuri denique κυριας δοξας, ejus κανονα seu
      libros, de Judicio, item περι φυσεως et περι ὁσιοτητος, non ex
      aliorum tantum testimoniis, sed ex suâ ipsius lectione ei notos
      fuisse, facile, tot locis ubi de eo agitur inter se collatis,
      intelligitur.” (Cicer. _Opera_, Tom. XV. p. 27.) Perhaps the
      treatise, περι Ὁσιοτητος, was a similar work to that, Περι

  436 In his Dialogues on Natural Religion, Mr. Hume puts two very good
      remarks into the mouth of one of his characters. Speaking of
      Cicero’s argument for a Deity, deduced from the grandeur and
      magnificence of nature, he observes, “If this argument, I say, had
      any force in former ages, how much greater must it have at present,
      when the bounds of nature are so infinitely enlarged, and such a
      magnificent scene is opened to us!” P. 103.—Again, in mentioning
      that the infidelity of Galen was cured by the study of anatomy,
      (which was much more extended by him than it had been in the days of
      Cicero,) he says, “And if the infidelity of Galen, even when these
      natural sciences were still imperfect, could not withstand such
      striking appearances, to what pitch of pertinacious obstinacy must a
      philosopher in this age have attained, who can now doubt of a
      Supreme Intelligence!” P. 23.—See also Lactantius, _De Opificio

  437 There was published, _Bononiæ_, 1811, _M. T. Ciceronis de Naturâ
      Deorum Liber Quartus: e pervetusto Codice MS. Membranaceo nunc
      primum edidit P. Seraphinus Ord. Fr. Min._—This tract was
      republished, (Oxonii, 1813,) by Mr. Lunn, who says in a prefatory
      note, that “he entertains no doubt, from the opinion of several of
      his friends, of this production being a literary forgery.” Of this,
      indeed, there can be no doubt, as appears among various other
      proofs, from the minute account of the Jews.—“Sed etiam plures
      adhibere deos vel divos, a quibus ipsi regantur, quos nomine Elohim
      designare soleant, secundi ordinis,” &c. (p. 12.)—There is some
      humour in the manner in which the Italian editor, in a preface
      written in the rude style of a simple friar, obtests that the work
      is not a forgery.—“Sed ne quis existimet, me ipsum fecisse hunc
      librum, testor, detestor, obtestor, et contestor, per S. Franciscum
      Assissium, me talem facere non posse, qui sacris incumbere cogor,
      nec profanis possum,” &c.

  438 C. 29.

  439 C. 7.

  440 Multis etiam sensi mirabile videri, eam nobis potissimum probatam
      esse philosophiam, quæ lucem eriperet, et quasi noctem quandam rebus
      offunderet, desertæque disciplinæ et jampridem relictæ patrocinium
      nec opinatum a nobis esse susceptum.—(_De Nat. Deor._ Lib. I. c. 3.)

  441 Warburton, _Divine Legation_, Vol. II. p. 168. Ed. 1755. Warburton
      here alludes to Bentley—_Remarks on a late Discourse of
      Free-thinking_, Part II. Rem. 53.

_  442 Bolingbroke’s Works_, Vol. VIII. p. 81. ed. 8vo.

  443 Ibid. p. 266, 278.

  444 Fuerint qui judicarent oportere statui per Senatum ut aboleantur hæc
      scripta, quibus religio Christiana comprobetur, et vetustatis
      opprimatur auctoritas.—Arnobius, _Adversus Gentes_, Lib. III.

  445 In the preface to the second book of this treatise, _De
      Divinatione_, Cicero, enumerating his late philosophical
      compositions, says, “Quibus libris editis, tres libri perfecti sunt
      _De Naturâ Deorum_ * * quæ ut plene essent cumulateque perfecta, _De
      Divinatione_ ingressi sumus his libris scribere.”—(_De Div._ Lib.
      II. c. 1.)

  446 Hoc sum contentus; quod, etiamsi, quomodo quidque fiat, ignorem,
      quid fiat, intelligo.

  447 C. 38.

  448 C. 3.

  449 Cowley.

  450 Plin. _Hist. Nat._ Lib. XXXI. c. 2.

  451 At least so says Middleton, (Vol. III. p. 297,) and he quotes as his
      authority Spartian’s Life of Hadrian, (c. 25.) Spartian, however,
      only tells, that he was _buried_ at Cicero’s villa of Puteoli—“Apud
      ipsas Bajas periit, invisusque omnibus sepultus est in villâ
      Ciceronianâ Puteolis.”

_  452 Classical Tour_, Vol. II. c. 11.

_  453 Philosophische Anmerkungen zu Cicero’s Büchern von den Pflichten_,
      Breslau, 1819.

  454 Lib. I. c. 39.

  455 Rogers, _Human Life_.

  456 “Fuit enim hoc in amicitiâ quasi quoddam jus inter illos, ut
      militiæ, propter eximiam belli gloriam, Africanum ut deum coleret
      Lælius; domi vicissim Lælium, quòd ætate antecedebat, observaret in
      parentis loco Scipio.”

_  457 Epist. Famil._ Lib. VII. ep. 18. In palimpsesto, laudo equidem
      parsimoniam, sed miror, quid in illâ chartulâ fuerit, quod delere
      malueris quam hæc non scribere; nisi forte tuas formulas: non enim
      puto te meas epistolas delere, ut reponas tuas.

_  458 Mem. de l’Academ. des Inscriptions, &c._ Tom. VI.

  459 Mai published the _De Republicâ_ at Rome, with a preface, giving a
      history of his discovery, notes, and an index of emendations. It was
      reprinted from this edition at London, without change, 1823; also at
      Paris, 1823, with the notes of Mai, and excerpts from his preface;
      and _cura_ Steinacker at Leipsic, 1823. To this German edition there
      is a prefatory epistle by Hermann, which I was disappointed to find
      contained only some observations on a single passage of the _De
      Republicâ_, with regard to the division of the citizens into classes
      by Servius Tullius. In the same year an excellent French translation
      was published by M. Villemain, accompanied with an introductory
      review of the work he translates; as also notes and dissertations on
      those topics of Education, Manners, and Religion, which he supposes
      to have formed the subjects of the last three books which have not
      yet been recovered.

_  460 Epist. ad Quint. Frat._ Lib. II. ep. 14.

_  461 Epist. ad Quint. Frat._ Lib. III. ep. 5 and 6.

  462 Cælius ad Ciceronem, _Epist. Famil._ Lib. VIII. Ep. 1. Tui libri
      politici omnibus vigent.

_  463 Epist. ad Attic._ Lib. VI.

_  464 Epist. ad Quint. Frat._ Lib. III. ep. 6.

  465 The above quotation is from the XL. Number of the _North American
      Review_, July 1823. It is highly creditable to the scholarship of
      our Transatlantic brethren, that the work _De Republicâ_, should on
      its first publication, have been the subject of an article in one of
      their principal literary journals, while, as far as I know, the
      reviews of this ancient land of colleges and universities, have
      passed over, in absolute silence, the most important classical
      discovery since the age of the Medici.

  466 I do not know that this distinguishing feature of the character of
      Cicero has been anywhere so well described as in the following
      passage of M. Villemain, in which he has introduced in this respect
      a beautiful comparison between Cicero and the most illustrious
      writer of his own nation. Talking of the digression concerning the
      Parhelion and Orrery, he admits it was little to the purpose, but he
      adds, “Peut on se défendre d’un mouvement de respect, quand on songe
      à ce beau caractère de curiosité philosophique, à ce goût universel
      de la science dont fut animé Cicéron, et qui au milieu d’une vie
      agitée par tant de travaux, et dans un état de civilisation encore
      dénué de secours, lui fit rechercher avec un insatiable ardeur tous
      les moyens de connoissances nouvelles et de lumières?
      “Cet homme qui avait si laborieusement médité l’art de l’éloquence,
      et le pratiquait chaque jour dans le Forum, dans le sénat, dans les
      tribunaux; ce grand orateur, qui même pendant son consulat plaidait
      encore des causes privées, au milieu d’une vie toute de gloire,
      d’agitations, et de périls, dans ce mouvement d’inquiétudes et
      d’affaires attesté par cette foule de lettres si admirables et si
      rapidement écrites, étudiait encore tout ce que dans son siécle il
      était possible de savoir. Il avait cultivé la poésie: il avait
      approfondi et transporté chez les Romains toutes les philosophies de
      la Grèce; il cherchait à récueillir les notions encore imparfaites
      des sciences physiques. Nous voyons même par une de ses lettres
      qu’il s’occupa de faire un traité technique de géographie, à peu
      près comme VOLTAIRE compilait laborieusement un abrégé chronologique
      de l’histoire d’Allemagne. Ces deux génies ont eu en effet ce
      caractère distinctif de méler aux plus brillans trésors de
      l’imagination et de goût, l’ardeur de toutes les connoissances, et
      cette activité intellectuelle qui ne s’arrête, ni ne se lasse
      “Sans doute il y avait entre eux de grands dissemblances, surtout
      dans cette vocation prédominante qui entrainait l’un vers
      l’éloquence et l’autre vers la poésie; sans doute aussi la diversité
      des temps et des situations mettait plus de difference encore entre
      l’auteur Français de dix huitième siécle, et le Consul de la
      republique Romaine: mais cette ardeur de tout savoir, ce mouvement
      de la pensée qui s’appliquait également à tout, forme un trait
      éminent qui les rapproche; et peutêtre le sentiment confus de cette
      vérité agissait il sur Voltaire dans l’admiration si vivement
      sentie, si sérieuse, que cet esprit contempteur de tant de renommées
      antiques exprima toujours pour le génie de Cicéron.”—P. LXII.

  467 This first book occupied in the palimpsest 211 pages. Of these, 72
      are wanting; but two short fragments belonging to this book are to
      be found in Lactantius and Nonius, so that about a third of the book
      is still lost.

  468 Mai cannot exactly state how much of the second book is wanting in
      the palimpsest, but he thinks probably a third part; enough remains
      of it to console the reader for the loss.

_  469 Somnium Scipionis_.

_  470 Epist. ad Attic._ Lib. XII. Ep. 14.

  471 Lactantius, _Divin. Inst._ Lib. III. c. 18. Luendorum scelerum causâ
      nasci homines.

  472 Plin. _Hist. Nat._ Lib. I. _Pref._

_  473 De Divin._ Lib. II. c. 9.

_  474 Tusc. Disput._ Lib. III. c. 28.

  475 Scharfii, _Dissert. de vero auctore Consolationis. Miscell. Lips.
      Observ._ 130.

  476 Rogers’ _Lines, written at Pæstum_.

  477 Petrarch, _Epist. Rer. Senil._ Lib. XV. Ep. 1.

  478 Varillas, _Vie de Louis XI. Menagiana_, Tom. II.

_  479 In Comment. Epist. Ad Attic._ XV. 27.

_  480 Eulogia_.

  481 Mencken, _Præf. P. Alcyonî de Exilio_, Lips. 1707.

  482 Tiraboschi, _Stor. dell. Letter. Ital._ Part. III. Lib. III. c. 4. §
      14.—Ginguené thinks that Tiraboschi has completely succeeded in
      justifying Alcyonius. _Hist. Litter. d’Ital._ T. VII. p. 254.

_  483 Confess._ III. 4, and _De Vit. Beata_. proœm.

  484 Tunstall, _Observations on the Epistles between Cicero an