A Companion to Latin Literature (Blackwell Companions to the by Stephen Harrison

By Stephen Harrison

A significant other to Latin Literature supplies an authoritative account of Latin literature from its beginnings within the 3rd century BC via to the top of the second one century advert.

• presents specialist assessment of the most classes of Latin literary historical past, significant genres, and key subject matters
• Covers all of the significant Latin works of prose and poetry, from Ennius to Augustine, together with Lucretius, Cicero, Catullus, Livy, Vergil, Seneca, and Apuleius
• comprises precious reference fabric – dictionary entries on authors, chronological chart of political and literary heritage, and an annotated bibliography
• Serves as either a discursive literary historical past and a normal reference book

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Extra resources for A Companion to Latin Literature (Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World)

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177–81). g. Cic. de Or. 124; Mur. 88; Sall. Iurg. 17)? What awakened Romans to the texts in their midst and the work they could do? Traditional literary history does not offer much help with such questions. It has been too reluctant to shift its gaze from the work of authors to that of readers. Who was reading what, when and why are more difficult questions to address than who wrote what and when; traditional histories rarely ask why. Answers to questions about reading require a history more sensitive to the problems of reception and more willingness to problematize the very idea of ‘literature’ than those currently on the shelf.

Read in such a way, the age of Cicero is easy to understand as the age of political writing par excellence: Maternus in Tacitus’ Dialogus famously interprets it as such (Dial. 36–7), and contrasts it with the early Empire, in which unreal declamations and private issues held sway in place of real oratory (cf. On Sublimity 44 for the argument that political freedom is necessary for great literature). Scholars have often followed suit, and have sought to read, not only Cicero, but most other writings of the period in terms of the contemporary political competition.

This was not, however, the case. Cato’s speech is dated to within a year of Fulvius’ censorship in 179. What aroused Cato’s scorn was therefore not Annales 15, a book not written until the late 170s, but Ennius’ praetexta drama Ambracia, which was staged either at Fulvius’ controversial triumph in 187 or at the votive games he held the following year. Cato was not attacking poetry in general or Ennius in particular but Fulvius’ appropriation of poetry for political advantage in the highly charged atmosphere of the late 180s (cf.

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