A History of Roman Literature: From the Earliest Period to the Death of Marcus Aurelius
By Charles Thomas Cruttwell, M.A. (1877)
Book III.The Decline. "From the Accession of Tiberius to the Death of Marcus Aurelius" (14-180 A.D.)
Chapter VIII.The Reigns of Hadrian and the Antonines (117-180 A.D.).
Era of African LatinityWe now enter on a new and in some respects a very interesting era. From the influence exerted on the last period by the family of Seneca, we might call it the epoch of Spanish Latinity; from the similar influence now exerted by the African school, we might call the present the epoch of African Latinity. Its chief characteristic is ill-digested erudition. Various circumstances combined to make a certain amount of knowledge general, and the growing cosmopolitan sentiment excited a strong interest in every kind of exotic learning. With increased diffusion depth was necessarily sacrificed. The emperor set the example of travel, which was eagerly followed by his subjects. Hence a large mass of information was acquired, which injuriously affected those who possessed it. They appear, as it were, crushed by its weight, and become learned triflers or uninteresting pedants. By far the most considerable writer of this period was Suetonius, but then he had been trained in the school of Pliny, of whom for several years he was an intimate friend. Hadrian himself (76-138 A.D.), among his many other accomplishments, gave some attention to letters. Speeches, treatises of various kinds, anecdotes, and a collection of oracles, are ascribed to his pen. Also certain epigrams which we still possess, and chiefly that exquisite address to his soul, composed on his death-bed: 
Differs from the Silver Age
List of writings
Lives of the Caesars
His account of Nero's death
Salvius Julianus and Sextus Pomponius
His relations with Aurelius
List of his works
Poems of the period
"Metamorphoses" or Golden Ass
Cupid and Psyche
His philosophical works.
"Animala vagula blandula
Hospes comesque corporis
Quae nunc abibis in loca,
Pallidula rigida nudula?
Nec ut soles dabis iocos."
Hadrian was also a patron of letters, though an inconstant one. His vanity led him to wish to have distinguished writers about him, but it also led him to wish to be ranked as himself the most distinguished. His own taste was good; he appreciated and copied the style of the republican age; but he encouraged the pedantic Fronto, whose taste was corrupt and ruinously influential. So that while with one hand he benefited literature, with the other he injured it.
The birth year of C. SUETONIUS TRANQUILLUS is uncertain, but may be assigned with probability to 75 A.D.  We may here remark the extraordinary reticence of the later writers on the subject of their younger days. Seneca alone is communicative. All the rest show an oblivion or indifference most unlike the genial communicativeness of Cicero, Horace, and Ovid. His father was one Suetonius Lenis, a military tribune and wearer of the angusticlave. Muretus, however, desirous to give him a more illustrious origin, declares that his father was the Suetonius Paulinus mentioned by Tacitus. We learn a good deal of his younger days from the letters of Pliny, and can infer something of his character also. In conformity with what we know from other sources of the tendencies of the age, we find that he was given to superstition.  At this time ("i.e." under Trajan) Suetonius wavered between a literary and a political career. Pliny was able and willing to help him in the latter, and got him appointed to the office of tribune (102 A.D.).  Some years later (112 A.D.), he procured for him the "jus trium liberorum", though Suetonius was childless. We see that Augustus's excellent institutions had already turned into an abuse. The means for keeping up the population had become a compensation for domestic unhappiness.  Suetonius practised for some years at the bar, and seems to have amassed a considerable fortune. We find him begging Pliny to negotiate for him for the purchase of an estate.  Shortly after this he was promoted to be Hadrian's secretary, which gave him an excellent opportunity of enriching his stores of knowledge from the imperial library. Of this opportunity he made excellent use, and after his disgrace, owing, it is said, to too great familiarity with, the empress (119 A.D.), he devoted his entire time to those multifarious and learned works, which gave him the position of the Varro of the imperial period. His life was prolonged for many years, probably until 160 A.D. 
The writings of Suetonius were encyclopaedic. Following the culture of his day, he seems to have written partly in Greek, partly in Latin. This had been also the practice of Cicero, and of many of the greatest republican authors. The difference between them lies, not in the fact that Suetonius's Greek was better, but that his Latin is less good. Instead of a national it is fast becoming a cosmopolitan dialect. Still Suetonius tried to form his taste on older and purer models, and is far removed from the denationalised school of Fronto and Apuleius.
The titles of his works are a little obscure. Both, following Suidas, gives the following. (1) "peri ton par Ellaesi paidion Biblion", a book of games. This is quoted or paraphrased by Tzetzes,  and several excerpts from it are preserved in Eustathius. It was no doubt written in Greek, but perhaps in Latin also. (2) "peri ton para Romaiois theorion kai agonon biblia g", an account in three books of the Roman spectacles and games, of which an interesting fragment on the Troia ludus is preserved by Tertullian.  (3) "peri tou kata Romaious eniautou biblion", an archaeological investigation into the theory of the Roman year. (4) "peri ton en tois bibliois saemeion", on the signification of rare words. (5) "peri taes Kikeronos politeias", a justification of the conduct of Cicero, in opposition to some of his now numerous detractors, especially one Didymus, a conceited Alexandrine, called Chalcenterus, "the man of iron digestion," on account of his immense powers of work. (6) "peri onomaton kai ideas esthaematon kai upodaematon", a treatise on the different names of shoes, coats, and other articles of dress. This may seem a trivial subject; but, after Carlyle, we can hardly deny its capability of throwing light on great matters. Besides, in ancient times dress had a religious origin, and in many cases a religious significance. And two passages from the work preserved by Servius,  are important from this point of view. (7) "peri dusphaemon lexeon aetoi blasphaemiom", an inquiry into the origin and etymology of the various terms of abuse employed in conversation and literature. This was almost certainly written in Greek. (8) "peri Romaes kai ton en autae nomimon kai aethon biblia b", a succinct account of the chief Roman customs, of which only a short passage on the Triumph has come down to us through Isidore.  (9) "Syngenikon Kaisaron",  a biography of the twelve Caesars, divided into eight books. (10) "Stemma Romaion andron episaemon", a gallery of illustrious men, the plan of which was followed by Jerome in his history of the worthies of the church. But Suetonius's catalogue seems to have been confined to those eminent in literature, and to have treated only of poets, orators, historians, philosophers, grammarians, and rhetoricians. Of this we possess considerable fragments, especially the account of the grammarians, and the lives of Terence, Horace, and Pliny. (11) "peri episaemon pornon", an account of those courtesans who had become renowned through their wit, beauty, or genius. (12) "De Vitiis Corporalibus", a list of bodily defects, written perhaps to supplement the medical works of Celsus and Scribonius Largus. (13) "De Institutione Officiorum", a manual of rank as fixed by law, and of social and court etiquette. This, did we possess it, would be highly interesting, and might throw light on many now obscure points. (14) "De Regibus", in three books, containing short biographies of the most renowned monarchs in each of the three divisions of the globe, treated in his usual style of a string of facts coupled with a list of virtues and vices. (15) "De Rebus Variis", a sort of "ana", of which we can detect but few, and those insignificant, notices. (16) "Prata", or miscellaneous subjects, in ten or perhaps twelve books, which work was greatly admired not only in the centuries immediately succeeding, but also throughout the Middle Ages. It is extremely probable, as Teuffel thinks, that many of the foregoing treatises may really have been simply portions of the "Prata" cited under their separate names. The first eight books were confined to national antiquities and other similar points of interest; the rest were given to natural science and that sort of popular philosophy so much in vogue at the time, which finds a parallel between every fact of the physical universe and some phenomenon of the human body or mind. They were modelled on Varro's writings, which to a large extent they superseded, except for great writers like Augustine, who went back to the fountain head.  It is uncertain whether Suetonius treated history; but a work on the wars between Pompey and Caesar, Antony and Octavian, is indicated by some notices in Dio Cassius and Jerome. All these writings, however, are lost, and the sole work by which we can form an estimate of Suetonius's genius is his lives of the Caesars, which we fortunately possess almost entire.
Suetonius possessed in a high degree some of the most essential qualifications of a biographer. He was minute, laborious, and accurate in his investigation of facts; he neglected nothing, however trivial or even offensive, which he thought threw light upon the character or circumstances of those he described. And he is completely impartial; it would perhaps be more correct to say indifferent. His accounts have been well compared by a French writer to the "proces verbal" of the law courts. They are dry, systematic, and uncoloured by partisanship or passion. Such statements are valuable in themselves, and particularly when read as a pendant to the history of Tacitus, which they often confirm, often correct, and always illustrate. To take a single point; we see from Tacitus how it was that the emperors were so odious to the aristocracy; we see from Suetonius how it was that they became the idols of the people. Many of the details are extremely disgusting, but this strong realism is a Roman characteristic, and adds to their value. To the higher attributes of a historian Suetonius has no pretension. He scarcely touches on the great historic events, and never ventures a comprehensive judgment; nor can he even take a wide survey of the characters he pourtrays. But he is a faithful collector of evidence on which the philosophic biographer may base his own judgment; and as he generally gives his sources, which are authentic in almost every case, we may use his statements with perfect confidence.
His style is coloured with rhetoric, and occasionally with poetic embellishment, but is otherwise terse and vigorous. The extreme curtness he cultivated often leads him into something bordering on obscurity. His habit of alluding to sources of information instead of being at the pains to describe them at length, while it adds to the neatness of his periods, detracts from its value to ourselves. He rises but rarely into eloquence, and still more rarely shows dramatic power. The best known of his descriptive scenes is the death of Julius Caesar, but that of Nero is almost more graphic. It may interest the reader to give a translation of it.  The scene is the palace, the time, the night before his death: --
"He thus put off deciding what to do till next day. But about midnight he awoke, and finding the guard gone, leapt out of bed, and sent round messages to his friends; but meeting with no response, he himself, accompanied by one or two persons, called at their houses in turn. But every door was shut, and no one answered his inquiries, so he returned to his chamber to find the guard had fled, carrying with them the entire furniture, and with the rest his box of poison. He at once asked for Spiculus the mirmillo or some other trained assassin to deal the fatal blow, but could get no one. This seemed to strike him; he cried out, 'Have I then neither friend nor enemy?' and ran forward as if intending to throw himself into the river. But checking his steps he begged for some better concealed hiding place where he might have time to collect his thoughts. The freedman Phaon offered his suburban villa, situate four miles distant, midway between the Salarian and Nomentane roads; so just as he was, bare-foot and clad in his tunic, he threw round him a faded cloak, and covering his head, and binding a napkin over his face, mounted a horse with four companions of whom Sporus was one. On starting he was terrified by a shock of earthquake and an adverse flash of lightning, and heard from the camp hard by the shouts of the soldiers predicting his ruin and Galba's triumph. A traveller, as they passed, observed, 'Those men are pursuing Nero;' another asked, 'Is there any news in town about Nero?' His horse took fright at the smell of a dead body which had been thrown into the road; in the confusion his disguise fell off, and a praetorian soldier recognised and saluted him. Arrived at the post-house, they left their horses, and struggled through a thorny copse by following a track in the sandy soil, but were obliged to put cloths under their feet as they walked. However, they arrived safely at the back wall of the villa. Phaon then suggested that they should hide in a cavern hard by, formed by a heap of sand. But Nero declaring that he would not be buried alive, they waited a little, till a chance should offer of entering the villa unobserved. Seeing some water in a little pool, he scooped some up with his hand, and just before drinking said 'This is Nero's distilled water!' then, seeing how his cloak was torn by the brambles, he peeled off the thorns from the branches that crossed the path. Then crawling on all fours, he passed through a narrow passage out of the cavern into the nearest cellar, and there laid himself on a pallet made of old straw and furnished with anything but a comfortable pillow. Becoming both hungry and thirsty, he refused some musty bread that was offered him, but drank a little tepid water. To free himself from the constant shower of abuse that those who came to gaze poured on him, he ordered a pit to be made according to the measure of his body, and any bits of marble that lay by to be heaped together, and water and wood to be brought for the proper disposing of the corpse; weeping at each stage of the proceedings, and saying every now and then, 'Oh! what an artist the world is losing!' 
"While thus occupied a missive was brought to Phaon. Nero snatched it out of his hand, and read that he had been decreed an enemy by the Senate, and was demanded for punishment 'according to the manner of our ancestors.' He asked what this meant. Being told that he would be stripped naked, his neck fixed in a pitchfork, and his back scourged until he was dead, he seized in his terror two daggers which he had brought with him, but after feeling their edge put them back into their sheaths, alleging that the fated hour had not yet come. Sometimes he would ask Sporus to raise the funeral lamentation, then he would implore some one to set him an example of courage by dying first; sometimes he would chide his own irresoluteness by saying -- 'I am a base degenerate man to live! This does not beseem Nero! We must be steady on occasions like these -- come, rouse yourself!'  Already the horsemen were seen approaching who had received orders to carry him off alive. Crying out in the words of Homer:
'The noise of swift-footed steeds strikes my ears,'
he drove the weapon into his throat with the help of his secretary Epaphroditus, and immediately fell back half-dead. The centurion now arrived, and, under the pretence of assisting him, put his cloak to the wound; Nero only replied, 'Too late!' and 'This is your loyalty!' With these words he died, his eyes being quite glazed, and starting out in a manner horrible to witness. His continual and earnest petition had been that no one should have possession of his head, but that come what would, he might be buried whole. This Talus, Galba's freedman, granted."
It will be seen that his narrative, though not lofty, is masterly, clear, and impressive.
Besides Suetonius we have a historian, though a minor one, in P. ANNIUS FLORUS,  who is now generally identified with the rhetorician and poet mentioned more than once by Pliny, and author of a dialogue, "Vergilius Orator an Poeta"," and some lines "De Rosis" and "De Qualitate Vitae".  Little is known of his life, except that he was a youth in the time of Domitian, was vanquished at the Capitoline contest through unjust partiality, and settled at Tarraco as a professional rhetorician. Under Hadrian he returned to Rome, and probably did not survive his reign. The epitome of Livy's history, or rather the wars of it, from the foundation of Rome to the era of Augustus, in two short books, is a pretentious and smartly written work. But it shows no independent investigation, and no power of impartial judgment. Its views of the constitution  are even more superficial than those of Livy. The first book ends with the Gracchi, after whom, according to the author, the decline began. The frequent moral declamations were greatly to the taste of the Middle Ages, and throughout them Florus was a favourite. Abridgments were now the fashion; perhaps that of Pompeius Trogus by JUSTINUS belongs to this reign.  Many historians wrote in Greek.
Jurisprudence was also actively cultivated. We have the two great names of SALVIUS JULIANUS and SEX. POMPONIUS, both of whom continued to write under the Antonines. They were nearly of an age. Pomponius, we infer from his own words,  was born somewhere about 84 A.D., and as he lived to a great age, it is probable that he survived his brother jurist. Both enjoyed for several centuries a high and deserved reputation. The rise of philosophical jurisprudence coincides with the decline of all other literature. It must be considered to belong to science rather than letters, and is far too wide a subject to be more than merely noticed here, Both these authors wrote a digest, as well as numerous other works. The best-known popular treatise of Pomponius was his "Enchiridion", or Manual of the Law of Nations, containing a sketch of the history of Roman law and jurisprudence until the time of Julian. 
The study of grammar and rhetoric was pursued with much industry, but by persons of inferior mark. ANTONIUS JULIANUS, a Spaniard, some account of whom is given by Gellius,  kept up the older style as against the new African fashion. His declamations have perished; but those of CALPURNIUS FLACCUS still remain. The chief rhetoricians seem to have confined themselves to declaiming in Greek. The celebrated Favorinus, at once philosopher, rhetorician, and minute grammarian, was one of the most popular. TERENTIUS SCAURUS wrote a book on Latin grammar, and commentaries on Plautus and Virgil. We have his treatise "De Orthographia", which contains many rare ancient forms. His evident desire to be brief has caused some obscurity. The author formed his language on the older models; like Suetonius, following Pliny, and through him, the classical period.
Philosophers abounded in this age, and one at least, Plutarch, has attained the highest renown. As he, in common with all the rest, wrote in Greek, no more will be said about them here.
A medical writer of some note, whose two works on acute ("celeres passiones") and chronic ("tardae") diseases have reached us, is CAELIUS AURELIANUS. His exact date is not known. But as he never alludes to Galen, it is probable be lived before him. He was born at Sicca in Numidia, and chiefly followed Soranus.
The reigns of Antoninus Pius and his son, the saintly M. Aurelius, covered a space of forty-two years, during which good government and consistent patronage did all they could for letters. But though the emperor could give the tone to such literature as existed, he could not revive the old force and spirit, which were gone for ever. The Romans now showed all the signs of a decaying people. The loss of serious interest in anything, even in pleasure, argues a reduced mental calibre; and the substitution of minute learning for original thought always marks an irrecoverable decadence. The chief writer during the earlier part of this period is M. CORNELIUS FRONTO (90-168 A.D.), a native of Cirta, in Numidia, who had been held under Hadrian to be the first pleader of the day; and now rose to even greater influence from being intrusted with the education of the two young Caesars, M. Aurelius and L. Verus. Fronto suffered acutely from the gout, and the tender solicitude displayed by Aurelius for his preceptor's ailments is pleasant to see, though the tone of condolence is sometimes a little mawkish. Fronto was a thorough pedant, and of corrupt taste. He had all the clumsy affectation of his school. Aurelius adopted his teacher's love of archaisms with such zest that even Fronto was obliged to advise a more popular style. When Aurelius left off rhetoric for the serious study of philosophy, Fronto tried his best to dissuade him from such apostasy. In his eyes eloquence, as he understood it, was the only pursuit worthy of a great man. In later life Aurelius arrived at better canons of judgment; in his "Meditations" he praises Fronto's goodness,  but says not a word about his eloquence. His contemporaries were less reserved. They extolled him to the skies, and made him their oracle of all wisdom. Eumenius  says, "he is the second and equal glory of Roman eloquence;" and Macrobius  says, "There are four styles of speech; the copious, of which Cicero is chief; the terse, in which Sallust holds sway; the dry,  which is assigned to Fronto; the florid, in which Pliny luxuriates." With testimonies like these before them, and the knowledge that he had been raised to the consulship (143) and to the confidential friendship of two emperors, scholars had formed a high estimate of his genius. But the discovery of his letters by Mai (1815) undeceived them. Independently of their false taste, which cannot fail to strike the reader, they show a feeble mind, together with a lack of independence and self-reliance. He has, however, a good "naturel", and a genial self-conceit, which attracts us to him, and we are not surprised at the affection of his pupil, though we suspect it has led him to exaggerate his master's influence.
Until these came to light, scarcely anything was known of Fronto's works. Five discussions on the signification of words had been preserved in Gellius, and a passage in which he violently attacks the Christians in Minucius Felix. But the letters give an excellent idea of his mind, "i.e." they are well stocked with words, and supply as little as possible of solid information. Family matters, mutual condolences, pieces of advice, interspersed with discussions on eloquence, form their staple. The collection consisted of ten books, five written to Aurelius as heir-apparent, and five to him as emperor. But we have lost the greater part of the latter series. Of Fronto's numerous other writings only scattered fragments remain. They are as follows: -- (1) Panegyric speeches addressed to Hadrian  and Antoninus (among which was the celebrated one on his British victories 140 A.D.). (2) A speech returning thanks to the senate on behalf of the Carthaginians. (3) Speeches for the Bithynians and Ptolomacenses. (4) Speeches for and against individuals. (5) The speech against the Christians quoted by Minucius. (6) Appended to the letters are also some Greek epistles to members of the imperial household, a consolation from Aurelius to Fronto on the death of his grandson, and his reply, which is a mixture of desponding pessimism and philological pedantry.  (7) Trifles like the "erotikos", a study based on Plato's theory of love, the story of Arion, the "feriae alsienses", in which he humorously advises the prince to take a holiday, the "laudes fumi et pulveris", a rhetorical exercise,  show that he was quite at home in a less ambitious vein.
The best example of his style and habits of thought is found in the letters "De Eloquentia" on p. 139 "sqq." of Naber's edition.
His life was soured by suffering and bereavement. His wife and all his children but one died before him, and he himself was a victim to various diseases. His interest for us is due to his relations with Aurelius and the general dearth at that period of first-rate writers. He died probably before the year 169. With Fronto's letters are found a considerable number of those of Aurelius, but they do not call for any remark. The writings that have brought him the purest and loftiest fame are not in Latin but in Greek. It would therefore be out of place to dwell on them here.
A younger contemporary and admirer of Fronto is AULUS GELLIUS (l25?-175 A.D.), author of the "Noctes Atticae", in twenty books, a pleasant, gossiping work, written to occupy the leisure of his sons, and containing a vast amount of interesting details on literature and religious or antiquarian lore. Gellius is a man of small mind, but makes up by zeal for lack of power. He was trained in philosophy under Favorinus, in rhetoric under Antonius Julianus and, perhaps, Fronto, but his style and taste are, on the whole, purer than those of his preceptors. The title "Noctes Atticae" was chosen, primarily, because the book was written at Athens and during the lucubrations of the night; but its modesty was also a recommendation in his eyes. The subjects are very various, but grammar or topics connected with it preponderate. A large space is devoted to anecdotes, literary and historical, and among these are found both the most interesting and the best written passages. Another element of importance is found in the quotations, which are very numerous, from ancient authors. The reader will appreciate the value of these from the continual references to Gellius which have been made in this work. 
The style of Gellius abounds with archaisms and rare words, "e.g., edulcare, recentari, aeruscator, adulescentes frugis, elegans verborum", and shows an unnecessary predilection for frequentatives.  It is obvious that in his day men had ceased to feel the full meaning of the words they used. As a depraved bodily condition requires larger and stronger doses of physic to affect it, so Gellius, when his subject is most trivial, strives most for overcharged vigour of language.  But these defects are less conspicuous in the later books, where his thought also rises not unfrequently into a higher region. The man's nature is amiable and social; he enlisted the help of his friends in the preparation of his little essays,  and seems to have been on kindly terms with most of the chief writers of the day. Among the ancients his admiration was chiefly bestowed on Virgil and Cicero as representatives of literature, on Varro and Nigidius Figulus,  as representatives of science. His power of criticism is narrowed by pedantry and small passions, but when these are absent he can use his judgment well.  He preserves many interesting points of etymology  and grammar,  and is a mine of archaic quotation. Among contemporary philosophers he admires most Plutarch, Favorinus, and Herodes Atticus the rival of Fronto. He smiles at the enthusiasm with which some regard all that is obsolete, and mentions the "Ennianistae"  with half-disapproval. But his own bias inclines the same way, only he brings more taste to it than they. On the whole he is a very interesting writer, and the last that can be called in anyway classical. He is well spoken of by Augustine;  and Macrobius, though he scarcely mentions him, pillages his works without reserve. His eighth book is lost, but the table of contents is fortunately preserved.
A great genius belonging to this time is the jurist GAIUS (110-180 A.D.). His "nomen" is not known; whence some have supposed that he never came to Rome. But this is both extremely unlikely in itself, and contradicted by at least one passage of his works. He was a professor of jurisprudence for many years, and from the style of his extant works Teuffel conjectures that they originated from oral lectures. It is astonishing how clear even the later Latin language becomes when it touches on congenial subjects, such as agriculture or law. The ancient legal phraseology had been seriously complained of as being so technical as to baffle all but experts in deciphering its meaning. Horace ridicules the cunning of the trained legal intellect in more than one place. But this reproach was no longer just. The series of able and thoughtful writers who had carried out a successive and systematic treatment of law since the Augustan age had brought into it such matchless clearness, that they have formed the model for all subsequent philosophic jurists. The amalgamation of the great Stoic principles of natural right, the equality of man, and the "jus gentium", which last was gradually expanding into the conception of international law, contributed to make jurisprudence a complete exponent of the essential character of the Empire as the "polity of the human race." The works of Gaius included seven books "Rerum Cotidianarum", which, like the work of Apuleius, were styled "Aurei"; and an introduction to the science of law, called "Institutiones", or "Instituta", in four books. These were published 161 A.D., and at once established themselves as the most popular exposition of the subject. Gaius was a native of the east, but of what country is uncertain. The names of several other jurists are preserved. They were divided into two classes,  the practicians, who pleaded or responded, and the regularly endowed professors of jurisprudence. Of the former class SEX. JULIUS AFRICANUS was the most celebrated for his acute intellect and the extreme difficulty of his definitions; ULPIUS MARCELLUS for his deep learning and the prudence of his decisions. He was an adviser of the emperor Aurelius. A third writer, one of whose treatises -- that on the divisions of money, weights, and measures, -- is still extant, was L. VOLUSIUS MAECIANUS. The reader is referred for information on this subject to Teuffel's work, and Poste's edition of the "Institutes of Gaius".
Among minor authors we may mention C. SULPICIUS APOLLINARIS, a Carthaginian, who became a teacher of rhetoric and grammar, and numbered among his pupils Aulus Gellius. He and ARRUNTIUS CELSUS devoted their talents for the most part to subjects of archaic interest. Erudition of a certain kind had now become universal, and was discussed with all the formality and exuberance of public debate. The disputations of the mediaeval universities seem to have found their germ in these animated discussions on trivial subjects, such as are described in chapters of Gellius to which the reader has already been referred. 
Historical research flagged; epitomizers had possession of the field. We have the names of L. AMPELIUS, the author of an abridged "book of useful information on various subjects," history predominating, called "Liber Memorialis", which still remains; and of GRANIUS LICINIANUS, short fragments of whose Roman history in forty books are left to us.
Poetry was even more meagrely represented. Aulus Gellius  has preserved a translation of one of Plato's epigrams, which he calls "ouk amousos", by a contemporary author, whose name he does not give. It is written in dimeter iambics, an easier measure than the hexameter, and therefore more within the reduced capacity of the time. The loose metrical treatment proceeds not so much from ignorance of the laws of quantity as from imitation of Hadrian's lax style,  and perhaps from a tendency, now no longer possible to resist, to adopt the plebeian methods of speech and rhythm into the domain of recognised literature. As the fragment may interest our readers, we quote it:
"Dum semibiulco savio
Meum puellum savior,
Dulcemque florem spiritus
Duco ex aperto tramite;
Animula aegra et saucia
Cucurrit ad labias mihi,
Rictumque in oris pervium
Et labra pueri mollia,
Rimata itineri transitus
Ut transiliret, nititur.
Tum si morae quid plusculae
Fuisset in coetu osculi
Amoris igni percita
Transisset, et me linqueret:
Et mira prorsum res foret,
Ut ad me fierem mortuus,
Ad puerum intus viverem."
In the fifth and last lines we see a reversion to the ante-classical irregularities of scansion. The reader should refer to the remarks on this subject on page 20.
Perhaps the much-disputed poem called "Pervigilium Veneris" belongs to this epoch.  It is printed in Weber's "Corpus Poetarum",  and is well worth reading from the melancholy despondency that breathes through its quiet inspiration. The metre is the trochaic tetrameter, which is always well suited to the Latin language, and which here appears treated with Greek strictness, except that in lines 55, 62, 91, a spondee is used in the fifth foot instead of a trochee. The refrain --
"Cras amet qui nunquam amavit, quique amavit, eras amet,"
may be called the "last word" of expiring epicureanism.
The last writer that comes before us is the rhetorician and pseudo-philosopher, L. APULEIUS. He was born at Madaura, in Africa, 114 A.D.  and calls himself Seminumida et Semigaetula.  His parents were in easy circumstances, and sent him to school at Carthage, which was fast rising to the highest place among the seminaries of rhetoric. By his father's death he came into a considerable fortune, and in order to finish his education spent some time at Athens, and travelled through many parts of the East hunting up all the information he could find on magic and necromancy, and getting himself initiated into all the different mysteries. About 136 he came to Rome, where he practised at the bar for about two years. He then returned to Madaura; but soon growing discontented determined to indulge his restless craving for travel and acquiring knowledge. He therefore set out for Egypt, the nurse of all occult wisdom, and the centre of attraction for all curious spirits. On his way he fell ill and was detained at Oea, where he met a rich widow named Pudentilla, whom in course of time he married. Her two sons had not been averse to the match, indeed Apuleius says they strongly urged it forward. But very soon they found their step-father an inconvenience, and through their uncle Aemilianus instituted a suit against him on the ground of his having bewitched their mother into marrying him. This serious charge, which was based principally on the disparity of years, Pudentilla being sixty (though her husband maintains she is only forty), Apuleius refutes in his "Apologia",  a valuable relic of the time, which well deserves to be read. The accusation had been divided into three parts, to each of which the orator replies. The first part or preamble had tried to excite odium against him by alleging his effeminacy in using dentifrice, in possessing a mirror, and in writing lascivious poems, and also by alluding to his former poverty. His reply to this is ready enough; he admits that nature has favoured him with a handsome person of which he is not ashamed of trying to make the best; besides, how do they know his mirror is not used for optical experiments? As to poverty, if he "had" been poor, he gloried in the fact;  many great and virtuous men had been so too, and some thought poverty an essential part of virtue. The preamble disposed of, he proceeds to the more serious charge of magic. He has, so the indictment says, fascinated a child; he has bought poisons; he keeps something uncanny in his handkerchief, probably some token of sorcery: he offers nocturnal sacrifices, vestiges of which of a suspicious character have been found; and he worships a little skeleton he has made and which he always carries about with him. His answer to these charges is as follows: -- the child was epileptic and died without his aid; the poisons he has bought for purposes of natural science; the image he carries in his handkerchief is that of Plato's "monarch" ("vous Basileus"), devotion to which is only natural in a professed Platonist; and as for the sacrifices, they are pious prayers, offered outside the town solely in order to profit by the peaceful inspirations which the country awakens. The third part of the indictment concerned his marriage. He has forced the lady's affections; he has used occult arts as her own letters show, to gain an influence over her; love-letters have passed between them, which is a suspicious thing when the lady is sixty years of age; the marriage was celebrated out of Oea; and last but not least, he has got possession of her very considerable fortune. His answers are equally to the point here. So far from being unwilling to espouse him or needing any compulsion, the good lady with difficulty waited till her sons came of age, and then brooked no further delay; moreover he had not pressed his suit, though her sons themselves had strongly wished him to do so; as regards the correspondence, a son who reads his mother's private letters is hardly a witness to command confidence; as regards her age she is forty, not sixty; as regards the place of her marriage both of them preferred the country to the town; and as regards the fortune, which he denies to be a rich one, the will provides that on her death it shall revert to her sons. Having now completed his argument he lets loose the flood-gates of his satire; and with a violence, an indecency, and a dragging to light of home secrets, scarcely to be paralleled except in some recent trials, he flays the reputation of uncle and nephews, and triumphantly appeals to the judge to give a verdict in his favour. 
We next find him at Carthage where he gave public lectures on rhetoric. He had enough real ability joined with his affectation of wisdom to ensure his success in this sphere. Accordingly we find that he attained not only all the civil honours that the city had to bestow, but also the pontificate of Aesculapius, a position even more gratifying to his tastes. During his career as a rhetorician he wrote the "Florida", which consists for the most part of selected passages from his public discourses. It is now divided into four books, but apparently at first had no such division. It embraces specimens of eloquence on all kinds of subjects, in a middle style between the comparatively natural one of his "Apologia" and the congeries of styles of all periods which his latest works present. In these "morceaux", some of which are designed as themes for improvisation, he pretends to an acquaintance with the whole field of knowledge. As a consequence, it is obvious that his knowledge is nowhere very deep. He was equally fluent in Greek and Latin, and frequently passed from one language to the other at a moment's notice.
He now cultivated that peculiar style which we see fully matured in his "Metamorphoses". It is a mixture of poetical and prose diction, of archaisms and modernisms, of rare native and foreign terms, of solecisms, conceits, and quotations, which render it repulsive to the reader and betray the chaotic state of its creator's canons of taste. The story is copied from Lucian's "Aoukios ae Onos", but it is on a larger scale, and many insertions occur, such as adventures with bandits or magicians; accounts of jugglers, priests of Cybele, and other vagrants; details on the arts; a description of an opera; licentious stories; and, above all, the pretty tale of Cupid and Psyche,  which came originally from the East, but in its present form seems rather to be modelled on a Greek redaction. "The golden ass of Apuleius," as the eleven books of Metamorphoses are called by their admirers, was by no means thought so well of in antiquity as it is now. Macrobius expresses his wonder that a serious philosopher should have spent time on such trifles. St Augustine seems to think it possible the story may be a true one: "aut indicavit aut finxit." It is a fictitious autobiography, narrating the adventures of the author's youth; how he was tried for the murder of three leather-bottles and condemned; how he was vivified by an enchantress with whom he was in love; how he wished to follow her through the air as a bird, but owing to a mistake of her maids was transformed into an ass; how he met many strange adventures in his search for the rose-leaves which alone could restore his lost human form. The change of shape gave him many chances of observing men and women: among other incidents he is treated with disdain by his own horse and mule, and severely beaten by his groom. He hears his character openly defamed; his resentment at this, and the frequent attempts he makes to assert his rationality, are among the most ludicrous parts of the book; finally, after many adventures, he is restored to human shape by some priests of Isis or Osiris, to whose service he devotes himself for the rest of his life.
Some have considered this extravagant story to be an allegory,  others, again, a covert satire on the vices of his countrymen. This latter supposition we may at once discard. The former is not unlikely, though the exact explanation of it will be a matter of uncertainty. Perhaps the ass symbolizes sensuality; the rose-leaves, science; the priests of Isis, either the Platonic philosophy, or the Mysteries; the return to human shape, holiness or virtue. It is also possible that it may be a plea for paganism against the new religious elements that were gathering strength at Carthage; but if so, it is hard to see why he should have chosen as his model the atheistic story of Lucian. In a similar manner the story of Cupid and Psyche has been made a type of the progress of the soul. Apuleius was one of those minds not uncommon in a decaying civilization, in which extreme quasi-religious exaltation alternates with impure hilarity. He is a licentious mystic; a would-be magician;  a hierophant of pretentious sanctity, something between a Cagliostro and a Swedenborg; a type altogether new in Roman literature, and a gloomy index of its speedy fall.
Besides these works of Apuleius, we possess some short philosophical tracts, embodying some of his Platonist and Pythagorean doctrines. They are "De deo Socratis", "De Dogmate Platonis" in three books, and the "De Mundo", a popular theologico-scientific exposition, drawn from Aristotle. The general tenor of these works will be considered in the next chapter, as their bearing on the thought of the times gives them considerable importance.
Footnotes For an excellent account of this inconstant prince see his biography by Aelius Spartianus, who preserves other poems of his.
 Cf. Dom. 12, Interfuisse me "adolescentulum" memini cum inspiceretur senex (a Domitiano). From Gram. 4, Ner. 57, as compared with this, we should infer that he was about fifteen in the year 90.
 Ep. i. 18.
 Ep. iii. 8.
 Paneg. Traj. 95.
 Ep. i. 24.
 "E.g." Fronto writing under Antoninus mentions him as still living.
 Hist. Var. 6, 874-896 (Roth).
 De Spect. 5.
 "Ad Aen." 7, 612: Tria suntgenera trabearum; nuum diis sacratum, quod est tantum de purpura; aliud regum, quod est purpureum, habet tanem album aliquid; tertium augurale de purpura et cocco. The other passage ("Ad Aen." 2, 683) describes the different priestly caps, the "apex", the "tubulus", and the "galerus".
 Etym. 18, 2, 3.
 Perhaps the word "Stemma" should be supplied before "syngenikon".
 In one MS. is appended to Suetonius's works a list of grammatical observations called "Differentiae sermonum Remmi Palaemonis ex libro Suetoni Tranquilli qui inscribitur Pratum". Roth prints these, but does not believe them genuine.
 It will be found "Ner." 47-49.
 Qualis artifex pereo.
 Many of these ejaculations are in Greek. On this see note i. p. 37.
 Usually (from the Cod. Bamberg.) Julius Florus; but Mommsen considers this a corruption.
 Riese, "Anthol. Lat." p. 168-70; ib. No. 87, p. 101. Some have ascribed the "Pervigilium Veneris" to him.
 ii. 1.
 See back page 331.
 Dio. xl. 5, 20.
 For these writers, see Teuff. S 345.
 i. 4, 1.
 He speaks of having learnt from him "to epistasthai oti hae turannikae baskania kai poikilia kai hypokrisis kai oti os epipan oi kaloumenoi outoi par aemin Eupatridai astorgoteroi pos eisin".
 Paneg. Constant. 14.
 Sat. V. 1.
 "Siccum". This shows more acumen than we should have expected from Macrobius.
 Ep. ad M. Caes ii. 1.
 In complaining of fate, he suddenly breaks off with the words: "Fata a fando appellata aiunt; hoccine est recte fari?" S 7.
 On this see a fuller account, pp. 478, 474.
 Some of the more interesting chapters in his work may be referred to: -- On religion, i. 7; iv. 9; iv. 11; v. 12; vi. 1. On law, iv. 3; iv. 4; iv. 5; v. 19; vii. 15; x. 20. On Virgil, i. 23; ii. 3; ii. 4; v. 8; vi. 6; vii. 12; vii. 20; ix. 9; x. 16; xiii. 1; xiii. 20. On Sallust, i. 15; ii. 27; iii. 1; iv. 15; x. 20. On Ennius, iv. 7; vii. 2; xi. 4; xviii. 5.
 And those often rare ones, as "solitavisse".
 "E.g." in vii. 17, where he poses a grammarian as to the signification of "obnoxius". Compare also xiv. 5, on the vocative of "egregius".
 See xiv. 6.
 See iv. 9.
 See esp. xix. 9.
 "E.g." iv. 1.
 Especially iv. 7; v. 21; vii. 7, 9, 11; xvi. 14; xviii. 8, 9.
 xviii. 5.
 Civ. Dei. ix. 4.
 Teuffel, S 356.
 Note 1, p. 466.
 xix. 11.
 The personal taste of the emperors now greatly helped to form style. This should not be forgotten in criticising the works of this period.
 Such is Teuffel's opinion, following Buchelor, L. L. S 358.
 P. 1414.
 This date is adopted by Charpentier. Teuffel (L. L. S 362, 2) inclines to a later date, 125 A.D.
 Apol. 23.
 Sometimes called "De Magia".
 The word "paupertas" must be used in a limited sense, as it is by Horace, "pauperemque dives me petit"; or else we must suppose that Apuleius had squandered his fortune in his travels.
 The case was tried before the Proconsul Claudius Maximus.
 It will be found Metam. iv. 28 -- vi. 24.
 Apuleius himself (i. 1) calls it a "Milesian tale" (see App. to ch. 3). These are very generally condemned by the classical writers. But there is no doubt they were very largely read "sub rosa". When Crassus was defeated in Parthia, the king Surenas is reported to have been greatly struck with the licentious novels which the Roman officers read during the campaign.
 St Augustine fully believed that he and Apollonius of Tyana were workers of (demoniacal) miracles.