The Birth of Scholarship in Rome

Suetonius, de Grammaticis §2:

“As far as I reckon, Crates of Mallos was the first to bring the study of grammar to Rome. He was the contemporary of Aristarchus, who was sent to the senate by king Attalus between the second and third Punic Wars, a little after the death of Ennius. When he broke his leg after falling into a sewer opening in the region of the Palatine, he spent the rest of both his legation and his recovery in delivering lectures and assiduous demonstrations, and he served as an example to be imitated by our own intellectuals. Nevertheless, they imitated him this far, in reexamining poems which had until that point been too little circulated, or belonged to dead friends, or even others of whom they had approved. Further, by reading and commenting, they made them known to others. Gaius Octavius Lampadio, for example, divided the Punic War of Naevius into seven books, though it had previously been in one book with no line breaks in the writing. Afterward, Quintus Vargunteius edited the Annals of Ennius, which he used to recite on certain days among a big crowd. Similarly, Laelius Archelaus and Vettias Philocomus edited the Satires of their relation Lucilius; Pompeius Lenaeus says that he read these Satires with Archelaus, and Valerius Cato claims that he read them with Philocomus.”

Image result for roman grammarians

Primus igitur, quantum opinamur, studium grammaticae in urbem intulit Crates Mallotes, Aristarchi aequalis, qui missus ad senatum ab Attalo rege inter secundum ac tertium Punicum bellum sub ipsam Ennii mortem, cum regione Palatii prolapsus in cloacae foramen crus fregisset, per omne legationis simul et valitudinis tempus plurimas acroasis subinde fecit assidueque disseruit, ac nostris exemplo fuit ad imitandum. Hactenus tamen imitati, ut carmina parum adhuc divulgata vel defunctorum amicorum vel si quorum aliorum probassent, diligentius retractarent ac legendo commentandoque etiam ceteris nota facerent; ut C. Octavius Lampadio Naevii Punicum bellum, quod uno volumine et continenti scriptura expositum divisit in septem libros: ut postea Q. Vargunteius annales Ennii, quos certis diebus in magna frequentia pronuntiabat; ut Laelius Archelaus Vettiasque Philocomus Lucilii satyras familiaris sui, quas legisse se apud Archelaum Pompeius Lenaeus, apud Philocomum Valerius Cato praedicant.

Leave a Reply