Velleius Paterculus, Roman History 2.36:
To the year of Cicero’s consulship (82 years ago), the divine Augustus added not a slight honor, as he was about to put a cloud over the men of all nations through his own greatness. It now seems almost superfluous to note the times of those eminent talents. For who doesn’t know that, separated only by the gradations of a generation, at this time there flourished Cicero, Hortensius, and slightly before them Crassus, Cotta, and Sulpicius; soon came Brutus, Calidius, Caelius, Calvus, and Caesar next to Cicero, and, as if they were students of the aforementioned, Corvinus and Asinius Pollio, along with Sallust, the rival of Thucydides, and those poets Varro and Lucretius, and Catullus who was their inferior in no poetical work which he undertook. It is almost stupid to number all of the talents which practically cling still to our eyes, among which stand forth the greatest talents of our age – Vergil, the prince of song, and Rabirius, and Livy who followed Sallust, as well as Tibullus and Ovid, the most perfect in the form of their work; for, as there is great admiration of living writers, criticism of them is difficult.
Consulatui Ciceronis non mediocre adiecit decus natus eo anno divus Augustus abhinc annos LXXXII, omnibus omnium gentium viris magnitudine sua inducturus caliginem. 2 Iam paene supervacaneum videri potest eminentium ingeniorum notare tempora. Quis enim ignorat diremptos gradibus aetatis floruisse hoc tempore Ciceronem, Hortensium, anteque Crassum, Cottam, Sulpicium, moxque Brutum, Calidium, Caelium, Calvum et proximum Ciceroni Caesarem eorumque velut alumnos Corvinum ac Pollionem Asinium, aemulumque Thucydidis Sallustium, auctoresque carminum Varronem ac Lucretium neque ullo in suscepto carminis sui opere minorem Catullum. 3 Paene stulta est inhaerentium oculis ingeniorum enumeratio, inter quae maxime nostri aevi eminent princeps carminum Vergilius Rabiriusque et consecutus Sallustium Livius Tibullusque et Naso, perfectissimi in forma operis sui; nam vivorum ut magna admiratio, ita censura diffcilis est.