Classics Latin Literature

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Classical Studies
Classical Studies 1000
Patrick Brown

Classics Latin Literature Page 148-171  Immigrants to itlaian peninsula brought own dialects of speech  Umbrian, oscan and latin were spoken from 800 BC  Legend says greek settlers came to Italy shortly after the Trojan War, 1220 BC  50 years after the founding of rome, the composition of greek epic poems, the odyssey and the iliad and the establishment of greek alphabet all coincide.  Domination of dialect has to do with external rather than linguistic features  Latin, roman military expansion caused it to become the common languge of the Latin peninsula, the western Mediterranean and the Balkans  Latin alphabet derived from English alphabet  Anyone without knowledge of Latin who reads it aloud cannot go very far wrong  Much of latin lit was written to be spoken aloud  Latin word ‘liber’ originally means the inner part of the bark of a tree, which meant to the Romans anything that was written  Their “roll” is equivalent to our “book”  Roll was a papyrus up to 10 metres long and 30 cm deep with a rod fixed at each end, written in columns  To read, you would roll up the used portion with the left hand while unrolling the rest with the right  Caesar had the idea to open up a public library, but he died first  Credit went to Pollio  Publishers employed teams of educated slaves to do the copying  Most striking feature of Latin is its use of inflections, which changes the form of a word to indicate, ex, tense, gender, number, voice, etc.  Alliteration was widely used in both verse and prose, but rhyme only rarely  Poetry had short and long syllables, arranged in “feet”  Six feet is also called the dactylic hexameter in Latin which was borrowed from the Greeks  A break in the middle of the third foot is called a caesura  In Latin, when the letter ‘I’ comes before a vowel in the same syllable, as in ‘Troiae”, it has the same effect of the English ‘y’ as in ‘you’  In modern English it is represented/sounded by the letter ‘j’ as in ‘junior’  Elegiac couplet: a dactylic hexameter followed by a pentameter, a line of five feet made up by two parts, each of two and a half feet  A greek metre called, hendecasyllable comprises of seven syllables  A word which ends in a vowel precedes one which begins with a vowel, the former vowel is suppressed  A translation can never recapture all aspects of the original, but can reflect spirit, flavor, and flow  Translator needs to be skilled  The flexibility as well as the precision of Latin were well suited to the verse forms  Italian and Latin are very different and because of the way the stress-accent are disposed, the stateliness of Virgil’s lines cannot be reflected in English by the use of hexameters  There are many prose translations of Virgil  He used it for his pastoral and didactic poems, called the Eclogues and Georgics  Dryden represented the linguistic and narrative spirit of the original again in the medoim of which he was a master, the heroic couplet: as in the reflections on the hazards of living in Rome and the tribulations of those who face the nightly fear of fire Ennius  Wrote over 20 stage tragedies, comedies and occasional verses, mainly on Greek themes  Main work, was a massive verse history of Rome up to his own day in eighteen books  He abandoned the rough and barely noticeable rhythms of earlier Latin poets for the musical measures of the hexameter, which he forged into the epic medium later used by Virgil  Only have fragments of his work, totaling 600 lines, but was quoted by later writers Comedy: Plautus And Terence  First comic dramas that the Romans saw were based on the Greek ‘new comedies’ from 400-200 BC  Hallmarks included; stratagems, counter-stratagems, stock characters (young lovers, scheming slave, etc), and standard situations (obstacles to love, mistaken identities, etc) with some musical accompaniment  Principal writer for Greek ‘new comedy’ was Menander, who influenced Plautus and Terence  Titus Plautus (254-184 BC) was a Roman dramatist, to which 21 plays are attributed to him  His work retains a raw freshness of its own  He devised ways of adapting Greek verse metres to the Latin language, and introduced to audiences whose taste had tended towards farce and slapstick several varieties of literal comedy, such as burlesque and romantic dramas  He surmounted the problem of playing consecutive scenes, without any breaks between them, in front of a standard backdrop, usually a street with the entrances to two houses  Was born in Sarsina, small village in Umbria, left home early to go to Rome  First worked as a props-man, then when he got money, made the same business of his own  Some of Shakespeare’s plays are based off of his plays which marks the beginning of English comedy written for public performance  Publius Terentius Afer (185-159 BC) was brought to Rome as a slave from Africa  Took his name from his owner, Terentius Lucanus, who educated him and gave him freedom  He wrote his first play called “the girl from Andros” and was referred to Caecilius Statius  Caecilius was shown his work and was very impressed and asked Terence to join for dinner  Play was first performed in 166 BC and Terence wrote five more before he died in a shipwreck or of disease  His plays are better plotted than Plautus and some of the originals have been adapted  There is more purity of language and characterization than in Plautus  French philosopher and writer Denis Diderot said that of all writers of comedy only Terence and Moliere had the gift of individualizing their characters in a timeless way Lucretius  Epicureans, believed that every happening had a natural cause and that the ultimate aim in life was the pleasure that could be derived from the harmony of body and mind  Lucretius’ great project De Rerum Natura (On The Nature Of Things) comprises of six books, some 7500 hexameters, and an unfinished poem in Latin  A work of great learning and great poetry while subscribing to the Epicurean objection to spiritual Gods and their images  He invests in Venus with an overall creative power in nature before going into space, and matter and then going on to discuss sex, feeling, life, the mind geology, meteorology, anthropology and cosmology  His great project was more of a scientific treatise rather than philosophical. It is a mark of the skill of himself that he succeeded in presenting it in the language and metre of poetry Lyric Poetry: Caullus and Horace  Lyric poetry has come to mean that the composer presents his or her personal feelings  Originally, it meant poetry as a company to the lyre  The romans took over the metres and employed them in a more precise form to express themselves poetically  Gauis Valerius Catullus was born in Verona, north of Italy from a rich family  He became one of the wave of ‘new poets’ who reacted against their elders while, from the evidence of his own poetry, boozing, whoring, and living it up  Moved in high circles, especially if the woman was called Lesbia in his poems  Had affair with Clodia, sister of Cicero’s arch-enemy Publius Clodius, was older than him  Lucretius dedicated his great project to Memmius the governor of Bithynia and Catullus was his follower  Catullus’ 116 works survive varying in length (2 to 408 lines)  Many of them are cameos of his friends and enemies, of chance meetings and sexual encounters  His longest poem was of the wedding of Peleus and Thetis, which have mythological themes and show poetic emotion  Some poems were love/hate poems to Lesbia/Clodia stating shes bitter, passionate and tender  Of all English poets, Bryon is nearest to Catullus’ works, for temperament, habit and being a poetic genius  Catullus wrote in the passions of the moment  Horace was Catullus’ successor and had the leisure and time to marshal his thoughts into lines which usually displays more grace, but less emotion than Catullus’  Horace was born in Venusia and son of a freedman  Horace was taken by his father to Rome, was sent to the best educational establishments and was taught by Orbilius  Horace went to war at 18 which followed the assassination of Caesar and faught at Philippi, but on the other side  Was pardoned for his lapse of loyalty and became a civil service clerk writing poems on the side which caught the eye of Vigil  Horace was a bachelor all his life  His lyric poetry comprises of 17 Epodes, and 103 Odes in four books  The former, included political and satirical themes with some love poems (his early work)  Most are written with a longer line following a shorter one, which is known as a epode or after song  First 3 books were written in 33 and 23 BC and reflect the events of that time  His odes are recognized as his best work, written in Greek metres  Horace was short, rotund, dark hair that turned grey early  Friends with Maecenas Virgil  The Aeneid, is the epic of the empire of Rome and of Roman nationalism  Virgil was born near Mantua, had good education, and went on to study higher subjects  In 37 BC he published his first work, a series of bucolic episodes (Eclogues), which were loosly based on similar composition of the Hellenistic pastoral poet Theocritus  Maecenas gave him encouragement to complete four books about farming and the country year known as the Georgics  Th
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