This inquiry starts from two passages in book 1 of Cicero's de Re Publica, both concerned with the failings of democracy as a political form. The first occurs in Scipio Aemilianus' opening criticism of the three unmixed constitutions. The weakness of democracy is that cum omnia per populum geruntur quamvis iustum atque moderatum, tamen ipsa aequabilitas est iniqua, cum habet nullos gradus dignitatis.
The Curculio, with its 729 lines, is the shortest play of Plautus which has survived, about half the length of the Miles Gloriosus or Rudens . The Epidicus, with 733 lines, and the Stichus, with 775, are almost as brief. It is most unlikely that any of these shorter plays took even a full hour to perform. Although it is possible that their Greek originals were also of less than normal length, the many signs of compression and disproportion in their (...) development seem to guarantee that their brevity is imposed by Plautus. (shrink)
Lucius Annaeus Seneca was a Roman Stoic philosopher, dramatist, statesman, and advisor to the emperor Nero, all during the Silver Age of Latin literature. The Complete Works of Lucius Annaeus Seneca is a fresh and compelling series of new English-language translations of his works in eight accessible volumes. Edited by world-renowned classicists Elizabeth Asmis, Shadi Bartsch, and Martha C. Nussbaum, this engaging collection helps restore Seneca—whose works have been highly praised by modern authors from Desiderius Erasmus to Ralph Waldo Emerson—to (...) his rightful place among the classical writers most widely studied in the humanities. _Hardship and Happiness_ collects a range of essays intended to instruct, from consolations—works that offer comfort to someone who has suffered a personal loss—to pieces on how to achieve happiness or tranquility in the face of a difficult world. Expertly translated, the essays will be read and used by undergraduate philosophy students and experienced scholars alike. (shrink)
Statius' last, unfinished poem, the Achilleid, is a more varied and charming work than readers of the The baid could ever have imagined, and is perhaps the most attractive approach to this highly imitative and professional poet. It is generally agreed that both Statius' diction and his narrative form are greatly influenced by Virgil and Ovid: but if he considered the Theban poem as his own Aeneid, we might fairly see the Achilleid as more akin to the Metamorphoses; diction and (...) epic devices may remain recognizably Virgilian, but the relaxed tone, the gentle irony and open humour take us into Ovid's world. As an illustration, the brief episode in which Thetis conveys her sleeping son from Thessaly over the sea to Scyros probably draws its original inspiration from Venus' substitution of Cupid for Ascanius in Aeneid 1: Venus' son procures his own arrival, but she spirits away the sleeping Ascanius; ‘at Venus Ascanio placidam per membra quietem/ irrigat et fotum gremio dea tollit in altos/Idaliae lucos’. (shrink)
This is the largest selection of Stoic philosopher and tragedian Seneca's letters currently available. In them Seneca advises his friend Lucilius on how to do without what is superfluous, whether on the subject of happiness, riches, reputation, or the emotions. We learn too about Seneca's personal and political life in the time of Nero.