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Augustus, Chapter 89: His literature.
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He [Note 1] was no less fond of the Greek literature, in which he made considerable proficiency; having had Apollodorus of Pergamum, for his master in rhetoric; whom, though much advanced in years, he took with him from the City, when he was himself very young, to Apollonia. Afterwards, being instructed in philology by Sephaerus, he received into his family Areus the philosopher, and his son Dionysius and Nicanor; but he never could speak the Greek tongue nor ever ventured to compose in it. For if there was occasion for him to deliver his sentiments in that language, he always expressed what he had to say in Latin, and gave it another to translate. He was evidently not unacquainted with the poetry of the Greeks, and had a great taste for the ancient comedy, which he often brought upon the stage, in his public spectacles. In reading the Greek and Latin authors, he paid particular attention to precepts and examples which might be useful in public or private life. Those he used to extract verbatim, and gave to his domestics, or send to the commanders of the armies, the governors of the provinces, or the magistrates of the city, when any of them seemed to stand in need of admonition. He likewise read whole books to the senate, and frequently made them known to the people by his edicts; such as the orations of Quintus Metellus for the Encouragement of Marriage, and those of Rutilius On the Style of Building; to show the people that he was not the first who had promoted those objects, but that the ancients likewise had thought them worthy their attention. He patronized the men of genius of that age in every possible way. He would hear them read their works with a great deal of patience and good nature; and not only poetry and history, but orations and dialogues. He was displeased, however, that anything should be written upon himself, except in a grave manner, and by men of the most eminent abilities: and he enjoined the praetors not to suffer his name to be made too common in the contests amongst orators and poets in the theatres. |
Note 1: he = Augustus