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The Student's Mythology A Compendium of Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Assyrian, Persian, Hindoo, Chinese, Thibetian, Scandinavian, Celtic, Aztec, and Peruvian Mythologies

Page: 56

CÆSAR (Caius Julius),

The Roman general and dictator, holds a high rank among Latin authors. During the most active period of his life, he found time to devote to literary pursuits. Of the works written by him on various subjects, both in prose and [294] verse, we have only his “Commentaries,” in ten books. Seven of these treat of the Gallic war, the rest contain an account of the Civil war. The hurry of military expeditions did not prevent this extraordinary man from observing closely the manners and customs of the different nations with whom he contended. We are indebted to the Commentaries for almost all the accurate information we possess with regard to the inhabitants of ancient Gaul.

Cæsar was not surpassed, even by the writers of the Augustan age, in clearness and beauty of style. He exaggerates nothing, and his most brilliant achievements are related with a certain modest simplicity which is one of the characteristics of true greatness.

CICERO.

A Roman orator and statesman. He filled the highest offices in the gift of his country, and took so prominent a part in public affairs, that an account of his life would be also a history of his times. Cicero wrote on the art of public speaking, on philosophy and jurisprudence. This great man, who had saved Rome from the plots of Catiline, and rendered many other signal services to his country, was basely murdered by the order of the second Triumvirate, in the year 43 B. C.

[295]

DEMOSTHENES.

A famous Athenian orator, who defended the liberties of his country against the aggressions of Philip of Macedon.

DIODORUS,

Surnamed Siculus, from Sicily, his birth-place. He was a celebrated historian, contemporary with Julius Cæsar and Augustus. He wrote a “General History” in forty books, of which we have now fifteen entire, with scattered fragments of the others. Diodorus devoted thirty years to this great work.

EURIPIDES,

A Greek tragedian, was born in 480 B. C., on the day rendered famous by the victory of Salamis. After gaining a high reputation as a dramatist, Euripides retired to Macedon, to the court of King Archelaûs. On the death of the poet, the Athenians begged that his body might be sent to Athens for interment. This request Archelaûs refused, and Euripides was buried with much pomp at Pella, in Macedon. This poet is inferior to Æschylus and Sophocles, not only in dignity of sentiment, but in the moral tone of his dramas. Sophocles is said to have observed that while he represented men as they ought to be, Euripides described them as they were.

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HERODOTUS,

Who has been called the Father of History, was born at Halicarnassus, 484 B. C. He spent many years travelling through Europe, Asia and Africa, observing everywhere the manners and customs of the people, and collecting materials for his great work. His account of the Persian war is full of interest, and won for him great popularity among his countrymen.


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