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Tiberius Chapter 70: Interest in literature.
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He [Note 1] was greatly devoted to liberal studies in both languages. In his Latin oratory he followed Messala Corvinus, to whom he had given attention in his youth, when Messala was an old man. But he so obscured his style by excessive mannerisms and pedantry, that he was thought to speak much better offhand than in a prepared address. He also composed a lyric poem entitled A Lament for the Death of Lucius Caesar, and made Greek verses in imitation of Euphorion, Rhianus, and Parthenius, poets of whom he was very fond, placing their busts in the public libraries among those of the eminent writers of old; and on that account many learned men vied with one another in issuing commentaries on their works and dedicating them to the emperor. Yet his special aim was a knowledge of mythology, which he carried to a silly and laughable extreme; for he used to test even the grammarians, a class of men in whom, as I have said, he was especially interested, by questions something like this: Who was Hecuba's mother? What was the name of Achilles among the maidens? What were the Sirens in the habit of singing? Moreover, on the first day that he entered the Senate after the death of Augustus, to satisfy at once the demands of filial piety and of religion, he offered sacrifice after the example of Minos with incense and wine, but without a flute-player, as Minos had done in ancient times on the death of his son. |
Note 1: Tiberius