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Latin literature

Latin literature, all literary works of ancient Romans, written in Latin. Latin literature, beginning as a derivation of Greek literature, and evolving over several literary eras, came to express the nature, politics, and history of the people, and developed into a highly distinctive standard for all written language. Although early Latin literature (240 B.C.) contained translations of the Greek classics, poetry, and drama, much of it has been preserved in the form of comedies.

The comedies of Plautus and Terence were based on Greek themes with creative variations. Cato the Elder (f. 160 B.C.) produced the most impressive prose of the early period. He also wrote the first history of Rome in Latin. The early period ended with a new kind of poetry by Gaius Lucilius. The Satires of Juvenal are also of this era. The apex, or Golden Age, occurred around the 1st century B.C. Cicero was the most accomplished writer of this period. His literary works are a treasure chest of information about life in Rome. His works on education, philosophy, and oratory have endured throughout the ages as classics. In this period, Julius Caesar wrote his works on the Gallic and Civil Wars. The lyric poetry of Catullus appeared at this time. The reign of the emperor Augustus (27 B.C. to A.D. 14) saw the creation of Vergil's Aeneid and Georgics. The work of Horace and Ovid also appeared in this era.

After the death of Augustus, Roman writers demonstrated new styles. The works of Seneca, Lucan, and Petronius' Satyricon are of this era. The Satyricon is considered the first Latin novel. Other notable writers are the historian Tacitus and Pliny the Younger. The foundations of Christian Latin literature were laid during the 4th and 5th centuries by church fathers like Augustine, Jerome, and Ambrose.

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