and I cannot but acknowledge my very great debt to him in that regard. Much help has also been given me by J. W. E. Pearce, M.A. Oxon., and Miss M. D. Brock, Litt.D. Dublin.
C. R. Haines.
Time has not dealt kindly with Fronto. For more than a millennium and a half his name stood high in the lists of fame. On the strength of ancient testimony he was looked upon as the Cicero of his age; if not indeed his equal, yet as an Isocrates to a Demosthenes. Eumenius,1 writing late in the third century, described him as “not the second but the alternative glory of Roman eloquence.” A century or more later he is singled out by Macrobius2 as the representative of the plain, precise, matter-of-fact style, contrasted with the copious, in which Cicero is supreme, the laconic, which is the province of Sallust, and the rich and florid, in which Pliny the Younger and Symmachus luxuriate.
Jerome3 about the same time, speaks of the subtleties of Quintilian, the fluency of Cicero, the serious dignity of Fronto, and the smooth periods of Pliny. A little later Claudius Mamertus4 recommends Plautus for elegance, Cato for gravitas, Gracchus
- 1Paneg. Const. 14: Romanae eloquentiae non secundum sed alterum deeus.
- 2Saturnalia, v. 1. He says tenuis quidam et siccus et sobrius amat quandam dicendi frugalitatcm, and he ascribes the siccum genus to Fronto, as an orator, no doubt. This was the style of Lysias.
- 3Epist. 12: gravitatem Frontonis.
- 4Ep. ad Sepandum.