Tools

Lives of Illustrious Men

De rhetoribus

I (25). Rhetorica quoque apud nos perinde atque grammatica fere1 recepta est, paululo2 etiam difficilius, quippe quam constet nonnunquam etiam prohibitam exerceri. Quod ne cui dubium sit, vetus S. C.3 item censorium edictum subiciam: “C.4 Fannio Strabone M. Valerio Messala coss. M. Pomponius praetor senatum consuluit. Quod verba facta sunt de philosophis et rhetoribus, de ea re ita censuerunt, ut M. Pomponius praetor animadverteret curaretque, ut et5 e re p. fideque sua videretur, uti Romae ne essent.” De eisdem interiecto tempore Cn. Domitius Ahenobarbus, L. Licinius Crassus censores ita edixerunt: “Renuntiatum est nobis, esse homines qui novum genus disciplinae instituerunt, ad quos iuventus in ludum conveniat; eos sibi nomen imposuisse Latinos rhetoras; ibi homines adulescentulos dies totos desidere. Maiores nostri, quae liberos

418

On Rhetoricians

On Rhetoricians

I (25). The study of rhetoric1 was introduced into our country in about the same way as that of grammar, but with somewhat greater difficulty, since, as is well known, its practice was at times actually prohibited. To remove any doubt on this point, I shall append an ancient decree of the senate, as well as an edict of the censors: “In the consulship2 of Gaius Fannius Strabo and Marcus Valerius Messala the praetor Marcus Pomponius laid a proposition before the senate. As the result of a discussion about philosophers and rhetoricians, the senate decreed that Marcus Pomponius, the praetor, should take heed and provide, in whatever way seemed in accord with the interests of the State and his oath of office, that they be not allowed to live in Rome.” Some time afterward the censors Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus and Lucius Licinius Crassus3 issued the following edict about the same class of men: “It has been reported to us that there be men who have introduced a new kind of training, and that our young men frequent their schools; that these men have assumed the title of Latin rhetoricians, and that young men spend whole days with them in idleness. Our forefathers determined

419
DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.suetonius-lives_illustrious_men_grammarians_rhetoricians_rhetoricians.1914