Thursday, August 09, 2018


A Canting, Lying, Thievish Race

Basil Lanneau Gildersleeve, "Historical Parallels," Richmond Examiner (October 28, 1863), rpt. in Soldier and Scholar: Basil Lanneau Gildersleeve and the Civil War, ed. Ward W. Briggs Jr. (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1998), pp. 119-123 (at 121; footnotes omitted):
A more canting, lying, thievish race than the Roman was never suffered by the Master of history to run so long a career on His footstool; and the sympathies of every generous soul must always be with their antagonists, whether those antagonists were nations or individuals—the Latins, whom they cheated out of their "reserved rights," or the Samnites, whom they crushed by brute force; Hannibal, the Lybian lion, or Mithridates, the Pontic fox. In all the wearisome annals of the Republic there is but one great man, and him they killed; in all their verse-manufactory there is but one great poet, and he wasted his talents on the dullest of themes and died a maniac; and moreover, it must be remembered that both Caesar and Lucretius belong to the period of transition from the Republic to the Empire.

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