An in-depth look at the literature of the Roman Empire.
o show how small a quantity of invention there is in the world, and that the same images and incidents, with little variation, have served all the authors who have ever written(7)." Had he prosecuted his intention, he would have found the notion he entertained fully confirmed by the history both of dramatic and romantic fiction; he would have perceived the incapacity of the most active and fertile imagination greatly to diversify the common characters and incidents of life, which, on a superficial view, one might suppose to be susceptible of infinite combinations; he would have found, that while Plautus and Terence servilely copied from the Greek dramatists, even Ariosto scarcely diverged in his comedies from the paths of Plautus.
* * * * * * *
But whatever may be the advantages or imperfections of a literary subject in its own nature, it is evident that it can never be treated with effect or utility, unless sufficient materials exist for compilation. Unfortunately, there was no historian of Rom