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The original plan of my work included a translation of the Somnium; which, under certain safeguards, such as the exaction by the teacher of a rigorous grammatical analysis from his scholars, seemed to me to present many advantages: but the general opinion of teachers appears to be adverse to the use of translations in Schools; and, in compliance with the advice of my friends, I have decided to publish it separately.
The text of this edition will not be found to differ materially from that of Meissner, who has based his text on that of Baiter and Kayser (Leipzig, 1865): although I have felt myself bound to make some changes in the orthography. My own experience in examination work has led me to think it highly desirable that a youth should be introduced to the classical forms of Latin words, elsewhere than in an examination-room. I have therefore not scrupled, invariably in the textthough not so in the notes—to make no distinction between the consonantal and vowel forms of i and u: I have also adopted the spelling i for iï, in the genitive singular of substantives ending in -ius, -ium; e.g. Mercuri not Mercurii $ 9, consili not consiiii $ 4. With regard to other forms: e.g. -uo and -cu for -uu and -quu, although I have occasionally admitted such forms, I have generally been content to sacrifice consistency to the desire to present as few difficulties as possible : consecuntur § 9, and locuntur $ 14, for consequuntur and loquuntur, are, I think, the only cases in which a young reader will find any difficulty on this score.
It remains to express my gratitude to the Syndics of the University Press, who have generously undertaken the publication: my best thanks are also due to their adviser for many useful hints, and especially to Mr J. S. Reid, Fellow and Assistant Tutor of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, who has given himself much trouble in revising and making suggestions.
W. D. PEARMAN.
THE Latin writers, and Cicero in particular, were fully sensible of the preeminence which the Greeks enjoyed in the field of letters and the fine arts generally. Indeed Cicero himself tells us, with a naïveté in refreshing contrast with the mock humility of modern irony, that it was his ambition to render his countrymen as independent of Greek models in the other departments as in that of oratory. Hence it is not surprising that the famous Polity of Plato should have attracted his notice as a worthy object of emulation. Accordingly he tells us in one of his letters (ad Q. F. 11. 14) of the date 700 v. C. (B.C: 54) that he has taken this subject in hand, in the pleasant retirement of his Cuman villa; that he finds the work difficult and laborious, but will not grudge his pains if it should prove a success; and at the worst he can readily throw it into the sea, which fronts him as he writes. And in his later writings we have frequent allusions to the Sex libri de re publica: But although the later Latin writers make frequent mention of this treatise, and citations from it abound in the writings of Lactantius, Boethius and others, while the grammarian Macrobius, in his prolix commentary, has helped to rescue our Somnium Scipionis, which formed part of Bk VI. į the treatise as a whole would seem to have disappeared in the darkness of the early middle ages. And notwithstanding that so late as the 17th century, rumours of this rara avis having been seen, now here and now there, led the learned on many a wild-goose chase after what was probably nothing more than a MS copy of Macrobius' commentary; all hope of ever finding more than the fragments gathered from the quotations of other authors had long been given up; when, in the year 1820, the Cardinal Angelo Mai, peering closely into a 'palimpsest in the library of the Vatican, found that it was possible to decipher beneath the later writing traces of the original letters, which had been erased in the usual manner to make way for part of a commentary on the Psalms by St Austin: his ecstasy and the surprise of the literary world, to whom he speedily communicated this discovery, can be readily imagined, when it was found that he had succeeded in disinterring, as it were, a large portion of the lost de Republica, which had lain for centuries unsuspected in this pious resting-place. This codex Vaticanus, as it is styled, does not reach so far as Bk VI., but there is no lack of ass in the case of the Somnium, which had the good fortune to be handed down as a separate extract from the earliest times.
The Dream of Scipio is the counterpart of the episode of Er, in the tenth book of Plata's Polity: partly no doubt to give dramatic finish to his work, and partly to present more strikingly those arguments in favour of virtue and justice, which are based on a belief in the rewards and punishments of a future state, Plato introduces the fable of Er the Arme
1 παλίμψηστος, lit. scraped again': a term applied to a parchment, from which the old writing has been erased, in order that the parchment may be used again for writing. It is not surprising that so costly a material as parchment should have been used with great economy; and, as the ancient atramentum was not so corrosive in its nature as our modern ink, it was not difficult to erase writing in such a
way as to leave the parchment sufficiently sound for second use. Cicero (ad Div. VII. xviii. 2) replying to his friend, Trebatius, who had answered his letter on a palimpsest, jestingly commends him for his thrift; but opines that Trebatius, who was a Jurist, has used up some of his old legal formulae, as he would scarcely rub out one of Cicero's letters to write anything of his own in its place.