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[11arg] The words of a decree of the senate on expelling philosophers from the city of Rome; also the words of the edict of the censors by which those were rebuked and restrained who had begun to establish and practise the art of rhetoric at Rome.

IN the consulship of Gaius Fannius Strabo and Marcus Valerius Messala 1 the following decree of the senate was passed regarding Latin speaking philosophers and rhetoricians: 2 “(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 to him in accord with the interests of the State and his oath of office, that they should not remain in Rome.”

Then some years 3 after that decree of the senate Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus and Lucius Licinius Crassus the censors issued the following edict for restraining the Latin rhetoricians: 4 “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 [p. 89] young men spend whole days with them in idleness. Our forefathers determined what they wished their children to learn and what schools they desired them to attend. These innovations in the customs and principles of our forefathers neither please us nor seem proper. Therefore it seems necessary to make our opinion known, both to those who have such schools and to those who are in the habit of attending them, that they are displeasing to us.”

And it was not only in those times, which were somewhat rude and not yet refined by Greek training, that philosophers were driven from the city of Rome, but even in the reign of Domitian 5 by a decree of the senate they were driven from the city and forbidden Italy. And it was at that time that the philosopher Epictetus also withdrew from Rome to Nicopolis because of that senatorial decree.

1 161 B.C.

2 Fontes Iuris Rom., p. 157; cf. Suetonius, De Rhet. 1 (ii. p. 434, L.C.L.).

3 92 B.C.

4 F.I.R., p. 215; Suetonius ii, p. 434 f. L.C.L.

5 A.D. 89.

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