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He was no less fond of the Greek literature, in which he made considerable proficiency; having had Apollodorus of Pergamus, for his master in rhetoric; whom. though much advanced in years, he took with him from The City, when he was himself very young, to Apollonia. Afterwards, being instructed in philology by Sephaerus, he received into his family Areus the philosopher, and his sons Dionysius and Nicanor; but he never could speak the Greek tongue readily, nor ever ventured to compose in it. For if there was occasion for him to deliver his sentiments in that language, he always expressed what he had to say in Latin, and gave it another to translate. He was evidently not unacquainted with the poetry of the Greeks, and had a great taste for the ancient comedy, which he often brought upon-the stage, in his public spectacles. In reading the Greek and Latin authors, he paid particular attention to precepts and examples which might be useful in public or private life. Those he used to extract verbatim, and gave to his domestics, or send to the commanders of the armies, the governors of, the provinces, or the magistrates of the city, when any of them seemed to stand in need of admonition. He likewise read whole books to the senate, and frequently made them known to the people by his edicts; such as the orations of Quintus Metellus "for the Encouragement of Marriage," and those of Rutilius "On the Style of Building;" 1 to show the people that he was not the first who had promoted those objects, but that the ancients likewise had thought them worthy their attention. He patronized the men of genius of that age in every possible way. He would hear them read their works with a great deal of patience and good nature; and not only poetry2 and history, but orations and dialogues. He was displeased, however, that anything should be written upon himself, except in a grave manner, and by men of the most eminent abilities: and he enjoined the praetors not to suffer his name to be made too common in the contests amongst orators and poets in the theatres.
1 It may create a smile to hear that, to prevent danger to the public, Augustus decreed that no new buildings erected in a public thoroughfare should exceed in height seventy feet. Trajan reduced it to sixty.
2 Virgil is said to have recited before him the whole of the second, fourth, and sixth books of the Aeneid; and Octavia, being present, when the poet came to the passage referring to her son, commencing, “"Tu Marcellus eris,"” was so much affected that she was carried out fainting.
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