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Lae'lia

1. The elder of the two daughters of C. Laelius, surnamed the wise. She was married to Q. Mucius Scaevola, the augur, by whom she had two daughters, Mucia major and minor. Laelia was celebrated for the purity with which she spoke her native language, and she transmitted her conversational excellence to two generations-to her daughters the Muciae, and to her grandaughters the two Liciniae. Her son-in-law, L. Licinius Crassus [CRASSUS, No. 23], whose eloquence profited by her instructions, describes Laelia's conversation as a perfect model of the antique tone of Naevius and Plautus; and Cicero, in whose early manhood she was still surviving, represents her diction as possessing a certain indefinable Roman grace and propriety, of which highly educated women were the best depositaries, and which conveyed a correct and lively image of the eloquence of her father Laelius and his illustrious friend, the second Africanus. The conversation of Laelia gave the tone to the polished society of her age, and was distinguished from that of Cornelia, the mirror of a later generation, by its native Latinism, and by its sincerity and earnestness, which qualities were in some degree sacrificed afterwards to exotic graces, and to a composite idiom borrowed from the schools and sophists of Athens. (Cic. Brut. 58.111, de Or. 3.12.44.)

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