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[7] It is a positive disgrace to be content to owe all our achievement to imitation. For what, I ask again, would have been the result if no one had done more than his predecessors? Livius Andronicus1 would mark our supreme achievement in poetry and the annals of the Pontifices2 would be our ne plus ultra in history. We [p. 79] should still be sailing on rafts, and the art of painting would be restricted to tracing a line round a shadow thrown in the sunlight.

1 Livius Andronicus, a slave from Tareotum, was the founder of Latin poetry. He translated the Odyssey, and produced the first Latin comedy and tragedy composed in Greek metres (240 B.C.)

2 The Annales Maximi kept by the Pontifex Maximus, containing the list of the consul and giving a curt summary of the events of each consulate.

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