It is widely agreed that Publilius Syrus was a slave before he had become a freedman and a playwright, like Terence and Phaedrus. Though there is no evidence that he was born into slavery. Historians suppose that he became one when his native country, Syria, was turned into a Roman province. Around 64 B.C. Pompey had disposed of the monarchy that resided in Syria and reconstituted it as a Roman province (Pompey in the East). It is believed that Publilius Syrus was brought to Rome by Domitius -an officer of the Roman army- soon after the reconstitution of Syria and that Publilius was about twelves years old at the time. This is also when he received the nam...
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...reflect the ethics of the Romans in ancient Rome, such as the quote “An honorable death is better than a disgraceful life” (Publilius Syrus). It is widely known and understood that the Romans had a strong code of honor, and sacrificial deaths were thought to be honorable and were respected. There are many other quotes similar to this one and even if the reader does not know much about ancient Rome, they can easily theorize the morals that the ancient civilization had. I was pretty fascinated by how progressive some of these quotes were, thought this can also be due to my interpretation of them, but from reading about Publilius Syrus’ history I can imagine him as having been a progressive freedman. Even if there is not much to judge Publilius Syrus from, from the few saying we have, I can conclude that he was a brilliant man and an extremely successful author.
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