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Krates of Mallos was from his king Attalos of Pergamon 169 BC. sent to Rome on a diplomatic mission to the Senate. Lost in thought, the Greek philosopher walked there on the Palatine, slipped, caught his leg in an open sewage shaft, and broke his shin. The time of his recovery was used by Krates to give lectures to the Romans, especially the art of language. According to the biographer Sueton, the Romans had no skill in writing and speech before the broken leg of Krates. Her thoughts were only on warfare. For the fine arts, especially the language, they would have had neither time nor interest. The only ones who would have tried to work in poetry, Livy (Andronicus) and Ennius, were supposed to have been half Greeks and no real Romans. But after Krates had been in Rome, the Romans had started to set an example for the Greeks. At first they only ventured to work on already existing texts, but soon they developed considerable skills in the fine arts. Their Greek origins could and would never deny it. Greek philosophy, too, found its way to Rome, where it remained dominant, thanks to an open sewer.

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