Politically, the Roman Empire laid the foundations on which modern Europe was built. Culturally, partly through native genius and partly through absorbing the achievements of the older and richer culture of Greece, its literature became the basis of European values, in particular those values that arise out of the individual’s relationship to their society. Rome began to produce literature between 300 and 100 BC at about the same time as it was conquering the rich Greek colonies in the south of Italy.
Roman writers and orators began to expand their imaginative and intellectual horizons and refine the Latin language through the study of Greek literature. Early Roman literature had been basically of two kinds: the recording and examination of public life and behavior through life stories of famous men, and the particularly Roman art of satirical comedy and drama.
There were those, however, who objected to the Greek influence, most notably Cato the Censor, who did his best to uphold the virtues of no-nonsense Latin prose against Greek luxury. More typical, and in the end more successful, was the poet Ennius, who managed to keep a balance between Greek and Latin values by writing a Homeric epic poem in Latin idiom, but using Greek poetic metre.
According to the text, which of the following statements is true of ancient Roman literature?
a) It was mainly the biographies of famous men.
b) It was deeply influenced by Greek writing.
c) It was mostly satirical.
d) It was subject to heavy censorship.
a) is incorrect because although life stories of famous men are mentioned, the text does not say that ancient Roman literature was mainly composed of them.
c) is incorrect because although satire is mentioned, the text does not say that ancient Roman literature was mainly composed of it.
d) is incorrect because there is no mention of Roman literature being censored.
b) is correct because the writer says: Culturally, partly through native genius and partly through absorbing the achievements of the older and richer culture of Greece, its literature became the basis of European values, …