Reflecting that it was on these monotonous performances [the rote rhetoric based on fantastic premises by which Roman students learned to speak], these far-fetched and wilful exaggerations, these false and unwholesome data, that the whole edifice of higher education in Rome was reared, it is easy to understand that toward the middle of the second century Latin letters began to perish from such an abuse of literature. The decay of a civilisation is heralded by these laborious eccentricities, by the mental malnutrition to which the pick of Rome's youth was doomed, having no other intellectual sustenance than this thin soup. For fear of being accused of ignorance, the ambitious youth who wished to dazzle and astonish his audience substituted memory for thought, affectation for sincerity, grimaces and contortions for natural expression, and for a natural voice forced outbursts and calculated roars practised in advance.
-- Jérôme Carcopino, Daily Life in Ancient Rome
Trans. E.O. Lorimer
omg ru seroius????// lol ^__________^ stfu noob