Its natural form is the aphorism, and to this and to its epigrammatic brilliance, vigour, and uncompromising revolt against all conventions in science and conduct it owes its persuasiveness.
The general results of the last fifty years of the first period (130 to 80) may be thus summed up. In poetry we have the satires of Lucilius, the tragedies of Accius and of a few successors among the Roman aristocracy, who thus exemplified the affinity of the Roman stage to Roman oratory; various annalistic poems intended to serve as continuations of the great poem of Ennius; minor poems of an epigrammatic and erotic character, unimportant anticipations of the Alexandrian tendency operative in the following period; works of criticism in trochaic tetrameters by Porcius Licinus and others, forming part of the critical and grammatical movement which almost from the first accompanied the creative movement in Latin literature, and which may be regarded as rude precursors of the didactic epistles that Horace devoted to literary criticism.
The style of the Epodes is pointed and epigrammatic, that of the Satires natural and familiar.
The Letters are models of graceful thought and refined expression, each of them dealing with a single topic and generally ending with an epigrammatic point.
His style is clear, vigorous and epigrammatic; his arguments are characterized by strength of logic, and, like those of other patriots, are, as the dispute advances, based less on precedent and documentary authorities and more on "natural right."