Catulus in the preceding generation, was a kind of dilettante poet and a precursor of the poetry of pleasure, which attained such prominence in the elegiac poets of the Augustan age.
At Athens he must have been a dilettante, an idler, without political rights or duties.
From this time, with the exception of occasional public appearances, he gave himself up to elegant luxury, with which he combined a sort of dilettante pursuit of philosophy, literature and art.
This feeling explains his detestation of foreign manners and superstitions, his loathing not only of inhuman crimes and cruelties but even of the lesser derelictions from selfrespect, his scorn of luxury and of art as ministering to luxury, his mockery of the poetry and of the stale and dilettante culture of his time, and perhaps, too, his indifference to the schools of philosophy and his readiness to identify all the professors of stoicism with the reserved and close-cropped puritans, who concealed the worst vices under an outward appearance of austerity.
In the days of the great dilettante Yoshimasa (1449-1490), lacquer experts devised a new style, laka-makie, or decoration in relief, which immensely augmented the beauty of the ware, and constituted a feature altogether special to Japan.
The composition of didactic, lyrical and elegiac poetry also was the accomplishment and pastime of an educated dilettante class, the only extant specimens of any interest being some of the Silvae of Statius.
His reputation in the parliament of 1880-1886 was that of a dilettante, who allied himself with the three politicians already named from a feeling of irresponsibility rather than of earnest purpose; he was regarded as one who, on the rare occasions when he spoke, was more desirous to impart an academic quality to his speeches than to make any solid contribution to public questions.
Few names or events stand out in the history of this period: perhaps the most interesting personality is that of the Druse prince Fakhr ud-Din (1595-1634), whose expulsion of the Arabs from the coast as far south as Acre and establishment of his own kingdom, in defiance of Ottoman authority - to say nothing of his dilettante cultivation of art, the result of a temporary sojourn in Italy - make him worth a passing notice.
His patronage was exercised, not from vanity or a mere dilettante love of letters, but with a view to the higher interest of the state.