Valerius Maximus & the Rhetoric of the New Nobility


"Throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, Valerius Maximus' Memorable Deeds and Sayings was the most widely read prose after the Bible, but the work's vision of ancient history and its author's literary style have since fallen into disrepute. Martin Bloomer revives the classic to examine how, why, and for whom Valerius Maximus composed this collection of rhetorical examples. Designed to influence the most esteemed of public art forms in Tiberian Rome - declamation - Valerius' work expresses the concerns and anxieties of literate first-century Romans. At the same time it creates paradigms for a new culture, according to Bloomer. While offering contemporaries a handbook of Roman speech, Valerius' work affords later scholars unique insights into the hierarchy of values, behavior, and ethics in Tiberian Rome. Bloomer addresses the peculiar qualities of Valerius' composition and systematically examines his use of sources such as Livy and Cicero. He also considers Valerius' handling of the most delicate and dangerous of all material for the imperial historian - the Roman civil wars and the ascendancy of the Caesars. Valerius emerges not as the beginning of the end of Latin letters but as a crucial and fascinating index to the declamatory culture of Tiberian Rome." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • Appian
  • Aristotle
  • Asconius
  • Aspines
  • Julius Caesar
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Chapel Hill, NC
Publication year:
  • 1992


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