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Aulus GelliusAn Antonine Scholar and his Achievement$
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Leofranc Holford-Strevens

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199263196

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199263196.001.0001

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(p.241) 13 History
Aulus Gellius

Leofranc Holford-Strevens

Oxford University Press

This chapter finds Antonine Latin culture uninterested in serious history, preferring piquant or improving anecdotes. Gellius follows suit, but has a love of facts; an interest in historiography is harder to substantiate. He knows certain passages of Herodotus, who was in fashion, and once quotes Thucydides; amongst Roman historians the most frequently cited is Claudius Quadrigarius, followed by Cato the Elder and Sallust. The basis of valuation is style; in accordance with Antonine taste, neither Livy nor any subsequent historian is ever mentioned. Gellius takes an interest in chronology, presenting a list of Graeco-Roman synchronisms down to the Second Punic War. Writing apolitically about politics, he admires great men for their words and deeds, but has no concern for their principles.

Keywords:   anecdotes, Cato the Elder, Claudius Quadrigarius, historiography, Livy, politics, Sallust, synchronisms

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