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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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Composition and Purpose

Composition and Purpose

(p.27) 2 Composition and Purpose
Aulus Gellius

Leofranc Holford-Strevens

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the implications of Gellius's title and the structure of his work, considering his claim to have compiled it in the same random order as his original notes, which is shown to conceal a great amount of artifice; as in other miscellanies, the disorder is deliberate, reflecting the taste of the time. Next to be considered are the assertions of moral, social, and intellectual utility: understood of a systematic high-minded programme they are easily proved false, but his work affords matter with which to shine on social occasions, and models for conducting oneself at them. Furthermore, readers are meant to think about his statements and quotations for themselves, though their conclusions are not to be supposed his own.

Keywords:   artifice, miscellanies, random order, social occasions, structure, utility

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