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Orosius and the Rhetoric of History$
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Peter Van Nuffelen

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199655274

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199655274.001.0001

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A Past for the Present: On Metaphors and Panegyric

A Past for the Present: On Metaphors and Panegyric

Chapter:
(p.145) 6 A Past for the Present: On Metaphors and Panegyric
Source:
Orosius and the Rhetoric of History
Author(s):

Peter Van Nuffelen

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199655274.003.0007

In line with classical historiography, Orosius repeatedly compares the history of Rome to the human lifespan and concludes his work in a panegyrical vein. The comparison with a lifespan usually draws attention to how the weakness of old age is overcome. Contrary to the traditional idea of a rejuvenation of Rome, however, Orosius uses the metaphor to draw attention to the imminent fall of Rome. The concluding panegyrical chapters rely heavily on the end of Book 5 of Augustine's City of God and praise not so much Rome as God, who responds to individual virtue and sin. At the same time, they remind the target audience of the current safety and prosperity of Africa and Sicily, in contrast with the uncertainty of the past.

Keywords:   Augustine, metaphors for history, fall of Rome, panegyric, audience, christian morality

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