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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



383
Ammianus Marcellinus, History, 14.6


nanMeanwhile Orfitus was governing the eternal city with the rank of Prefect, and with an arrogance beyond the limits of the power that had been conferred upon him. He was a man of wisdom, it is true, and highly skilled in legal practice, but less equipped with the adornment of the liberal arts than became a man of noble rank. During his term of office serious riots broke out because of the scarcity of wine; for the people, eager for an unrestrained use of this commodity, are roused to frequent and violent disturbances.,Now I think that some foreigners Here Ammianus, writing his History at Rome, classes himself as a Roman; see note on 6, 12, below, and Introd., p. xiv. who will perhaps read this work (if I shall be so fortunate) may wonder why it is that when the narrative turns to the description of what goes on at Rome, I tell of nothing save dissensions, taverns, and other similar vulgarities. Accordingly, I shall briefly touch upon the reasons, intending nowhere to depart intentionally from the truth.,At the time when Rome first began to rise into a position of world-wide splendour, destined to live so long as men shall exist, in order that she might grow to a towering stature, Virtue and Fortune, ordinarily at variance, formed a pact of eternal peace; for if either one of them had failed her, Rome had not come to complete supremacy.,Her people, from the very cradle to the end of their childhood, The same figure is used by Florus, Introd. 4 ff. ( L.C.L., pp. 6 ff.). a period of about three hundred years, carried on wars about her walls. Then, entering upon adult life, after many toilsome wars, they crossed the Alps and the sea. Grown to youth and manhood, from every region which the vast globe includes, they brought back laurels and triumphs. And now, declining into old age, and often owing victory to its name alone, it has come to a quieter period of life.,Thus the venerable city, after humbling the proud necks of savage nations, and making laws, the everlasting foundations and moorings of liberty, like a thrifty parent, wise and wealthy, has entrusted the management of her inheritance to the Caesars, as to her children.,And although for some time the tribes The thirty-five tribes into which the Roman citizens were divided. have been inactive and the centuries The comitia centuriata. at peace, and there are no contests for votes but the tranquillity of Numa’s time has returned, yet throughout all regions and parts of the earth she is accepted as mistress and queen; everywhere the white hair of the senators and their authority are revered and the name of the Roman people is respected and honoured.,But this magnificence and splendour of the assemblies is marred by the rude worthlessness of a few, who do not consider where they were born, but, as if licence were granted to vice, descend to sin and wantonness. For as the lyric poet Simonides tells us, The passage does not occur in the surviving fragments. Plutarch, Demosthenes, 1, attributes the same saying to Euripides, or whoever it was. one who is going to live happy and in accord with perfect reason ought above all else to have a glorious fatherland.,Some of these men eagerly strive for statues, thinking that by them they can be made immortal, as if they would gain a greater reward from senseless brazen images than from the consciousness of honourable and virtuous conduct. And they take pains to have them overlaid with gold, a fashion first introduced by Acilius Glabrio, See Livy, xl. 34, 5. after his skill and his arms had overcome King Antiochus. At Thermopylae in 191 B.C. But how noble it is, scorning these slight and trivial honours, to aim to tread the long and steep ascent to true glory, as the bard of Ascra expresses it, Hesiod, Works and Days, 289 ff. τῆς δ᾽ ἀρετῆς ἱδρῶτα θεοὶ προπάροιθεν ἔθηκαν | Ἀθάνατοι· μακρὸς δὲ καὶ ὄρθιος οἶμος ἐπ᾽ αὐτὴν, | καὶ τρηχὺς τὸ πρῶτον· ἐπὴν δ᾽ εἰς ἄκρον ἵκηται, | Ῥηιδίη δὴ ἔπειτα πέλει, χαλεπή περ᾽ ἐοῦσα. is made clear by Cato the Censor. For when he was asked why he alone among many did not have a statue, he replied: I would rather that good men should wonder why I did not deserve one than (which is much worse) should mutter Why was he given one?,Other men, taking great pride in coaches higher than common and in ostentatious finery of apparel, sweat under heavy cloaks, which they fasten about their necks and bind around their very throats, while the air blows through them because of the excessive lightness of the material; and they lift them up with both hands and wave them with many gestures, especially with their left hands, Probably to display their rings; cf. Pliny, N.H. xxxiii. 9, manus et prorsus sinistrae maximam auctoritatem conciliavere auro. in order that the over-long fringes and the tunics embroidered with party-coloured threads in multiform figures of animals may be conspicuous.,Others, though no one questions them, assume a grave expression and greatly exaggerate their wealth, doubling the annual yield of their fields, well cultivated (as they think), of which they assert that they possess a great number from the rising to the setting sun; they are clearly unaware that their forefathers, through whom the greatness of Rome was so far flung, gained renown, not by riches, but by fierce wars, and not differing from the common soldiers in wealth, mode of life, or simplicity of attire, overcame all obstacles by valour.,For that reason the eminent Valerius Publicola was buried by a contribution of money, In 503 B.C.; see Livy, ii. 16, 7. and through the aid of her husband’s friends Valerius Maximus, iv. 4, 6, says that it was the senate that came to their aid. the needy wife of Regulus and her children were supported. And the daughter of Scipio Cn. Cornelius Scipio, who wrote from Spain in the second Punic war, asking to be recalled, that he might provide a dowry for his daughter; see Valerius Maximus, iv. 4, 10. received her dowry from the public treasury, since the nobles blushed to look upon the beauty of this marriageable maiden long unsought because of the absence of a father of modest means.,But now-a-days, if as a stranger Ensslin, p. 7 (see Bibliography), refers this to Ammianus; cf. note on 6, 2, above. of good position you enter for the first time to pay your respects to some man who is well-to-do For bene nummatum, cf. Horace, Epist. i. 6, 38. and therefore puffed up, at first you will be greeted as if you were an eagerly expected friend, and after being asked many questions and forced to lie, you will wonder, since the man never saw you before, that a great personage should pay such marked attention to your humble self as to make you regret, because of such special kindness, that you did not see Rome ten years earlier.,When, encouraged by this affability, you make the same call on the following day, you will hang about unknown and unexpected, while the man who the day before urged you to call again counts up his clients, wondering who you are or whence you came. But when you are at last recognized and admitted to his friendship, if you devote yourself to calling upon him for three years without interruption, then are away for the same number of days, and return to go through with a similar course, you will not be asked where you were, and unless you abandon the quest in sorrow, you will waste your whole life to no purpose in paying court to the blockhead.,And when, after a sufficient interval of time, the preparation of those tedious and unwholesome banquets begins, or the distribution of the customary doles, it is debated with anxious deliberation whether it will be suitable to invite a stranger, with the exception of those to whom a return of hospitality is due; and if, after full and mature deliberation, the decision is in the affirmative, the man who is invited is one who watches all night before the house of the charioteers, Referring to a plebeian (cf. xxviii. 4, 29), a partisan of one of the colours. Cf. also Suet., Calig. 55, 3. or who is a professional dicer, or who pretends to the knowledge of certain secrets.,For they avoid learned and serious people as unlucky and useless, in addition to which the announcers of names, who are wont to traffic in these and similar favours, on receiving a bribe, admit to the doles and the dinners obscure and low-born intruders.,But I pass over the gluttonous banquets and the various allurements of pleasures, lest I should go too far, and I shall pass to the fact that certain persons hasten without fear of danger through the broad streets of the city and over the upturned stones of the pavements as if they were driving post-horses with hoofs of fire (as the saying is), dragging after them armies of slaves like bands of brigands and not leaving even Sannio at home, as the comic writer says. Terence, Eun., 780, solus Sannio servat domi. And many matrons, imitating them, rush about through all quarters of the city with covered heads and in closed litters.,And as skilful directors of battles place in the van dense throngs of brave soldiers, then light-armed troops, after them the javelin-throwers, and last of all the reserve forces, to enter the action in case chance makes it needful, just so those who have charge of a city household, made conspicuous by wands grasped in their right hands, carefully and diligently draw up the array; then, as if the signal had been given in camp, close to the front of the carriage all the weavers march; next to these the blackened service of the kitchen, then all the rest of the slaves without distinction, accompanied by the idle plebeians of the neighbourhood; finally, the throng of eunuchs, beginning with the old men and ending with the boys, sallow and disfigured by the distorted form of their members; so that, wherever anyone goes, beholding the troops of mutilated men, he would curse the memory of that Queen Samiramis of old, who was the first of all to castrate young males, thus doing violence, as it were, to Nature and wresting her from her intended course, since she at the very beginning of life, through the primitive founts of the seed, by a kind of secret law, shows the ways to propagate posterity.,In consequence of this state of things, the few houses that were formerly famed for devotion to serious pursuits now teem with the sports of sluggish indolence, re-echoing to the sound of singing and the tinkling of flutes and lyres. In short, in place of the philosopher the singer is called in, and in place of the orator the teacher of stagecraft, and while the libraries are shut up forever like tombs, water-organs are manufactured and lyres as large as carriages, and flutes and instruments heavy for gesticulating actors.,At last we have reached such a state of baseness, that whereas not so very long ago, when there was fear of a scarcity of food, foreigners were driven neck and crop from the city, This happened in 383; see Introd., p. xiii. and those who practised the liberal arts (very few in number) were thrust out without a breathing space, yet the genuine attendants upon actresses of the mimes, and those who for the time pretended to be such, were kept with us, while three thousand dancing girls, without even being questioned, remained here with their choruses, and an equal number of dancing masters.,And, wherever you turn your eyes, you may see a throng of women with curled hair, who might, if they had married, by this time, so far as age goes, have already produced three children, sweeping the pavements I.e. dancing on the mosaic pavements of great houses. with their feet to the point of weariness and whirling in rapid gyrations, while they represent the innumerable figures that the stage-plays have devised.,Furthermore, there is no doubt that when once upon a time Rome was the abode of all the virtues, many of the nobles detained here foreigners of free birth by various kindly attentions, as the Lotuseaters of Homer Odyssey, ix. 84 ff. did by the sweetness of their fruits.,But now the vain arrogance of some men regards everything born outside the pomerium Originally, the line within the city wall, marking the limit within which the auspices could be taken; the term pomerium was soon transferred to the strip of land between this line and the actual city wall. Here it means merely the wall of the city. of our city as worthless, except the childless and unwedded; and it is beyond belief with what various kinds of obsequiousness men without children are courted at Rome. This legacy hunting, by paying court to childless men and women, is satirized by Horace ( Sat. ii. 5). The art was in vogue as early as Plautus’ time (see Miles, 705 ff.), but became a profession at the end of the Republic (cf. Cic., Paradoxa, v. 39) and under the Empire, followed even by some of the emperors (see Suet., Calig. 38, 2; Nero, 32, 2).,And since among them, as is natural in the capital of the world, cruel disorders gain such heights that all the healing art is powerless even to mitigate them, it has been provided, as a means of safety, that no one shall visit a friend suffering from such a disease, and by a few who are more cautious another sufficiently effective remedy has been added, namely, that servants sent to inquire after the condition of a man’s acquaintances who have been attacked by that disorder should not be readmitted to their masters’ house until they have purified their persons by a bath. So fearful are they of a contagion seen only by the eyes of others.,But yet, although these precautions are so strictly observed, some men, when invited to a wedding, where gold is put into their cupped right hands, although the strength of their limbs is impaired, will run even all the way to Spoletium. In Umbria. On aurum see Pliny, Epist. x. 116. Such are the habits of the nobles.,But of the multitude of lowest condition and greatest poverty some spend the entire night in wineshops, some lurk in the shade of the awnings of the theatres, which Catulus See Index, and Val. Max. ii. 4. 6. Q. Catulus primus spectantium cotnsessum velorum umbraculis texit. in his aedileship, imitating Campanian wantonness, was the first to spread, or they quarrel with one another in their games at dice, making a disgusting sound by drawing back the breath into their resounding nostrils; or, which is the favourite among all amusements, from sunrise until evening, in sunshine and in rain, they stand open-mouthed, examining minutely the good points or the defects of charioteers and their horses.,And it is most remarkable to see an innumerable crowd of plebeians, their minds filled with a kind of eagerness, hanging on the outcome of the chariot races. These and similar things prevent anything memorable or serious from being done in Rome. Accordingly, I must return to my subject.


Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

10 results
1. Hebrew Bible, Isaiah, 44.9 (8th cent. BCE - 5th cent. BCE)

44.9. יֹצְרֵי־פֶסֶל כֻּלָּם תֹּהוּ וַחֲמוּדֵיהֶם בַּל־יוֹעִילוּ וְעֵדֵיהֶם הֵמָּה בַּל־יִרְאוּ וּבַל־יֵדְעוּ לְמַעַן יֵבֹשׁוּ׃ 44.9. They that fashion a graven image are all of them vanity, And their delectable things shall not profit; And their own witnesses see not, nor know; That they may be ashamed."
2. Plautus, Curculio, 462-485, 461 (3rd cent. BCE - 2nd cent. BCE)

3. Cicero, Pro Marcello, 4.11 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

4. Juvenal, Satires, 2 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

5. Tacitus, Annals, 15.44.3 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

6. Lactantius, Divine Institutes, 7.15.14 (3rd cent. CE - 4th cent. CE)

7. Ammianus Marcellinus, History, 22.9.7, 28.4, 31.5.10, 31.16.9 (4th cent. CE - 4th cent. CE)

22.9.7. for some have maintained that since the image of the goddess fell from heaven, the city was named from πεσεῖν, which is the Greek word meaning to fall. Others say that Ilus, son of Tros, king of Dardania, Herodian, i. 11, 1. gave the place that name. But Theopompus of Chios, a pupil of Isocrates, and a rhetorician and historian. His works are lost. asserts that it was not Ilus who did it, but Midas, According to Diod. Sic. (iii. 59, 8), he was the first to build a splendid temple to Cybele at Pessinus. the once mighty king of Phrygia. 31.5.10. And since after many events the narrative has reached this point, I earnestly entreat my readers (if I ever have any) not to demand of me a strictly accurate account of what happened or the exact number of the slain, which there was no way of finding out. For it will be enough to describe simply the main points of events, without concealing the truth through any false statement, since faithful honesty is ever a requisite in giving an historical account. 31.16.9. These events, from the principate of the emperor Nerva to the death of Valens, I, a former soldier and a Greek, have set forth to the measure of my ability, without ever (I believe) consciously venturing to debase through silence or through falsehood a work whose aim was the truth. The rest may be written by abler men, who are in the prime of life and learning. But if they chose to undertake such a task, I advise them to forge For procudere, cf. xv. 2, 8 ( ingenium ); xxx. 4, 13 ( ora ); Horace, Odes, iv. 15, 19. their tongues to the loftier style. The second part, written about 550 in barbarous Latin by another unknown author, under the title Item ex libris Chronicorum inter cetera, covers the period from 474 to 526, and deals mainly with the history of Theodoric. The writer was an opponent of Arianism, and he seems to have based his compilation on the Chronicle of Maximianus, bishop of Ravenna in 546, who died in 556. For this part we have, besides B, cod. Vaticanus Palatinus, Lat. n. 927 (P) of the twelfth century, in which the title appears as De adventu Oduachar regis Cyrorum Apparently for Scyrorum (Scirorum), Exc. § 37. et Erulorum in Italia, et quomodo Rex Theodericus eum fuerit persecutus. The Excerpts as a whole furnish an introduction and a sequel to the narrative of Ammianus.
8. Augustine, The City of God, 1.24 (4th cent. CE - 5th cent. CE)

1.24. Our opponents are offended at our preferring to Cato the saintly Job, who endured dreadful evils in his body rather than deliver himself from all torment by self-inflicted death; or other saints, of whom it is recorded in our authoritative and trustworthy books that they bore captivity and the oppression of their enemies rather than commit suicide. But their own books authorize us to prefer to Marcus Cato, Marcus Regulus. For Cato had never conquered C sar; and when conquered by him, disdained to submit himself to him, and that he might escape this submission put himself to death. Regulus, on the contrary, had formerly conquered the Carthaginians, and in command of the army of Rome had won for the Roman republic a victory which no citizen could bewail, and which the enemy himself was constrained to admire; yet afterwards, when he in his turn was defeated by them, he preferred to be their captive rather than to put himself beyond their reach by suicide. Patient under the domination of the Carthaginians, and constant in his love of the Romans, he neither deprived the one of his conquered body, nor the other of his unconquered spirit. Neither was it love of life that prevented him from killing himself. This was plainly enough indicated by his unhesitatingly returning, on account of his promise and oath, to the same enemies whom he had more grievously provoked by his words in the senate than even by his arms in battle. Having such a contempt of life, and preferring to end it by whatever torments excited enemies might contrive, rather than terminate it by his own hand, he could not more distinctly have declared how great a crime he judged suicide to be. Among all their famous and remarkable citizens, the Romans have no better man to boast of than this, who was neither corrupted by prosperity, for he remained a very poor man after winning such victories; nor broken by adversity, for he returned intrepidly to the most miserable end. But if the bravest and most renowned heroes, who had but an earthly country to defend, and who, though they had but false gods, yet rendered them a true worship, and carefully kept their oath to them; if these men, who by the custom and right of war put conquered enemies to the sword, yet shrank from putting an end to their own lives even when conquered by their enemies; if, though they had no fear at all of death, they would yet rather suffer slavery than commit suicide, how much rather must Christians, the worshippers of the true God, the aspirants to a heavenly citizenship, shrink from this act, if in God's providence they have been for a season delivered into the hands of their enemies to prove or to correct them! And certainly, Christians subjected to this humiliating condition will not be deserted by the Most High, who for their sakes humbled Himself. Neither should they forget that they are bound by no laws of war, nor military orders, to put even a conquered enemy to the sword; and if a man may not put to death the enemy who has sinned, or may yet sin against him, who is so infatuated as to maintain that he may kill himself because an enemy has sinned, or is going to sin, against him?
9. Augustine, Sermons, 81.9 (4th cent. CE - 5th cent. CE)

10. Orosius Paulus, Historiae Adversum Paganos, 1.16.4, 2.6.13 (4th cent. CE - 5th cent. CE)



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
adrianople, battle of Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 81
ambrosiaster, secular background of Lunn-Rockliffe, The Letter of Mara bar Sarapion in Context (2007) 46, 47
ammianus, greek Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 235
ammianus marcellinus Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 81, 149, 150, 151
audience, of ammianus Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 235
augustus Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 151
christ Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 151
christianity, attacked by tacitus McGinn, The Economy of Prostitution in the Roman world: A study of Social History & The Brothel (2004) 254
christianity Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 149, 150, 151
church Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 151
cicero Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 84, 151
clothing Lunn-Rockliffe, The Letter of Mara bar Sarapion in Context (2007) 46
comites Lunn-Rockliffe, The Letter of Mara bar Sarapion in Context (2007) 47
consuls Lunn-Rockliffe, The Letter of Mara bar Sarapion in Context (2007) 46
emperors, absence from rome of Lunn-Rockliffe, The Letter of Mara bar Sarapion in Context (2007) 46
emperors, adoratio of Lunn-Rockliffe, The Letter of Mara bar Sarapion in Context (2007) 47
emperors, statues of Lunn-Rockliffe, The Letter of Mara bar Sarapion in Context (2007) 46
eschatology Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 149, 150, 151
exempla, in ammianus Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 235
exempla Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 81
figura Lunn-Rockliffe, The Letter of Mara bar Sarapion in Context (2007) 46
florus, historian Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 149, 150, 151
foreigners, in rome Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 235
fortuna, orbis romanae Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 235
fortuna, populi romani Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 235
forum romanum McGinn, The Economy of Prostitution in the Roman world: A study of Social History & The Brothel (2004) 254
four empire theory Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 149, 150, 151
genre Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 235
god Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 151
goths Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 81
historiography, classical or pagan Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 81
historiography Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 235
imago Lunn-Rockliffe, The Letter of Mara bar Sarapion in Context (2007) 46
initiation, initiate Bull, Lied and Turner, Mystery and Secrecy in the Nag Hammadi Collection and Other Ancient Literature: Ideas and Practices: Studies for Einar Thomassen at Sixty (2011) 371
initiatory hierarchy Bull, Lied and Turner, Mystery and Secrecy in the Nag Hammadi Collection and Other Ancient Literature: Ideas and Practices: Studies for Einar Thomassen at Sixty (2011) 371
jerome Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 84
lactantius Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 149
lebensaltervergleich Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 149, 150, 151
mithraeum, mithraea Bull, Lied and Turner, Mystery and Secrecy in the Nag Hammadi Collection and Other Ancient Literature: Ideas and Practices: Studies for Einar Thomassen at Sixty (2011) 371
moses Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 84
numa Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 150
paganism Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 84
panegyric Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 149, 150, 151
pater, patronage Bull, Lied and Turner, Mystery and Secrecy in the Nag Hammadi Collection and Other Ancient Literature: Ideas and Practices: Studies for Einar Thomassen at Sixty (2011) 371
paul, st Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 84
pompeii, forum McGinn, The Economy of Prostitution in the Roman world: A study of Social History & The Brothel (2004) 254
prostitution, zoning McGinn, The Economy of Prostitution in the Roman world: A study of Social History & The Brothel (2004) 254
religio, religio, ritual, and historiography' Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 235
remus, and ancient historiography Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 81
rome, and exempla Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 235
rome, and historiography Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 235
rome, as centre of narrative Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 235
rome McGinn, The Economy of Prostitution in the Roman world: A study of Social History & The Brothel (2004) 254; Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 81, 149, 150, 151
russia McGinn, The Economy of Prostitution in the Roman world: A study of Social History & The Brothel (2004) 254
secrecy Bull, Lied and Turner, Mystery and Secrecy in the Nag Hammadi Collection and Other Ancient Literature: Ideas and Practices: Studies for Einar Thomassen at Sixty (2011) 371
senators Lunn-Rockliffe, The Letter of Mara bar Sarapion in Context (2007) 46, 47
seneca Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 150
temples McGinn, The Economy of Prostitution in the Roman world: A study of Social History & The Brothel (2004) 254
thomas, apostle Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 81
trajan Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 149