<i>Mos</i>, <i>maiores</i>, and historical exempla in Roman culture and society

Henriette van der Blom

in Cicero's Role Models

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780199582938
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191723124 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Classical Monographs

Mos, maiores, and historical exempla in Roman culture and society

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This chapter explores the place and function of ancestral tradition (mos maiorum) in Roman culture and political discourse. Central issues such as ownership of the ancestors, the extent and limits to claims based on references to ancestral tradition, and the link between mos maiorum and historical examples are taken up to show the vital role of ancestral tradition and historical examples in Roman self‐understanding, self‐presentation to the outer world and justification for world rule. It is argued the Romans operated with several interpretations of maiores, the ancestors, to mean both specific ancestors within a family and a broader sense of maiores as ancestors for all Romans in general, both of which had impact on political rhetoric.

Keywords: mos maiorum; Maiores; historical exempla; ancestral tradition; Roman self‐understanding

Chapter.  3252 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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