(Re)sources of Narrative

Peter Van Nuffelen

in Orosius and the Rhetoric of History

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199655274
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191745232 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Early Christian Studies

(Re)sources of Narrative

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It is often assumed that late antique historians tended to rely on a single source and copied it faithfully. That assumption is demonstrably wrong in the case of Orosius. The chapter demonstrates in particular that Orosius used the exempla collection of Valerius Maximus, a work specifically aimed at orators, and contaminated it with other sources. In addition, Orosius used the technique of amplification to develop entries from the Epitome de Caesaribus and the consularia constantinopolitana into a fully fledged narrative, especially towards the end of the Historiae. This suggests he did not have access to a continuous narrative of his own times. Orosius also used numerous contemporary works as sources, including Christian authors which he shared with Augustine, but also pagan ones, such as Symmachus.

Keywords: Valerius Maximus; Epitome de Caesaribus; consularia constantinopolitana; Augustine; Symmachus; amplification

Chapter.  7428 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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