Chapter

Bright Lights, Big City

Roger Rees

in Two Romes

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199739400
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199933006 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199739400.003.0009

Series: Oxford Studies in Late Antiquity

Bright Lights, Big City

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The Panegyrici Latini is a collection of twelve speeches delivered to various emperors from Trajan to Theodosius, though with a concentration on Gaul in the late third and fourth centuries. This chapter accepts the orthodox position that the collection was originally put together in the late fourth century, almost certainly by Pacatus, the panegyrist of Theodosius, but it challenges the conventional view that the rationale for selection was essentially literary. Literary quality, however defined, does not by itself adequately explain some of the oddities in the content and (nonchronological) arrangement of the collection. Instead, taking the speeches in turn, the chapter argues for a political rationale underlying the collection. The collection is viewed as a protestation of Gallic loyalty to legitimate dynasties, which firmly articulates the Gallic preference for the authority of Rome (including two panegyrics focusing on Constantine’s victory at the Milvian Bridge). Theodosius’ main residence, Constantinople, is kept in its place (above all in the only panegyric in the collection to have been delivered in Constantinople, that of Mamertinus to Julian).

Keywords: Panegyric; Panegyrici Latini; Pacatus; Rome; Constantinople; Gaul; Constantine; Theodosius; Mamertinus

Chapter.  9778 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

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