Reading by Example: Valerius Maximus and the Historiography of Exempla


Volume Editors: Jeffrey Murray and David Wardle
Long regarded as a sycophantic producer of overblown moral platitudes, Valerius Maximus emerges from a series of studies as an independent thinker capable of challenging his readers through the material he has collected: he makes them think about real moral dilemmas and grants to non-Roman societies a remarkable equivalence to Rome. Through his silences as much as his sermons he decodes the value- and political-system of his day. Valerius is talented as a reader of others and himself was read appreciatively in the Later Empire and even more so by Christians in Medieval Europe.

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Jeffrey Murray (PhD 2016 Cape Town) is Lecturer in Classics at the University of Cape Town. He has published several articles, book chapters, and reviews, and is currently preparing for publication a historical and historiographical commentary on Valerius Maximus, Facta et dicta memorabilia, Book 9.

David Wardle (DPhil. 1989 Oxford) is Professor of Classics in the University of Cape Town (South Africa). He published the first modern commentary on a book of Valerius Maximus (Oxford University Press, 1998), other monographs in the field of Latin Literature and Roman historiography and articles on these areas and Roman imperial history.

Contributors are John Atkinson, George Baroud, Emma Brobeck, Diederik Burgersdijk, Kyle Conrau-Lewis, Alain M. Gowing, Rebecca Langlands, Sarah Lawrence, Simon Lentzsch, Jeffrey Murray, Roman Roth, David Wardle.
"Interpreting Valerius Maximus’ Facta et dicta memorabilia as ‘a piece of literature in its own right’ (p. 1) was one of the aims of the 2017 conference in Cape Town, from which many papers in this volume emerged. Most of this thematically arranged volume goes beyond that and proves that there are well thought-out reasons for everything Valerius writes, for how he arranges his material as well as for every detail he avoids recording. Almost 30 years after M. Bloomer’s influential monograph Valerius Maximus and the Rhetoric of the New Nobility (1992), Reading by Example stands as a clear milestone in the scholarship, definitely demonstrating that Valerius has a project (or projects) and deserves to be investigated for his system of thought and defined authorial choices – and not primarily as ancillary to other authors." Viola Periti, The Classical Review (2022) 1–4.
Historiography of Rome and Its Empire Series
Carsten H. Lange and Jesper M. Madsen

Notes on Contributors

1 Introduction
Jeffrey Murray

PART 1: Architecture and Order

2 “Not Putting Roman History in Order?” – Regal, Republican and Imperial Boundaries
David Wardle

3 And Now for Something Completely Different …
Sarah Lawrence

PART 2: Roman History

4 Coriolanus as an Exemplar in Valerius Maximus
John Atkinson

5 Boundary Issues: Valerius Maximus on Rome’s Italian Allies
Roman Roth

6 “Others Took Money from That Victory, but He Took the Glory”: Spoils of War in the Facta et dicta memorabilia
Simon Lentzsch

7 Forgetting Germanicus: Reading Valerius Maximus through Tacitus’ Tiberian Books
Alain Gowing

PART 3: Values

8 Valerius Maximus’ Engagement with Cicero’s Tusculan Disputations on Virtue and the Endurance of Pain, in 3.3 De patientia
Rebecca Langlands

9 Amicitia and the Politics of Friendship in Valerius Maximus
George Baroud

10 Valerius Maximus on Vice
Jeffrey Murray

11 Efficacior Pictura: Morality and the Arts in Valerius Maximus
Emma Brobeck

Part 4: Reception and Tradition

12 Valerius Maximus’ Facta et Dicta Memorabilia and the Roman Biographical Tradition
Diederik Burgersdijk

13 Preaching Ancient History: Valerius Maximus and His Manuscript Reception
Kyle Conrau-Lewis

Academic libraries, specialists, post-graduate students and senior undergraduate students interested in Roman Republican and Imperial History, exemplary literature, Latin historiography and Roman value-systems.