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Omnis Malignitas Est Virtuti Contraria: Malignitas As A Term Of Aesthetic Evaluation From Horace To Tacitus Dialogus De Oratoribus

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Chapter Summary

Malignitas is both more and less ?bad? than present-day lexica would suggest. This chapter offers a partial test of that assertion by examining the ?malignitas family? in the vocabulary of aesthetic evaluation in approximately the first two centuries of imperial Roman literary culture. It explores one aspect of that expected conduct: to evaluate literary creation and to assert aesthetic principles in (roughly) the first two centuries of the Roman Empire. Malignitas is a key element in the vocabulary of imperial Roman performance culture. In turning to the examples of malignitas in literary production it outlines the usage through the early second century CE. The chapter concludes by considering the importance of malignitas in Tacitus? Dialogus de Oratoribus, and in turn how that work emphasizes key aspects of the term in imperial literary culture.

Keywords: aesthetic evaluation; Dialogus de Oratoribus; malignitas; Roman; Tacitus



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