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Memory and authority

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Chapter Summary

Training the readers memory is an important aspect of Gellius cultural-educational programme. Moreover, in his commentarii Gellius vindicates authority through his own preservation of memory, giving a meaning to the past that was useful for the present. This authority not only lies in deciding what or whom to remember, but also how this fact or person should be remembered. This chapter looks at Gellius use of the power of memory in his literary representations of authority. The images and concepts used for these representations turn out to be rooted in memorable Roman traditions, exemplified by Frontonian teaching and satirical writings (Menippean Satire). As a running thread, a meaningful development can be seen from marginality to centrality: trivial details, philological niceties and minutiae turn out to be transmitters of memory and vehicles of authority, expressing values and standards that are central to Gellius imperial literary project.

Keywords: charismatic authority; commentarii; Frontonian teaching; Gellius; philological niceties; Roman traditions



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