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Favorinus’ controversial authority

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Chapter Summary

This chapter aims to highlight Favorinus double-edged programmatic role throughout the Noctes Atticae, both as a teacher whose intellectual outlook and playful erudition are of influence on Gellius cultural programme, and as the embodiment of an inadequate, unstable, even subversive kind of authority, against which Gellius pits the solid authority of his own Roman platform. In many ways, Gellius relationship with Favorinus reflects the paradoxes and ambiguities of the Roman attitude towards education and culture in general, and towards Greek culture in particular. Favorinus programmatic role in this literary enterprise goes hand in hand with Gellius tactical politics of rehabilitation, an intricate response to Favorinus bad press, employed as a double authorial strategy. On the one hand, he integrates Favorinus as a didactic authority into his youthful world of playful learning; on the other hand, he exposes him as an inadequate authority in the light of his Roman cultural programme.

Keywords: Aulus Gellius; didactic authority; Favorinus; inadequate authority; Noctes Atticae; Roman cultural programme



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