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Gellius’ symbouleutic authority

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Chapter Summary

The authority of the Ennian amicus minor symbolises Gellius cultural programme in its ideological use of antiquitas as a charismatic repository of paradigmatic behaviour, functioning as a moral guide that helps the amicus maior steer his way through problems and crises on the level of society. This chapter illustrates with some examples from the Noctes Atticae how Gellius teaching can be interpreted in terms of an amicus minors symbouleutic authority, employing his knowledge of a charismatic antiquitas to secure his position in a sophistic context of rival claims to imperial amicitia. With his knowledge of ancient history and of customs old and new, Gellius demonstrates his unsurpassed claim to the crucial role of lesser friend, offering a detached but reliable guidance through the crises and problems that a greater friend may experience in society.

Keywords: amicus minor; Aulus Gellius; Ennian; imperial amicitia; Noctes Atticae; symbouleutic authority



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