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Mantuanus Vates Excelsus. Vergil In The Res Gestae Of Ammianus Marcellinus

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Chapter Summary

The title of this article is taken from the last great historian writing in Latin, Ammianus Marcellinus, who with these words refers to Vergil at a pivotal point in his Res gestae. It can be stated right at the outset that Ammianus' work is full of echoes from Vergil. Ammianus uses Vergil in a creative manner, combining separate passages and expressions in a way that demonstrates his profound knowledge of Vergil's text and is hardly ever pedantic. Ammianus shares the reverence for the vates excelsus as the symbol of the Roman tradition. Ammianus turns to Vergil to assign to the pagan emperor Julian his rightful place in Roman history and to make him acceptable to the public for which he was writing, the senatorial aristocracy of Rome.

Keywords: Ammianus Marcellinus; Res gestae; vates excelsus; Vergil



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