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Josse Bade’s Familiaris Commentarius on Valerius Maximus (1510): A School Commentary?

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Chapter Summary

Throughout his career, the widely renowned Parisian scholar-printer Josse Bade published numerous 'familiar' or grammatical commentaries on classical authors, intended for younger students. Bade's familiaris commentarius on the first-century Roman historian Valerius Maximus aimed at more mature readers and was not conceived as a textbook to be used in the classroom, but as an aid for private study. This chapter explores the ways in which the Christian humanist Bade unlocked Valerius's pagan exempla of virtues and vices, and examines to what extent the annotations of the Italian scholar Oliverius Arzignanensis, whose learned 1487 commentary Bade attached to his own, were confirmed, denounced, elaborated or transformed. Bade's commentary on Valerius Maximus did not necessarily originate from Renaissance education and was not primarily intended for younger students. It aimed at more mature readers who could draw their own lessons from Valerius's stories.

Keywords: familiaris commentarius; Josse Bade; Oliverius Arzignanensis; Renaissance education; Valerius Maximus



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