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Diligentissumus investigator antiquitatis? ‘Antiquarianism’ and Historical Evidence between Republican Rome and the Early Modern Republic of Letters

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Chapter Summary

This article questions the reality of ancient Roman antiquarianism. Instead, it suggests that the idea was generated in the sixteenth century in the context of the formation of a new kind of historical practice. This essay has two parts: the first sketches a history of an anachronism—the appropriation of ancient authors, particularly Varro, as antiquarian predecessors by early modern antiquarians. Once we have thrown off the conceptual blinkers of the early modern category, the second part argues for a rethinking of Roman republican writing about the past, by considering the similar use of material evidence from ancient sanctuaries in both the writings of Varro and a group of Republican authors normally considered to be historiographers.



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