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Le Protrepticus ad nepotem d’Ausone: rhétorique et humour, ou Ausone est-il sérieux?

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image of Mnemosyne

This article deals with the rhetorical and literary wealth of Ausonius’ Protrepticus ad nepotem, and particularly with the poet’s irony and humor. Irony is an indispensable key to the correct interpretation of a text that was often misunderstood and whose actual addressee is the Gallo-Roman aristocracy. The aim of this exhortation is promoting a culture and a political vision in which classics play an essential role. Ausonius brings into play all his literary abilities to make his poem into a poetical celebration. The rhetorician of Bordeaux conveys a very serious message in a funny and charming way, in perfect consonance with the culture and the expectations of his readers: this is the power of persuasion of late Antiquity literature.

Affiliations: 1: Université de Fribourg (Suisse), Département des Sciences de l’Antiquité Rue Pierre-Aeby 16, 1700 Fribourg, Suisse, Email:


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