Memorable Deeds and Sayings: One Thousand Tales from Ancient Rome

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Hackett Publishing, 2004 - History - 392 pages
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Popular in its day both as a sourcebook for writers and orators and as a guidebook for living a moral life, this remarkably rich document serves as an engaging introduction to the cultural and moral history of ancient Rome. Valerius' "thousand tales" are arranged thematically in ninety-one chapters that cover nearly every aspect of life in the ancient world, including such wide-ranging topics as military discipline, child rearing, and women lawyers. As a whole, the work gives the reader fascinating insights into what it felt like to be an ancient Roman, what the ancient Romans really believed, what their private world was like, how they related to one another, and what they did when nobody was watching.
  

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We sometimes wonder about times long gone and the people who built and inhabited ancient civilisations. It is also sometiomes amazing to find that they are not so different from we who inhabit modern times. Human Nature doesn't seem to have changed much over the millennia and the problems people face today are very similar to those of yester year. Works such as this one have been left to us so we can understand better who we are and understand better what are the foundations of our won society.
Reading the tales of ancient Roman life by Valerius Maximus leaves one wanting more and more. Reading it is at times little like reading the gossip columns of a glossy magazine form a 21st century metropolis. At other times it is like reading the transcripts of a modern law review as Romans deliberated the fate of citizens, slaves and empire.
The ametuer historian and the academic alike should give thanks that posterity has left us this valuable reference.
 

Contents

To the Emperor Tiberius
1
Religion
2
False Religiosity
11
Superstitious Cults
13
The Auspices
14
Omens
17
Prodigies
20
Dreams
27
Severity
208
Dignified Statements and Actions
213
Justice
217
Public Trust
221
The Loyalty of Wives to Their Husbands
224
The Loyalty of Slaves
225
Changes in Character or Fortune
228
BOOK SEVEN Chapter 1 Good Fortune
235

Miracles
33
BOOK TWO Preface
43
Ancient Customs of the Roman Senate
45
Ancient Customs of the Roman Army
50
Ancient Customs of the Roman Theater
51
Ancient Customs of Roman Society
55
Ancient Customs of Foreign Countries
56
Military Discipline
61
The Right to Triumph
69
The Disapproval of the Censors
72
Prestige
76
BOOK THREE Chapter 1 Innate Characteristics
81
Courage
83
Endurance
95
People Who Were Born in Humble Circumstances but Ended Up Famous
99
People Who Had Famous Parents but Came Down in the World
101
Illustrious Men Who Humored Themselves in Their Dress or in the Rest of Their Lifestyle with Greater Freedom than the Customs of Our Ancestors ...
103
Selfconfidence
105
Determination
113
BOOK FOUR Chapter 1 Moderation
120
People Who Used to be Enemies but Came Together as Friends or Inlaws
129
Selfdenial and Selfcontrol
131
Poverty
138
Modesty
142
Love in Marriage
144
Friendship
147
Generosity
153
BOOK FIVE Chapter 1 Kindness and Compassion
157
Gratitude
165
Ingratitude
170
Loyalty to Parents
177
Loyalty to Brothers
182
Loyalty to Ones Country
184
The Love and Indulgence of Parents toward Their Children
189
Fathers Who Were Severe with Their Children
192
The Lenience of Parents toward Children Who Were under Suspicion
194
Parents Who Bravely Endured the Deaths of Their Children
195
BOOK SIX Chapter 1 Chastity
198
Frank Statements and Actions
202
Wise Statements and Actions
236
Crafty Remarks or Actions
244
Stratagems
251
Electoral Defeats
254
Necessity
257
Wills That Were Rescinded
260
Wills That Were Upheld Although There Were Grounds for Rescinding Them
263
BOOK EIGHT Chapter 1 Why People Accused of Infamous Crimes Were Acquitted or Found Guilty
266
Famous Private Cases
273
Women Who Pleaded Cases before Magistrates on Behalf of Themselves or Other People
275
Interrogations
276
People Who Committed Offenses but Punished Others for Similar Offenses
278
Enthusiasm and Dedication
280
Leisure
287
How Great the Power of Eloquence Is
288
How Much Importance Lies in Proper Enunciation and Appropriate Physical Gestures
290
How Great the Results of the Liberal Arts Can Be
292
Each Person is the Best Practitioner and Teacher of His Own Profession
294
Old Age
295
The Desire for Glory
298
Marvelous Honors That Were Given to Certain People
302
BOOK NINE Chapter 1 Selfindulgence and Sexual Indulgence
308
Cruelty
313
Anger and Hatred
319
Avarice
323
Haughty and Outrageous Behavior
324
Treachery
327
Violence and Rioting
329
Reckless Behavior
331
Mistakes
332
Revenge
334
Shameless Remarks and Evil Deeds
335
Unusual Deaths
339
The Craving to Survive
343
Physical Resemblance
346
People Who Were Born Very Low but Tried to Insinuate Themselves into Glorious Families by Lying
347
Glossary
350
Thematic Guide
355
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About the author (2004)

Henry John Walker is Lecturer in Classical and Medieval Studies, Bates College.

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