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Document Details :
Title: Varro and the Contours of Roman Antiquarianism
Author(s): SMITH, Christopher
Volume: 77 Issue: 4 Date: 2018
This essay looks in particular at Varro’s De gente populi Romani and De uita populi Romani, in order to assess how useful it is to call Varro an antiquarian, and what that might mean. After a brief account of Varro’s life and work, the essay considers the broader context of what is often called antiquarianism in antiquity, and looks at a more or less contemporary writer, Vitruvius, as a model for various elements of the Varronian project of ordering knowledge, and comparison with legal and historical writing, which share similar ambitions and concerns. Ultimately the aim is to add to the growing sense of the complexity of the intellectual revolution of the later Roman Republic, and its intimate connection with the development of Empire.