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date: 17 April 2024

Curtius Rufus, Quintuslocked

, rhetorician and historian

Curtius Rufus, Quintuslocked

, rhetorician and historian
  • Albert Brian Bosworth


Curtius (RE 31) Rufus, Quintus rhetorician and historian, wrote during the 1st or early 2nd cent. ce (under *Claudius remains the preferred choice). His ten-book history of *Alexander (3) the Great goes as far as the satrapy distributions at *Babylon. The first two books (down to 333 bce) are lost (and there are substantial lacunae elsewhere), and in what remains there are no statements of biography and few on method. His work is extremely rhetorical, close in tone to the Suasoriae of the elder Seneca (L. *Annaeus Seneca (1)); it contains many speeches of varied length and quality, and the narrative is suffused with moralizing comments and arbitrary attributions of motive. There is little consistency (after strong criticism in the body of the work the final appreciation of Alexander is pure encomium), and the exigencies of rhetoric determine the selection of source material. Consequently he switches arbitrarily from source to source and sometimes blends them into a senseless farrago. He has often been accused of deliberate fiction, but even in the speeches he used data from his regular sources and added an embroidery of rhetorical comment. He did not manufacture fact. He is by far the fullest derivative of *Cleitarchus and preserves much that is of unique value (particularly on *Macedonian custom; see assembly, macedonian); and he also records material common to *Arrian and probably made direct use of *Ptolemy (1) I.


  • Latin Literature

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