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Quintilian, Roman advocate and rhetorician, 1st century CE  

Curtis Dozier

Quintilian (Marcus Fabius Quintilianus) was a prominent orator and teacher of rhetoric in Rome during the Flavian period. His best-known work is the Institutio Oratoria, “The Orator’s Education,” which presents an idealized curriculum for the training of orators, beginning with their birth and extending through their retirement in old age. It has been treated primarily as a storehouse of information about ancient rhetorical theory and Roman educational practices but is increasingly recognized as a literary work in its own right, marked in particular by Quintilian’s own deployment of the same rhetorical techniques that the Institutio teaches.The details of Quintilian’s biography are uncertain, being based only on a few testimonia and his own references to his career, many of which present difficulties of interpretation.1Jerome (Chron. 186 Helm) says he was born in Calagurris (Calahorra) in Spain and that he came to Rome with Galba in 68 ce.



Simon Goldhill

An anecdote in English means a short and pointed narrative, often of a biographical nature, which is not usually attributed to an author. The ancient Greek word anekdotos means no more than “unpublished,” and is a very rare term. But there are three main words—chreia, paradoxon, and paradeigma (exemplum in Latin)—which were used in Greek to categorize such stories. These terms together give an important insight into the literary culture of antiquity, especially in the Greek-speaking world of the Roman Empire, revealing how knowledge circulates and how elites performed their relationship to the past.A chreia is a very brief story culminating in or consisting of a single sentence put-down or witty rejoinder. It is often associated with Cynic philosophy: “Diogenes is to be praised for rubbing away on his genital organ in public and saying to the bystanders, ‘If only it were as easy to rub away hunger’” (Plutarch .


law, Roman, institutional scheme of  

Jakob Fortunat Stagl

The institutional scheme of Roman law was developed primarily by Gaius on the basis of a preceding tradition of law manuals. The scheme consists of dividing the law into a General Part, Family Law, Property Law, Law of Succession, Law of Obligations, and Civil Procedure. This scheme is apparent not only in Gaius’s Institutes but also in the whole of his didactic scheme, which can be discerned from descriptions of the curriculum in his time. Gaius’s larger didactic scheme is indebted to contemporary philosophical, rhetorical, and didactic currents, which made it possible for him to organise the law of Rome in such a solid and plausible way that the emperor Justinian adopted this scheme for his compilation, comprising the Institutes, the Digest, and the Codex.


grammar, grammarians, Latin  

Thomas J. Keeline

For the Romans, “grammar” (grammatica) encompassed the study of both language and literature. Although its precise origins are unclear, Latin grammar in its developed form—and in the only form that survives in the early 21st century—is a Romanised version of a Greek discipline, with the Greek influence pervasive and everywhere visible.

The word grammarian (grammaticus) was applied especially to professional teachers of Latin to children—native speakers at first but, in late antiquity, increasing numbers of non-native speakers too. According to Quintilian, the grammaticus had two tasks: to instruct his charges in correct Latinity and to elucidate the texts of the poets. In fact, these two tasks were bound up in each other: proper usage was shown by citations from approved authors, and approved authors were explicated particularly to illustrate proper usage. In teaching students about Latin with reference to the canonical authority of the past, the grammarian was also teaching students how to be good Romans in the traditional mould.


Vibius Sequester  

David Paniagua

Vibius Sequester is the author of the De fluminibus, fontibus, lacubus, nemoribus, paludibus, montibus, gentibus per litteras, a short repertoire of geographical names mentioned by Virgil, Silius, Lucan and Ovid. The text, written at the end of the 4th or in the 5th century ce for the author’s son, Vergilianus, was likely intended to be used at school as an instrument providing basic information about the collected toponyms and ethnonyms. Despite the occasional mistakes in the text, Sequester’s repertoire represent a fine instance of school culture in Western Late Antiquity. The work was much appreciated by Italian humanists, which explains that it was copied in nearly 50 recentiores manuscripts; all of them, however, descend from a second-half of the 9th century manuscript (Vat. Lat. 4929).Vibius Sequester was the author of a short alphabetic repertoire of geographical names mentioned in Latin poetry, probably compiled at the end of the 4th or in the 5th century .


athletics, Greek  

Reyes Bertolín Cebrián

Athletics is often used as a synonym for sport. It involves physical activity, mostly organized through training and competition. Athletics was an integral part of Greek cultural identity throughout all periods of Greek history. In the realm of material culture, sources for the study of sport range from the great sanctuaries at Olympia or Delphi to sculpture, ceramics, votive offerings, and even coins. Written sources of all genres describe the practice of athletics or use sport metaphors and anecdotes to embellish the narrative or discuss issues. There are mentions of athletics in epic poetry, lyric, tragedy, comedy, oratory, philosophy, history, and technical writings. Inscriptions offer abundant information as well. From the great variety of sources available, it is obvious that athletics was more than a mere pastime for the Greeks. Apart from competition, the Greeks saw value in athletics as a way to socialize and educate the young. Through the practice of athletics, the Greeks projected the image of strong, self-controlled, and independent individuals.