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December 08 , 2007

Reading Roman Friendship


This book invites us to approach friendship not as something that simply is, but as something performed in and through language. Roman friendship is read across a wide spectrum of Latin texts, from Catullus' poetry to Petronius' Satyricon to the philosophical writings of Cicero and Seneca, from letters exchanged by the Emperor Marcus Aurelius and his beloved teacher Fronto, to those written by men and women at an outpost in northern Britain. One of the most innovative features of this study is the equal attention it pays to Latin literature and to inscriptions carved in stone across the Roman Empire. What emerges is a richly varied and perhaps surprising picture. Hundreds of epitaphs, commissioned by men and women, citizens and slaves, record the commemoration of friends, which is of equal importance to understanding Roman friendship as Cicero's influential essay De amicitia.

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