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Zeitschrift für antike Literatur und ihre Rezeption / A Journal for Ancient Literature and its Reception

Ed. by Föllinger, Sabine / Fuhrer, Therese / Stenger, Jan / Vöhler, Martin / Volk, Katharina

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CiteScore 2016: 0.08

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Volume 153, Issue 2 (Dec 2009)


Lernen am Modell in der Spätantike: Eine Interpretation der Saturnalia des Macrobius. (mit einem Anhang zum Aufbau des Werks)

Lukas J. Dorfbauer
  • 1 Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Kommission zur Herausgabe des Corpus der lateinisc, Wien, Österreich
Published Online: 2010-04-16 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1524/phil.2009.0021


Although Macrobius’ Saturnalia were, according to the preface, written for the author’s young son in order to teach him a variety of useful things in a coherent, succinct form, the work is by no means a simple textbook, but a Platonic dialogue whose speakers are mainly concerned with classic literature, especially Virgil. Many earlier readings, preoccupied with the supposed (but actually rather dubious) religious content of the voluminous work, paid little attention to the broader context of late antique didactic literature. This article discusses the didactic purpose of the Saturnalia taking into account the background of Neoplatonic theories regarding the literary technique of Plato’s dialogues; it shows that Macrobius used the traditional literary form not only to impart vast factual knowledge, but also to communicate his ideas about the social attitudes of the ideal Roman aristocrat.

Keywords: Macrobius; Saturnalia; late antique didactic literature; dialogue; Neoplatonism

About the article

Published Online: 2010-04-16

Published in Print: 2009-12-01

Citation Information: Philologus, ISSN (Print) 0031-7985, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1524/phil.2009.0021.

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