Facta Et Dicta Memorabilia Analysis

864 Words4 Pages
The following report is on an article from American Journal of Philology (ISSN 0002-9475, 2013, Volume 134, Issue 1, pp. 67 – 82) by Tara Welch from University of Kansas: Was Valerius Maximus a Hack? Abstract: Valerius Maximus’ “Facta et dicta memorabilia” blends elements of Roman declamation and historiography. Scrutiny of this text’s intertextual practices sheds light on the relationship it creates between its contents and its readers. Whereas declamation’s textual re-use aims to draw attention to the declaimer’s skill at adapting material, and historiographers invoke prior texts to borrow the earlier author’s authority, Valerius Maximus includes prior texts in ways that obscure both his own skill and his source’s authority. The attention…show more content…
Although the term is broad, I understand intertextuality in the sense that Genette articulates in Palimpsests: “a relationship of co-presence between two texts or among several texts.” Genette names three subcategories of intertextuality: flagged quotation, or the directed reference to another text; plagiarism, which is quotation without citation and involves both the author’s intention to obscure the presence of a co-text and the reader’s inability to detect it; and allusion, which presupposes recognition of another text in comprehending the alluding text’s full meaning. (Welch,…show more content…
She suspects then Valerius of using allusion: “That would fall under Genette’s intertextual subcategory, “allusion,” engagement with another text that needs to be recognized by the reader in order for a text to have its full meaning.”(Welch 2013) Bloomer offered one of the explanations for the question “Why did Valerius have to use allusion for a well-known fact?” Bloomer claims that Valerius relied on the structure of the paragraph offered by Cicero. In addition, Valerius utilizes diction and writing style of Livy in some of his stories. The story under analysis, however, almost completely repeats Livy’s diction. That, according to Bloomer, who was quoted by Welch, was probably comfortable for Valerius to use some phrases from Livy. A conventional system would probably call this “borrowing” plagiarism, yet Welch uses another approach- she claims what Valerius did is “allusion”, not plagiarism. The reason for the use of Cicero’s words is simple- the words are very fit for describing what Valerius tried to tell. In addition, since Cicero is a well-known authority, Valerius felt it was not necessary to reference him. This is often used by various social scientists, who include words of other famous people in their works, altering them slightly. Seneca describes this type of allusion as palam mutuari: “openly obtaining loan words with the intention of paying them back (Suas. 3.3.7, and see
Open Document