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Popular in its day both as a sourcebook for writers and orators and as a guidebook for living a moral life, this remarkably rich document serves as an engaging introduction to the cultural and moral history of ancient Rome. Valerius’ “thousand tales” are arranged thematically in ninety-one chapters that cover nearly every aspect of life in the ancient world, including such wide-ranging topics as military discipline, child rearing, and women lawyers. As a whole, the work gives the reader fascinating insights into what it felt like to be an ancient Roman, what the ancient Romans really believed, what their private world was like, how they related to one another, and what they did when nobody was watching.
“The publication of Henry John Walker’s translation of Memorable Deeds and Sayings ensures a wider readership for Valerius’ great compendium of Greco-Roman lore. Of the many merits of Walker’s translation, I would cite especially its readability. Walker has produced a version of Valerius Maximus that reflects the original’s wide sweep, but in Walker’s hands Valerius tells a seamless story in multiple parts. This translation will be easily used by students in the classroom and by scholars. It is a substantial accomplishment: a superior new translation that renders a monument of Latin literature accessible in every way to multiple audiences.”
—Joseph Pucci, Brown University
About the Author:
Henry John Walker is Lecturer in Classical and Medieval Studies, Bates College.