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Reading classics of Antiquity VI: Cornelius Nepos: Lives

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Creator: William Rainey (1852-1936).: Epaminondas Defending Pelopidas. Description: Illustration for Plutarch's Lives retold by W H Weston (Jack, 1910). Location: Private Collection. Medium: colour lithograph. © Look and Learn / Bridgeman Images. Cornelius Nepos: De viris illustribus : Excellentium imperatorum vitae / De excellentibus ducibus exterarum gentium / Vitae excellentium imperatorum Cornelius Nepos: [Illustrious Men] / Lives of the Eminent Commanders. Written in Rome, the Roman Republic, 35 BC. Written in Latin. Originally published on papyrus in the scroll format (in tomes / volumines). Survival status : only 24 of the 350-400 biographies in the Lives series survive: the cycle of Greek warlords, and the biographies of Hamilkar, Hannibal, Cato the Elder, and Atticus. Read in Finnish: Cornelius Nepos: Kuuluisia miehiä Translated into Finnish by Marja Itkonen. The introduction written by Jaakko Suolahti. Series: Antiikin klassikot. 170 p. Helsinki / Porvoo: WSOY, 1963 Most is lost of the literary oeuvre of Cornelius Nepos, including his History of the World, the first of its kind written by an Italian. Nepos is not considered a great writer or historian, but he writes in a simple and clear language, perfect for Latin studies, which is why he has always been on the school curriculum. Nepos loved anecdotes and strange phenomena, and his Exempla was his most popular work, now lost. It was a favourite source for speech-writers for juicy and amusing asides. Even of his 400 biographies of Illustrious Men only 24 survive. Originally it consisted of 16 books with parallel biographies of Greek and Roman men. Only the volume of famous Greek warlords survives. These biographies are entertaining to read, and they contain interesting remarks such as the account of the law of amnesty and the statement "small gifts are durable, excessive ones transient" in the chapter on Thrasybylos, and the principle "only the character forms the destiny for each" in the chapter on Atticus. But having read Herodotus it is illuminating to read Nepos's version of Miltiades with his different account of the battle of Marathon. Nepos's biography of Themistocles can be compared with Herodotus and Thucydides. Other leaders of the Peloponnesoan War covered by Nepos include Pausanias, Alcibiades, Thrasybulos, and Konon. The biography of Dion is as amazing as that of Alcibiades. Timotheos for Nepos is the last great warlord. Datames, Hamilkar and Hannibal, the Barbarian warlords, are treated by Nepos with awe. The highest praise Nepos reserves for Epaminondas, the self-effacing leader who earned the admiration of everybody with dignity.

Avainsanat: wsoy write writer world william who war w volume they survive strange status source school roman republic published private porvoo popular perfect ones mies men marja marathon lost iives learn language klassikot jaakko italia it include image history historia helsinki gift form format finnish favourite famous everybody elder colour collection clear by antiikki