Unclassical Traditions, Volume I

Alternatives to the Classical Past in Late Antiquity

Michael Stuart Williams,

Unclassical Traditions, Volume I: Alternatives to the Classical Past in Late Antiquity
Unclassical Traditions: Alternatives to the Classical Past in Late Antiquity is the first of two collections of essays by leading scholars discussing the nature and extent of the late-antique engagement with its classical heritage. This issue has long been at the heart of modern historical debate and, as this volume demonstrates, it was no less a matter of concern among authors and audiences in the period itself.

From the Chronological Tables of Eusebius of Caesarea to the Brevarium of Festus and from the imperial panegyric to the Byzantine liturgy, eight papers explore how the persistence, dominance and normative nature of the classical tradition in its various forms could be negotiated, undermined, ironized or even flatly denied. Whether in the hands of Christian bishops such as Ambrose of Milan or Basil of Caesarea, or in the poetry of Ausonius or in the lives of the saints, many central aspects of late-antique culture here emerge as the product of a combination of authoritatively classical and avowedly unclassical traditions.

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