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The Last Pagans of Rome$
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Alan Cameron

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199747276

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199747276.001.0001

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Macrobius and the “Pagan” Culture of his Age

Macrobius and the “Pagan” Culture of his Age

(p.231) 7 Macrobius and the “Pagan” Culture of his Age
The Last Pagans of Rome

Alan Cameron

Oxford University Press

Macrobius's Saturnalia is a key text for any evaluation of the intellectual interests of the elite of late 4th- and early 5th-century Rome. Modern readers have assumed the Saturnalia to be a showcase for pagan culture, according to some nothing less than a work of pagan propaganda. Indeed, study of the Saturnalia has overlapped with study of what has become known as the “pagan revival” of the late 4th century. Those gathered in Macrobius's pages have been identified as the circle of Symmachus—or (as some prefer) the circle of Praetextatus. It was long taken for granted that Macrobius was himself a member of this circle. This chapter considers whether he even was a contemporary, when he lived, and what was the purpose of his work was.

Keywords:   Macrobius, Saturnalia, Rome, pagan culture, Symmachus

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