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La Valetudo in Simmaco. Note a Symm., EP., 8, 6

Lubello Maria
Articolo Immagine
Rivista Storica dell’Antichità
Rivista Storica dell'Antichità N. LIII/2023

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The theme of valetudo in Symmachus. Notes on Symm., ep., 8, 6

At the end of the 4th century the pagan senator Quintus Aurelius Symmachus, after discovering that the clarissimus Severus, had been affected by a long illness, sent him a brief letter (Symm., ep., 8, 6) praying to the gods for his friend’s health, fearing that the long suffering of an optimus senator may question the caelestes’ credibility. The aim of the paper is to analyze two aspects of Symmachus’ letter: the first section will be focused on the expressions related to the theme of valetudo that, although a topos of the epistolary practice, could shed light on the attitude of the members of the Roman senatorial élite towards illness and treatments; in the second part the traditional identification of the addressee with the urban prefect in 382 Valerius Severus will be reexamined based on the fear expressed by Symmachus about the effectiveness of the gods.

Keywords: Q. Aurelius Symmachus, Letter Collection, Health, Ancient Medicine, Religion.