Giving voice to the late Roman emperor: Eumenius's For the Restoration of the Schools (Pan. Lat. 9[4]) in context

Caillan Davenport

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1 Citation (Scopus)


This article examines the strategies of self-representation employed by the orator Eumenius in his speech For the Restoration of the Schools, delivered at Lyon before a provincial governor in 298. Eumenius had been magister memoriae at the court of Maximian before being appointed professor at the schools of rhetoric in Autun. In the speech, he asked the governor of Lugdunensis Prima to communicate to the emperors his request that his salary be donated to the upkeep of the schools of rhetoric. This article argues that Eumenius only moved from the imperial court to his professorship reluctantly. He therefore used the occasion of the speech to fashion a new public role for himself within Gallic society. In the oration, Eumenius envisioned his previous position of magister memoriae as the emperor’s voice, following in the footsteps of previous imperial advisors and tutors who employed similar language to define their position. As professor, he promised to share the benefits of his experience by training future generations of Gallic pupils to serve at the imperial court. This self-portrayal was designed to emphasize Eumenius’s success as both an orator and an imperial official, thus consolidating his standing among his Gallic peers, with whom he competed for honors and privileges from the emperors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-28
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Late Antiquity
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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