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Lucullus en «clair-obscur»: mérites et extravagances d’un citoyen de la Rome républicaine durant l’époque impériale

Abstract : One of the most interesting figures of Roman history with respect to the construction of historical memory is L. Licinius Lucullus. Although remarkable for his military success and appreciated for his generosity towards the inhabitants of the provinces subject to the Romans, which dedicated to him some inscriptions that are monumenta in his memory, his tendency to excess and extravagance was significantly recorded in certain literary sources producing a distinctly chiaroscuro portrait. The evaluation of his conduct seems contradictory already in Cicero who tends to denigrate Lucullus in some harangues for his rapacity but later praises his military success when convenient to do so for his own personal advantage. In addition, Cicero censures Lucullus in some ethical-political treatises written after the latter's death. Some of the oscillations in the evaluation of Lucullus can be attributed to the political conflicts of late-Republican Rome but his fame, judged in a favourable light by Augustus (ILS 60), underwent alternate phases which reveal the tendency to judge him by comparing him to Pompey (cf. Velleius Paterculus) and more generally to attempt to reconcile his image as brave leader with that of a deplorable member of the Senate. The dual nature of Lucullus was already clear in his biography by Plutarch, which reveals the perception of much conflicting information on his public and private life, which was also judged in different ways in the Imperial Age and in Late Antiquity. More generally, the analysis of passages concerning Lucullus reveals that the primary agents responsible for his chiaroscuro image were his contemporaries and political enemies and also provides the opportunity to observe the various historical, social and cultural factors, which together contributed to preserve the memory of a man who was more than his deplorable behaviour.
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Contributor : Ida Gilda Mastrorosa <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, February 14, 2017 - 2:59:45 AM
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  • HAL Id : halshs-01467013, version 1



Ida Gilda Mastrorosa. Lucullus en «clair-obscur»: mérites et extravagances d’un citoyen de la Rome républicaine durant l’époque impériale. Presses Universitaires du Septentrion. Une mémoire en actes : espaces, figures et discours dans le monde romain, sous la dir. de S. Benoist, A. Daguet-Gagey et C. Hoët-van Cauwenberghe, pp.243-263, 2016, 9782757412718. ⟨halshs-01467013⟩



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