Valerius Flaccus (2218 words)


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Almost nothing is known about the life of Valerius Flaccus. The author’s life dates cannot be established with any degree of certainty, and the dating of the poet’s only known work, the eight-book Latin epic Argonautica, remains a subject of active scholarly controversy. Our main external evidence is a statement by the Roman rhetorician Quintilian, made sometime before 96 CE, that “we have recently (nuper) lost much in Valerius Flaccus” (Institutio Oratoria 10.1.90). We do not know exactly when Quintilian wrote these words, nor how long ago he envisioned “recently” to be. From the narrator’s statement that his house contains Apollo’s sacred tripods (

Citation: Bernstein, Neil. "Valerius Flaccus". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 29 June 2020 [, accessed 19 September 2020.]

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