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


, 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 (


) 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 (


1.5-6), scholars have supposed that Valerius held an important office in the state cult as “a member of the…

2218 words

Citation: Bernstein, Neil. "Valerius Flaccus". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 29 June 2020 [, accessed 25 July 2024.]

13319 Valerius Flaccus 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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