Valerius Maximus

20 bc-50 ad

Valerius Maximus was a Roman rhetorician and writer. His book, Nine books of memorable deeds and sayings, consists of historical anecdotes that were used by students of rhetoric to obtain historical information. He focused on different virtues, vices, religious practices, and traditional customs. They include omens, dreams, anger, cruelty, bravery, fidelity, gratitude, friendship, and parental love. His book is a commentary on moral and religious ideas of first century Rome. Valerius’s book was used as a school text into the Middle Ages.

Valerius drew excerpts from other writers such as Cicero, Livy, Sallust and Pompeius Trogus. He used sources, now lost, that provide a picture of what was going on during the reign of Tiberius in which he lived.

Of interest to speech-language pathologists is the claim that Valerius one of the earliest to describe a case of alexia (Benton 1964, p. 316). In 30 AD Valerius wrote of a case of brain injury caused by being hit in the head with a stone. The man lost his ability to recognize letters.

Writings by Valerius Maximus

Maximus, Valerious (2004). Nine books of memorable deeds and sayings. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Co. Google Books Retrieved on March 1, 2010.

Writings about Valerius Maximus

Benton, A. L. (1964). Contributions to aphasia before Broca. Cortex, 1, 314-327.

Bloomer, W. Martin (1992) Valerius Maximus and the rhetoric of the new nobility. University of North Carolina Press: Chapel Hill.