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p. 131. Rome

classical decadencelocked

  • David Weir

Abstract

Ancient Roman writers whose work inspired latter-day decadents include the biographer Suetonius (69–122 CE) and the historian Tacitus (56–120 CE), who both wrote about the depraved behavior of Caligula, Nero, Vitellius, and other decadent emperors. Their accounts of outrageous behavior, as well as The Satyricon (an important novel about first-century Rome attributed to Petronius), form the classical model of Roman decadence. Later influential commentators on the fall of Rome were the French moral philosopher Montesquieu (1689–1755) and the British historian Edward Gibbon (1737–1794). Historical novels about ancient Rome by Gustave Flaubert (1821–1880) and Walter Pater (1839–1894) also had a bearing on the development of decadence.

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