Valeri Maximi Facta et dicta memorabilia, libri VII-IX, Iuli Paridis Epitoma, Fragmentum de praenominibus, Ianuari Nepotiani Epitoma, edidit John Briscoe, vol. II, Stutgardiae et Lipsiae 1998 (Bibliotheca Scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum Teubneriana).
The Epitoma of Julius Paris is a compendium of uncertain date of Valerius Maximus’ entire paradigmatic collection, Facta et dicta memorabilia (Nepotian also writes a partial summary of Valerius’ work in late antiquity).
The collection, given in nine books, is preceded by a brief prefatory letter, addressed to a certain Licinius Cyriacus, about whom we know nothing. In this praefatio Paris explains his purpose and the intended audience of the work: to create a tool for easily consulting the collection of Valerius, since he recognizes that the exemplorum conquisitio is necessary non minus disputantibus quam declamantibus. Although the author affirms that he has reduced Valerius ad unum uolumen epitomae, his promise of concision is not maintained: the extension of the collection is remarkable, and the aim of summary is drawn exclusively from the scant and essential narration of exempla.
The summarized material follows the original in its contents, language, and structure, but is stripped of the opening and closing formulas, rhetorical tricks, and reflections of a moralizing nature. Each book is divided into chapters, structured as a small collection of deeds and sayings on the theme indicated by the title: these include anecdotes of stereotyped famous or common individuals - be they positive or negative - on the basis of their character, their habits, and their Roman or foreign beliefs, with an eye towards the Greek world.
Adherence to the text limits the involvement of Paris, who is limited to eligere and digerere the πράξεις of Valerius, but with certain variations: different titles, corrections, additions, and omissions. Furthermore, Paris has the merit - for us - of bridging the lacuna of the first book of Valerius (1.1 ext. 5 – 1.4.1). Although hard to schematize, Paris’ procedure can variously be reduced to three essential aspects that are characteristic of the collection (Guerrini): the name of the historical personages (therefore the exempla anonyma are omitted); the temporal marker of the perfect (one rarely finds the imperfect in describing habits and customs); lastly, use of the third person that is effectively paradigmatic.
The manuscript tradition of the epitome is based on Vaticanus Latinus 4929, a parchment manuscript of the 10th c., which cites the liber de praenominibus as Paris’ tenth book. During the middle ages, Lupus of Ferrières had the codex in his hands; it was only in 1828 that Angelo Mai produced the first edition of the compendium. [N. Rosso; tr. C. L. Caterine].