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Nova tellus

Print version ISSN 0185-3058


GARCIA JURADO, Francisco. The Invisible City of the Classics: Between Aulus Gellius and Italo Calvino. Nova tellus [online]. 2010, vol.28, n.1, pp.271-300. ISSN 0185-3058.

The formulation of the concept of classicus, referred to the most distinguished authors, appears the first time in the 2nd century A.D. It derives from a metaphorical use of the term, understood in its oldest meaning (at the beginning classicus refered to an old social division based on the financial solvency of each citizen, and established in Rome during Servius Tullius' time). Therefore, the metaphorical use of classicus refers to the best archaic Latin writers, as if they were the ideal inhabitants of an old literary Rome. The term classicus undergoes many modifications throughout History, until Italo Calvino made the last big formulation of the term at the end of the 20th century. In short, there is an evolution from a hierarchic conception to an open and more personal idea of the "classics". Despite all these changes, between the first and the last formulation it happens to be a surprising connecting thread: an invisible city and a Latin author that lives there.

Keywords : Classic; Aulus Gellius; Italo Calvino.

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