Cornelius Nepos' king biographies?
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The interpretations concerning the 'Reges' (XXI) have led partly to uncertain, partly to mistaken conclusions. By reinterpreting the terminology of Nepos it will be argued that the chapter took place only in the second edition of the Book on foreign generals, and that neither before nor after this book there were lives of kings included in the 'De viris illustribus'. In the preface of the chapter the author refers to his own previous works, in which the deeds (res gestae) of both the Greek and the barbarian kings (omnium), who were also generals, had been sporadically (separatim) mentioned yet (sunt relatae). To avoid repetition Nepos only gives a brief summary about their death and characters, so the 'Reges' was neither a résumé nor a recommendation of the unattested Book on foreign kings. Its aim was to make it possible for the readers to get complete biographical portraits of the kings too, and for himself to connect the books on the generals and to emphasize his moral and historical philosophy, which was the most important novelty of the new edition.
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