Roman Exempla and Situation Ethics: Valerius Maximus and Cicero de Officiis
Journal of Roman Studies
Cambridge University Press
When reading exempla and applying them to ethical decisions, Romans had to bear in mind the principle of situational variability: whether an action can be judged to be right depends on the circumstances in which it is performed; what is right for one person in a given situation may not be right for another. This principle and its ramifications are articulated by Valerius Maximus, Facta et Dicta Memorabilia. Comparison with Cicero, de Officiis suggests that situation ethics was a key feature of Roman ethics and that, within this framework, exempla may be understood as moral tools mediating between universal and particular.
Copyright © The Author(s) 2011. Published by The Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies
Vol. 101, pp. 100 - 122