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ARETA´LOGI a class of persons whose conversation formed one of the entertainments of the Roman dinner-tables (Suet. Octav. 74). The word literally signifies persons who discourse about virtue; and the class of persons intended seem to have been poor philosophers, chiefly of the Cynic and Stoic sects, who, unable to gain a living by their public lectures, obtained a maintenance at the tables of the rich by their philosophical conversation. Such a life would naturally degenerate into that of the parasite and buffoon; and accordingly we find these persons spoken of contemptuously by Juvenal, who uses the phrase mendax aretalogus: they became a sort of scurrae. (Juv. Sat. 15.16; cf. Casaubon. ad Suet. l.c.; Mayor, ad Juv. l.c.

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