The Play of Allusion in the Historia Augusta cover image

The Play of Allusion in the Historia Augusta

By David Rohrbacher
pdf
Format
2016
Year
English
Language
University of Wisconsin Press
Publisher

Summary

<div>By turns outlandish, humorous, and scatological, the <I>Historia Augusta</I> is an eccentric compilation of biographies of the Roman emperors and usurpers of the second and third centuries. Historians of late antiquity have struggled to explain the fictional date and authorship of the work and its bizarre content (did the Emperor Carinus really swim in pools of floating apples and melons? did the usurper Proculus really deflower a hundred virgins in fifteen days?). David Rohrbacher offers, instead, a literary analysis of the work, focusing on its many playful allusions. Marshaling an array of interdisciplinary research and original analysis, he contends that the <I>Historia Augusta</I> originated in a circle of scholarly readers with an interest in biography, and that its allusions and parodies were meant as puzzles and jokes for a knowing and appreciative audience.<BR></div>

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