Portraits: Biographical Representation in the Greek and Latin Literature of the Roman Empire

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This collection of essays illustrates the growth of interest in the representation of individuals, which resulted from the changed environment within which Greek and Latin authors worked in late antiquity. The writings studied are not confined to biographies in the formal sense, since the aim of the collection is to show how the gamut of literary genres was modified by the presence of a new biographical ingredient. Simon Swain's general survey of the biographical elements in late antique writing is followed by studies of Aulus Gellius, Dio Cassius, Jewish Martyrs, Simon Magus, Constantine, and Daniel the Stylite. The subjects all fall within the period of the Roman empire, and illustrate the importance of individual personality in literature for an age in which few individuals could hope to achieve political significance. Mark Edward's epilogue discusses the possibility of a distinction between 'biography' and 'the biographical' in ancient literature.