The political instability of the Severan Period (AD 193-235) destroyed the High Imperial consensus about the Roman past and caused both rulers and subjects constantly to re-imagine and re-narrate both recent events and the larger shape of Greco-Roman history and cultural identity. This book examines the narratives put out by the new dynasty, and how the literary elite responded with divergent visions of their own. It focuses on four long Greek narrative texts from the period (by Cassius Dio, Philostratus and Herodian), each of which constructs its own version of the empire, each defined by different Greek and Roman elements and each differently affected by dynastic change, especially that from Antonine to Severan. Innovative theories of narrative are used to produce new readings of these works that bring political, literary and cultural perspectives together in a unified presentation of the Severan era as a distinctive historical moment.
Adam M. Kemezis (University of Alberta)
Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication:
Series: Greek Culture in the Roman World
26 November 2020
Professional and scholarly
1. Introduction; 2. From Antonine to Severan; 3. Cassius Dio: the last Annalist; 4. Philostratus' Apollonius: Hellenic perfection on an imperial stage; 5. Philostratus' Sophists: Hellas' Antonine golden age; 6. Herodian: a dysfunctional Rome; Appendix 1. The date of composition of Dio's history; Appendix 2. The dates and addressees of Philostratus' Apollonius and Sophists; Appendix 3. The date, scope and author of Herodian's history.
Adam M. Kemezis is Associate Professor in the Department of History and Classics, University of Alberta.
Reviews for Greek Narratives of the Roman Empire under the Severans: Cassius Dio, Philostratus and Herodian
'[A] very readable volume, which is well-produced ... based on the successful use of novel approaches and original questions. It will surely be essential reading for students and specialists in Classics and Roman imperial history.' Alexander V. Makhlaiuk, Bryn Mawr Classical Review