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The Play of Allusion in the Historia Augusta
by David Rohrbacher
University of Wisconsin Press, 2020
Paper: 978-0-299-32704-0

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ABOUT THIS BOOK
By turns outlandish, humorous, and scatological, the Historia Augusta is an eccentric compilation of biographies of the Roman emperors and usurpers of the second and third centuries. Historians have struggled to explain the fictional date and authorship of the work. David Rohrbacher offers, instead, a literary analysis of the work, focusing on its many playful references, contending that the Historia Augusta 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.

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