Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/6518
Title: Themes and Structure in the 'Vita Marci Antonini'
Contributor(s): Adams, Geoff W (author); Stanton, Gregory  (supervisor); Spence, Iain (supervisor)
Conferred Date: 2008
Copyright Date: 2007
Open Access: Yes
Handle Link: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/6518
Abstract: In the production of this study, the first detailed study on the 'Vita Marci Antonini' in the 'Historia Augusta' since Schwendemann, a number of key concepts have been explored that consider the disadvantages and advantages of the 'Historia Augusta'. The disadvantages are quite obvious: the problems with the text, its questionable authorship, and the numerous historical inaccuracies. However, there are also advantages, such as the fertile scope for analysis, the possibilities for examining the development of the biographical genre and the opportunity to understand Marcus Aurelius and how he was regarded and remembered in the later Roman Empire. Nevertheless, the focus of this examination of the 'Vita Marci' is on one key element of the text: the thematic progression in the representation of Marcus Aurelius. The reasoning behind this concentration is to attempt to determine the intentions and bias of the biographer, which are both conceivable and instructive. This allows for an analysis of the text in a fashion that primarily concentrates upon how the author represented Marcus Aurelius. The difficulties with the text have been discussed briefly, but the overriding emphasis of this study is on the portrayal of Marcus Aurelius. The most notable aspect of this biography is its positive partiality towards the 'prineeps'. The 'Vita Marci' was composed in such a positive fashion that it could almost be classed as 'aretalogy',3 rather than biography. It is a biography, but one that provides a clear and obvious theme that stresses the brilliance of Marcus Aurelius. The infrequent inclusion of criticisms by the biographer highlights his partiality towards the 'princeps' and also emphasises the idealism that surrounded the remembrance of Marcus Aurelius in the late 4th Century AD. This romanticism is stated from the outset of the 'Vita Marci Antonini', which indicates to the audience that Marcus was not only an emperor, but a philosopher who epitomised the Platonic ideals of the philosophical monarch. The 'Vita Marci' has also been shown to have been among the most accurate biographies in the 'Historia Augusta', so its historical content should not be entirely discounted either. Instead, it is the aim of this study to analyse how these elements were generally presented by the biographer in the most positive fashion possible. This has been undertaken so that the intentions of the author can be viewed, an approach which is particularly revealing when considering the negative representations that were occasionally included by the 'HA' biographer.
Publication Type: Thesis Masters Research
Rights Statement: Copyright 2007 - Geoff W Adams
HERDC Category Description: T1 Thesis - Masters Degree by Research
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