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The Last Pagans of Rome$
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Alan Cameron

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199747276

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199747276.001.0001

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The Historia Augusta

The Historia Augusta

(p.743) 20 The Historia Augusta
The Last Pagans of Rome

Alan Cameron

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the Historia Augusta (HA), a corpus of imperial biographies from Hadrian to Carinus (117–285) that purports to be the work of six different writers, all otherwise wholly unknown, all purportedly writing between ca. 305 and 325. The HA is also alleged to be a covert attack on Christianity, a product of the “pagan reaction” at Rome in or soon after 395. Not only is the HA full of errors, absurdities, and manifestly forged documents, it cites as authorities no less than thirty-five otherwise unknown and for the most part surely bogus historians and biographers. But it was not until 1889 that Dessau branded the entire work a forgery, written by a single author at the end of the 4th century.

Keywords:   imperial biographies, Dessau, forgery, pagan reaction, Roman pagans, Christianity

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