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The Discussion Of Authorship

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Chapter Summary

Dessau's thesis of single authorship of the Historia Augusta (HA) has received far less attention than his thesis concerning the date of the collection. Dessau's main argument for single authorship was that in every single scriptor peculiar expressions such as in litteras mittere and literary mannerisms like puns, verses translated from Greek, oracles and other faked documents could be found. Both Dessau and Mommsen were aware of the stylistic heterogeneity in the HA up to the series of lives under the names of Trebellius Pollio and Vopiscus. The fashion in the HA studies has been to concentrate on those passages where the author demonstrates the individual characteristics that have been described so brilliantly by Syme, resulting in the composite picture of the rogue scholar who develops his style and his panache until he reaches his full powers in the lives under the name of Vopiscus.

Keywords: Dessau; Historia Augusta (HA); single authorship



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