The discourse of autocracy in Tiberian literature

Crump, Elizabeth (2023). The discourse of autocracy in Tiberian literature. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis examines the discourse of autocracy in the Latin literature of the Tiberian Principate. In four case studies I examine the texts of Velleius Paterculus, Seneca the Elder and Valerius Maximus, and explore how these writers adapted and engaged with earlier autocratic discourse to develop new responses to the concept of autocracy at Rome. In Chapter One I explore the discourse of Imperial virtues in the Tiberian Principate and what this can tell us about contemporary expectations of autocracy. Chapter Two examines the reception of the Roman kings in Valerius Maximus and in Chapter Three I explore the discourse of tyranny and tyrannicide in the Controversiae of Seneca the Elder. The final chapter considers how the defamatory discourse surrounding the assassins of Julius Caesar influenced the portrayal of opposition to Tiberius. Ultimately this thesis shows how these writers adapted existing discourse to suit the changing political and social realities of the era, not by abandoning Republican discourse or earlier Greek models, but by developing them to form new concepts of autocracy and resistance to autocratic rule.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of History and Cultures, Department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology (CAHA)
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D051 Ancient History
D History General and Old World > DG Italy
P Language and Literature > PA Classical philology


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