Power structure under Marcus Aurelius

Date

1966

Authors

Brennan, Peter

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Abstract

Recent years have produced quite a few biographies of Marcus Aurelius; of varying quality they all follow the chronological line of the encyclopaedias and none penetrates deeply into the reign. Two Frenchmen, Charles Parain and Pierre de Proyart, both uncritical in their indiscriminate use of sources uncited, especially the Historia Augusta, overemphasize the concept of Marcus as the philosopher king. So does A.S.L. Farquharson. This is a heritage from Marcus’ own Meditations. Only rarely are the utterances of emperors extant in literary sources; care in interpretation is essential when they do appear, as in the res gestae of Augustus or in the letters of Trajan to Pliny. In Marcus’ case his philosophical theorizing has often led to a false evaluation of his political activities. Fr.Carrata Thomes gives more emphasis to him as a political figure, but his biographical account of the reign incorporates little of the abundant prosopographical material available. Indeed there seems to be no detailed systematic treatment of internal politics under the Antoninus, though individuals receive elucidation from such prosopographical experts as Groag, Syme, Pflaum, Carcopino, Lambrechts and E. Birley. To these men and to the methods refined by them this work naturally owes much.

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Thesis (Masters)

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DOI

10.25911/5d7788f511571

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