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Severan Culture
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The Roman Empire during the reigns of Septimius Severus and his successors (AD 193-225) enjoyed a remarkably rich and dynamic cultural life. It saw the consolidation of the movement known as the second sophistic, which had flourished during the second century and promoted the investigation and reassessment of classical Greek culture. It also witnessed the emergence of Christianity on its own terms, in Greek and in Latin, as a major force extending its influence across literature, philosophy, theology, art and even architecture. This volume offers the first wide-ranging and authoritative survey of the culture of this fascinating period when the background of Rome's rulers was for the first time non-Italian. Leading scholars discuss general trends and specific instances, together producing a vibrant picture of an extraordinary period of cultural innovation rooted in ancient tradition.
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Table of Contents

Letter of Philostratus to Longinus Donald Russell; Preface and bibliography of Ewen Bowie Stephen Harrison and Simon Swain; Introduction Simon Swain; Part I. Literature and Culture: 1. Prose literature and the Severan dynasty Tim Whitmarsh; 2. Severan historiography: evidence, patterns and arguments Harry Sidebottom; 3. The worlds of Nestor the Poet John Ma; 4. Sex lives of the sophists: epigrams by Philostratus and Fronto Gideon Nisbet; 5. The Cynegetica attributed to Oppian Mary Whitby; 6. Greek athletics in the Severan period: literary views Jason Koenig; 7. Heracles, Prometheus, and the play of genres in [Lucian]'s Amores Judith Mossman; 8. Allegory and narrative in Heliodorus Glenn Most; 9. Polyphony or Babel? Hosidius Geta's Medea and the poetics of the cento Philip Hardie; 10. Unfair to Caecilius? Ciceronian dialogue techniques in Minucius Felix Jonathan Powell; 11. Cyprian's Ad Donatum Michael Winterbottom; Part II. Art and Architecture: 12. Art at the crossroads? Themes and style in Severan art Zahra Newby; 13. Landscape, transformation and divine epiphany Alexia Petsalis-Diomidis; 14. Urbanism in the Severan empire Andrew Wilson; 15. Metaphor and identity in Severan architecture: the Septizodium at Rome between 'reality' and 'fantasy' Edmund Thomas; 16. Visibility and viewing on the Severan Marble Plan Jennifer Trimble; 17. Septimius Severus: the Augustan Emperor Alison Cooley; Part III. Religion and Philosophy: 18. Severan Christianity Mark Edwards; 19. Almsgiving for the pure of heart: continuity and change in early Christian teaching Richard Finn; 20. Tertullian on flesh, spirit and wives Catherine Conybeare; 21. Sophists and rabbis: Jews and their past in the Severan age Joseph Geiger; 22. Trouble in Snake-Town: interpreting an oracle from Hierapolis-Pamukkale Ian Rutherford; 23. Magic in the Severan period Daniel Ogden; 24. Philosophy, scholarship and the world of learning in the Severan period Michael Trapp; 25. Human autonomy and divine revelation in Origen George Boys-Stones; 26. Socrates in Christian and pagan writers of the Severan era Christopher Taylor.

About the Author

Simon Swain is Professor of Classics at the University of Warwick. His recent publications include editing Bilingualism in Ancient Society (2002) (with J. N. Adams and M. Jase), Approaching Late Antiquity (2004) and Seeing the Face, Seeing the Soul: Polemon's Physiognomy from Classical Antiquity to Medieval Islam (2007). Stephen Harrison is Professor of Classical Languages and Literature at the University of Oxford and Fellow and Tutor in Classics at Corpus Christi College. His numerous publications include A Commentary on Vergil, Aeneid 10 (1991), Apuleius: A Latin Sophist (2000), Generic Enrichment in Vergil and Horace (2007) and, as editor, The Cambridge Companion to Horace (2007). Jas' Elsner is Humfry Payne Senior Research Fellow in Classical Archaeology at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He has edited and co-edited numerous volumes and is the author of Art and the Roman Viewer (1995), Imperial Rome and Christian Triumph: The Art of the Roman Empire (1998) and Roman Eyes: Visuality and Subjectivity in Art and Text (2007).

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"The twenty-six contributions...are of uniformly high quality." --BMCR

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