Alexandra TRACHSEL

Academic Year:

Research Program:
NEC International

Department of Greek and Latin Philology, University of Hamburg

Senior Lecturer


Research project: Being a Severan Author: picking flowers, dining copiously or retreating to one's study? Reflections on authorial self-representation in the 2nd-3rd century CE

The project deals with the perception of authorship in Antiquity, but focuses on a well-defined period, the so-called Severan times, corresponding to the reign of the Severan Dynasty among the Roman emperors (193-235 CE). During this period, a great number of works were composed that shared the same characteristic of being a voluminous collection of anecdotes, quotations and other pieces of information. For the composition of such works, the role of the author does not primary rely on inspiration, but rather on the diligent assembling of reading notes, followed by a new ordering of the gathered knowledge. The study will focus on these special works and analyse the way the authors present themselves in their works. The results of the study will help to understand the working methods and scholarly practices such authors used to select, assemble and reformulate the passages from previous works and provides, ultimately, a better knowledge about the extracts from these often lost works for us modern readers.

A full-length study is available here.