Civil War? What Civil War?: Usurpers in the Historia Augusta
4 Civil War? What Civil War?: Usurpers in the Historia Augusta
- Citizens of Discord
- Oxford University Press
The third century ce witnessed a progression of military adventurers seizing and briefly holding imperial power, impelled and expelled by the armies at whose heads they marched. In form, if not in name, this was a period of civil war. Yet in a sort of grim paradox, Rome, at least in the mind of its citizens, was free of civil wars when about to be no more. This chapter focuses on usurpations during the reign of Gallienus, as recounted in the Historia Augusta, examining the interplay between themes of legitimacy, the essential qualities of an emperor, and the role of the military. It suggests that the author's central theme is the impulse to preserve the health of the res publica, and explores his motivations for presenting events in this way.
Historia Augusta, usurpers, Gallienus, civil war
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