Monthly Archives: June 2013

Authenticating the Marvellous

Working Papers on Nervan, Trajanic and Hadrianic Literature 1.9

‘Authenticating the Marvellous: Mirabilia in Pliny the Younger, Tacitus and Suetonius’                                                                                                         Kelly Shannon, 6th June 2013

This working paper explores the place of mirabilia in the literary culture of the early 2nd century AD. Inter alia, it considers what counted as ‘outlandish’ (and how that may have varied from genre to genre); authorial strategies for ‘authenticating’ ‘marvels’ (and the ways in which they enlist readers’ co-operation/complicity); what their shared strategies might tell us about literary dialogue/interaction in the period in question (and how Tacitus, Suetonius and Pliny the Younger engaged with earlier ‘paradoxographers’, particularly Pliny the Elder; also similarities between their works and the Hadrianic ‘paradoxographer’ Phlegon of Tralles); and how trends in paradoxography (and the questions that mirabilia raise about veracity and believability) might relate to contemporary political developments (in particular, the transition from Flavian to Trajanic-Hadrianic).

Authenticating the Marvellous: Mirabilia in Pliny the Younger, Tacitus and Suetonius