Greek and Roman biography embraces much more than Plutarch, Suetonius and their lost Hellenistic antecedents. In this book Professor Haegg explores the whole range and diversity of ancient biography, from its Socratic beginnings to the Christian acquisition of the form in late antiquity. He shows how creative writers developed the lives of popular heroes like Homer, Aesop and Alexander and how the Christian gospels grew from bare sayings to full lives. In imperial Rome biography flourished in the works of Greek writers: Lucian's satire, Philostratus' full sophistic orchestration, Porphyry's intellectual portrait of Plotinus. Perhaps surprisingly, it is not political biography or the lives of poets that provide the main artery of ancient biography, but various kinds of philosophical, spiritual and ethical lives. Applying a consistent biographical reading to a representative set of surviving texts, this book opens up the manifold but often neglected art of biography in classical antiquity.

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