Inscribing Augustan Personae: Epigraphic Conventions and Memory Across Genres
Palmer, Morgan Elizabeth
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This dissertation investigates the ways in which authors writing during the reign of the emperor Augustus, a period of increased epigraphic activity, appropriate epigraphic conventions in their work. Livy, Ovid, and Virgil furnish case studies to explore the ways in which Augustan authors create epigraphic intertexts that call upon readers to remember and synthesize literary and epigraphic sources. Investigation of Livy is foundational to my discussion of Ovid and Virgil because his selective treatment of epigraphic sources illustrates how inscriptions can be both authoritative and subjective. Augustan poets exploit the authority and subjectivity of inscriptions in accordance with their own authorial purposes and the genres in which they write, appropriating epigraphic conventions in ways that are both traditional and innovative. This blending of tradition and innovation parallels how the emperor himself used inscriptions to shape and control his own persona. The distinctive authority and influence of inscriptions, although not limited to the Augustan era, is characteristic of Augustan writing across genres.