Laura Diegel (2017)

Aliquid nostris rebus lucis writing at the end of the Roman Republic and at the beginning of the imperial period (Disputatio 2017).

This dissertation project is dedicated to the study of different modes of self-reflection and self-description at the end of the Roman Republic and in the early imperial period. It inquires into the paradigms of self-reflection to which these are oriented and examines the situations and contexts that give rise to them. Excerpts from Cicero's letters and speeches, letters by Seneca and Pliny the Younger, as well as other texts by Caesar, Augustus, and Marcus Aurelius, i.e., political actors who position themselves in the political-social world of Rome, are evaluated as first-person narratives. In these texts, the subjects write about themselves in terms of a situation, a particular audience or addressee, and with a particular propositional intent. If a longer period of time is processed in the texts, in which the individual life events are placed in relation to one another, this allows insight into the construction of a kind of life story of the individual, i.e., a narrative that assembles individual life stages into a coherent sequence and, with recourse to certain premises, has the effect of creating meaning. First-person narratives are not only directed at certain groups of people, but also shape the identity of the individual. One's self-understanding and forms of self-description unfold in narrative frames that are culturally determined and represent horizons of knowledge and understanding.

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