Macquarie University
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A memorial in the world: legendary patterns in late antique biography

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posted on 2022-03-29, 01:11 authored by Matthew O'Farrell
This study identifies and examines a pair of narrative patterns - sequences -associated with royal origins seen in the historical or historicising literatures of a number of west Eurasian societies. Taking a contextual and comparative approach, it will suggest a general theory for the emergence and behavior of both as products of formal, laudatory, and apologetic processes. Central to this examination are two Medieval biographical traditions addressing Late Antiquity: the Kārnāmag of Ardashir I, a Middle Persian tradition that existed in some form by the early 11th century, and the vitae, a number of Greek hagiographies of Constantine I dating from the 9th to the 13th centuries.These are composite traditions drawing together heterogeneous material, including an instance of each sequence, into a longer biographical narrative. Both traditions, particularly the Byzantine, offer a case study in the action of each sequence in a living historical discourse. Finally, the presence of the same sequences, similar structure, and a broadly similar reception allow the narratives seen in the texts of the Kārnāmag and the vitae to be viewed as representative of the same kind of work and thereby offers a new interpretation of the rather opaque Iranian tradition.


Table of Contents

Introduction -- 1. Methods and concepts -- 2. The Mesopotamian background -- 3. Ardashir -- 4. Constantine -- 5. Synthesis -- Conclusion -- Bibliography -- Tables.


Bibliography: pages 263-288 Thesis submitted to the Department of Ancient History, Macquarie University and Vakgroep Geschiedenis, Universiteit Gent. Theoretical thesis.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Ancient History

Department, Centre or School

Department of Ancient History

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Andrew Gillett

Additional Supervisor 1

Peter Van Nuffelen


Copyright Matthew O'Farrell 2018. Copyright disclaimer:




1 online resource (xvii, 305 pages) tables

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