Biographie und Bildungskultur
What role did biographies play for the intelligentsia of the 2nd century AD? What literary forms were used by contemporary authors in their personal portrayals? These two questions have led to this cross-genre investigation of the personal portraits in the letters of Pliny the Younger, in the miscellaneous work of Gellius, and in the Lives of the Caesars by Suetonius. Among the common features which can thus be observed are the normative potential of historical figures, the commemoration of contemporaries, and the interaction with communicative conditions of the Roman Empire. Such a functional and historical perspective further demonstrates that many of the characteristics of the featured authors, which to date have been seen as deviations from the genre tradition, are, in actuality, conscious developments, closely related to the authors' common social and cultural background.