The Thirty Tyrants : A New Translation and Reading Commentary
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The Tyranni Triginta, contained within the Historia Augusta, is, on the surface, a factual account of the pretenders to Gallienus’ throne. However, it is much more than a history; it is a work of literature chronicling the lives of some of the most powerful and interesting individuals in the Roman world during the mid-late third century. It contains biographies of rulers such as Marius, Odenathus, Cyriades, and Zenobia, all of whom led unique public and private lives. It also contains biographies of individuals who did not actually exist as a literary device. Because it presents itself as a history, and because it is one of very few sources from antiquity which records some of these individuals, it must be evaluated both as fact and fantasy. The Tyranni Triginta also functions today as an approachable work of Latin. It is well-served with a new translation and a reading commentary which provides historical context and grammatical explanations. Relatively little work has yet been done on the Historia Augusta, much less reading commentaries on the Tyranni Triginta. Nonetheless, it is an interesting, accessible, and valuable work of both history and literature, and it deserves further investigation.