On the nature of ancient letter collections

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There exists a strong link in modern thinking between letter collections and biographical or historical narration. Many ancient letter collections have been rearranged by modern editors along chronological lines, apparently with the aim of realizing the biographical and historiographical potential of these ancient collections. In their original format, however, non-fictional Greco-Roman letter collections were arranged predominantly by addressee or by theme (often without the preservation of chronology within addressee or thematic groupings), or they might be arranged on the principle of artful variety and significant juxtaposition. Consequently, some purpose or purposes other than biographical or historical narration must be attributed to ancient letter collections. This paper asks what those purposes might be. © 2012 The Author(s).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-78
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Roman Studies
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


  • addressee
  • arrangement
  • biography
  • chronological narration
  • epistolography
  • history
  • Latin letter-writers
  • letter collections


Dive into the research topics of 'On the nature of ancient letter collections'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this