Call for Comment: Invented Sources

I am currently writing an article about the Historia Augusta, which is so well-known for its use of fake documents. About one of these sources, Cordus, the author writes that he is unreliable. In other words, he has invented a source to disagree with. It’s a great joke. What I am trying to find out, is whether there are older parallels.

The only possibility I know of, is “Damis”, who is quoted in PhilostratusLife of Apollonius. Personally, I am not convinced that Damis is a fake source, but that is a completely different question. For the moment, I hope to discover (other) parallels to the SHA‘s joke.

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3 Responses to Call for Comment: Invented Sources

  1. Sean Manning says:

    I suppose that there is the conspiracy theory that Herodotus just invents his sources, both the ones he agrees with and the ones he does not. But I will treat that just like any other conspiracy theory until I see evidence for it. There are similar theories that Luciani “quomodo historia conscribenda sit” creates straw men to mock, but that seems different. Luke Pitcher doesn’t have any examples in his book.

  2. Thanks for your reply. Lucian, creating mythistorians to combat mythistory, is a very good one, and comes close to the age we’re discussing. Thanks!

  3. Bill Thayer says:

    Gudeman’s article, “Literary Frauds among the Romans” (TAPA 25:140‑164, on Lacus at http://bit.ly/GudemanFrauds) mentions the books of King Numa; a forged speech of Scipio quoted by Livy; a paragraph on Fulgentius (pp149‑150), who seems to have been in the habit of manufacturing sources. Among the many other frauds discussed, there may be others that fit the criteria of having been manufactured in order to be quoted.

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