Dyslexia Augusti: Does Suetonius describe a pattern of signs consistent with dyslexia?

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O'Sullivan, David
Hammond, Sean
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It is generally agreed that Morgan was the first to reliably describe dyslexia with the case of Percy F. However, Suetonius, in “The lives of the twelve Caesars” describes the Emperor Augustus as having a range of language and literacy difficulties that could be consistent with this diagnosis. Using the framework of cognitive psychology, which rarely comments on the historical record, this article argues that Suetonius describes both signs and compensating strategies typical of an adult with remediated developmental dyslexia. If accepted, this analysis would locate a possible coherent description of the condition back to the second century CE.
dyslexia , literacy , memory , reading , writing
O'Sullivan D. and Hammond S. (2019) 'Dyslexia Augusti: Does Suetonius describe a pattern of signs consistent with dyslexia?', Dyslexia, 25(4), pp. 335-344. doi: 10.1002/dys.1633
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© 2019 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: O'Sullivan, D, Hammond, S. ‘Dyslexia Augusti: Does Suetonius describe a pattern of signs consistent with dyslexia?’ Dyslexia. 2019; 25: 335– 344, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1002/dys.1633. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions. This article may not be enhanced, enriched or otherwise transformed into a derivative work, without express permission from Wiley or by statutory rights under applicable legislation. Copyright notices must not be removed, obscured or modified. The article must be linked to Wiley’s version of record on Wiley Online Library and any embedding, framing or otherwise making available the article or pages thereof by third parties from platforms, services and websites other than Wiley Online Library must be prohibited.