BMCR 2004.03.49

Greek and Roman Historiography in Late Antiquity. Fourth to Sixth Century A.D

, Greek and Roman historiography in late antiquity : fourth to sixth century A.D.. Master and use copy. Digital master created according to Benchmark for Faithful Digital Reproductions of Monographs and Serials, Version 1. Digital Library Federation, December 2002.. Leiden: Brill, 2003. 1 online resource (viii, 540 pages). ISBN 1417597585. €170.00.


What follows is an extremely long review. For those without the time or inclination to read it all, I have grouped my general comments at the beginning (Introduction) and the very end (Conclusion), and separated comments on English and typographical mistakes into a long appendix. For those with even less time I include here a summary of my judgements. I recommend the chapters by Sabbah, Liebeschuetz, Leppin, Blockley, Croke, and Jeffreys. They are well organized, well written, highly informative, and serve as good introductions to their topics. Those by Winkelmann, Birley, Van Deun, Marasco, Cataudella, and Whitby aren’t bad and can be read with profit, they just aren’t very good at what they are supposed to be doing. The remaining two, by Bonamente and Zecchini, are so fundamentally flawed in so many ways that they should be avoided, like Nestorians in a Monophysite church. The editor, Marasco, has failed in his duties at every turn. The technical aspects of this book are simply an embarrassment to those whose work is contained within it.

The historians of Late Antiquity seem to be very popular all of a sudden. First we have David Rohrbacher’s The Historians of Late Antiquity (London/New York: Routledge, 2002), generously reviewed here in BMCR ( 2002.10.24), followed by the massive volume presently under consideration. Those who have a great interest in these historians or who because of their research need to know something about them will not be well served by either of these volumes, and so the field remains very much open. In what follows I set out why I do not think this volume fills the yawning chasm that exists with regard to late Roman historiography. The length I justify by the importance of the topic, the size and cost of the book, and the need to support my frequently harsh judgements with proofs of this book’s numerous and serious failings.

The first problem, and I’ll start with a few minor ones, is the title, Greek and Roman Historiography in Late Antiquity. Some of the histories discussed in this book were indeed written in Greek, but all of them were written by Romans, so why make the distinction? Greek and Latin Historiography in Late Antiquity makes much more sense and accurately presents the central but unexplored dichotomy of the book.1 Another minor problem is that the volume is divided into three parts, but I cannot for the life of me figure out what purpose these divisions serve or what criteria of inclusion or separation they follow. If Liebeschuetz and Leppin’s chapters were in Part Two instead of One, it would work out roughly so that Part One = fourth century, Part Two = fifth century, and Part Three = sixth century. But if that were the case, wouldn’t the three parts be titled that way?

Another problem is that these chapters look as though they were completed some time ago. From the bibliographies, a footnote to Sabbah’s chapter (p. 83 n 170), and the postscript to van Deun’s chapter (pp. 171-2) it would look as though the final versions were completed between 1999 and 2000. Marasco’s paper is the most up-to-date, including a reference to the 2002 edition of Ps-Gelasius of Cyzicus.

But my major complaint with this volume is the fact that we have non-anglophones writing in English and being edited by another non-anglophone. This is an outrageous case of the blind leading the blind (and even influencing the sighted) and it makes for some rather confusing (and, at times, rather amusing) reading. As a result of this enormous problem, even though it greatly lengthens this review, I have added an appendix in which I comment in detail on the English of each of the chapters. This is done not to belittle the authors, but to highlight just how dangerous a practice this is and how poor the editing is. My German, Italian, and even French are much worse than these authors’ English, I am certain, but even were they better I would never think for a moment that I could get away with editing a book written in anything other than English (and my English has not escaped criticism, either). Don’t get me wrong; I think it is an excellent idea having all these chapters in English. I just think that there should have been a little more respect shown for the authors and the readers, and for the language itself, by both the editor and the publisher. In the appendix I shall also comment upon the related matters of typography and proofreading, since these are also seriously deficient.

In order to evaluate these chapters I shall simply use the criteria set out by the editor in the surprisingly brief introduction (two paragraphs plus a sentence of thanks) and in a note in his own paper: ‘to analyze the historiographical development during Late Antiquity, to give scholars an instrument for consultation and to make better known some at present little known historians. We particularly want to show the relationships between them and their position in the culture and politics of their age’ (p. vii) and ‘the historiographical and political aspects’ of the authors and their works (p. 259 n 10).

Right away there are problems with the first purpose, since each chapter is divided very rigidly by author and there is very little discussion of the general trends of historiography during the period. Some contributors do make important comments with regard to their own authors’ predecessors and successors, but nowhere is there an analysis or synthesis of the general trends throughout the period in ecclesiastical, ‘classicizing’, epitome (secular and Christian), or chronographic historiography, which, if done properly, would require a separate chapter. I also missed any serious attempt at discussing any relationship between Latin and Greek historiography (apart from obvious comments about the translations of Eusebius by Jerome and Rufinus), and at analysing the substantial differences between works written in the two languages.


The first chapter by Friedhelm Winkelmann, ‘Historiography in the Age of Constantine’ (pp. 3-41), should be much better than it is. W. treats Eusebius (the Chronici canones, Ecclesiastical History, Martyrs of Palestine, and the Life of Constantine), Lactantius, Praxagoras, and the Origo Constantini Imperatoris under two headings, ‘Basic Approach’ and ‘Methods and Tendencies in Historical Interpretation’, followed by a general conclusion. Unfortunately in the second section Lactantius and Praxagoras are covered only very briefly and the Origo is covered with only a slightly annotated account of its contents. The first surprise here is the appearance of the Origo (otherwise known as the first part of the Anonymus Valesianus), which was obviously written after the death of Constantine and perhaps some considerable time after his death (we have no way of knowing). So it does not really belong here. The impression one gets from this chapter on the whole is one of a general unfamiliarity with these works and authors, with the exception of the HE, and especially with the detailed and often complicated arguments involving the composition, sources, dating, and nature of these histories. I am doubtful that readers unfamiliar with these works will get much of a useful overview from this chapter and there is certainly nothing here for anyone who is already familiar with them, except a few items of useful bibliography (which is not up to date for the English language, an interesting case of the shoe being on the other foot for once).

Guy Sabbah has produced a fascinating and exciting chapter entitled simply, ‘Ammianus Marcellinus’ (pp. 43-84). It not only provides an excellent introduction to the historian, with all the recent relevant bibliography, but I think it will, perhaps more than any other chapter here, inspire the reader to follow up on the subject matter in order to see what all the fuss is about. In addition, S. makes a number of important original contributions. He divides the chapter into the following sections: general introduction, ‘Title and problematic dimensions’, ‘From Antioch to Rome: The genesis of the Res gestae‘, ‘From the structure to the content of the Res Gestae‘, ‘The Res Gestae among contemporary historical writings’, ‘Ammianus and Christianity: the priority of the historiographical choice’, and ‘From morals to aesthetics’. Unfortunately, like Liebeschuetz, below, and so many others, S. forgets about the later Sulpicius Alexander and Renatus Profuturus Frigeridus, and thinks Ammianus is the last classicizing history in Latin (p. 60-1, 71). I think he dismisses Fornara’s arguments about Ammianus’ origins too quickly (p. 51), and he does not give any weight to Barnes’ (nearly inescapable) argument that Ammianus originally wrote 36 books (p. 48 n 23).

Giorgio Bonamente’s ‘Minor Latin Historians of the Fourth Century A.D.’ (pp. 85-125) is a train wreck. I hardly even know where to begin. How about the bibliography? B., ignoring the practice in the rest of the book, uses an author (or editor) and date citation method for his footnotes, but provides his bibliography in the format used in the rest of the book, viz. author, title, place, and date (or ancient author, title, editor, place, date). To make matters worse, B. divides his bibliography into many sections: ‘Text’ (sic) and ‘Other Editions’ (which list the editions for all authors), then ‘Studies’ which lists general works (‘Select Bibliography’), then separate bibliographies for Aurelius Victor, the Epitome de caesaribus, Eutropius, Festus, and the Origo gentis Romanae and De uiris illustribus. But wait a minute! B. doesn’t discuss the Origo or De uiris illustribus. They are not mentioned in his chapter nor do they appear in the index. One can only suppose that these sections were cut from his chapter at some point. But the major problem with this divided bibliography is that one often has to search the entire thing (it’s seven pages long) to find the articles because when B. cites an article while discussing Eutropius, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will be listed under Eutropius. It could be anywhere (or not, since, as is the case with most other chapters, not all works cited in the footnotes actually appear in the bibliography; see conclusion).

The English is a complete disaster. There are huge numbers of sentences and even entire paragraphs here that don’t make any sense at first reading and the reader is forced to sit and ponder what is being said, often in vain. Yet most of the time the idea is so banal or woolly it hardly seems worth the effort. Sometimes it’s like reading a first-year exam: ‘Such archaic attempts had been made without success by Julian the Apostate, Virius Nicomachus Flavianus, and the usurper Eugenius, to mention only the two most significant’ (p. 86) and ‘The recurrent use of modal verbs to overshadow the intentionality and the preference for the parataxis, the use of subjunctive participles both in the present and the passed and finally the tendency to use the impersonal passive are all considered distinctive elements of Eutropius’ style’ (p. 111). I am not making this up.

If the reader can make it through the problems with the notes, bibliography, and English, what will he or she get out of the content? Not much. As noted above, B. makes epic pronouncements on banal topics, and sweeping generalizations and abstract conclusions on the basis of flimsy and misunderstood evidence, both ancient and modern. He is particularly out of his depth when discussing the sources of these works. There is some good and sensible material buried in here, to be sure, but nobody will be able to winkle it out.

On p. 117, B. says, ‘[The works discussed in this chapter] are limited in structure, perspective, and narrative originality for which modern doctrine unanimously and legitimately denounces them, having put them through the severe examination of the Quellenforschung‘ (p. 117). That is not only badly written, it’s completely false. Should anyone who believes this be writing this chapter?

In view of content and form there is simply no excuse for this chapter’s ever having seen the light of day.

One would have expected something much better from A. R. Birley than the chapter he presents, ‘The Historia Augusta and Pagan Historiography’ (pp. 127-49), but he really seems only to skim the surface of the work and the fundamental problems that it once posed and still poses. He begins in medias res with the briefest of discussions of Marius Maximus (an historian of the third century) chiefly as a source for the Historia Augusta ( HA) and the Kaisergeschichte (see below) (pp. 127-9). He then moves on to Nicomachus Flavianus (pp. 129-32). This is the most disappointing part of the chapter since it gives weight and credence to a baseless hypothesis that makes the lost history of Nicomachus Flavianus the source of a vast number of earlier (honest!) and later Greek and Latin histories, even though we know nothing more about it than its title and date (though even that is disputed) and the fact that it was dedicated to (and perhaps commissioned by) Theodosius I. Sabbah (p. 60 n 63) and Liebeschuetz (pp. 188 n 58, 198 n 110, 212 n 174) are not fooled by this hypothesis, but Bonamente is (p. 102).

We now finally meet the introduction: ‘After this preamble, a bare description must be given of the HA’s nature and content’ (p, 132). This ‘description’ is three sentences long and gives a reader who knows nothing about the HA no true sense of the content at all. After a short introduction B. then launches into the longest section of the chapter, analysing the central problem of the HA, viz. the number and date of the authors. He begins by noting the obviously faked documents and names of historians, then continues by listing certain bits of chronological evidence from the various lives themselves (pp. 133-7) and moves to the modern analysis of the date and identity of the authors (pp. 137-40). Then follow a variety of comments about content and interests: particularly authorial comments, senators, usurpers, dynastic principles, the aristocracy, and Christianity and religion (pp. 140-5). This finishes with a short analysis of the six pseudonyms used by the author and a concluding paragraph (pp. 145-6).

Apart from the discussion of Flavianus, there’s nothing really wrong here, it just strikes me as incomplete and overly hasty in composition. It has a superficial feel to it, which is not helped by the fact that it is the shortest chapter in the book (just over half the length of the average length of all fourteen chapters). But my real complaint is that it just doesn’t give a reader who is unfamiliar with the work any real sense of the serious, complicated, and fascinating problems involved with HA or of its fundamental importance for the history of the early empire and the historiography of the later empire.

It seems strange that Peter van Deun was assigned to write ‘The Church Historians after Eusebius’ (pp. 151-76). He does not give evidence of any great familiarity with the works discussed, the church histories of Gelasius of Caesarea and Rufinus, and the Historia acephala, which Winkelmann is clearly a world authority on the former. Van Deun starts off with a short introduction, which includes the demonstrably false claim that Lactantius and Eusebius were ‘explicitly referred to by nearly all the later authors of Church histories’ (p. 151). First up is Gelasius, his life, his works, the sources for the reconstruction of his lost history, the relationship between Rufinus and Gelasius (which D. leaves as a mystery, concluding only that Gelasius cannot have used Rufinus), the general characteristics of the work, and his sources. These latter two sections are the most problematic since the work does not survive and D. does not apply the caveats one would therefore expect. Next is Rufinus, about whom we know a considerable amount, both with respect to his life and his ecclesiastical history. After a very short account of Rufinus’ life in one long paragraph, D. passes to a short description of the structure of the work, its sources, and its Nachleben in a little over a page. The next four pages are given over to various aspects of the work, particularly Rufinus’ skills in translation, and his independence from and additions to Eusebius’ text. I have to admit I prefer the treatment by Rohrbacher. The Historia acephala is the last work discussed and its appearance here I find peculiar, since I have always thought of it as a documentary compilation, with a biographical intent (concentrating as it does on Athanasius), rather than an ecclesiastical history in the same sense as Gelasius’ or Rufinus’. But D.’s account does not give the uninitiated reader a good sense of the structure or content of the work, and as a result its underlying nature is obscured. There follows a short summary relating to all three works, which contains the strange judgement, ‘Their importance may neither be underestimated nor overestimated’ (p. 171), and a postscript adding three articles that appeared in 2000 and 2002.

I found Wolf Liebeschuetz’s ‘Pagan Historiography and the Decline of the Empire’ (pp. 177-218) another interesting and exciting chapter. L. not only combines the necessary basic introduction and analysis of the authors for the uninitiated reader but also provides original contributions of his own. He begins with Eunapius and offers a number of sections covering the most important areas of interest: ‘Eunapius and his Writings’, ‘When Were the Treatises of Eunapius Written and Published?’, ‘Eunapius and Ammianus’, and ‘Form and Content of Eunapius’ History‘. This is all well done, though he shows some confusion regarding the various editions of Eunapius’ History (esp. pp. 184 and 212). He is correct that there must have been at least one edition earlier than those seen by Photius (ending in 378), and that there were two recensions or editions seen by Photius (ending in 404), which I think must represent an original Eunapian second edition and an expurgated version of that made by a Christian, not Eunapius himself (thus an expurgated second edition), though L., following other eminent scholars like T. D. Barnes, believes that the expurgation was in fact carried out by Eunapius himself.2 L. gets confused (and thereby confuses the reader) by calling both the 378 edition and the unexpurgated edition of 404 the ‘first’ edition. Next follows Olympiodorus, who perhaps does not receive his due in this short section. Finally L. discusses Zosimus, who used Eunapius and Olympiodorus as sources. L. is particularly (perhaps excessively) interested here in disentangling Zosimus’ own ideas from those of his sources and argues correctly, I believe, against Paschoud that the frequent references to the connection between the decline of traditional religious practices and the decline of the empire are to be attributed to Zosimus himself. He finishes with a short look forward into the fifth to seventh centuries.

Hartmut Leppin’s ‘The Church Historians (I): Socrates, Sozomenus, and Theodoretus’ (pp. 219-54) is a very well written and informative chapter on the three major ecclesiastical historians of the fifth century and their histories. After an introduction, the chapter is divided into three major sections concerning lives, sources, and the ‘Character of the Works’, which is further subdivided into four sections, the first outlining a number of specific examples that highlight the different approaches taken by the authors regarding the same topic, the second treating God and the course of history, the third politics, and the fourth offering comparisons with Eusebius and secular histories.

The first two sections, though well done, provide only a bare minimum of information concerning the authors’ lives and too little information concerning their sources. For the latter Socrates rates just over a page, Sozomen a long paragraph, and Theodoret two short paragraphs, and this in spite of the fact that there are two book-length analyses of the sources of Socrates and Sozomen. There is no outright error, but the general lack of detail and analysis is disappointing. The last section is particularly informative and enlightening in showing how these historians, so often mentioned in the same breath, are really quite different from one another. In a short compass, one really does get a good sense of their individual characteristics.

Gabriele Marasco’s ‘The Church Historians (II): Philostorgius and Gelasius of Cyzicus’ (pp. 257-88) is long on text but short on meat. It begins with a section entitled ‘Philostorgius and Arian Historiography’, though the second half of that description is covered in but half of the second paragraph on the first page, which is devoted to a mention (for it is hardly more than that) of the Arian historiographer and a supporting citation of Battifol’s standard 1895 article on the subject but nothing more recent. Philostorgius himself is disposed of in a further four paragraphs over two pages, in the course of which is a hopelessly inadequate account of the witnesses to Philostorgius’ history and other writings, especially the Passio Artemii, a major source for the fragments (pp. 258, 267). M. says nothing about Philostorgius’ sources except that they were the same as the orthodox church historians’ (p. 259), exactly the sort of lumping together that Leppin’s chapter shows is incorrect and invalid. One is presented with such unhelpful analyses as, ‘This History was composed in twelve books, and the first letter of each of them was one of his name. This use of an acrostic reveals Philostorgius’ literary taste and culture, which characterizes all his writings’ (p. 259). Johannes Quasten in his Patrology provides a better basic account of the author and his work. The rest of this section (pp. 259-284) is devoted to a reign by reign description of Philostorgius’ accounts of imperial and ecclesiastical history and how they differ from other existing pagan and ecclesiastical accounts. This is very interesting, if not very incisive or insightful,3 but this is hardly the place for such a drawn out analysis. The final four pages or so are devoted to the so-called Ecclesiastical History of Gelasius of Cyzicus, now (correctly) becoming better known as Ps-Gelasius or Anonymous. One would have expected a more detailed description of the content of the work, given its obscurity, but this section just manages to cover its bases and it provides a decent bibliography, particularly and most valuably, Gunter Christian Hansen’s new edition of 2002, with its forty-nine-page introduction.4 Again one wonders why Winkelmann was not asked to contribute to this chapter.

With Roger Blockley’s ‘The Development of Greek Historiography: Priscus, Malchus, Candidus’ (pp. 289-315) we return to an acknowledged expert writing in his own field. Much of what Blockley presents here is merely a summary of his early study of these three historians (1981), but as he states (p. 293 n 7) very little new research has been done since, so there is not much more we could expect. But a finer summary will not be found. The structure of this chapter is excellent and should have served as a model for the other contributors. B. takes Priscus and Malchus together since they are similar in many ways, not least in that many fragments of their histories survive. Candidus is covered in two pages at the end of the chapter, which is not surprising when one considers that we have a three page summary of his work by Photius and one other short paragraph by the author of the Suda.

Blockley begins with a general introduction that discusses different types of Byzantine historiography then passes on to a discussion of the definitions of ‘classicizing’ and ‘secular’ the standard descriptions of the works of Malchus and Priscus respectively. The following discussion breaks down into these clearly laid out and concisely written sections: biography of the authors; historical introduction to the period covered; the sources of the fragments and original structure and title of the works; a long section on the influence of the classical tradition of historiography on these works, including selection and use of sources, classical references (to Thucydides and Herodotus especially), language and style, lack of numerical details, digressions, speeches and their use and purpose, the lack of reference to Christianity and use of Christian vocabulary (which leads into the question of the religion of both authors), historical focus, the change of perspective in the fifth century regarding people who would have been considered in classical historiography as ‘barbarians’ and ‘outsiders’ but who were ‘Romans’ and ‘insiders’ in the fifth century, and the use of character with the didactic purpose of illustrating morality; and then a final summary and judgement of the historians.

Giuseppi Zecchini’s ‘Latin Historiography: Jerome, Orosius and the Western Chronicles’ (pp. 317-45) is a bizarre collection of eccentricities and nonsense. As was the case with Bonamente, I could write an entire review on this chapter alone but will spare the poor reader who has made it this far. Zecchini attempts to cover a wildly disparate collection of lengthy classicizing histories (Sulpicius Alexander, Renatus Profuturus Frigeridus), Christian epitomes (Orosius, Sulpicius Severus, Fulgentius of Ruspe), polemical works that rely on history (Victor of Vita), chronicles (Jerome, Prosper, the Gallic Chronicle of 452, Hydatius), and chronological compendia of various kinds and sizes (Hilarian, Polemius Silvius). Instead of being set out according to genre, these authors are treated partly chronologically, partly geographically under the following headings: Jerome, Orosius, Africa, Gaul, and Hydatius. Orosius takes pride of place and is the basis against which most of the rest are measured. Orosius was a tendentious hack who tried to shoe-horn world and especially Roman history into a pre-conceived theological interpretation (pre-Christian/republican history: bad, Christian/imperial history: good) all the while epitomizing Justin, Livy, Jerome, Suetonius, and Eutropius (for the most part) and badly extricating himself from unpainted corners. Even Augustine, who commissioned the work, repudiated it. Yet Z. makes Orosius out to be a Christian Tacitus or Ammianus: ‘a masterpiece of Christian Latin historiography’ (p. 320); a ‘return to the grand tradition of classical historiography’ (p. 321); Orosius ‘showed the indisputable originality of a true historian’ (p. 322); he wrote ‘with great historical insight’ (324); ‘a masterpiece which is both the last work of Roman historiography and the first of western Christian historiography’ (pp. 328-9); ‘the succeeding centuries also did justice to the greatness of Orosius’ (p. 329); it was one of ‘the two most important works of the period’ (p. 329); and Orosius had a ‘capacity for a complex interpretation of history [and a] literary fascination, which were the basis of his fame’ (p. 335). Z.’s elevation of Orosius is perhaps because he does not believe that the writing of chronicles ‘can be called historiography in the strict sense’ (p. 317). That is hardly a promising opinion from the only contributor writing at any length about chronicles in the entire volume.5

As for the rest, he does not really even attempt to explain who the authors were or provide any kind of overview of their works. He merely throws out a few biographical items and then launches into what he sees as the most pertinent ‘themes’ or ‘tendencies’ of the works. These are often wrong, exaggerated, or misunderstood. Z. displays no familiarity with the works he discusses (apart from Orosius). His problems relate not only to interpretation but to facts as well. His problems begin, for example, on the very first page: he claims that Jerome wrote the Canones in Constantinople in 380 immediately after his return ‘from the cultural and intellectual climate of Rome’ that was fostered by Damasus who ‘planned a new specifically Christian interpretation of history’ (p. 317). The implication is that Jerome was heavily influenced by all this. There are many problems with this account but the most glaring is that Jerome went to Rome in 382 after he had completed the Canones. In so many places I cannot determine whether Z. just does not understand what he is reading or if he is making it up. He fails in every way to give his readers any sense of what these works are, who wrote them, why they were written, and why we should care about them.

The big question that one is left with after reading Brian Croke’s ‘Latin Historiography and the Barbarian Kingdoms’ (pp. 349-89) is, Where is Marcellinus comes ? Croke knows more about Marcellinus than anybody on earth, but he mentions him only once, as a source for Jordanes. So who else would be writing about Marcellinus? A quick check of the index provides the answer: no one. He is ignored. Croke instead must concern himself with some of the most difficult works in the book in a chapter that deals with Western (and Eastern) Latin historians of the sixth century: the second part of the Anonymus Valesianus, Cassiodorus (chronicle and Gothic history), Jordanes ( Romana and Getica), Gildas, and Gregory of Tours. As can be seen, Croke clearly drew the short straw when these assignments were parcelled out, since a more difficult and complicated group of historians and historical works could hardly be found. But Croke navigates the waters with skill, avoiding rocks and shoals. His weakest moment comes when discussing the sources and composition of the Anon. Val. In the end my major complaint is that the chapter is simply far too short to do justice to the complexity of the subject matter. Gregory alone could comfortably have been stretched out to fill the allotted space, yet he is granted but six pages. Cassiodorus’ chronicle is skimmed over in but a paragraph, with two-thirds of another paragraph for an introduction (pp. 360-1). It deserves better. As is usually the case, Croke is up to date and complete with his bibliography, at least as far as it relates to what he actually discusses. I wish he had said more about the sources (I would, though, wouldn’t I?), but since there really is no recent or reliable Quellenforschung of these texts, Croke would have to have done it himself and that is too much to ask. I would have no qualms in sending anyone to this chapter for a serious and reliable overview of these texts. It is an excellent, though truncated, starting point.

M. R. Cataudella’s ‘Historiography in the East’ (pp. 391-447) is a very long chapter that concerns itself with sixth century classicizing historians: Procopius (pp. 391-417), Agathias (pp. 417-421), Menander (pp. 422-29), John of Epiphania (pp. 429-31), Theophanes of Byzantium (pp. 430-1), Peter the Patrician (pp. 431-7), the Anonymus post Dionem (pp. 437-441), and Nonnosus (pp. 441-2), the latter of whom C. admits is not a historian at all, but the writer of a memoir. Like many of the other papers in this volume this is not as much an introduction to these authors as it is a series of random discussions relating to them. For instance, the long section on Procopius discusses the date and sequence of his three works (pp. 393-404),6 mimesis (pp. 405-409), the composition and unity of the Wars (pp. 409-15), and Christianity (pp. 415-17); the section on Agathias is almost wholly concerned with his attitude towards Christianity (pp. 417-21); and the section on Menander is almost wholly concerned with the author’s views of the various emperors — Maurice, Justinian, Justin, and Tiberius — especially with regard to their foreign policy and, as C. puts it, the contrast between the dichotomies of youth and old age, and toleration and aggression. I am not familiar with much of what is discussed in this chapter, and I have to admit that I do not now know much more about these authors than I did before. The little that I do know relates to Peter the Patrician and the Anonymus post Dionem, and I would say that these sections are not particularly well set out or explained, and too much space is devoted to the discussion of the capture of Valerian by the Persians (pp. 438-40) and its value in determining the connection (or lack of it) between the two authors. I am not sure that there is any more useful basic information in this chapter than would be found in the Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. It would have been much better to have spent less space on Procopius and more on the more obscure authors that scholars and students would be less familiar with.

Michael Whitby’s ‘The Church Historians and Chalcedon’ (pp. 449-95) is a strange chapter that looks as though it started out as something else and was slightly modified to suit the collection. Ostensibly it is concerned with the presentation of Chalcedon in later historiography and is divided into a number of different sections. The first, ‘Contemporary Responses’ (pp. 451-9), seems self-evident but it briefly discusses the treatment of Theodosius and Nestorius in Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret, then passes on to documentary and epistolary sources, before discussing Barhadbeshabba’s Ecclesiastical History and John Rufus’ Plerophories (the latter in some detail), though the History is written in Syriac, and the Plerophories is not history (as Whitby admits himself; p. 455). Next follow discussions of Zacharias Rhetor and Ps-Zacharias (pp. 459-66), Theodore Lector (pp. 467-72), Liberatus (pp. 472-7), John of Ephesus (pp. 478-9), Michael the Syrian (pp. 479-80), and Evagrius (pp. 480-92). Obviously, John and Michael do not belong here since they are Syriac writers and Michael wrote at the end of the twelfth century. I am not sure that Liberatus belongs either, since he does not appear to be a historian (but it is difficult to tell from W.’s discussion and I know nothing about this author otherwise). The other problem is that, while the core of the discussions do treat the Council of Chalcedon, each section extends back to Nestorius and forward through to Zeno, Anastasius, and, in the case of Evagrius, Maurice. And since Evagrius has little to say about ecclesiastical history from his fourth book onward, most of the discussion of his accounts of the reigns of Justinian, Justin, Tiberius, and Maurice is irrelevant for the chapter (though not so for the book). A serious problem is that anyone who does not possess a good understanding of the complex problems involved in the ecclesiastical affairs of the fifth and sixth centuries will be completely at sea here, since W. simply assumes an intimate knowledge of the theological controversies, people, and events and proceeds accordingly. A chapter like this really does require an historical introduction (as in Blockley’s contribution) in order for the reader to sort out the ensuing ‘he said/she said’-type of accounts that follow. In reality what W. has done is use the council as a focus for a discussion of the Christological problems of the fifth and sixth centuries (Nestorian and Monophysite), instead of discussing, analysing, and explaining the authors and their works. It is as if Leppin (see above) had decided to present his three authors by means of a discussion of the Trinitarian problems of the fourth and fifth centuries, while claiming that he was analysing their treatment of the Council of Nicaea. Even worse, in W.’s analysis of the Christological problems he tends to forget about his authors. We get a short boilerplate overview of each author and usually something about his work, but that is about it. For Evagrius W. completely forgets about the work and after a short biography of the author he plunges into his analysis without even telling the reader when Evagrius wrote (his history ends in 594). It is a strange chimera of a chapter that fails to accomplish either of its stated goals particularly well.

The final chapter, Elizabeth Jeffreys’ ‘The Beginning of Byzantine Chronography: John Malalas’ (pp. 497-527), is a well-written and well-organized introduction to Malalas, under the following headings: ‘The Chronicle: Contents and Purpose’, ‘John Malalas: Author’, ‘Transmission of the Chronicle’, ‘Language of the Chronicle’ (something few contributors mention or discuss), ‘Chronological Systems’, ‘Sources’, ‘Predecessors’, ‘Successors’, and ‘Conclusion’. It is an excellent short introduction to Malalas and summary of Jeffreys’ own Studies in John Malalas (1990), very much in the way that Blockley’s chapter is a summary of his work on the classicizing historians. My only qualm with this chapter is the same one that I had with the Studies volume, namely that I do not believe that Malalas’ history is a chronicle in the normal understanding of the word, and so it should not be considered as a successor to the chronicles of Castor of Rhodes, Phlegon of Tralles, and Eusebius, nor as a predecessor of the Chronicon Paschale and Theophanes. Malalas is to my mind an epitomator in the tradition of writers like Velleius Paterculus, Florus, and Orosius, though instead of the Romano-centric Livy as the inspiration, the antecedents were the universal and Hellenistic-minded traditions behind writers like Diodorus Siculus and Dionysius of Halicarnassus, but with a Christian approach. He is closer to Sulpicius Severus (who also called his work a chronicle) and Orosius (without the obvious Tendenz) than to Eusebius or the Chronicon Paschale. Consequently, I tend to rate Malalas’ originality rather higher than does Jeffreys.


As one reads this volume one realizes that there are some enormous gaps in the coverage, especially on the Latin side. There are many missing chronicles: Marcellinus (mentioned once), the Gallic Chronicle of 511 (mentioned once, but not in the index), Marius Aventicensis (mentioned once, but not in the index), Victor Tunnunensis (mentioned once), the Consularia Caesaraugustana, and John Biclarensis (mentioned once). Marcellinus and Victor are particularly interesting because they wrote in Latin in Constantinople, as did Jordanes (a topic never discussed in the book). The list of MIAs also includes the Descriptio consulum (mentioned twice, as the Consularia Constantinopolitana, but only as a source), Fasti Vindobonenses (mentioned once, not in the index), Excerpta Sangallensia, Barbarus Scaligeri (mentioned once as Excerpta Barbari), Consularia Ravennatia ( Ravenna Annals), Paschale Campanum, Fasti Berolinenses, Fasti Goleniscevenses, and the Consularia Hafniensia (Mommsen’s Additamenta ad Prosperum Havniensia and Auctuarium Prosperi Havniense). No one who studies the fourth or fifth centuries can avoid these texts; indeed our entire chronology of the fifth century is dependent upon them, and this collection is exactly the sort of place one would expect to find some sort introduction.7 And where is the Chronograph of 354 (mentioned four times, three times in the index), as well as the fasti, laterculi, and emperor lists that are so much a part of the historical and chronographical interests of Late Antiquity?

Furthermore, what happened to the Origo gentis Romanae and De uiris illustribus that Bonamente was supposed to cover? And where is that most enigmatic history of all, the Kaisergeschichte, the source of Aurelius Victor, Eutropius, Festus, the Historia Augusta, Jerome, the Epitome de Caesaribus, and others? If any text needs a good introduction and analysis this is it. It is mentioned on nineteen different pages (with a number of different titles), which shows how important it is, but it has no section specifically devoted to it, and does not appear in the index.8

As Liebeschuetz notes in his chapter (pp. 216-7) and Whitby hints (pp. 491-2, and has discussed fully elsewhere), there is a real and serious break in Greek historiography after the early seventh century. It would have made enormous sense to have concluded this volume around 630, which would thus have allowed the inclusion of Theophylact Simocatta and the Chronicon Paschale, two works which are mentioned many times throughout the volume but never discussed or analysed. But at least there is Michael Whitby’s book on Theophylact and Michael and Mary Whitby’s TTH volume to fill the gap, provided that readers actually know about these works.9 Such a date would also have allowed the inclusion of Isidore of Seville (mentioned once). There is no reason given anywhere for excluding these authors.

Another problem one discovers at the end is the fact that there is no general bibliography. Each chapter has its own bibliography, but these are just works that relate specifically to the authors under discussion, and many are not even cited by the authors in the footnotes. Other less-relevant works are cited only in the footnotes. The index covers only ancient names, and where I have checked it it is deficient, for example the missing references noted above (there are many others, e.g. pp. 100 and 212 n 174 under Nicomachus and p. 508 under Paul the Silentiary) and the identification of two individuals under a single heading (the general Frigeridus and the historian Renatus Profuturus Frigeridus).

Well-known authors like Ammianus, Procopius, Malalas, Priscus, Malchus, and Candidus who already have studies dedicated to them get large chapters, whereas more obscure and more difficult authors and works get nothing or very little. We need more information about obscure yet important works instead of more summaries of studies of works that we already understand reasonably well. And we need more work on historians and chronographers who do not fit into the neat paradigms of classical historiography. The complex and convoluted historiography of Late Antiquity remains a terra incognita for most scholars, and they will receive serious assistance from only a few chapters here. The sections on Byzantine chronicles in Elizabeth Jeffreys’ Studies in John Malalas by Brian Croke and Roger Scott still remain the best account of its subject in English. I know of nothing as authoritative for the West or the other genres treated here. And after two recent books on the subject that is, to put it mildly, a damn shame.


Winkelmann, ‘Historiography in the Age of Constantine’ (pp. 3-41). The English is very basic and its clipped and sometimes paratactic sentence structure reminds me in many ways of an MA thesis. Errors of English vocabulary include ‘Hieronymus’ for ‘Jerome’ (pp. 3, 20; correct elsewhere), ‘Syrian’ for ‘Syriac’ (p. 4), ‘Troja’ for ‘Troy’ (p. 4), ‘damnation’ for ‘condemnation’ (p. 6), ‘a scripture’ for ‘the work’ (p. 11), ‘occidental’ for ‘western’ (pp. 12, 27, and ‘occident’ for ‘west’, p. 25, 28), ‘like’ for ‘as’ (p. 14), ‘lead’ for ‘led’ (p. 19), ‘volume’ for ‘book’ (of Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History; passim), ‘ genus‘ for ‘genre’ (p. 24), ‘operas’ for ‘works’ (p. 24), and ‘orations’ for ‘speeches’ (p. 26). Rather confusing sentences include, ‘Repeatedly, we had already to refer to the Eusebian Martyrs of Palestine‘ (p. 7), ‘he intended…to correct some of their scopes of chronological calculations’ (p. 18), ‘[the Great Persecution] was understood by Eusebius as a deep incision’ (p. 23), ‘Eusebius also walked down new pathways not alone by his conception of history but by the method used in the HE‘ (p. 25), and ‘Lactantius…was more influenced by Roman and Jewish apologetic stimuli so as to influence the following Christian historiography in an ongoing manner’ (p. 39). A quotation from T. D. Barnes on page 8 misses an entire line (a case of homoeoteleuton), rendering it meaningless, and changes a word as well (‘Book’ to ‘Volume’; see list above). A few (Anglicized?) German words intrude for no apparent reason: ‘ leitthema‘ (p. 26) and ‘ konstantinische wende‘ (pp. 31, 39). There are fewer typographical errors in this chapter than others, none worth mentioning.

Sabbah, ‘Ammianus Marcellinus’ (pp. 43-84). The English is excellent, with just a few minor errors of vocabulary and usage: ‘disparition’ for ‘disappearance/loss’ (p. 49), ‘informations’ (p. 52), ‘degenerated’ for ‘degenerate’ (p. 57), ‘exsude’ for ‘exude’ (69 n 104), ‘Ammian’ (p. 71), ‘renitent’ for ‘resistant’ (p. 80), and ‘It is…difficult to envisage this man…quit the army for good.’ (p. 51). He also cites Auerbach from the French translation, though that is probably to be expected. There is a technical error on pp. 66-7: the footnote appears on p. 66, but its number is on the next page (the opposite happens on pp. 105-6 where the number appears on the first page and its note on the latter).

Bonamente, ‘Minor Latin Historians of the Fourth Century A.D.’ (pp. 85-125). The English is a complete disaster. A few short examples: ‘The references are to the paragraphs relative to the various authors regarding the problems connected to the titles under which the works have been published’ (p. 91 n. 28), ‘His strong attacks on the administrative apparatu (sic) of the empire with reference both to the past and, in the conclusion of the work where he explicitly refers to it—the contemporary situation—are preferably geared towards the inferior and intermediary ranks of the plethora’ (pp. 93-4), ‘The coexistence of passages with a different style and planning is noticed with reference to the various sources used’ (p. 101), ‘A particular aspect that could be due to a suggestion by the contemporary history is constituted by the detailed recording of the cases of usurpation, a theme of great actuality during the period of Theodosius’ (p. 103), ‘From the conciseness of the sentences and the use of current terms we can see the rhetoric style which imposed linearity of procedure and adherence to the facts on historical compendia, in such a way as to pursue an apparent simplicity’ (pp. 107-8), ‘among which the Aurelius Victor’s Caesares where the subject was organised for index books almost reduced to a chronological structure, more similar in fact to a chronograph than a real historical narration’ (p. 109), and ‘Eutropius’ chronology can be over-lapped with that of Festus and therefore returning to a single source’ (p. 116 n 145). The problem is that while other non-anglophone authors have adopted a simple style out of necessity, B. tries to produce big complex sentences with complicated vocabulary and these just overwhelm him.

There are further large numbers of other mistakes of usage, such as ‘There are some themes or valuations already been thoroughly analysed by modern scholars’ (p. 90), ‘Julian…self-proclaimed himself Augustus’ (p. 92), ‘[Aurelius Victor] considers the principality as unitary and locates its beginning during the reign of Augustus’ (p. 92), ‘criterions’ (p. 97), ‘success is not opposed by the uirtus‘ (p. 97), ‘the first eleven chapters…re-propose with few changes the first eleven chapters of the Liber de Caesaribus‘ (p. 100), ‘the whole crisis of the III century’ (p. 102), ‘Particular attention therefore deserves to be made to the adaptation and continuation of Paulus Diaconus’ (p. 104), ‘he was honoured with the status of principal of the Cilicia’ (106), ‘prefect of the praetorian’ (p. 106), ‘eponymous consul’ (p. 106), ‘from the moment when, apart from the first book which contains around 360 years of history, the other oscillates between 25 years in the fifth book and 150 in the second’ (p. 107), ‘the pragmatic dimension of Greek and Roman historiography, from which he gets that firmness which is a peculiar characteristic of his the work’ (p. 112), ‘This perspective of actuality confers an organic unity to the work’ (p. 113), ‘with an investigated study’ (i.e. a commentary; p. 113 n 131), ‘which finds confirmation in the epigraphic texts sent to [Festus] by Valens while he was proconsul in Asia’ (p. 114), and ‘recorded on an epigraph discovered in Efesus’ (p. 114 n 139).

Birley, ‘The Historia Augusta and Pagan Historiography’ (pp. 127-49). There is nothing to say about the English or the typography, which is unique in this volume.

Van Deun, ‘The Church Historians after Eusebius’ (pp. 151-76). The English and general sentence structure are simplistic; full of errors, particularly faux amis and calques; and colloquialisms. It reads like the first draft of an MA thesis. For example, this is an entire paragraph: ‘The same situation is found in modern research. Rufinus is both praised and despised’ (p. 165). Some examples of incorrect vocabulary and usage are ‘profane’ for ‘secular’ (p. 151), ‘heathens’ for ‘pagans’ (p. 159, 164, 165, 167), ‘paragon’ for ‘model’ (p. 159), ‘thought’ for ‘conception’ (p. 164), ‘ideas and opinions…could be ventilated’ for ‘could be aired/expressed’ (p. 167), ‘motif’ for ‘motive’ (p. 167), ‘we dispose of a recent critical edition’ for ‘we have at our disposal a recent critical edition’ (p. 168), and ‘copied…of’ for ‘copied…from’ (p. 169). French is clearly at the root of these problems. In one case D. does not know the English word and simply uses the French (‘Photius is “incontournable” for research into the life of Gelasius’ [p. 153]). Spelling errors include ‘stilistic’ (p. 158 n. 27), ‘lenghth’ (p. 162 n. 42), ‘aricle’ (p. 164 n. 52), ‘wich’ (p. 168), and ‘Tyr’ (p. 170). Most names are written in the Latin form, as is done in German, so we have Hieronymus, Carthago, Clemens of Alexandria, Origenes (except on p. 166), Appianus, Arrianus, and so on. Article titles are all in italics, sometimes with and sometimes without quotation marks, contrary to the usual practice of the book. The first instances of a Greek acute accent rendered in transliterated English as a grave appear here (for more, see Cataudella’s chapter below): ‘epitomè’ (p. 156) and ‘Poimèn’ (p. 161).

Liebeschuetz, ‘Pagan Historiography and the Decline of the Empire’ (pp. 177-218). This chapter betrays some surprisingly sloppy writing and sloppy editing, especially in the middle section. On p. 184 we are told, ‘The expurgation was crudely carried out, sometimes even at the expense of the intelligibility of the text’ (with note ‘Photius, Bibl. Cod. 77,1, 158-60 = Blockley, FCH II.2-5′) and on p. 194 we are told, ‘He carried out this expurgation rather crudely, even at the expense of intelligibility’ (with the same note, except that a comma and period have swapped places). On p. 178 the Historia Nova of Zosimus is called the ‘ Historia Novella‘, and Zosimus is called ‘Zosimos’. On p. 185 the word ‘edition’ is capitalized and italicized for no reason. On page 189 note 60 is a duplicate of note 18 and an ampersand appears instead of ‘and’ in note 65. There is a general problem with commas, either appearing where they shouldn’t be or missing where they should (e.g. p. 192 line 7; p. 204, line 18 from bottom [a period]; p. 205, last line; p. 206, line 9 from the bottom; p. 208, lines 9 and 10; and p. 212 n. 173, where ‘4, 9’ appears first as ‘4.9’ and then ’49’). Apostrophes are missing on p. 200 line 7 from the bottom and p. 205 line 13 from the bottom. Other typos include, ‘The fact…confirms’ for ‘The facts…confirm’ (p. 201), ‘hat’ for ‘that’ (p. 203), ‘nor did denigrate’ for ‘nor did he denigrate’ (p. 205), ‘One might have expect’ for ‘One might have expected’ (p. 206), ‘the other disasters of early 5th century’ for ‘the other disasters of the early 5th century’ (p. 206), and ‘than’ for ‘then’ (p. 214). On p. 204 the sentence ‘Olympiodorus dedicated his work to the pious Christian emperor Theodosius II’ seems to be just tacked onto the end of a paragraph.

Leppin, ‘The Church Historians (I): Socrates, Sozomenus, and Theodoretus’ (pp. 219-54). The English is very natural and there are only two instances of incorrect vocabulary or grammar, and two instances of a missing ‘the’. The only annoyance, and it is minor, is the use of ‘synoptical’ for ‘synoptic’.

Marasco, ‘The Church Historians (II): Philostorgius and Gelasius of Cyzicus’ (pp. 257-88). The English is good overall, though there are errors of usage and vocabulary: ‘IVth’ and ‘Vth century’ (pp. 257, 284, 287), ‘whose’ for ‘of which’ (p. 260), ‘like’ for ‘as’ (p. 260), ‘Vetranion’, ‘Omeousians’, ‘Jovianus’, and ‘Bitinia’ for ‘Vetranio’, ‘Homeousians’, ‘Jovinus’, and ‘Bithynia’ (pp. 263, 268 n 57, 282, 284), ‘propitious’ for ‘favourable’ (p. 262), ‘crashes’ for ‘clashes’ (p. 266), ‘similar with’ for ‘similar to’ (p. 266), ‘precious’ for ‘valuable’ (p. 285), and ‘actual’ for ‘alive’/’on-going’ (p. 287).

Blockley, ‘The Development of Greek Historiography: Priscus, Malchus, Candidus’ (pp. 289-315). As one might expect the text is well written, though I think I can detect the hand of the editor in various places (I doubt Blockley wrote ‘entrys’ [p. 299] or the confused colon and semicolons at the bottom of p. 301). An ‘and’ is missing on p. 311 line 7 and a ‘his’ for ‘him’ appears on p. 313 line 13. The real problem is the Greek that appears in various places in the text and the notes. Much of it contains errors of one kind or another: missing, incorrect, incorrectly placed, or extra accents; a missing iota subscript; an accent for a breathing; an incorrect breathing; and similar-looking letters substituted for correct letters: nu for upsilon twice and omicron for an initial sigma (pp. 308, 309, 313, 314).

Zecchini, ‘Latin Historiography: Jerome, Orosius and the Western Chronicles’ (pp. 317-45). Z.’s English is quite good, except that he sometimes gets tangled with more complex structures and the use of ‘the’ is sometimes incorrect. The most serious problem is a bizarre tendency to treat plural titles as if they were plural objects (e.g. ‘The first historical work of the century are the Chronica of Sulpicius Severus’ [p. 317, even though ‘work’ is the subject] and ‘Orosius’ Historiae constitute a universal history’ [p. 320]). No doubt Z. thinks Star Wars are a good movie. There are no typographical errors worth mentioning.

Croke, ‘Latin Historiography and the Barbarian Kingdoms’ (pp. 349-89). There are only a few problems with the English: there is an ‘himself’ missing on page 357 (12 lines from the bottom) and I doubt Croke wrote, ‘His involvement in the complex politics of Gaul….may have meant that the history was partly designed to shield himself from political attacks’ (p. 383).

Cataudella, ‘Historiography in the East’ (pp. 391-447). The English is excellent, though there are rather more missing words than in the other chapters, mostly ‘a’s and ‘the’s, though ‘that Valerian’ is missing from the last sentence of the first paragraph on p. 440. ‘Anonymus’ appears as ‘Anomymus’ at the bottom of p. 439, ‘and’ appears for ‘an’ (p. 425), and the ‘Omeritae’ (p. 430) become ‘Omerites’ on p. 441 and ‘Omeriti’ on p. 442 (there’s no indication of any change in reference from women to men). The first two appear as ‘Omeritae’ in the index; the last is not noted. The word ‘lineaments’ in the sense of ‘characteristics’ suddenly pops up towards the end of the chapter and is repeated three more times (431, 436, 437, 440). It would seem to be a ‘faux ami’ of the Italian ‘lineamenti’. Interestingly, the Greek is printed much better here than in Blockley’s chapter, with the exception of a very few minor slips of breathing and accent (and one mistaken ellipse on p. 395), but the really strange aspect is that C. sometimes writes words in Greek, other times in italicized English transliteration, sometimes without accents, but more often with a grave accent where there would be an acute in the Greek (the acute sometimes appears on final syllables). On pp. 438 and 439, for instance, the same words appear sometimes in Greek and sometimes in English transliteration. Like Zecchini, C. treats all plural titles as if they were plural objects (e.g. ‘The Anecd(ota) were written…’ [pp. 401, 402, ‘the ( de) Aed(ificiis) were an important part of that literature…’ [p. 400], and ‘the Bella are in strident contrast with the Anecd(ota)…’ [p. 395]).

Whitby, ‘The Church Historians and Chalcedon’ (pp. 449-95). There are only two major typographical errors in this chapter, a missing ‘the’ and ‘ben’ for ‘been’, though the strangest problem is the consistent misspelling of ‘Trisagion’ as ‘Triaghion’ (pp. 469, 477 n 56, 486). It is not an editorial change since it appears with the correct orthography in the next chapter (p. 519).

Jeffreys, ‘The Beginning of Byzantine Chronography: John Malalas’ (pp. 497-527). There are few serious typographical errors: Pseudo-Dionysius appears as ‘Pseudo-Dionysus’ (p. 509), an intrusive ‘up’ appears (p. 524, line 10), and ‘Anni Mundi’ appears as ‘Anno Mundi’ (p. 524, 8 from bottom).


1. And shouldn’t the rest of the title be from the Fourth to the Sixth Centuries A.D. ?

2. There is much L. has missed concerning the various editions of Eunapius’ history. See T. D. Barnes, The Sources of the Historia Augusta (Brussels, 1978), pp. 114-17 and the many articles of Tom Banchich since 1983, though the full exposition for his views appears only in his unpublished doctoral thesis The Historical Fragments of Eunapius of Sardis (Buffalo, 1985). See also his ‘Nestorius hierophantein tetagmenos’, Historia 47 (1998), 360-374 (contra Aaron Baker, ‘Eunapius’ Nea Ekdosis and Photius’, GRBS 29 (1988), 389-402.

3. For instance, M. talks about Philostorgius’ use of portents, especially a comet that he claims was seen when Theodosius was departing from Rome in August 389 (pp. 274-5). But M. fails to note that Roman and Oriental sources date this comet to 390, thus suggesting that Philostorgius has deliberately moved the comet for maximum rhetorical impact. This is very much in keeping with the point M. is trying to make about Philostorgius’ methods.

4. The entire text can now be downloaded as a PDF file.

5. Rohrbacher provides a much more balanced and useful introduction to Orosius (pp. 135-49).

6. This has become a particularly problematic area of Procopian scholarship and C. does the reader a great disservice by spending so much time arguing a specific solution, without acknowledging the lack of scholarly consensus, the differing solutions that have been offered, or the serious counterarguments to his own conclusion (he advocates a late, simultaneous date for the de Aedificiis and Anecdota, early 558). He nowhere mentions Geoffrey Greatrex’s article supporting the ‘orthodox’ view (the ‘early’ dating) ( BMGS 18 [1994], 101-14), even though it is listed in the bibliography. See now Greatrex’s forthcoming paper in BMGS 27 (2003), 45-67, ‘Recent Work on Procopius and the Composition of Wars VIII’.

7. I shall be redressing the balance in a forthcoming book that provides full introductions and commentaries for translations of all Latin chronicles between the first century BC and the early sixth century AD.

8. The page references are, by the way, 13-4, 16, 17, 89, 93, 94, 95, 95 n 52, 101, 102, 109, 116, 117, 129, 139, 141, 198 n 110, and 318, and it is called the Kaisergeschichte, Enmannsche Kaisergeschichte, EKG, EK, and KG (none of which is italicized for some reason).

9. The Emperor Maurice and his Historian: Theophylact Simocatta on Persian and Balkan Warfare (Oxford, 1988) and Michael and Mary Whitby, Chronicon Paschale, 284-628 AD (TTH 7; Liverpool, 1989).