Article

Ammianus Marcellinus

Gavin Kelly

in Classics

ISBN: 9780195389661
Published online May 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195389661-0115
Ammianus Marcellinus

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Ammianus Marcellinus (b. c. 330—d. after 390) was a native Greek speaker who served in the Roman army and in about 390 completed the Res gestae, a Latin history in thirty-one books from Nerva to Valens (the years 96 to 378 ce). The eighteen surviving books cover his own times, from 353 to 378, and fall naturally into three “hexads” or groups of six books. Books 14–19 cover the years 353–359, the latter part of the reign of Constantius II and the rise of his deputy, Julian, the work’s hero. Books 20–25 cover Julian’s rebellion against Constantius (360–361), his reign as sole emperor, and his death in battle in Persia (361–363) and end with the brief reign of Jovian (363–364). Books 26–31 cover the reigns of Valentinian and Valens from 364, terminating in the West with Valentinian’s death in 375 and in the East with Valens’s death at the battle of Adrianople in 378. The history is self-consciously learned and studded with digressions on geography and technical subjects. The grandeur, detail, breadth, and observation of his work stands out in the period, and Ammianus is central to much historical study of the later 4th century. By contrast, literary studies have been less plentiful, in part because of his difficult style and classicizing prejudice against later Latin.

Article.  12866 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Classical Art and Architecture ; Classical History ; Classical Literature ; Classical Philosophy

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