Ammianus Marcellinus

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ammianus Marcellinus, Res gestae 31,2 in the manuscript Rome, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana , Vaticanus lat. 1873 (9th century)

Ammianus Marcellinus (* around 330 probably in Antioch on the Orontes , Syria ; † around 395 [at the latest around 400] probably in Rome ) was a Roman historian . Alongside Prokopios of Caesarea, he is the most important late antique historian and wrote in Latin , although his mother tongue was Greek . His Res gestae are the last classicist Latin historical work of antiquity , which has largely survived. The surviving sections deal with the years from 353 to 378 and describe the time immediately before the start of the so-called Great Migration , during which the ancient Mediterranean world was to change fundamentally.

Ammianus served as a soldier under the emperors Constantius II and Julian and witnessed many of the events he described himself. Although he was more concerned with objectivity than other ancient historians, his personal point of view becomes quite clear at times. For example, he judged Constantius II very negatively, while he painted a very positive picture of Julian. The outstanding value of his res gestae for research in the fourth century is, however, undisputed.

The Roman Empire at the time of Ammianus Marcellinus

When Ammianus Marcellinus was born, Emperor Constantine had ruled the reunited empire for several years. The borders were largely secured, in the last months of his life Constantine even prepared a campaign against the neo-Persian Sassanid Empire , Rome's great rival in the east, which only failed because of his death on May 22, 337.

The Roman Empire was subjected to a profound change in the reign of Constantine, which by modern research as Constantine turn is called: The only years earlier some very bloody persecuted Christianity has now been privileged and the end of the 4th century by Emperor should Theodosius I in fact to State religion to be levied. The Paganism , however - one, however, very fuzzy term that very different religious beliefs involved, from the mystery cults , beyond the traditional Roman cults to the Neo-Platonism influenced trends - should have clearly lost the time of Theodosius of vitality and finally only by be practiced by an ever smaller minority of the population. The empire was also increasingly shaped by Christianity, up to and including the idea that the emperor was God's viceroy on earth.

With the advancing Christianization of state and society, there were also problems of a completely new kind, as the Arian dispute makes clear: At the beginning of the 4th century, the Alexandrian presbyter Arius had asserted that God-Son was not of essence with God-Father. The Arianism (the no uniform flow represented, but disintegrated into several groupings) found mainly in parts of the east of the Empire a breeding ground while he was strongly condemned in the West. The related christological disputes, i.e. the question of the true essence of Christ, tied up considerable energies and were fought out with passion not only by theologians but also by broad sections of the population. Emperor Constantius II , who ruled the empire without restrictions from 353, tried in vain during his entire reign to enforce an Arian creed that was uniform for the entire imperial church.

Meanwhile, the pressure on the borders increased. In the east there was an almost permanent state of war since 337/338. The Persians repeatedly invaded the Roman provinces of the Orient, while imperial offensives remained unsuccessful. In the west, Gaul was repeatedly devastated by Germanic looters, as usurpations like that of Magnentius took place inside the empire , which affected the security of the borders. The Empire still held its own, albeit with some difficulty. Ammianus witnessed many of these events himself and processed them in his historical work, thus leaving behind a panorama of a time in which the old world began a process of transformation that would finally herald the end of antiquity .


Little is known about Ammianus' life, but much can be learned from his work. He was born around 330 in Syria, perhaps in Antioch on the Orontes , one of the largest and most important cities of the empire, where he lived at least for a long time. He probably came from a wealthy Greek family and was evidently well-read. His claim that he is just a simple miles (soldier) is obviously a topos of modesty. Especially in the area of Latin and Greek literature, he seems to have had a good knowledge, which suggests an expensive education. At a young age Ammianus became an army officer and served as a bodyguard ( protector domesticus ) . As such, he had the task of his superior, the commander in chief ( magister militum ) Ursicinus to personally accompany and protect. It is believed that Ursicinus was a patron and patron of Ammianus.

In 354 Ammianus accompanied his superior to Antioch, where he witnessed the rule of Constantius Gallus and his wife Constantina . In 355 he took part in the mission to eliminate the usurper Silvanus in Cologne. Ammianus stayed in Ursicinus' entourage in Gaul until 357, where Julian , the brother of the now executed Gallus, ruled as under-emperor ( Caesar ) , whom Ammianus later stylized as a hero in his historical work. Then Ammianus went with Ursicinus back to the east of the empire, where he took part in the battles against the Persian King Shapur II . During these battles, Ammianus had a decisive experience when he narrowly escaped as one of the few survivors of the Persians, who undertook a large-scale invasion of the Roman Eastern provinces in 359, during the conquest of the Roman fortress of Amida . The Persians caused a massacre among the remaining Romans. Ammianus reported in detail about the siege and the fall of Amidas (19: 1-9), whose graphic representation is in no way inferior to that of other great ancient historians and which is counted among the classic descriptions of Roman historiography. In 360 Ursicinus was dismissed, but Ammianus continued to serve in the army and in 363 he took part in Julian's Persian campaign , which ended in a fiasco.

In 363 Ammianus resigned from the army and traveled to Greece , Thrace and Egypt . Around 380 he went to Rome , where he wrote his historical work (Res gestae) around 390/91 ; however, the exact title of his work is not known. However, we know from a letter from the famous rhetorician Libanios , with whom Ammianus may have known, that the work enjoyed great popularity. It has recently been doubted that Libanios' correspondent was actually Ammianus, but there are some arguments in favor of this. Assumptions that Ammianus might even have been admitted to the Senate cannot be proven, nor can any more precise information about his relations with urban Roman pagan senators be said (see below). His exact date of death is unknown, the latest date in research is the year 400, although the period around 395 is often assumed.


The structure of the res gestae

Title page of the Ammianus edition of Accursius (Augsburg 1533)

The work of Ammianus Marcellinus, according to his own statement (Ammian 31,16,9, where he also describes himself as miles quondam et Graecus , as a former soldier and Greek , which indicates his military experience and his cultural understanding), dealt with the time from taking office of the Roman Emperor Nerva in 96 until the Battle of Adrianople in 378 . Some of the total of 31 books were published around 391, the rest (from book 26) followed later, perhaps around 394. Of these, only books 14–31 have survived, which cover the period from 353 to 378, which Ammianus as Guard officer and eyewitness. In 1998, Timothy Barnes put forward the interesting hypothesis that the work was actually divided into hexads and comprised 36 books, whereby the books that were preserved would actually represent books 19 to 36.

Ammianus wrote a mixture of emperor biographies and, above all, imperial history: The chronological treatment of the reign is followed by a brief description of the respective emperor, although numerous digressions are included (see Section 3.3). The characterizations in particular form a not unimportant part of the work. They are written very clearly and assess the virtutes and vitia , the virtues and vices of rulers. While Ammianus apparently only dealt with the story of Nerva up to Julian's time very briefly, the description is much more detailed from Book 15 onwards. The events up to and including Book 25 are structured chronologically; from Book 26 onwards, there is a stronger geographical division. Ammianus followed up on Tacitus and tried to stick to the resolution sine ira et studio ("without anger and zeal"). Of course, Tacitus was by no means impartial, just as was Ammianus, who took this maxim more seriously than almost any other ancient historian - none other than the great ancient historian Ronald Syme was more than willing to allow him this - but despite his objectivity directed approach judged quite subjectively. However, Tacitus' influence on Ammianus should not be overestimated anyway (see below).

The books received can be roughly classified according to the following scheme:

  • Book 14-16: The Fall of Constantius Gallus . Julian's appointment as Caesar in Gaul and his first successes there.
  • Book 17–19: Julian successfully secures the Rhine border, Emperor Constantius II has to assert himself in the east against the Persians.
  • Book 20–22: Julian is elevated to Augustus in Gaul . Development up to the death of Constantius and the sole rule of Julian until the end of 362.
  • Book 23-25: The Persian Campaign and Julian's Death. The brief reign and death of Jovian (end of book 25).
  • Book 26: Valentinian I and Valens share control of the empire.
  • Book 27–30: Valentinian's campaigns and death of the emperor. Rule of the Valens in the east.
  • Book 31: Burglary of the Huns, flight of the Goths across the Danube and admission to the Roman Empire. Battle of Adrianople.

The loss of the first 13 books is regrettable, since otherwise we would have a continuous historiography from the end of the 1st to the end of the 4th century; however, the value of the part obtained is invaluable. Assumptions that Ammianus wrote a second work of similar scope, in which he treated the story from Nerva to Constantine , with which the lost books 1–13 would only have covered the period from Constantine to 353, are rejected by recent research.

The sources

On many points there are different research opinions regarding the question of which sources Ammianus used. For his presentation, Ammianus, who himself gives practically no information about his sources, has certainly consulted inscriptions and the archives, among other things, he probably also used Julian's lost booklet (biblidion) about the battle of Argentoratum , in which Julian apparently purposefully upgraded his victory .

The question of which sources Ammianus relied on in his first books, which have now been lost, is problematic and quite speculative. It is very likely that he used the Roman history of Cassius Dio ( going back to 229) and, as intertextual comparisons show, the imperial history of Herodian , which described the events from 180 to 238. Also Dexippos which one to 270 reaching Chronicle and a history of German wars of his time ( Skythika authored), came as the source in question. The work of Eunapios of Sardis , who followed Dexippus, may also have been used by Ammianus, but this is controversial.

However, Ammianus probably also used several Latin works. Among other things, the Enmann imperial history, which we can only grasp through the breviary of the 4th century (which extended at least to the time of Constantine, perhaps even to 357), which Caesares of Aurelius Victor , Ammianus valued, and, although Ammianus himself, come into question expresses unflattering about him, Marius Maximus ; the latter wrote a number of emperor biographies from Nerva to Elagabal . The (now lost) annals of Virius Nicomachus Flavianus are a source that has been discussed again and again in research . It is unknown whether the annals dealt with the republic or the imperial era, but there are several indications that support the latter assumption. According to plausible considerations of recent research, the work of Nicomachus Flavianus was used by several subsequent historians. By comparing Ammianus with the Middle Byzantine historian Johannes Zonaras, it can be deduced that there was partly a common source, which Zonaras probably conveyed via the so-called Leo source , can possibly be identified with the annals .

In 2006, David Rohrbacher suggested that Ammianus, who primarily devoted his work to contemporary history, relied on only a few sources for the past in order to build a bridge between the end of Tacite histories and his historical work . According to Rohrbacher, Ammianus mainly drew on Marius Maximus and Enmann's imperial story, as well as partly another source (Eunapios or the work that was used in the Leo spring ).

From book 15 onwards, Ammianus based himself on his own experience or reports from eyewitnesses and probably used other sources as a supplement. However, this communis opinio was questioned by Bruno Bleckmann . Bleckmann rather assumes that primary research played a smaller role at Ammianus than is often assumed. Walter Klein had already expressed a similar opinion in a relevant study. According to Bleckmann, Ammianus also relied heavily on literary sources in the later books (regarding Valentinian and Valens), which probably even included church history material. Before Bleckmann, Hanns Christof Brennecke put forward the thesis that Ammianus also relied on Christian sources (an "Arian" church history that is now lost). The question of how the similarities in Ammianus and Zosimos regarding Julian's Persian War are to be explained has still not been answered satisfactorily. But it is often assumed that both relied on Magnus von Karrhai .

The digressions

His work is significant not only as one of the most important sources for the Great Migration, but also because of the numerous, often quite extensive excursions typical of ancient, particularly Greek historiography, which break up the formal structure of imperial history. Ammianus deals, among other things, with geography , which is not always flawless, ethnography , natural history and military affairs . Ammianus was one of the few ancient historians who knew his way around the military field from personal experience. The formal structure of the excursions almost always follows the same pattern of introduction by the author, presentation and conclusion. Sometimes the excursions themselves contain more specific, short excursions, such as the Persia excursion, a more specific version of the "magicians".

The digressions, which do not appear to this extent in any other extant work of ancient history (apart from Herodotus ), cover a considerable spectrum of very different topics: The reader learns a lot about the Persia of the Sassanids as well as about Germanic , Celtic (Gauls) and Huns . Ammianus' assessment of the " barbarians ", to which he did not include the Persians, is, however - in accordance with the tradition of ancient historiography, but also taking into account his own assessments - in part quite stereotypical. The literary design of the history of science, which plays an important role in the excursions, makes up a not inconsiderable part of the charm and value of the work. Ammianus relies primarily on well-known Greek works (in part perhaps via intermediate sources or compendia), but also consulted Latin authors (including Sallust and Gaius Iulius Caesar ). The exact sources (in addition to own experiences and oral reports) can hardly be determined with certainty in individual cases, but Ammianus mentions Timagenes of Alexandria by name . Theodor Mommsen already made some fundamental considerations about the sources for the geographical excursions, some of which have been modified or corrected by modern research; In any case, Mommsen took as sources Rufius Festus , a list of the imperial provinces, the well-known geographical areas of Ptolemy and Timagenes. It can at least be considered fairly certain that Ammianus did not only follow one source, but used several templates. In some cases, the digressions act as small “pauses” or “orientation aids” for the reader before a new section begins. So the digression on siege machines served above all to give the reader information that is important for the following description of Julian's Persian campaign.

In his Romex courses he describes the life and decay of manners in Rome, but at the same time shows awe of the city's glorious past. To what extent this picture is consistent in all details is questionable; Modern research has not been able to establish the decline in education that Ammianus lamented. It is noteworthy, however, that he bypasses Constantinople .

Ammianus also focuses on other topics. He describes several provinces (e.g. Egypt) or reports, for example, on the Arabs, the judiciary, the administrative structures and the Egyptian obelisks in Rome . The work also contains a detailed description of a tsunami that hit the coasts of the eastern Mediterranean on July 21, 365 . Ammianus describes the characteristic sequence of earthquakes, spontaneous retreat of the sea and suddenly a giant wave rolling in. In this context, Gavin Kelly put forward the hypothesis that the tsunami and its consequences should be seen as a metaphor for the state of the state after the death of Julian, which is now leaderless and exposed to the onslaught of the barbarians - and all of this already for the coming catastrophe of Adrianople 378 clues. In the last six books the formal excursions are almost completely absent, but Ammianus has also woven in several additions that deal with the Huns and Thrace, for example.

The lost books and the beginning of the "contemporary part"

A reconstruction of the contents of the lost books of history is highly speculative. Nevertheless, there are some valuable references in the surviving part of the work. Timothy Barnes has worked out several of these references in his analysis, where Ammianus proceeds roughly according to the pattern: "... as I already reported ..." and the like. The fact that he claims to have dealt with events from the 2nd century in the present work makes the “two-works theory” (see above) more than improbable. Apparently Ammianus only offered a very brief description of the events since 96 AD in the first books, only to give more detailed explanations. John Matthews has made the plausible assumption that the first books only served as a kind of introduction to the time Ammianus himself experienced. Various conclusions can be drawn from the surviving parts, such as that he seems to have had a negative attitude towards Constantine . This is evidenced by an episode that he mentioned (and handed down in Byzantine sources), the so-called " Lies of Metrodorus ".

Book 14 begins with a description of the fall of Constantius Gallus , who was installed as Caesar in the east of the empire by his relative, the Emperor Constantius II , and who is described topically by Ammianus in extremely dark colors. Since Gallus made some serious mistakes and he was also denounced at the court of the emperor, Constantius finally dismissed him and had him executed shortly afterwards. Constantina , the wife of Gallus, is represented by Ammianus similarly topically as “mortal megaires”.

As already mentioned, book 15 begins the part of the work in which Ammianus reports in more detail from his own experience and view than was the case in the first part:

Up to this point, as far as the truth was to be researched, I have presented in the order of the various occurrences all the events that I witnessed as a contemporary or that I was able to experience through urgent inquiries from eyewitnesses. I want to make the rest of the content of my work even more carefully to the best of my ability ...

The composition of the work now aims at the work of Julian up to Book 26 (see below), his death should (according to the traditional research opinion) be the end of the work. At the beginning of Book 26, Ammianus comments on this as follows:

With particular care we followed the series of events to the limit of the immediate past and were already determined to withdraw our foot from a well-known area ... Out of such fears, some personalities of earlier times also refused to conduct extensive investigations into various occurrences to be published while she was still alive, as did Cicero ... Let us now overlook the ignorance of the common people and continue with the presentation of the remaining events!

However, more recent research also considered the possibility that the work should consist of 31 books from the beginning and that the descriptions from book 26 should serve as a gloomy contrasting film to the rule of Julian, whom Ammianus openly admired.

The depiction of Constantius II and the Persian War

Ammianus is the main source for the battles between the empire and the Sassanid Empire under Shapur II . At the Persian War Ammianus took part themselves. He describes the exchange of notes between Rome and Persia in 358 and reports reliably and vividly on the invasion of Shapur in 359, the siege and the fall of Amida and later on Julian's campaign in Persia in 363. Ammianus criticizes the defensive strategy of Emperor Constantius II and prefers it More likely the offensive approach of Julians, although Julian's Persian campaign ended in a catastrophe and Constantius had followed the smarter strategy as a result .

Recent research points out that Ammianus - despite the quality of the content of his work - sometimes judged quite subjective, for example with regard to Constantius II, the opponent of his hero Julian, who is probably wrongly judged so badly by Ammianus. One reason for this may have been Ammianus' intention to intensify the contrast with the supposedly exemplary Julian (Gallus plays a similar role), although he never reflects on them without criticism (see following section). But Ammianus 'judgment was also not undifferentiated with regard to Constantius' policy. It should also be remembered that he judged the reign of the emperor with a gap of several years and therefore no longer had to show greater consideration. Ammianus found the emperor's fear of conspiracies and usurpations and his sometimes exaggeratedly harsh approach to be inappropriate. He sharply criticizes Constantius 'foreign policy and rebukes the influence of the Empress - by which he probably means Constantius' second wife Eusebia - and the eunuchs at court. The civil wars that Constantius had to fight are also viewed critically by Ammianus. On the other hand, he certainly praised Constantius, for example with regard to his thrift and his care for the state and the military. Nevertheless, any judgment of this emperor is made difficult by Ammianus' predominantly negative view.


Ammianus' hero is undoubtedly the last pagan emperor Julian , with whose death the work should actually end (see the new introduction mentioned above). Even if he sometimes criticizes him, Ammianus portrays him as an exemplary emperor, although in some places he describes him a little too positively:

Julian can really be counted among the heroic figures, acts of fame and associated dignity distinguished him. For if, according to the assumptions of the wise, there are four main virtues, namely temperance, prudence, justice and bravery ... then Julian cultivated them both as a whole and in detail with strained zeal.

Ammianus may have already met Julian in Gaul, where the young Caesar successfully fought against the Alemanni on behalf of Emperor Constantius II and secured the Rhine border again. Ammianus already described Julian's rule in Gaul with admiration, especially since Caesar was able to celebrate some great successes here, such as the reconquest of Cologne from the Franks . However, Ammianus ignores the fact that Julian's relationship with the masters Ursicinus and Marcellus was not the best.

Julian's elevation to emperor in Lutetia at the beginning of the year 360, triggered by the order to provide his cousin, the emperor Constantius, with parts of the Gallic field army for the defensive battle against the Persians, is presented by Ammianus as a spontaneous action by the Gallic legions. In truth, it was simply a usurpation and maybe even an act staged by Julian.

After Constantius died at the end of 361, Julian was able to ascend the throne without resistance. Ammianus reports, probably not exaggerated, of Julian's eagerness to work. Ammianus was probably also not entirely dissatisfied with the emperor's religious policy, which resulted in a preference for traditional gods. On the other hand, Ammianus condemned Julian's edict of rhetoric , which effectively forbade Christians access to education. Likewise, he could not get anything from Julian's superstition and his excessive mania for sacrifice. Nevertheless, Klaus Rosen rightly pointed out that the ten books that Ammianus dedicated to Julian (16–25) protrude like a mountain from the entire work. Ammianus gives a lot of space to Julian's Persian War, the climax being the artistic description of Julian's death in Book 25.

The end of the work

After Julian's death, Ammianus reports at the end of Book 25 of the brief reign of Jovian , the peace of 363 (which Ammianus rejects as a shameful peace ) and finally in Book 26 of the beginning of the reign of Valentinian I and Valens . The view extends to the following books from the very successful campaigns Valentinian against the Germans to defeat a revolt in Africa by Flavius Theodosius , the father of the emperor of the same name Theodosius I . The situation in the east is also described, although Valens does not do particularly well with Ammianus. Valentinian I, on the other hand - whom Ammianus hardly admired - is judged relatively favorably, also because he had some successes in the military field that Ammianus recognized. In part, Valentinian's religious tolerance may have played a role, perhaps in the sense of an antipole to Theodosius I, who, however, also did not pursue any real heathen persecution. However, both emperors do not fare well compared to Julian.

Finally, in Book 31, Ammianus describes the invasion of the Huns , for whom he is the most important source, the fall of the Greutung Empire, the flight of the Terwingen (the western Goths) over the Danube and their request for admission into the empire. The final point is the uprising of the Goths, triggered by Roman failure, and the Battle of Adrianople, in which not only Valens falls, but also the majority of the eastern court army comes to an end. Ammianus undoubtedly regarded the defeat as a disaster (see the following section).

Historical and literary history classification

Despite his Greek origins, Ammianus was entirely Roman and emphasized the unity of Greco-Roman culture. Thus Rome occupied an important place in his work as a symbol: for Ammianus Rome was the embodiment of the imperial idea, the empire in turn guarantor of Greco-Roman civilization. Ammianus reports of an eventful time, immediately before the outbreak of the great migration of peoples, which Rome ultimately tried in vain to meet. As a soldier, Ammianus must have been aware of the consequences of the invasion of ever more waves of barbarians, especially since he saw that the borders of the empire were becoming increasingly untenable before the onslaught of the enemy. So it is hardly surprising that Ammianus is rather hostile towards the Teutons, who fought both for and against Rome. But Ammianus is also not uncritical with regard to his own environment, which is revealed by his cutting and sometimes satirical (but sometimes questionable) comments on the conditions in Rome. Wolfgang Seyfarth , who currently published the basic text edition, said:

Seen in the world historical perspective, the work is a mighty swan song that accompanies the final fall of Roman paganism and the moral norms and social forms it produced. However, this downfall of Roman paganism did not mean an absolute end; instead, many of these norms passed into the Christian worldview in a new form, and Christianity, which in its main features had been a tremendous revolutionary power against the Roman Empire, now took over in an ever-increasing manner Extent the defense and reinterpretation of the Roman character.

Ammianus finally presented his work in the West, where it was probably also heard by pagan senators and met with much approval. Nevertheless, Ammianus is ultimately not necessarily to be seen as a champion for the old world of gods - some of his remarks are too biting for that, for example regarding the widespread superstition of his time and the mania for sacrifice of Julian. By the time he completed his work, Rome's way to an Imperium Romanum Christianum was already prepared - which of course did not prevent Ammianus from staging the life of Julian, whose failure he was very well aware, as a drama in his work.

Ammianus often refers to Fortuna , the goddess of fate , who determines the ups and downs of luck and misfortune. For Ammianus fortuna (luck) and virtus (virtue, courage) are probably in a direct relationship to one another. The work is characterized by a very strong pessimistic attitude towards the future, without, however, giving up hope for better times and fatalistically resigning: When Ammianus ended his work with the Battle of Adrianople, it becomes clear in the closing remarks that he has not yet given up all. It is true that he compares the defeat with that at Cannae - but, as is well known, this was followed by the triumph of the Romans. Under Theodosius I, in whose reign Ammianus wrote, the situation actually seemed to stabilize again; at least the danger of the Goths was banned for the moment. The subsequent development in the 5th century, which led to the establishment of Germanic empires on the soil of the empire, was not yet in sight.

Ammianus probably also wrote his work in Latin because he wanted to tie in with Tacitus. But other considerations may also have played a role. In Ammianus's time, Latin had also gained a lot of ground in the East, while knowledge of the Greek language in the West had declined since the high imperial period; he himself will have learned Latin at the latest during his military career. Perhaps Ammianus' decision was also influenced by the audience, especially since the work made it clear how much a Greek could preserve his cultural heritage and at the same time feel like a Roman. Ultimately, the “Western audience” should also be brought closer to the personality of Julian, who was more Greek than Roman.

Ammianus' work is (besides the works of Prokop , who also saw himself as a Roman, but wrote in Greek) the best historiographical source for late antiquity and can certainly compete with the other great historical works of antiquity. This is particularly noteworthy, as the Latin historiography according to Tacitus (if one can judge this from the very fragmentary tradition) was flattened and was practically displaced by the genos of biography (beginning with Suetonius ) - just compare the work of Ammianus with the Caesares of Aurelius Victor or the Breviary Eutrops , all of which wrote before Ammianus and only wrote extremely brief abstracts of history. In contrast, the tradition of classical historiography continued to exist, especially in the eastern part of the empire, which was shaped by Greek culture. Only Cassius Dio or Dexippos are to be mentioned , whose work is largely lost. It is certainly no coincidence that both Ammianus and the most important poet of late antiquity, Claudian , came from the East and absorbed the literary impulses that existed there. The work of Ammianus represents the last important Latin historical work of antiquity; the following works of classical tradition from the 5th and 6th centuries, written in Latin, are no longer preserved and therefore defy recognition (see e.g. Sulpicius Alexander , Renatus Profuturus Frigeridus , Quintus Aurelius Memmius Symmachus ).

Due to the connection to the work of Tacitus, it was sometimes assumed that Ammianus saw himself as his successor; however, Tacitus' influence should not be overstated. In fact, initially only the period of presentation given by Ammianus offers a concrete reason for a comparison with Tacitus, because in the work itself Ammianus alludes to other writers. In his detailed account, John Matthews warned against rash judgments; Much more likely, alongside Thucydides and Polybius , whose influence is clearly discernible in the Res gestae , Sallust , the first important historian of Rome, could be seen as the model for Ammianus' descriptions. In a more recent, comparative study, Petra Riedl also referred to the general similarities in the works of Tacitus and Ammianus, which can be seen in the context of ancient historiography, because Ammianus returned to the classical form of Roman historiography after more than 250 years that Tacitus stood for. The work of Ammianus does not count towards senatorial historiography in the narrower sense, but there are definitely connections.

However, Ammianus' work is peppered with Graecisms, and the artificial style of late antiquity is often clearly evident. Some word positions are extremely unusual, so that the exact meaning is sometimes difficult to fathom. Ammianus drew entirely from a created Latin artificial language and used a strongly accentuated prose rhythm ( cursus planus , cursus tardus and cursus velox , see Cursus (rhythm) ), which already refers to medieval art prose. In addition, the so-called “we reports” fall outside the typical framework of ancient historiography and can probably be traced back to popular Greek storytelling.

Ammianus writes very vividly, usually limiting himself to the essentials and frequently using exempla (examples) and anecdotes to illustrate his judgments. Frank Wittchow therefore describes Ammianus' storytelling technique as exemplary storytelling . The ancient historian Roger Blockley even explains that the extent and range of the exempla used by Ammianus is unsurpassed in the traditional (ancient) Latin historical literature. This becomes particularly clear in the books dedicated to Julian, where the emperor is stylized on the basis of the already idealized emperors of the 2nd century . Ammianus wants to convince the reader with his rhetoric to share his view of things, which is a typical feature of ancient historiography (see below) - but without deviating from the claim to fundamental truthfulness. At the same time, the virtues ascribed to the emperor should also have an educational effect on the reader, because Ammianus sees the failure of individuals as the main reason for the decline of the empire in the late 4th century. It is also noticeable that Ammianus uses the stylistic device of speech, otherwise one of the main features of ancient historiography, only very sparingly, but these are artfully (but at the same time freely) designed. In his work Ammianus also alludes to other literary works again and again, which proves his extensive education and his interest in very different topics (such as history or the judiciary), which is also reflected in the excursus. His great reading (he knows Plato , Cicero , Titus Livius , Sallust and most of the works of Tacitus , among others ) as well as the diversity of the sources he uses, is probably the reason for the diversity of the presentation. In general, there are also numerous allusions to other literary works, as Gavin Kelly recently demonstrated convincingly through a strongly intertextual analysis.

Ammianus' relationship to Christianity and paganism

Ammianus was a pagan , but approached Christianity with demonstrative tolerance, as he recognized, for example, poor relief and moral values. At the same time he also described the negative sides, such as the bloody battles for the episcopal dignity in Rome between Damasus I and Ursinus and the secularization and extravagance of the bishops. Unlike many pagan historians, he did not ignore the church, but perhaps even seems to have had a certain interest in the Christian faith. Occasionally he is even assumed to have a “neutral monotheistic stance”. However, some researchers (such as Timothy Barnes) interpret Ammianus' relationship to Christianity much more negatively. It is noteworthy that Ammianus does not reproduce the report of many pagan authors with regard to Julian's death, for example, according to which the emperor was murdered by a Christian from his own army; Ammianus, who had participated in the Persian War himself, gave little thought to rumors. What is interesting, however, is Barnes' interpretation of the episode handed down by Ammianus, according to which the Christian bishop of the city of Bezabde is said to have treasonously shown the Persians a weak point in the defenses. Ammianus emphasizes that he does not believe the rumor, but according to Barnes this is only a stylistic device to spread a rumor without taking responsibility for it himself.

Overall, Ammian's religious attitude, who was also very interested in philosophy, is difficult to judge. In any case, it should be noted that “religious pendulum movements” were not uncommon in late antiquity, especially since there was often little distinction between religion and philosophy.

After his arrival in Rome, Ammianus was possibly also in contact with the local pagan senatorial circles, the most influential representatives of which were the aforementioned Nicomachus Flavianus and Quintus Aurelius Symmachus (and until his death Vettius Agorius Praetextatus ). If such contacts have existed, then presumably only indirectly, while direct personal contacts are rather unlikely. There are even researchers (e.g. Alan Cameron ) who deny any contact between Ammianus and Senatorial circles in the city. It is therefore hardly possible to say more precisely, but perhaps Ammianus was additionally stimulated by his stay in Rome to write a historical work with Julian as the focus, even if this ultimately remains speculation. In many respects he followed the ancient historiographical tradition, which was just pagan. In any case, Ammianus was not a religious zealot: he demanded tolerance from both sides.


Judging ancient historiography only by modern standards would hardly do it justice, since ancient historians, for example, were rather unfamiliar with the methodology of critical source reflection; that ancient historians mention their sources is the exception. In return, they placed more value on the prosaic quality of their work and wanted to bring the reader closer to their view of things, which of course was also bound to the truth (although often only understood as a topical motive). The criticism of modern research on the "Constantius picture" conveyed by the Res gestae has already been addressed. But even Jovian and Valens are never presented with the same sympathy that Ammianus showed Julian - on the contrary: Both are portrayed rather negatively and thus serve as a contrast image to the person of Julian, with Jovian in particular the more recent research, contrary to the representation in the Res gestae , sometimes takes a different posture than Ammianus.

Nevertheless, Ammianus is usually a keen observer, and his "analysis" is often covered by other sources. The English historian Edward Gibbon therefore held it in high esteem. Ammianus' view of things, like Thucydides and Polybius , in whose tradition he saw himself, has strongly shaped modern research . Contrary to the generally very positive view of the res gestae in research - just refer to the statements of Arnold Hugh Martin Jones (Ammianus is also a great historian, a man of penetrating intelligence and of remarkable fairness) , Ronald Syme, who Ammianus even as ( literary) "heirs of Tacitus", or in general the standard work by John Matthews - Timothy Barnes speaks of a partially unfair judgment Ammianus, who in his opinion should be compared not with Tacitus, but with Thomas Babington Macaulay . Some of Barnes' views, while inconsistent with the communis opinio , are interesting in many ways. Overall, the value of Ammianus' portrayal is undisputed even for Barnes, but not as a historical work, but rather as a literary work:

Ammianus has secured a permanent place in the select group of really great historians precisely because, like Macauley's History of England, his Res Gestae exhibit the creative and imaginative powers of a novelist.

Even if some of Barnes' theses are problematic, especially with regard to his doubts about the objectivity of Ammianus - which he definitely proves in many places - they illustrate the variety of possible interpretations of the res gestae and the historian Ammianus. This characterized Arnaldo Momigliano , one of the foremost experts on ancient history, once called lonely historian in order to make its underdog position at that time significantly. Ammianus undoubtedly remains by far the most reliable source for the 4th century. Where his presentation breaks off, the further course of history for the next few decades has to be reconstructed using sources that Ammianus' quality does not reach by far (see, for example, Zosimos ). In a more recent specialist lexicon on late antiquity, the article on Ammianus even puts forward the thesis that, if Ammianus had written his work in classical Latin, he might even be regarded as the greatest Roman historian. However, the judgment of Klaus Rosen is certainly valid:

If we had not had the ›Res gestae‹, we would also know much less about the conditions that prevailed beyond the Orbis Romanus in the fourth century. For the two most important opponents of Rome, the Persians and the Teutons, there is no source at the time that is more extensive and, thanks to the author's autopsy, more reliable.

Lore history

P. 3 of the Ammianus edition of the Accursius. This page contains the dedication to the Augsburg businessman and banker Anton Fugger .

The work of Ammianus already enjoyed great esteem during his lifetime, but was later (probably also due to the not uncomplicated style) used very little and went under in the following time like so many works, although it was perhaps continued by Sulpicius Alexander . Only the well-known Latin grammarian Priscian in the 6th century seems to have known about the work. It was not reissued until the Renaissance : Poggio Bracciolini discovered the text of the Codex Fuldensis in 1417 (see below).

The history of transmission is very problematic: the only completely preserved manuscript, which, however, only reproduces the content of books 14 to 31, is the Codex Fuldensis from the Fulda monastery (which is now in the Vatican : Vaticanus Latinus 1873). This is based on the Codex Hersfeldensis , which was probably created in the 9th (or even 10th) century in the Hersfeld Monastery and on which the entire tradition depends. Except for six pages and fragments, the Codex Hersfeldensis has been completely lost, so that one is primarily dependent on the text of the Fulda manuscript. There is also a copy of the Vaticanus Lat 1873 by Niccolò Niccoli from the 15th century. Books 14-26 were published in 1474 by Sabinus Angelus in Rome ( editio princeps ) and in 1518 by Johannes Frobenius in Basel. The edition of books 14–31 by Mariangelus Accursius (Augsburg 1533) was the first to contain books 27–31. An (albeit not entirely correct) edition of the Res gestae by Sigismund Gelenius from the same year is based on the Codex Hersfeldensis and is therefore important in the reconstruction of the text, which is made more difficult by some corruptions and the sometimes difficult style of Ammianus (see above ). Today's standard edition of the Latin text comes from Wolfgang Seyfarth. A comprehensive historical-philological commentary is completed with the last volume published in early 2018.

Editions and translations

  • Ammiani Marcellini Rervm gestarvm libri qvi svpersvnt . Edited by Wolfgang Seyfarth . Bibliotheca scriptorvm Graecorvm et Romanorvm Tevbneriana. Leipzig 1978 (text edition).
  • Ammianus Marcellinus: The Roman Empire before the end . Translated by Otto Veh , introduced and explained by Gerhard Wirth . Artemis-Verlag, Munich / Zurich 1974, ISBN 3-7608-3514-7 (translation).
  • Ammianus Marcellinus: Roman History . Latin and German and with a commentary by Wolfgang Seyfarth. 4 volumes, Akademie Verlag, Berlin 1968–1971 ( writings and sources from the Old World 21, 1–4; text edition with translation).
  • Ammianus Marcellinus . Edited and translated by John C. Rolfe . Loeb Classical Library , 3 volumes, London / Cambridge, Mass. 1935–1939 and reprints (Latin text with English translation; online at LacusCurtius ).


Entry in Clavis Historicorum Antiquitatis Posterioris (CHAP).


  • Fred W. Jenkins: Ammianus Marcellinus. An Annotated Bibliography, 1474 to the Present. Brill, Leiden / Boston 2017.

Overview display


  • Pieter de Jonge (founder), Jan den Boeft et al: Philological and historical commentary on Ammianus Marcellinus . Published by various publishers, Groningen [until 1998] / Leiden [from 2002] 1935–2018 [important and extensive commentary on the Res Gestae. The commentaries on books XIV – XIX, published in 1935–1982, were written by Pieter de Jonge, those on books XX – XXXI published in 1987–2018 by Jan den Boeft, Daniel den Hengst, Hans C. Teitler and, from 1995, Jan Willem Drijvers .]

Overall presentations and investigations

  • Timothy D. Barnes : Ammianus Marcellinus and the Representation of Historical Reality . Ithaca 1998. [Informative, partly very critical account.]
  • Jan den Boeft, Daniel den Hengst, Hans C. Teitler (Ed.): Cognitio Gestorum - The Historiographic Art of Ammianus Marcellinus . Amsterdam / New York 1992.
  • Jan den Boeft, Jan Willem Drijvers, Daniel den Hengst, Hans C. Teitler (Ed.): Ammianus after Julian. The Reign of Valentinian and Valens in Books 26-31 of the Res Gestae (= Mnemosyne Supplementa 289). Brill, Leiden 2007. ( Review at H-Soz-u-Kult )
  • Dariusz Brodka: Ammianus Marcellinus. Studies of historical thought in the fourth century AD. Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Jagiellonskiego, Krakow 2009, ISBN 978-83-233-2845-2 . ( Review by H-Soz-u-Kult)
  • Jan Willem Drijvers, David Hunt (Eds.): The Late Roman World and Its Historian: Interpreting Ammianus Marcellinus . London 1999. [Collection of articles]
  • Charles W. Fornara: Studies in Ammianus Marcellinus I: The Letter of Libanius and Ammianus' Connection with Antioch . In: Historia 41, 1992, pp. 328-344.
  • Gavin Kelly: Ammianus Marcellinus: The Allusive Historian (Cambridge Classical Studies) . Cambridge 2008.
  • John F. Matthews: The Roman Empire of Ammianus. Johns Hopkins University Press / Duckworth, Baltimore / London 1989; 2nd edition, Ann Arbor 2008. [Standard work and important presentation on the subject.]
  • John F. Matthews: The Origin of Ammianus . In: The Classical Quarterly 44, 1994, pp. 252-269.
  • Klaus Rosen : Ammianus Marcellinus (= income from research 183). Darmstadt 1982. [Introduction, but no longer relevant.]
  • Alan J. Ross: Ammianus' Julian: Narrative and Genre in the Res Gestae. Oxford 2016.
  • Guy Sabbah: Ammien Marcellin, Libanius, Antioche et la date des derniers livres des Res gestae . In: Cassiodorus 3, 1997, pp. 89-116.
  • Ronald Syme : Ammianus and the Historia Augusta. Oxford 1968.
  • Warren Treadgold : The early Byzantine Historians . Basingstoke 2007, pp. 43-78.
  • Frank Wittchow: Exemplary narration with Ammanius Marcellinus - episode, exemplum, anecdote . Saur, Munich / Leipzig 2001, ISBN 3-598-77693-4 .


  • Christian Raschle: Ammianus Marcellinus. Res gestae. In: Christine Walde (Ed.): The reception of ancient literature. Kulturhistorisches Werklexikon (= Der Neue Pauly . Supplements. Volume 7). Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2010, ISBN 978-3-476-02034-5 , Sp. 7-14.

Web links

Wikisource: Ammianus Marcellinus  - Sources and full texts (Latin)
Wikisource: Ammianus Marcellinus  - Sources and full texts
Commons : Ammianus Marcellinus  - collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. Constantine ruled the west without restrictions since 312 and exercised sole rule over the entire empire since 324. For his living conditions cf. the brief introduction by Bruno Bleckmann , Konstantin der Große , 2nd edition, Reinbek 2003.
  2. A current and comprehensive overview of the pagan milieu at the end of the 4th century is now offered by Alan Cameron , The Last Pagans of Rome , Oxford-New York 2011. The collection of essays published by Arnaldo Momigliano also offers a good, albeit now rather outdated, overview Conflict Between Paganism and Christianity in the Fourth Century , Oxford 1963; see. generally David S. Potter, The Roman Empire at Bay , London / New York 2004, especially p. 299ff. (from Constantine).
  3. For details, see the article Constantius II with the references there.
  4. Rosen, Ammianus , offers a good systematic overview of the most important research problems (research status up to 1979). Important recent works include Matthews, The Roman Empire of Ammianus , and Barnes, Ammianus ; Drijvers / Hunt, Interpreting Ammianus Marcellinus and Kelly, Ammianus Marcellinus . Reference is made to this for all detailed questions. Michael von Albrecht , History of Roman Literature , Vol. 2, 3rd edition (as TB), Munich 2003, pp. 1127–1138, offers a general brief overview . See also the introductions in the translations by Veh / Wirth, pp. VII – XXX and Seyfarth, Ammianus [what follows is always the Latin-German. Edition by Seyfarth, 1968ff.], Pp. 9–51.
  5. The basis of this assumption is a letter (ep. 1063) from Libanios , who wrote in 392 to an Antiochenes named Marcellinus and congratulated him on his literary successes. Traditionally it is assumed that the recipient is Ammianus. A different opinion from this communis opinio is, however, among others (as in other places) Barnes, who assumes that Ammianus admired the city and lived there for a long time, but was not born there: Barnes, Ammianus , p. 60. Glen Bowersock suspects that Ammianus came from Alexandria (cf. G. Bowersock: Review of John Matthews, The Roman Empire of Ammianus , in: Journal of Roman Studies 80 (1990), pp. 244-250). See also below.
  6. Kelly, Ammianus Marcellinus , p. 121f, argues against an origin from the curial class . Kelly is more likely to come from a family with military or administrative roots.
  7. Barnes assumes, for example, that Ammianus also mastered the Syrian language : Barnes, Ammianus , p. 60.
  8. At first as protector domesticus and on Ursicinus' patronage for the young Ammianus cf. Matthews, The Roman Empire of Ammianus , pp. 74-77, and Rosen, Ammianus , pp. 18f.
  9. ^ Matthews, The Roman Empire of Ammianus , p. 58.
  10. Julian was accredited to Augustus by his troops in the spring of 360 (probably in a staged act) and then assumed sole rule at the end of 361, after the death of Constantius II . For more information, see the Julian chapter.
  11. The name (for example: "report of deeds") has been handed down to us through Priscian : Priscian, Gr. Lat. II. 487.
  12. ep. 1063, in the Foersters edition.
  13. Rosen, Ammianus , pp. 22, 26f., And Matthews, The Roman Empire of Ammianus , pp. 8f., 478f., Assume that Ammianus was the recipient of the letter, but Fornara, Studies in Ammianus Marcellinus , contradicts this I: The letter of Libanios and Ammianus' connections with Antioch . Seyfarth, Ammianus , pp. 15–23, provides a good and concise summary of the known circumstances of Ammianus . For both Libanios and Priscian, the author of the work is known only as Marcellinus.
  14. ^ General information on Ammian's biography cf. now also Kelly, Ammianus Marcellinus , p. 104ff.
  15. Some researchers also argue for a later date, see Rosen, Ammianus , pp. 31–35.
  16. Barnes, Ammianus , pp. 24ff.
  17. The genos of biography had gained such influence in Roman historiography since the days of Sueton , that even Ammianus could not completely avoid it. The events at the imperial court are therefore often the focus of the action.
  18. ^ Ronald Syme, Ammianus and the Historia Augusta , Oxford 1968, p. 94. See also Manfred Fuhrmann , Rom in der Spätantike , 3rd edition, Düsseldorf and Zurich 1998, p. 124.
  19. A very detailed table of contents, created by Jan Willem Drijvers, can be found in the Ammianus Marcellinus Online Project ( Memento of December 9, 2006 in the Internet Archive ) .
  20. See, for example, Robert Browning , History , in: The Cambridge History of Classical Literature. The Later Principate , ed. by PE Easterling et al., Cambridge 1982, pp. 62f .; Syme, Ammianus and the Historia Augusta , pp. 8f., Matthews, The Roman Empire of Ammianus , pp. 27ff. and Barnes, Ammianus , pp. 27f. and 213ff.
  21. For the sources cf. including the overview in Rosen, Ammianus , p. 52ff. Furthermore, see also Matthews, The Roman Empire of Ammianus and Barnes, Ammianus (see the respective register there) and Kelly, Ammianus Marcellinus , p. 222ff.
  22. For example with regard to his reproduction of the exchange of notes with Persia: Ammian 17.5, if members of the embassy are also possible sources here.
  23. The Fragments of the Greek Historians , No. 238. See Pawel Janiszewski: The Missing Link. Greek Pagan Historiography in the Second Half of the Third Century and in the Fourth Century AD. Warszawa 2006, pp. 113-116; Klaus Rosen : Julian. Kaiser, Gott und Christenhasser , Stuttgart 2006, p. 148f.
  24. The chronology actually speaks against Eunapios, cf. but Rosen, Ammianus , p. 66f. In any case, it is unlikely that Ammianus made extensive use of the histories of Eunapios, which have only been preserved in fragments, in the historical part, since Eunapios only reported secondhand about Julian's time.
  25. ^ Michael Kulikowski: Marius Maximus in Ammianus and the Historia Augusta . In: Classical Quarterly 57 (2007), pp. 244-256.
  26. On the annals of Nicomachus Flavianus cf. especially Bruno Bleckmann: Comments on the Annales des Nicomachus Flavianus , in: Historia 44 (1995), pp. 83-99. Matthews, The Roman Empire of Ammianus , pp. 476–. (Note 6), however, is much more skeptical about the assumption that Nicomachus Flavianus dealt with the imperial period and that Ammianus served as an important source.
  27. ^ David Rohrbacher, The sources for the lost books of Ammianus Marcellinus , in: Historia 55, 2006, pp. 106-124.
  28. ^ Walter Klein: Studies on Ammianus Marcellinus . Leipzig 1914, p. 40: The extent to which Ammian's work is composed of this requested material can no longer be determined in detail, as Ammian never refers to his sources. [...] To make this deception complete, luck has helped him in an almost wonderful way, since it drowned his written sources with the exception of a few remains.
  29. Bruno Bleckmann: From the tsunami of 365 to the Mimas oracle: Ammianus Marcellinus as a contemporary historian and the late Greek tradition , in: J. den Boeft u. a. (Ed.): Ammianus after Julian , pp. 7-31.
  30. ^ Hanns Christof Brennecke: Christian sources of Ammianus Marcellinus? In: Zeitschrift für Antikes Christianentum 1, 1997, pp. 226–250.
  31. For the errors contained cf. for example Rosen, Ammianus , pp. 69 f., with regard to Arabia felix .
  32. ↑ For general information on the excursions and the variety of meanings, see Wiebke Vergin: Das Imperium Romanum und seine Gegenwelten . Berlin / Boston 2013; Rosen, Ammianus , p. 73ff., Especially p. 79ff. On the geographical excursus: ibid., P. 69ff. See also Matthews, The Roman Empire of Ammianus , passim (see register p. 574). Especially on the excursion to Persia (Ammian 23.6): F. Feraco, Ammiano Geografo. La digressione sulla Persia (23, 6) . Naples 2004.
  33. ^ So Seyfarth, Ammianus , p. 32
  34. Ammian 15,9,2
  35. ^ Theodor Mommsen, Ammians Geographica , in: Hermes 16 (1881), pp. 602-636.
  36. See, for example, Ammian 15.9.1.
  37. Ammian 23.4. See also Daan den Hengst, Preparing the reader for war , in: Drijvers / Hunt, Interpreting Ammianus Marcellinus , p. 29ff.
  38. Ammian 14.6 and 28.4. See also the longer passage on Constantius II's visit to Rome in Ammian 16.10 (on this Richard Klein , Der Rombesuch des Kaiser Constantius II. In 357 , in: Richard Klein, Roma versa per aevum. Selected writings on pagan and Christian Late antiquity ( Spudasmata 74), edited by Raban von Haehling and Klaus Scherberich , Hildesheim - Zurich - New York 1999, pp. 50-71).
  39. On Rome in the 4th century cf. John P. Curran, Pagan City and Christian Capital: Rome in the fourth century , Oxford 2000; generally also Fuhrmann, Rome in late antiquity .
  40. Cf. Gavin Kelly, The Old Rome and the New: Ammianus Marcellinus' Silences on Constantinople , in: Classical Quarterly 53, 2003, pp. 588-607.
  41. Ammian 26: 10, 15-19.
  42. See Gavin Kelly, Ammianus and the Great Tsunami , in: The Journal of Roman Studies 94 (2004), pp. 141–167, especially pp. 161ff. For a summary see also Kelly, Ammianus Marcellinus , pp. 98f.
  43. For the possible reasons for this, see Rosen, Ammianus , pp. 74f. Perhaps Ammianus wanted to be less vulnerable by streamlining the material. See overall the brief but informative summary by Jan Gerrit Post in the Ammianus Marcellinus Online Project : Geographical digressions in Ammianus Marcellinus' History ( Memento from June 14, 2007 in the Internet Archive ).
  44. ↑ But see David Rohrbacher, The sources for the lost books of Ammianus Marcellinus , in: Historia 55, 2006, pp. 106-124.
  45. Barnes, Ammianus , pp. 213ff.
  46. ^ Matthews, The Roman Empire of Ammianus , p. 27.
  47. See also Brodka, Ammianus Marcellinus , p. 41ff.
  48. Megaera quaedam mortalis , Ammian 14,1,2. On Constantina in Ammianus see Anja Wieber-Scariot, Between Polemik und Panegyrik. Women of the imperial family and rulers of the east in the Res gestae des Ammianus Marcellinus , Diss., Trier 1999, which also deals with Eusebia , the wife of Constantius.
  49. Ammian 15,1,1; Translation taken from: Ammianus Marcellinus. The Roman Empire before its fall , translated by Otto Veh, introduced and explained by Gerhard Wirth, Munich - Zurich 1974, p. 49.
  50. Ammian 26,1,1f .; Translation taken from: Ammianus Marcellinus. The Roman Empire before its fall , translated by Otto Veh, introduced and explained by Gerhard Wirth, Munich - Zurich 1974, p. 500f.
  51. See Daniel the stallion: Ammianus Marcellinus. In: The Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity . Volume 1 (2018), here p. 63.
  52. ^ Rowland Smith, Telling Tales: Ammianus. Narrative of the Persian Campaign of Julian , in: Drijvers / Hunt, Interpreting Ammianus Marcellinus , pp. 89-104. See also the entry in the Encyclopædia Iranica .
  53. See Michael Whitby, Images of Constantius , in: Drijvers / Hunt, Interpreting Ammianus Marcellinus , pp. 77-88.
  54. Ammian 21,16,8 and 21,16,15f.
  55. Ammian 21:16, 15.
  56. Ammian 21: 16,1f.
  57. See the review of Pedro Barceló's Constantius biography by Richard Klein in Plekos .
  58. Ammian 25.4.1; Translation taken from: Ammianus Marcellinus. The Roman Empire before its fall , translated by Otto Veh, introduced and explained by Gerhard Wirth, Munich - Zurich 1974, p. 471.
  59. Ammian 20.4.
  60. See, for example, the most recent (and to date probably most comprehensive) Julian biography by Klaus Rosen: Julian. Kaiser, Gott und Christenhasser , Stuttgart 2006, p. 178ff.
  61. Rosen, Julian. Kaiser, Gott und Christenhasser , p. 23.
  62. Ammian 25.3, whereby Ammianus deliberately chooses an aemulatio (imitation) of Socrates ' death .
  63. So-called Huns excursion , although Ammianus could only fall back on sources from second or third hand and also incorporated some topical elements into the presentation.
  64. So-called Romexkurse: Ammian 14.6 and 28.4. See also Thomas Harrison, Templum mundi totius: Ammianus and a religious ideal of Rome , in: Drijvers / Hunt, Interpreting Ammianus Marcellinus , p. 178ff.
  65. Seyfarth, Ammianus , p. 35.
  66. See now Brodka, Ammianus Marcellinus , p. 32ff. For a summary see also I. Kajanto, Fortuna , in: Rise and decline of the Roman world , Vol. II.17.1, 1981, pp. 502–558, here pp. 552f .; Thomas Harrison, Templum mundi totius: Ammianus and a religious ideal of Rome , in: Drijvers / Hunt, Interpreting Ammianus Marcellinus , p. 178ff., Especially p. 183ff. However, Ammianus is likely to have done this primarily for stylistic reasons, as chance also plays a role in his portrayal.
  67. Ammian 14: 6,3. See also Rosen, Ammianus , p. 112f.
  68. See also Matthews, The Roman Empire of Ammianus , p. 472.
  69. See Rosen, Ammianus , pp. 48–51.
  70. See also Alan Cameron : Claudian . Oxford 1970, p. Vif.
  71. ^ Matthews, The Roman Empire of Ammianus , p. 32.
  72. Cf. Petra Riedl: Factors of the historical process. A comparative study on Tacitus and Ammianus Marcellinus . Tübingen 2002, summarized on p. 393ff.
  73. Michael von Albrecht, History of Roman Literature , Vol. 2, 3rd edition (as TB), Munich 2003, pp. 1131f. For the stylistic peculiarities cf. also the brief summary in Seyfarth, Ammianus , p. 33f.
  74. ^ So Seyfarth, Ammianus , p. 28.
  75. Wittchow, Exemplary narration with Ammanius Marcellinus .
  76. Roger C. Blockley , Ammianus Marcellinus' use of exempla , in: Florilegium 13, 1994, pp. 53-64, here p. 61.
  77. Ammian 31:16, 9. See also Michael von Albrecht, History of Roman Literature , Vol. 2, 3rd edition (as TB), Munich 2003, pp. 1132f.
  78. On Ammianus' image of man, cf. Rosen, Ammianus , p. 117ff.
  79. See Seyfarth, Ammianus , p. 32f.
  80. Kelly, Ammianus Marcellinus .
  81. Ammian 20,7,7ff.
  82. ^ Barnes, Ammianus , p. 88.
  83. Jason P. Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on Their Gods , Cambridge 2004, p. 226ff .; The brief overview by Bourke van Laëthem, Christianity In Ammianus Marcellinus ( Memento of December 31, 2006 in the Internet Archive ) is useful . Older literature in Seyfarth, Ammianus , pp. 38–40. Barnes' thesis that Ammianus was brought up as a Christian and later also "fell away from the faith" [Barnes, Ammianus , p. 79ff., Especially p. 83ff.], May liven up the research discussion, but it is certainly worth discussing and can hardly be proven.
  84. ^ Alan Cameron: The Roman Friends of Ammianus , in: Journal of Roman Studies 54 (1964), pp. 15-28. See also the summary by Rosen, Ammianus , pp. 27ff.
  85. See Rosen, Ammianus , p. 167.
  86. See also Hermann Peter: Truth and Art. Historiography and plagiarism in classical antiquity . Leipzig-Berlin 1911, p. 416ff.
  87. On Jovian cf. for example Gerhard Wirth , Jovian. Kaiser and caricature , in: Vivarium. Festschrift Theodor Klauser on the occasion of his 90th birthday ( Yearbook for Antiquity and Christianity , Supplementary Volume 11, 1984), pp. 353–384.
  88. ^ Edward Gibbon, History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire , chap. 26 : It is not without the most sincere regret that I must now take leave of an accurate and faithful guide, who has composed the history of his own times without indulging the prejudices and passions which usually affect the mind of a contemporary. Ammianus Marcellinus, who terminates his useful work with the defeat and death of Valens, recommends the more glorious subject of the ensuing reign to the youthful vigor and eloquence of the rising generation.
  89. See Barnes, Ammianus , p. 66.
  90. ^ AHM Jones, The Later Roman Empire , Vol. 1, ND Baltimore 1986, p. 116.
  91. Ronald Syme: Tacitus . Vol. 2, Oxford 1958, p. 503, note 8: " The heir of Tacitus, in every sense, is Ammianus ".
  92. ^ On the criticism, see Barnes, Ammianus , p. 195ff.
  93. ^ Barnes, Ammianus , p. 198.
  94. Arnaldo Momigliano, The Lonely Historian Ammianus Marcellinus , in: Ders., Essays in Ancient and Modern Historiography , Oxford 1977, pp. 127–140.
  95. See the brief appraisal by Manfred Fuhrmann in Der Kleine Pauly (vol. 1, col. 302–304); similar to Klaus Rosen in the corresponding article in Der Neue Pauly (Vol. 1, Col. 596-598).
  96. Glen Bowersock and others: Late Antiquity. A guide to the postclassical world . Cambridge (Massachusetts) 1999, p. 293.
  97. Rosen, Ammianus , p. 5. On Ammianus' appreciation and a brief summary of the research (up to 1979): ibid., P. 1ff.
  98. With the possible exception of the anonymous author of the Historia Augusta , cf. Syme, Ammianus and the Historia Augusta and Barnes, Ammianus , p. 30.
  99. ↑ In summary Seyfarth, Ammianus , pp. 40–46.
  100. a b Barbara Kuhn-Chen: Ammianus Marcellinus. In: Manfred Landfester (ed.): History of ancient texts. Lexicon of authors and works (= Der Neue Pauly . Supplements. Volume 2). Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2007, ISBN 978-3-476-02030-7 , p. 35 f.
  101. See also Rosen, Ammianus , p. 8ff .; for the history of transmission, see also the current references in Drijvers / Hunt, Interpreting Ammianus Marcellinus , p. 8ff.
  102. Philological and historical commentary on Ammianus Marcellinus , ed. from the Boeft et al
This article was added to the list of excellent articles on June 12, 2007 in this version .