Ammianus Marcellinus And The Representation Of Historical Reality by Timothy D. BarnesAmmianus Marcellinus And The Representation Of Historical Reality by Timothy D. Barnes

Ammianus Marcellinus And The Representation Of Historical Reality

byTimothy D. Barnes

Hardcover | September 24, 1998

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Much of what we know today of Rome in the fourth century has its source in Res Gestae, the sole surviving work of the historian Ammianus Marcellinus. The accuracy of Ammianus' reporting has come under question over the past fifty years, however, and Timothy D. Barnes here offers new grist for skepticism. This is the first book on Ammianus to place equal emphasis on the literary and historical aspects of his writing.

Barnes assesses Ammianus' depiction of historical reality by investigating the Res Gestae's strengths and weaknesses, as well as its literary qualities. He examines its structure and arrangement, emphasizes its Greek and pagan features, and points out the extent to which Ammianus drew on his imagination in shaping the narrative. Ammianus, raised as a Christian, became an apostate when Julian seemed to promise a return to traditional religion and values. In Res Gestae, he expressed strongly held views, often in vivid and extreme language.

Barnes explores the historian's biases and personal prejudices, documenting seemingly intentional distortions and demonstrating that Ammianus advanced a pessimistic and anti-Christian interpretation of the Roman Empire.

Title:Ammianus Marcellinus And The Representation Of Historical RealityFormat:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.45 inPublished:September 24, 1998Publisher:Cornell University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801435269

ISBN - 13:9780801435263

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Reviews

From Our Editors

Challenging the veracity of most of what we know about 4th-century Rome, Timothy Barnes questions the accuracy of historian Ammianus Marcellinus' reporting in his Res Gestae. Taking the original step of placing equal emphasis on the work's literary and historical aspects, Ammianus Marcellinus and the Representation of Historical Reality exposes the writer's use of imagination in shaping the narrative, his reliance on Greek and pagan literary devices and his seemingly intention distortions motivated by religious prejudices.

Editorial Reviews

"Barne's investigations are a forceful reminder that alert skepticism is always needed when reading Ammianus."—Michael Whitby, University of Warwick. The Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies, Vol. 90, 2000