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Article

Otto Skutsch

Licentius, of Thagaste, friend and (probably) relation of St *Augustine to whom (395 ce) he addressed a poem on the difficulty of understanding music and sought Augustine's guidance, asking for a copy of the latter's work De musica. The poem is preserved with St Augustine's reply (August. Ep.

Article

The Roman emperor Licinius was born c.260 ce of humble stock in new *Dacia. He served under *Galerius in the Persian war (296–7) and was later sent to negotiate with *Maxentius in Rome (307). Galerius appointed him straight to the rank of Augustus at the Carnuntum conference (Nov. 308). Intended to dislodge Maxentius from Italy, in fact he operated on the Danube frontier and won a victory over the Carpi (June 310). On Galerius's death (Spring 311), he took over all the Balkan provinces, while *Maximinus occupied Asia Minor, the two confronting one another at the Bosphorus. Licinius issued a grant of privileges to bolster his troops’ loyalty (June 311; AE 1937. 232, 2007. 1224). Allying with *Constantine I, he married the latter's sister, Constantia, at Milan (February 313), and, having already supported Galerius's final act of toleration, agreed a mutual policy on the Christians, to whom he now granted restitution of property. Hurrying east to meet invasion by Maximinus, he defeated him at Adrianople (April 313), occupying Asia Minor and then, after Maximinus's death, the rest of the east (summer 313). He issued a letter for the eastern provinces, first published at Nicomedia (Izmit; 13 June 313), granting universal religious toleration to everyone and restitution to the Christians. He executed all surviving members of the tetrarchic dynasties. In 315 Constantia bore him a son. Dynastic tensions then led Constantine to attack Licinius, who was defeated at Cibalae (October 316) and again at Adrianople. By regrouping, however, he forced a negotiated settlement. Disposing of Valens, who had been briefly appointed co-ruler during the crisis, he ceded all the Balkans except Thrace to Constantine, while Constantine's two sons (Crispus and Constantine II) and Licinius's son Licinius junior were appointed Caesars on 1 March 317 at Serdica (Sofia). Tension increased again from 321, with Licinius not recognizing Constantine's consuls and later angered at the violation of his territory during operations against the *Goths.

Article

R. S. O. Tomlin

Limitanei, collective term for units of the late-Roman frontier armies so called because they occupied permanent stations on the frontiers (limites, see limes), as distinct from units of the mobile army (*comitatenses). This distinction existed earlier, but was completed by *Constantine I. They comprised the surviving *legions and auxiliary units (*alae and cohortes (See cohors)), now much reduced in size, and new units of cavalry (equites and cunei) and infantry (auxilia and milites). They were grouped into armies commanded by duces (see dux). They remained fighting troops during the 4th cent. and were sometimes upgraded into the mobile army as pseudocomitatenses.

Article

L. M. Whitby

Lombards, or Langobardi, a Germanic group, described by Tacitus as few but courageous (Germ. 40). In the 1st cent. ce they lived along the lower Elbe, but by the 160s they were threatening the upper Danube frontier. After being subsumed into the *Hun federation (c.400), victory over the *Heruli (c.

Article

J. H. D. Scourfield

Luxorius or Luxurius, author of some 90 short poems, in various metres and on various subjects, which afford an insight into the Vandal society of North Africa in which they were written. His identification with an obscure grammarian, Lisorius, is a matter of doubt. In inspiration his poems owe most to the epigrams of *Martial.

Article

Lydus  

L. M. Whitby

Lydus, i.e. John the Lydian, civil servant at *Constantinople and Greek author (490–c.560 ce). John, son of Laurentius, native of *Philadelphia (2) in Lydia, was well educated in Latin and Greek before travelling to Constantinople in 511. He studied philosophy while awaiting admission to the memoriales, an administrative bureau, but when his compatriot Zoticus became praetorian prefect John enrolled as excerptor in the prefecture, receiving a privileged position with profitable opportunities (1,000 solidi from fees in 511/2); his patron also arranged a lucrative marriage. John's career progressed less spectacularly after Zoticus' retirement in 512, although his exceptional command of Latin was always an asset. For a time he served as a secretary in the imperial palace, before returning to the prefecture. Under *Justinian, John's literary skills received recognition with imperial requests to deliver a Latin panegyric before foreign dignitaries and describe a Roman victory at Dara (530); perhaps in 543 he was given a professorship at Constantinople, being permitted to combine this with work in the prefecture until retirement in 551/2.

Article

Richard J. A. Talbert

This damaged, but still striking, floor-mosaic map offers a unique and invaluable example of late antique cartography, as well as the earliest surviving vision of the Holy Land. The map was discovered by accident around 1890, when the inhabitants of the recently repopulated village of Madaba in modern Jordan were erecting a new church (dedicated to Saint George) in the ruins of a former Byzantine one in the province of Arabia. By far the largest part of what survives of the map extends up to 10.5 × 5 metres (34 × 16 feet), although within this span several areas are missing. The survival of three other small segments reinforces the probability that the original map covered the full width of the nave(14 metres/46 feet). The orientation is east, so that the top of the map is closest to the apse and altar. The coverage visible comprises two large sections: (1) the Nile delta, part of Sinai, and the south coast of Palestine as far as Gaza; and (2) Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, and several towns around it. There is no means to determine how much farther the original map extended in each direction, but in all likelihood it ranged considerably farther north at least. The Jordan and Nile rivers, the Dead Sea, and the city of Jerusalem in bird’s-eye view (Fig.

Article

These three ‘masters’ replaced the imperial secretaries a memoria, ab epistulis, and a libellis, in control of the bureaux (scrinia) in the late Roman secretariat. They are first attested in the 290s ce, and are probably Diocletianic (see Diocletian). The magister memoriae was the senior, and holders included the orator *Eumenius, the jurist *Arcadius Charisius, and the historians *Eutropius(1) and *Festus; the magister epistularum also was often a littérateur. Their division of responsibilities is obscure. According to the *Notitia Dignitatum (Or. 19), the bureaux all handled petitions to the emperor, but the memoria issued memoranda in response, the epistulae dealt with embassies from cities, the libelli with judicial hearings (cognitiones); see further separate entry magister libellorum. Literary sources refer to them all as drafting imperial documents, a role which must have overlapped with that of the *quaestor.

Article

R. S. O. Tomlin

Magister militum, ‘master of the soldiers’. *Constantine I deprived the praetorian prefects of their military functions, and to command his enlarged mobile army appointed two new generals, the magister peditum (infantry) and the magister equitum (cavalry), known collectively as magistri militum. Later they were styled praesentales (‘in attendance’) to distinguish them from the other magistri militum, generals commanding major regional mobile armies, who were indifferently entitled magister equitum, magister equitum et peditum, and magister utriusque militiae (‘master of both arms’).

Article

Arnold Hugh Martin Jones and R. S. O. Tomlin

The ‘master of the offices’ is first attested in the early 320s ce at the courts of both *Constantine I and *Licinius; so he may be Diocletianic (see Diocletian). He originally held the rank of tribune, but by an extraordinary accumulation of responsibilities for the working of the central bureaucracy and its communications came to rank second only to the praetorian prefects. He controlled the imperial couriers (*agentes in rebus) and the inspectors of the *postal service (curiosi) drawn from them, and issued postal warrants (evectiones). He exercised disciplinary control over the bureaux (scrinia) which served the *quaestor, the *magister memoriae, and the other ‘masters’ responsible for imperial documents. He supervised further groups of court officials whose exact role is often obscure, but who included interpreters, doorkeepers (decani), organizers of imperial audiences (admissionales), and billeting officers (mensores).

Article

Flavius Magnus Magnentius, from a family of barbarian settlers in Gaul, rose to a senior military command under the emperor *Constans. In January ce 350 at Autun (*Augustodunum) he led a coup which overthrew Constans, and rapidly won over the western provinces; although nominally a Christian, he made religious concessions to the pagan senatorial aristocracy. He failed to gain recognition from the eastern Augustus *Constantius II, and his forces were defeated by those of Constantius at the epic battle of Mursa in 351.

Article

Howard Hayes Scullard and Antony Spawforth

Magnus of *Carrhae, accompanied *Julian on his Persian expedition in 363 ce and wrote an account of it, of which a summary is quoted by *Malalas. His identification with the tribune Magnus who was decorated for bravery on Julian's Persian campaign is uncertain, as is the extent, if any, to which *Ammianus Marcellinus used him.

Article

Magnus Maximus, Roman emperor (383–8 ce), was a Spaniard who rose to the command of the troops in Britain, where he fought successfully against Picts and Scots. Elevated by the army in Britain, he crossed to Gaul and overthrew *Gratian. He was for a time recognized as emperor by *Theodosius (2) I and controlled Gaul and Spain as well as Britain. He successfully invaded Italy in 387 but in the next year was decisively defeated by Theodosius in battles fought near Siscia and Pola, and was executed on 27 August 388. Maximus was a Catholic and persecuted Priscillian and his followers (see Priscillianists). A fictionalized version of his elevation to the throne is presented in the story in the Mabinogion, The Dream of Macsen Wledig, and the name of Maximus also occurs in Welsh genealogies.

Article

Iulius Valerius Majorian, western Roman emperor (457–61 ce), the last of any ability, was elevated by *Ricimer. His legislative programme to restore the state was combined with systematic reintegration of parts of Gaul and Spain into the empire; his achievement was admired by *Sidonius Apollinaris, whose home city of Lyons (*Lugdunum(1)) he had spared.

Article

L. M. Whitby

Malalas (c. 480–c. 570 ce), author of an influential universal chronicle in Greek. John Malalas came from *Antioch (1) in Syria where legal expertise probably secured him administrative employment (Malalas is Syriac for ‘rhetor’, ‘lawyer’). His eighteen-book Chronographia covers world history from the Creation to ce 563, where the single manuscript of a continuous text breaks off (12th-cent. Oxford MS Bodl. Baroccianus 182): the chronicle probably terminated in 565, less plausibly 574. Apart from lacunae, this MS is also an abridgement of the original, but Malalas was used by later Greek, Syriac, Coptic, Latin, and Slavonic writers and through these adaptations a fuller version of the original has been reconstructed.The preface proclaims a dual purpose, to narrate the course of sacred history as presented in Christian chronography and present a summary of events from Adam to *Justinian. These motives coalesce in the chronological computations which present an unusual date for Christ's crucifixion, 6,000 years after Creation (normally c.5,500): this permitted Malalas to dismiss contemporary apocalyptic fears that the world would endure for only 6,000 years and hence end in the early 6th cent. Books 1–8 cover the period before Christ, with Greek mythology and history incorporated within a framework of Hebrew affairs. Books 9–10 treat the late Roman republic and early empire, with special attention to the chronology of Christ's incarnation, while 11–17 narrate Roman imperial history from *Trajan to Justin I (uncle of *Justinian); the account becomes increasingly detailed, and from Zeno's reign deserves credit as a major contemporary source, especially for events at Antioch to which Malalas naturally devoted much attention.

Article

Byzantine historian probably from Syrian Philadelphia. His history covered in detail at least the years ce 474–80 in seven books, although the Suda reports that it started with the reign of *Constantine I. The majority of the surviving fragments are preserved in Constantine Porphyrogenitus' De legationibus; all fall within the period 474–80, and are particularly informative about the *Goths.

Article

Composed in Vandalic *Carthage (see Vandals), probably in the last quarter of the 5th cent. ce, a prosimetrical Latin encyclopaedia of the seven Liberal Arts (grammar, dialectic, rhetoric—the medieval ‘trivium’—and the ‘quadrivium’, geometry, arithmetic, astronomy, music; see education, Greek, §§ 3 and 4). He subsequently composed a short metrical treatise. Both works were addressed to his son. The encyclopaedia, usually known as the De nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii, but called the Philologia by its author, comprises a two-book introductory myth describing the ascent to heaven, apotheosis, and marriage of Philology to *Mercury, as well as a seven-book introduction to the Liberal Arts, in which each subject is presented by an elaborately described female personification. The encyclopaedic books are pedestrian compilations, mostly from Latin sources, such as *Aquila Romanus, *Geminus, *Pliny(1) the Elder, *Quintilian, and *Iulius Solinus; whether Varro's lost Disciplinarum libri were also used is still debated.

Article

Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maxentius (b. c. 283 ce), son of *Maximian, married *Galerius' daughter but was, like Constantius I's son *Constantine I, passed over when Diocletian and Maximian abdicated and Galerius and *Constantius I succeeded as Augusti (305). On Constantius's death Flavius Valerius *Severus became Augustus, but Constantine's proclamation and the attempt by Severus to register the plebs at Rome provoked the praetorian guard to proclaim Maxentius as princeps (306). In 307 he took the title Augustus and recalled his father Maximian from retirement to assist him. Severus failed to suppress Maxentius, who had him executed; Galerius invaded Italy but unsuccessfully. Maxentius now controlled all Italy and Africa, but not Spain. Maximian allied with Constantine in Gaul, giving him the title Augustus and his daughter Fausta in marriage. In 308 Maximian quarrelled with his son, failed to depose him, and fled to Constantine; at *Carnuntum Galerius declared Maxentius a public enemy.

Article

Raymond Davis

Maximian (Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maximianus), the son of shopkeepers near Sirmium, he rose through the ranks of the army. An excellent general, he was called by his old comrade-in-arms *Diocletian to assist him as his Caesar (21 July 285), with responsibility for Italy, Africa, Spain, Gaul, and Britain. Sent against the insurgent *Bacaudae in Gaul, he soon dispersed their irregular bands under Amandus and Aelianus; he repelled a German invasion of Gaul, and was promoted Augustus (1 April 286; see Augustus, Augusta as titles). Against *Carausius he was less successful: an expedition by sea failed, and the usurper was able to hold Britain and part of Gaul for some years, while Maximian was heavily engaged on the Rhine. He acted in close accord with Diocletian, with whom he conferred in 289 and 290/1 and to whom he remained utterly loyal.In 293, under Diocletian's tetrarchic system (see tetrarchy), he received *Constantius(1), probably his praetorian prefect (see praefectus praetorio) since 288 and already married to his (?step-) daughter Theodora, as his Caesar.

Article

Gaius Galerius Valerius Maximinus, originally named Daia, born in Illyricum c.ce 270, son of a sister of *Galerius, was rapidly promoted in the army, and made Caesar when Galerius became Augustus (305). Charged with governing Syria and Egypt, he was resentful that Galerius made Valerius Licinianus *Licinius Augustus (308). Spurning the title filius Augustorum (‘son of the Augusti’), he had his troops proclaim him Augustus; Galerius recognized this (309/10). On Galerius's death (311), as senior Augustus he seized Asia Minor while Licinius occupied Galerius' European territories; war with Licinius was averted, but to balance the latter's alliance with Constantine (see Constantine I) he drew closer to *Maxentius. Learning of the latter's defeat, and that the senate had made Constantine senior Augustus, he crossed the Hellespont. Defeated by Licinius near Adrianople (30 April 313), he fled and committed suicide at Tarsus. Like Galerius, he was an ardent *pagan.