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What makes Alexander Great? His story has captured the imagination of authors, artists, philosophers, and politicians across more than two millennia. He has provided a point of convergence for religious and spiritual thinkers, he has been co-opted as a champion for gender and sexual openness, he represents a paradigm for would-be charismatic dictators (and their opponents), he gives us scientific imperialism and justification for conquistadorial dreaming, and he exemplifies the risks of cultural appropriation. To understand why Alexander resonates so widely across so many different fields of study, interest groups, and media, is an exercise in reception. This Alexander who has captured the imagination is triumphantly equivocal and it is in the plurality of traditions through which this complexity is expressed that his enduring “greatness” lies. The imaginary quality of Alexander is unsurprising because more profoundly than for any comparable individual from classical antiquity, his history is a product of reception from the start: every encounter with Alexander the Great is part of a conversation that depends substantially on accounts and narrative evidence from long after his death, and at the least at one remove from the historians who first and contemporaneously chronicled his life and achievements.

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Cassiodorus was a prominent participant in the political, intellectual, and religious life of 6th-century ce Italy, and a learned scholar of the classical and Christian traditions. As a member of the administration of the Gothic government under Theoderic and his successors, he advanced through what may be considered the late-Roman cursus honorum. He was also witness to the dramatic political and religious debates of the day, including volatile interactions between the royal court at Ravenna, the Senate at Rome, and the emperor in Constantinople. Justinian’s Gothic War in Italy effectively ended his political career, after which he first became an exile in Constantinople, and then the founder of a school for Christian learning (Vivarium) on his ancestral estates in southern Italy. The literary works that he produced span the spectrum of his personal experiences and attest to the intellectual and cultural range of people living during the 6th century: panegyrics, a chronicle, ethnography, letters, treatises on reading, grammars, Christian exegesis, and ecclesiastical history.

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Article

Tessa Rajak

Porcius Festus, *procurator of *Judaea, ?60–62 ce, was, like his predecessor Felix, harassed by sicarii terrorists and by a pseudo-prophet. He supported *Iulius Agrippa (2) II against the priests in a dispute over a palace extension. He carried on the trial of St *Paul, before sending him to Rome (Acts 25–6). He died in office.

Article

Pulcheria was a Roman empress in the early to mid-5th century ce, one of the sisters of the eastern Roman emperor Theodosius II (408–450). Pulcheria spent her entire life in Constantinople (modern Istanbul) and its suburbs where she was a prominent public figure. She has been described as being influential in the First Council of Ephesus in 431 and the Council of Chalcedon in 451, and as a significant founder of churches in Constantinople. Following the death of the childless Theodosius in 450, Marcian (450–457) became emperor and then married Pulcheria. Aged 55, Pulcheria died in Constantinople in July 453. Many ancient and modern interpretations of Pulcheria’s life rely heavily on later source material, with the result that she was more influential in historiography from the 6th century onward than in her own lifetime. She is portrayed very differently by two contemporary historians, Sozomen and Socrates Scholasticus. In Sozomen’s account, she is represented as managing the Roman Empire in the early part of Theodosius’ reign. Socrates Scholasticus, however, omits her from his history. These two different perspectives probably relate to conflict between Pulcheria and Eudocia, Theodosius’ wife from 421.

Article

George Ronald Watson and Antony Spawforth

Sacramentum (military), the oath of allegiance, sworn on attestation by a Roman recruit; the most strictly observed of all Roman oaths according to *Dionysius (7) of Halicarnassus. Its content stressed obedience to the consuls or commanding officers and good discipline (Dion. Hal., Ant. Rom. 11.43; 10. 18); in the mid-2nd cent. bce the tribunes administered it (Polyb. 6. 21. 2). After the reforms of C. *Marius (1) soldiers swore the oath to their general, and it took on a personal hue (e.g. Plut. Sull. 27. 3), thus encouraging the personal armies of the late Republic. From *Augustus loyalty was sworn to the emperor, before the standards (Tac.Ann. 15. 29); the oath was renewed annually on New Year's Day or the anniversary of the emperor's accession (Tac.Hist. 1. 55; Plin.Ep. 10. 60). In the Christian empire soldiers swore much the same oath but by God, Christ, and the Holy Ghost (Vegetius 2. 5). See oaths.

Article

Ronald Syme and Barbara Levick

Publius Sulpicius Quirinius, consul 12 bce, a *novus homo from *Lanuvium (on his career cf. Tac.Ann. 3. 48). Quirinius defeated the Marmaridae (Florus 2. 31), perhaps as proconsul of *Crete and *Cyrene (c.15 bce). Between 12 bce and ce 2 he subjugated the Homanadenses, ‘Cilician’ brigands (see brigandage) on Lake Trogitis (Strabo 569). The precise date of this war and the command held by Quirinius are disputed. It has been argued that he must have been legate of *Syria at the time; but the war could have been conducted only from the side of *Galatia, which province, though normally governed by imperial legates (see legati) of praetorian rank, might easily have been placed under a consular (cf. L. *Calpurnius Piso (2), c.13 bce, and M. *Plautius Silvanus in ce 6). Quirinius prudently paid court to *Tiberius on Rhodes, succeeded M.

Article

John Frederick Drinkwater

Gaius Pius Esuvius Tetricus became emperor in Gaul in 271 ce. In the literary tradition he appears weaker than *Postumus and *Victorinus, finally betraying his own army to *Aurelian at Châlons-sur-Marne (274). However, his coins (which show the late elevation of his son, Tetricus II, as Caesar) suggest a more resolute regime. Having led Tetricus in triumph, Aurelian gave him a senatorial appointment in Italy (PLRE 1.

Article

John Frederick Drinkwater

Praetorian prefect (see praefectus praetorio) of the Gallic usurper, *Postumus, whom he succeeded in 269 AD after the ephemeral reign of Marius. Though he abandoned *Spain and lost eastern Narbonensis (see gaul (transalpine)) to *Claudius II Gothicus, he successfully resisted other efforts to undermine his regime and suppressed a major revolt at Autun (*Augustodunum).