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Article

Helena Augusta  

E. D. Hunt

Helena Augusta, mother of *Constantine I. Born of humble origins at Drepanum in Bithynia, she became c. ce 270 the first wife (or perhaps concubine) of the future emperor Constantius I. On Constantius’ later dynastic marriage to Theodora, Helena lapsed into obscurity, returning to prominence after her son's elevation as emperor in 306; she followed Constantine in adopting Christianity. In 324 she was given the title Augusta, and c.327 made a celebrated imperial progress through the eastern provinces as far as Jerusalem, where she engaged in charitable activities and was associated with the building of Constantine's new churches at the holy places. In Christian tradition her journey became a model of Holy Land pilgrimage, and by the later 4th cent. she was believed to have discovered relics of the True Cross.

Article

Heliodorus (4), Greek novelist, c. 4th century CE  

Benedek Kruchió

Heliodorus was the author of the Aethiopica, the latest and longest Greek novel to survive from antiquity. In his work, Heliodorus claims to be a Phoenician from Emesa, but there are good reasons against treating this as an authoritative autobiographical statement. The Aethiopica tells the adventures of Charicleia, the white daughter of the black queen and king of Ethiopia. Her mother abandons her, and she is brought up by foster-fathers in Ethiopia and Delphi. There she falls in love with the young Greek Theagenes, with whom she travels via Egypt to Ethiopia. They are almost sacrificed to the local gods, but Charicleia’s parents eventually recognise her. The protagonists become priests and marry. The novel is a narratologically ambitious work that draws on the structure of the Odyssey (in mediis rebus beginning, embedded heterodiegetic narratives) and takes these devices to a whole new level. A wide range of topics play important roles in the Aethiopica, such as religion, multiculturalism, identity, and epistemology.

Article

Hellenic Philosophy, Arabic and Syriac reception of  

Dimitri Gutas

Hellenic philosophy died a lingering death even before Islam appeared. The Christianization of the Roman empire, and the increasing self-identification by the Greek-speaking population as Romans in the so-called Byzantine age, rendered Hellenic philosophy the object of scorn. By the end of the 6th century, philosophy was neither practised nor taught, nor were philosophical texts copied. In addition, all Greek texts, and not only the philosophical ones, went through two periods of sifting in their physical transmission—from papyrus rolls to codices (3rd–4th centuries) and from uncial writing to minuscule script (8th–9th centuries)—at the end of which only a small fraction survived.

By late antiquity the Hellenic philosophical and scientific corpus had been organized into a potent curriculum, based on the classification of the sciences originally introduced by Aristotle, which represented the sum total of human knowledge. It was received as such by the Hellenized peoples of the Near East, who had been participating in the philosophical enterprise in Greek. As the practice of philosophy attenuated in the Greek-speaking world, Persians in the Sasanian empire, and Arameans, now Christianized into the churches of the East, began translating selectively parts of the philosophical curriculum into Middle Persian and Syriac, respectively. With the emergence of Islam in the 7th century and the subsequent development of scholarship in Arabic, political, social, and cultural exigencies required that the rulers of the new empire participate, own, and promote the high Hellenic culture cultivated amid the Persian- and Syriac-speaking subjects. As a result there was launched a far-flung translation movement into Arabic, from Sanskrit, Middle Persian, Syriac, and especially from Greek, of all sciences and philosophy. The philosophical texts that passed into Arabic were primarily the Aristotelian corpus, the near-totality of which was translated with some notable omissions, and the long list of commentators from Alexander of Aphrodisias to the last Neoplatonists of Alexandria. The Platonic tradition was not favoured, Platonism having been proscribed in Greek, and to a lesser degree in Syriac, Christianity. Not a single complete dialogue was translated into Arabic; what was available of Plato was various selections from the dialogues, Galen’s summaries of the dialogues, biographies, and sayings. Selections from Plotinus and Proclus were available in paraphrastic and interpolated versions that were attributed to Aristotle. The remaining schools of Hellenic philosophy, already extinct long before the rise of Islam, were known primarily through quotations among the translated authors like Aristotle and Galen.

Article

Heruli  

Peter Heather

A Germanic people, who participated in the 3rd-cent. ce invasions of Roman territory from the Black Sea region, particularly the expedition of 268–70 through the Dardanelles. Not attested again until the mid-5th cent., when they were subject to Hunnic hegemony; they had probably been subject to the Goths in between. They re-established independence after *Attila's death, and fought wars to maintain it against Lombards, Gepids, and Romans.

Article

hierodouloi  

David Potter

The term hierodoulos is variously used to describe slaves who are technically the property of a god and live on land owned by temples, slaves who are attached to the service of a god through a gift or civic decree, and slaves who were manumitted through a fictitious sale to a god; occasionally, it is applied to devotees of a cult who refer to themselves as ‘slaves of the god’.Hierodouloi of the first sort are better described as ‘serfs of a divinity’, rather than as ‘slaves’ in the classical sense. They are attached to villages belonging to a divinity. This status, in Anatolia, can be traced to the Hittite period, and seems to be analogous to that of the Sirkirtu in Mesopotamia (see anatolian deities; asia minor (pre-classical)). This ancient Anatolian system survived well into the Roman imperial period, and conferred immunity from imperial taxation in so far as the temples to which they were attached were immune. According to the jurists of the Severan period, such hierodouloi appear to have been characterized as ‘freedmen’.

Article

Historia Augusta  

John F. Matthews

Title given by I. Casaubon (1603) to a collection of biographies (see biography, roman) of Roman emperors, Caesars, and usurpers from ce 117 to 284 (*Hadrian to *Carinus and *Numerianus). The present text is not complete, as there is a lacuna for the years 244–59. Though the work is modelled on *Suetonius' ‘Lives of the Twelve Caesars’ (De vita Caesarum) there is no cogent reason to believe that it was a direct continuation of Suetonius and that it therefore originally included the Lives of *Nerva and *Trajan. According to the complex manuscript tradition the biographies were written by six different authors who lived in the time of *Diocletian and *Constantine I. Some of the biographies are dedicated to Diocletian or Constantine, others to private persons. Yet, unless one is to postulate multiple series of biographies, there is an inherent contradiction in the claims of authorship, because four of the supposed ‘authors’—Aelius Spartianus, Iulius Capitolinus, Vulcacius Gallicanus, Aelius Lampridius—say that they have written more biographies than appear in our present compilation. Only two ‘authors’—Trebellius Pollio and Flavius Vopiscus—do not profess to have written more than the extant biographies. The Scriptores Historiae Augustae (as the six ‘authors’ are usually called) claim to have used many literary sources, only a few of which, such as Herodian, are extant, although others, such as the senatorial biographer of the Severan period, *Marius Maximus, and the Athenian *Herennius Dexippus, of whom fragments survive, are well attested as historical authors.

Article

Honoria, Justa Grata, sister to western emperor Valentinian III  

Meaghan McEvoy

Justa Grata Honoria was the elder sister of the western Roman emperor Valentinian III (reigned 425–455 ce), and the first child of the Augusta Galla Placidia and her husband Flavius Constantius (later Constantius III), who died in 421 ce (Olympiodorus, fr. 33.1). Honoria was born in late 417 or 418 ce,1 and in 425 her younger brother was acclaimed western emperor at the age of six years.2 At perhaps the same time or very shortly thereafter, Justa Grata Honoria was elevated to the rank of Augusta.3 Honoria cannot have been more than eight years old at the time of her elevation, and the creation of a child Augusta was a rare and almost unprecedented event, the only similar case being the recent elevation of her cousin Pulcheria, the older sister of the eastern emperor Theodosius II, who in 414 had been raised to the rank of Augusta while a teenager.

Article

Honorius, Roman emperor, b. 384 CE  

Raymond Davis

Honorius, b. 384 ce, younger son of *Theodosius (2) I, who made him Augustus (393). From 395 he ruled the west but was dominated by *Stilicho and then, after an interlude of civilian rule under Olympius and Jovius, by *Constantius III whom Honorius made Augustus (421). While Honorius lived safely in *Ravenna, failure to pay *Alaric for his services led to three sieges of Rome (408–10), its sack (410), and the capture of Honorius's half-sister *Placidia, whom Athaulf, who led the Visigoths (see goths) to Gaul (412), forced to marry him. Chaos in Gaul had followed the crossing of the Rhine by the *Vandals and others, who occupied Spain (409), to which the Visigoths withdrew (415); *Constantine III's usurpation led to loss of control in Britain. Other usurpers included Priscus Attalus, whom the Visigoths made emperor twice. Married in turn to both of Stilicho's daughters, Honorius died childless (423), his few political interventions having been generally disastrous.

Article

Huns  

Edward Arthur Thompson and John Frederick Drinkwater

Huns, a Mongolian nomadic people who appeared in SE Europe c.370 ce, destroyed the Gothic communities (see goths) on the Black (*Euxine) Sea, and drove large numbers of refugees into the Roman empire (376). Early in the 5th cent. they advanced into central Europe, displacing other barbarians into Italy and Gaul, and laying the foundations of their own empire, mostly north of the Danube. This achieved its greatest extent (from the Ukraine to the Rhine) under *Attila (434–53). After Attila's death, his realm was divided between his sons, who were defeated in 454 by a coalition of their subjects. The Huns' society and culture remains elusive and, despite their demonization by Rome, their historical significance requires prudent assessment. Their prowess as cavalrymen was as much exploited by Roman generalissimos (in particular, Flavius *Aetius) as it was turned against the empire; and, though they exacted large quantities of gold from the eastern empire, they failed to win any of its territory.

Article

Ianuarius Nepotianus  

Antony Spawforth

Author of a loose and imperfect epitome of *Valerius Maximus before the 6th cent. ce. Identification with the Severan procurator…Nepotianus (PIR 2 N 47) has been wrongly suggested.

Article

indictio  

Arnold Hugh Martin Jones

Indictio under the Principate meant the compulsory purchase of food, clothing, and other goods for the army and the court. Owing to the inflation of the mid-3rd cent. ce the payments made for such purchases became derisory and were finally abandoned. From the time of *Diocletian the term indictio was applied to the annual assessment of all levies in kind made by the praetorian prefects: the indictio declared the amount of each item (wheat, barley, wine, oil, clothing, etc. ) payable on each fiscal unit (caput, iugum, etc. ). From 287, indictions were numbered serially in cycles of five years, from 312 in cycles of fifteen years. The number of the indiction was regularly used for dating financial years (which began on 1 September) and sometimes for dating other documents. See finance, roman.

Article

inequality  

John Weisweiler

The just distribution of social goods was fiercely debated in the ancient Mediterranean and the ideologies of egalitarianism and inegalitarianism developed in Rome and Athens shaped Euro-American political thought from the Enlightenment onward. By contrast, the study of actual income and wealth distributions in ancient societies is a more recent development. Only in the early 21st century have scholars begun to make systematic attempts to quantify levels of inequality in the ancient Mediterranean and Near East. Since we lack the documentary sources on which the study of inequality in contemporary economies is based, most of these reconstructions rely on a combination of modelling and the interpretation of isolated figures found in literary texts. This fragmentary evidence suggests that in the best-attested regions of the ancient Mediterranean and Near East inequality was considerable. In particular, the formation of large territorial states—most notably the empires of Babylon, Persia, and Rome—facilitated the concentration of wealth into fewer hands. But it is unclear whether inequality increased over time. At least, there is no unambiguous evidence that wealth and income were more unequally distributed in late antiquity than in earlier periods of Roman history.

Article

Iulius Valerius Alexander Polemius  

Stephen J. Harrison

Iulius Valerius Alexander Polemius, author in the mid-4th cent. ce of an extant Latin version of the Greek Alexander Romance of *Pseudo-Callisthenes. Its style shows some colourful and archaic features, imitating earlier poets and Apuleius.

Article

Iulius Africanus, Sextus  

John F. Matthews

Christian philosopher of Aelia Capitolina (see jerusalem), who went c.220 ce on an embassy to *Elagabalus which secured city rank and the title of Nicopolis for Emmaus, and under M. *Aurelius Severus Alexander established a library in the *Pantheon at Rome. His principal works were the Chronographies (Χρονογραφίαι) in five books, a synchronization of sacred and profane history from the Creation to 221 ce, which was the basis of Eusebius' Chronicle, and the Κέστοι, or ‘Charmed Girdles’ in 24 books, a miscellany of information, chiefly relating to magic, on various topics ranging from medicine to tactics. He also wrote a letter to Origen (1), in which he questioned the authenticity of the story of Susannah, and a letter to a certain Aristides, in which he harmonized the two genealogies of Christ.

Article

The Jewish Patriarchate  

Lee I. Levine

The Jewish Patriarch (Hebr. Nasi) was the leading Jewish communal official in the late Roman and early Byzantine Empires, in both Palestine and the Diaspora. The Patriarchate, which emerged around the turn of the 3rd century under the leadership of Rabbi Judah I, had the support of the Severan dynasty (193–235 ce). The testimony of Origen (Letter to Africanus 14), who lived in Caesarea c. 230, views the function of the “Jewish ethnarch” (another term for Patriarch) as that of a king, enjoying, inter alia, the power of capital punishment.

Non-Jewish sources from the 4th century attest that the Patriarch enjoyed extensive prestige and recognition. The Theodosian Code is particularly revealing in this regard. One decree, issued by the emperors Arcadius and Honorius in 397, spells out the dominance of the Patriarch in a wide range of synagogue affairs; he stood at the head of a network of officials, including archisynagogues, presbyters, and others—all of whom had privileges on a par with the Christian clergy. Together with other realms of Patriarchal authority noted in earlier rabbinic literature, such as making calendrical decisions, declaring public fast days, and issuing bans, the prominence of this office in Jewish communal and religious life had become quite pronounced at this time.

Article

Jordanes  

Peter Heather

An historian who worked c.550ce, almost certainly in *Constantinople. Of Gothic descent (see goths), he had worked as a military secretary before his conversio (see conversion), probably to a monastic life. He has left two extant works: a summary of Roman history known as the Romana, and the so-called Getica, an account of Gothic history which claims to be closely based on the lost Gothic history of *Cassiodorus, using a MS from the latter's own household. Controversy surrounds both works. Ensslin (see bibliog. below) argued influentially that the Romana was in substance the lost Roman history of Aurelius Memmius Symmachus, and Momigliano and Goffart have both argued that the Getica's account of its author and purposes are a deliberate sham hiding the work's important political purposes; they disagree over whether Jordanes was in the employ of respectively Cassiodorus or the eastern imperial court. Consensus now seems to have emerged that the Ensslin thesis is unsustainable and that the Romana is precisely what it claims to be.

Article

Jovian, Roman emperor  

E. D. Hunt

Jovian became Roman emperor when, as the senior staff officer (protector domesticus) serving in the Persian campaign of *Julian, he was proclaimed Augustus (see augustus, augusta as titles) on the latter's death in June 363 ce. To secure the army's safe return from enemy territory, he made an unfavourable peace with the Persians, surrendering the Roman lands beyond the *Tigris, which had been won by *Diocletian's treaty of ce 299, and the cities of *Nisibis and *Singara.

Article

Justina, wife of the emperor Valentinian I and mother of the emperor Valentinian II  

Meaghan McEvoy

The empress Justina was the second wife of the emperor Valentinian I, and mother to the emperor Valentinian II and his three sisters, Galla, Grata, and Justa. Justina herself seems to have been a descendant of the Constantinian dynasty: her father, Justus, a former consul, was probably a member of the aristocratic Roman family of the Neratii, and likely also to have been a nephew of Galla, the wife of Julius Constantius (half-brother to Constantine I).1 As a young child Justina had been married previously to the usurper Magnentius (reigned 350–353 ce), who presumably hoped to advance his legitimacy through this connection to the then ruling dynasty. Some years after Magnentius’s death, the emperor Valentinian I (reigned 364–375 ce) sought Justina in marriage for similar dynastic reasons, putting aside his first wife, Severa (in perhaps 369 ce), to marry her.2Justina’s son Valentinian II was born in 371 ce and was aged four years when Valentinian I died suddenly in 375.

Article

Justinian, Roman emperor, 527–565 CE  

L. M. Whitby

Justinian (Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Iustinianus), eastern Roman emperor 527–65 ce. He was born c. 482 at Tauresium, near Bederiana in *Thrace, a place subsequently graced with the city of Justiniana Prima (mod. Caricin Grad). His father Sabbatius married a sister of the future emperor Justin, who adopted his nephew. Under Anastasius he joined the scholae or guards, and became a candidatus, personal imperial bodyguard. During the succession dispute in 518 Justinian was offered the throne but supported his more senior uncle, whose position he helped secure by eliminating potential rivals, Amantius and Vitalian. From his residence in the palace of Hormisdas he was now the dominant influence on imperial decisions, as revealed by his correspondence with Pope Hormisdas that healed the Acacian schism. Promotion reflected his power, comes (‘count’) in 519, magister militum praesentalis (‘general in attendance’) in 520, consul in 521 when celebrations were exceptionally lavish, patrician and nobilissimus (‘most noble’) before 527.

Article

'Lactantius Placidus'  

R. A. Kaster

‘Lactantius Placidus’, the name under which is transmitted a commentary on *Statius' Thebais dating (in its original form) to the 5th or 6th cent. ce (ed. Jahnke, 1898: inadequate).