161-180 of 216 Results  for:

  • Late Antiquity x
Clear all


Pentadius, 3rd or 4th cent. CE  

J. H. D. Scourfield

Pentadius (3rd or 4th cent. ce), author of elegiac poems in ‘echoic’ or ‘serpentine’ verse (where the opening words of each hexameter are repeated as the second half of the following pentameter) on fortune, spring, and *Narcissus (1), and (less certainly) of a number of short epigrams.


Philostorgius, ecclesiastical historian, c. 368–c. 440? CE  

A. M. Nobbs

Philostorgius, ecclesiastical historian, c. 368–c. 440? ce, born in Boryssus (*Cappadocia), into a clerical family who had been won over to neo-*Arianism (Eunomianism). By the age of 20, he was in *Constantinople where he spent much of his life. An adherent of Eunomius, he wrote in continuation of *Eusebius of Caesarea an ecclesiastical history to ce 425 in twelve books, each beginning with a letter of his name. It is now fragmentary, surviving in an extended epitome by *Photius, and in other fragments, especially the Passio of Artemius. It is noted in a separate Biblioteca entry and two epigrams in the Greek *Anthology. The work is valuable in presenting an alternative view of church history from the time of *Constantine I, with praise for Constantius II and condemnation in apocalyptic tones of the policies of *Theodosius (2) I and *Theodosius (3) II, together with secular material and geographical digressions partly based on his own travels.


Phocas, grammarian, 5th cent. CE  

John F. Moreland and R. H. Robins

Author of an Ars de nomine et verbo (ed. Keil, Gramm. Lat. 5. 410–39) and a Vita Vergilii in hexameters (often published, e.g. in Baehrens, PLM 5. 85). A De aspiratione attributed to him (ed. Keil, Gramm. Lat. 5. 439–41) is apocryphal.



Filippo Ronconi

Private teacher, head of the imperial chancellery, and twice patriarch, Photius was also a prominent politician who was deeply involved in the domestic and foreign policy of the Byzantine Empire and in the religious issues of his time. One of the most distinguished scholars of the 9th century ce (which was characterized by a profound cultural revival, thanks in part to his activities), he was the head of a group of learned and powerful scholars, a collector of books, and a astute reader of ancient texts, for many of which his own works (especially the Library and the Amphilochia) are the only surviving sources.The son of a wealthy imperial officer—a spatharios (lit. “sword bearer”, at the time an honorary dignity originally corresponding to the function of imperial bodyguard) named Sergios, who was persecuted and sent into exile under the second iconoclasm—and the great-nephew of the patriarch Tarasios, Photius was the descendant of a noble Armenian family at the heart of a more extensive Armenian network centred on .


Placidia, Galla  

Edward Arthur Thompson and Jill Harries

Daughter of *Theodosius (2) I (b. c.ce 390). She was captured by the Goths at Rome in 410 and married to their leader, Athaulf, at Narbonne (*Narbo; 414). After his murder, she was restored to the Romans (416) and married Constantius, later *Constantius III.


Placidus, Roman author, 5th cent. CE?  

R. A. Kaster

Author of a glossary (ed. Goetz, CGL 5. 3–158; and Pirie and Lindsay, Gloss. Lat. 4. 12–70) which contains entries of two distinct kinds: brief glosses on archaic words, extending to the end of the letter P (treated as pseudo-Placidus in Gloss. Lat. 4); and more discursive notes on matters of grammatical and antiquarian interest. See glossa, glossary.


plague of Justinian  

Peregrine Horden

“An evil destiny of bubo and armpit” (CIG 8628), the plague of Justinian is the name given—unfairly, since the emperor did not cause it, himself contracted it, and was long outlasted by it—to the pandemic of “bubonic plague,” infection by Yersinia pestis, that struck western Eurasia and North Africa towards the middle of the 6th centuryce and that recurred in phases until at least the middle of the 8th century.1 In geographical extent, demographic and social impact, and chronology, it probably far surpassed the major epidemics of the Roman imperial and late antique period, the 2nd-century Antonine plague and the mid-3rd-centuryplague described by Cyprian of Carthage. Study of the Justinianic pandemic has been transformed in the 21st century not only by ever more sophisticated exploitation of the usual range of historical sources, literary and material, but by the recovery of the DNA and the reconstruction of several of the genomes of the pathogen from the skeletons of some of its victims. And yet almost every aspect of the pandemic remains debated. There is no consensus on its route into the world of Justinian, its subsequent epidemiology, virulence, or macro-historical consequences.


Pompeius, African grammarian, late 5th–early 6th cent. CE  

R. A. Kaster

Pompeius (late 5th–early 6th cent. ce), African grammarian, commented on *Donatus (1)'s ars (GL 5. 95–312), perhaps also on *Virgil and *Terence (very uncertain).


praefectus urbi  

Theodore John Cadoux and R. S. O. Tomlin

Praefectus urbi, ‘Prefect of the City’ (of Rome), an office which antedated the Roman republic and outlasted the western empire. (1) The temporary deputy of the absent king or consuls, not often needed after the institution of praetors, except once a year when all regular magistrates attended the Latin festival on the Alban Mount, and so after the institution of (2) known as praefectus urbi feriarum Latinarum. The prefect had *imperium at Rome, and in early times when he had real responsibility he was usually an ex-consul; later, men at the beginning of their public career were chosen.(2) A magistrate instituted by *Augustus to be the emperor's deputy at Rome. After a false start with M. *Valerius Messalla Corvinusc.25 bce, the regular series seems to have begun with L. *Calpurnius Piso (2) in ce 13 (Tac. Ann. 6. 11). The prefect was always a senator (see senate), usually a senior ex-consul, and served for a number of years.


Praetextatus, Vettius Agorius, Roman senator, c. 320–384 CE  

Maijastina Kahlos

Vettius Agorius Praetextatus was a learned Roman senator (c. 320–384 ce). He is usually remembered as the leading proponent of Graeco-Roman religious tradition (paganism) during the late Roman Empire.Vettius Agorius Praetextatus was a Roman senator (c. 320–384 ce). He was a learned aristocrat who never converted to Christianity even though the Christianisation of the Roman aristocracy was already in gradual process during his lifetime, and by the end of the century, in the years after his death, the Roman aristocracy as a whole had become Christian (at least nominally). Praetextatus is usually remembered as the leading proponent of Graeco-Roman religious tradition (paganism) during the late Roman Empire. He was a friend and correspondent of the orator Q. Aurelius Symmachus. Symmachus’ epist. 1.44–55 are addressed to him.1Praetextatus held the high offices of praefectus urbi in 367–368 ce and praefectus praetorio in 384; when he died in that year, he had been designated consul for the following year. A few laws extant in the Theodosian Code (8.14.1; 9.40.10; 14.4.4; 6.35.7; 13.3.8; 1.6.6) are addressed to him as .


Priscian, 5th–6th cent. CE  

Thomas J. Keeline

Priscian was the most important Latin grammarian of late antiquity. Probably hailing from North Africa, he worked as a professor of Latin in Constantinople in the early 6th century. There he published his masterpiece, the eighteen-volume Ars grammatica (before 527), which blended the traditional Roman textbook treatment of grammar (books 1–16, containing basic definitions and and an extensive treatment of parts of speech) with Alexandrian Greek scholarship (books 17–18, on syntax). The Ars grammatica revolutionized the theoretical basis of Latin grammar and would prove widely influential on subsequent study.Priscian also composed various smaller works. At some point before the Ars grammatica, he wrote short treatises: De figuris numerorum quos antiquissimi habent codices, De metris fabularum Terentii et aliorum comicorum, and Praeexercitamina (a Latin version of the Greek Progymnasmata ascribed to Hermogenes). After he had written the Ars grammatica, he also composed a summary of Latin morphology, Institutio de nomine, pronomine, et uerbo, as well as a lengthy discussion of the first line of each book of the Aeneid, Partitiones xii uersuum Aeneidos principalium.



Peter Heather

Priscus, east Roman bureaucrat and historian of the 5th cent. ce. Born in Panium in *Thrace and a professional rhetorician, he accompanied Maximinus on an embassy of *Theodosius (3) II to *Attila in 449. His history included an extant detailed account of this episode. In 452 he followed the same Maximinus to Arabia and Egypt, and later became assessor to the Magister Equitum Euphemius under the emperor Marcian. He visited Rome at least once, perhaps in 450. The *Suda reports that he published now lost declamations and letters, as well as his eight-book history which included events from at least 433/4 to 472, although some kind of digression seems to have covered the arrival of the *Huns on the fringes of Europe (c.ce 375). It is unclear whether he consciously picked up where *Olympiodorus (3) left off. The history is lost, but long excerpts from it are preserved in Constantine Porphyrogenitus' De legationibus and other Byzantine sources.


Proba, Faltonia Betitia  

Sigrid Schottenius Cullhed

Faltonia Betitia Proba (fl. late 4th century) was a Roman poet, writer of a Christian cento (Lat. for patchwork), which circulated in the Eastern and Western Empire toward the end of the 4th century. The work consists of 694 verses culled from Virgil’s Eclogues, Georgics, and Aeneid, narrating episodes from Genesis, Exodus, and the four Gospels. The narrative sections are interspersed with proems, interludes, and epilogues pervaded by a confessional and devotional theme. The declared intention of the poet is to relate the “mysteries of Virgil” (arcana . . . vatis, v.12) and to show that Virgil “sang about the pious feats of Christ” (Vergilium cecinisse . . . pia munera Christi v. 23). This makes Proba one of the first Roman poets to have actively appropriated Virgil as a Christian prophet.There are over a hundred manuscripts containing Proba’s cento, the oldest of which date back to the 8th century, and a large number of early modern editions. Thanks to Giovanni Boccaccio’s De mulieribus claris (1374), Proba became important in the querelle des femmes as an example of an educated woman.


Probus (2), Sextus Claudius Petronius, Roman senator, c. 328–390 CE  

John F. Matthews

Sextus Claudius Petronius Probus (2) (c.328–390 ce), Roman senator, four times praetorian prefect (see praefectus praetorio) between 364 and 383, and loyal supporter of the dynasties of Valentinian (see valentinian(1) and (2)) and Theodosius (see theodosius(2) and (3)). Unusual among senators in his commitment to a political career in the service and entourage of emperors, Probus' character and ambitions drew from *Ammianus Marcellinus one of his most vivid character studies (27. 11), in which he was described as ‘gasping like a fish out of water’ when not holding the prefectures into which he was forced by the pressure of his clan, the Christian Anicii, in order to defend their interests. Probus' financial administration of Illyricum in his third and longest prefecture is criticized by *Jerome, and he is regarded with great reserve in the letters of *Symmachus (2).


Proclus Constantinopolitanus, c. 385–446 CE; bishop, 434–446 CE  

Maximos Constas

An early archbishop of Constantinople and a popular preacher in the rhetorical style of Gregory Nazianzus (d. 390), Proclus was the principal architect of the Byzantine cult of the Virgin Mary. Nothing is known of his family, social class, or early life, although he seems to have studied under Alexandrian teachers of rhetoric recently established in the new capital. Later Byzantine sources make Proclus the student of John Chrysostom (sed. 397–404), who died in exile (d. 407) and whose relics Proclus had with great pomp returned to Constantinople (438). However, contemporary sources place Proclus in the service of Atticus of Constantinople (sed. 406–425), who ordained him to the diaconate and priesthood, and whom Proclus served as secretary and ghostwriter. After the death of Atticus, Proclus was a candidate for the archiepiscopal throne, but lost the election to Sisinnius (sed. 426–427), who subsequently ordained Proclus to the see of Cyzicus. The people of Cyzicus, however, resisting interference in the affairs of their church, rejected Proclus, who remained in the capital where he flourished as a popular preacher. After the death of Sisinnius, Proclus was again put forward as a candidate but was blocked by the emperor, Theodosius II (r.



Marion Kruse

Procopius was a Greek historian, born in Caesarea (2) in Palestine c.500ce. He joined the staff of Belisarius, the leading general of the reign of Justinian, by 527, and served as his legal secretary (assessor/πάρεδρος). Both this post and his corpus indicate that he received a standard education in rhetoric and law, and he claimed to be familiar with matters of Christian theology, though he declined to discuss them. Procopius served under Belisarius throughout the general’s early campaigns against Sassanian Persia (527–531), Vandal North Africa (533–536), and Ostrogothic Italy (535–540). Procopius and Belisarius parted ways at some point between 540 and 542, at which point Procopius took up residence in Constantinople and turned to his literary projects. There is no indication that he remained connected to Belisarius’s circle or dependent upon his patronage after this point. He can, however, be compellingly linked to an active literary circle composed of mid-level officials operating in Constantinople in the mid-6th century, such as John Lydus, who appears to have been familiar with the Secret History.


Prudentius Clemens, Aurelius, 348–after 405 CE  

Cillian O'Hogan

Aurelius Prudentius Clemens was a Christian Latin poet who wrote in a variety of genres and metres. Born in northern Spain, in 348ce, he had a career in public administration before retiring to write poetry. His major works include the Liber Cathemerinon (poems keyed to the liturgy and religious calendar), Psychomachia (an allegorical epic on the battle between Virtues and Vices for the human soul), and the Liber Peristephanon (lyric poems in praise of the early martyrs of the church). Prudentius was particularly influenced by the works of Virgil and Horace, and aimed in his poetry to combine the form and language of classical Latin poetry with the message of Christianity. The most important Christian Latin poet of late antiquity, Prudentius was extremely influential throughout the Middle Ages.Aurelius Prudentius Clemens (348–after 405ce) was the most important and influential Christian Latin poet of late antiquity. Called by Richard Bentley the ‘.


Psellos, Michael  

Stratis Papaioannou

Psellos, Michael (baptismal name Constantine) (1018–1078 CE) was born into a middle-class family in Constantinople, at a time when the capital of the Byzantine Empire was again at the peak of its power, after the crisis of the 7th and 8th centuriesce. Psellos’s life was punctuated by the reigns of the emperors and the careers of other members of the Constantinopolitan ruling elite, whose patronage and friendship he successfully or (occasionally) less successfully sought. Because of his education and learnedness in all fields of the Byzantine curriculum, which must have appeared spectacular in the eyes of his contemporaries, Psellos gained and sustained various posts in the imperial court and related networks of elite society as secretary, professional public speaker, and teacher during the thirty-five years (until 1078) when we can follow his career. His impressive erudition, but also his brilliant talent (by Byzantine standards) in literary discourse were also the reason for his inclusion, almost immediately after his death, in the reading canon of Byzantine advanced literacy and, therefore, the continued copying and preservation of his vast discursive production.


Pulcheria, Roman Augusta, 414–453 CE  

Hugh Elton

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.


Ricimer, Roman general and patrician  

Peter Heather

His maternal grandfather was the Gothic king Vallia (see goths), but his career was entirely Roman. He came to power after the assassinations of *Aetius(1) and *Valentinian (3) III, forcing *Avitus to abdicate (ce 456) and elevating *Majorian in his place (457).