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Ammianus Marcellinus

Ammianus Marcellinus (ămēāˈnəs märsĭlĪˈnəs) [key], c.330–c.400, Roman historian, b. Antioch. After retiring from a successful military career, he wrote a history of the Roman Empire as a sequel to that of Tacitus, his model. The history, in 31 books, covered the years from A.D. 96 to 378; only Books XIV–XXXI, covering the years A.D. 353–78, survive. Though written in an extremely rhetorical style, this reliable and impartial history is praised not only for its coverage of military events, but for detailed information concerning economic, administrative, and social history, biographical information about the various emperors, and tolerant descriptions of foreign cultures. Although a pagan and an admirer of Julian the Apostate, Ammianus was able to write about Christianity without prejudice.

See E. A. Thompson, Historical Work of Ammianus Marcellinus (1947); Ammianus Marcellinus (his work tr. by J. C. Rolfe 1935, repr. 1963); R. Syme, Ammianus and the Historia Augusta (1968).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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