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Ammianus On Valentinian. Some Observations

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Chapter Summary

In 1992 François Paschoud tried to show that in his Res Gestae Ammianus Marcellinus sketched a perfidiously and maliciously distorted portrait of the Pannonian emperor Valentinian I. This chapter shows that Ammianus, though he heartily disliked Valentinian and abundantly criticised him, was sufficiently fair to acknowledge his merits, not only in that part of the epilogus which is specially devoted to the emperor's virtues, but also elsewhere in the narrative. It deals with Valentinian's first appearance in book 26. After a brief preface and a few words on the transfer of the remains of the deceased emperor Jovian to Constantinople, Ammianus opens book 26 with the election of Valentinian as successor to Jovian. Although the elogia occupy a special place in the Res Gestae, they are to be taken as complementary to the main narrative, as Dirk Pauw has argued in his 1972 dissertation.

Keywords: Ammianus Marcellinus; François Paschoud; Pannonian emperor Valentinian I; Res Gestae



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