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Crossing The Frontiers: Imperial Power In The Last Book Of Ammianus

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores some of the differences in compositional strategies and the disposition of subject matter which mark off books from the rest of Ammianus' history. Its focus is the magic and treason trials in Rome (28.1) and Antioch (29.1-2). Like the great suicidal philosophers of old, Julian is in no hurry to die; not at least until he has taken time to ruminate on the nature of the soul and to reflect on his Res Gestae. The decomposing structure of the final books of Ammianus' Res Gestae is also one which is played out in greater detail in some of its key compositional blocks. Accounts of trials for magic, adultery, and treason open books 28 and 29. Both have rightly been seen as central to the portrayal of Valentinian and Valens, and to Ammianus' understanding of the way in which the exercise of imperial power might be represented.

Keywords: Ammianus; Antioch; imperial power; Julian; Res Gestae; Rome



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