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Latin Historiography And Plutarch

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Chapter Summary

One major historical work from Late Antiquity has not yet received any systematic attention in connection with Plutarch. In this chapter, the author refers to the Latin Res gestae of Ammianus Marcellinus, dating from the last decade of the fourth century. Ammianus deals with recent history, in which the central figure is the highly controversial emperor Julian the Apostate. It is important to keep in mind that Ammianus knew Julian personally and that he accompanied him on his Persian campaign, in the course of which the emperor died on the battlefield. The technical description in Ammianus shows a strong resemblance to that in Plutarch, and Ammianus makes in passing two additional remarks that, in my opinion, betray his indebtedness to Plutarch. Ammianus used Plutarch both incidentally and in digressions that are central to this last great work that belongs to the Roman tradition of historiography.

Keywords: Ammianus Marcellinus; digression; emperor; historiography; Julian; Latin; Plutarch; Res gestae



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