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Commentary On Chapter 11

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Chapter Summary

This chapter contains the portrait of a man whose influence was paramount in the period described by the author in the last hexad of the Res Gestae: Sextus Claudius Petronius Probus, four times praetorian prefect and consul in 371. Paradoxically, for all his power he was at the same time a prisoner of his own elevated position: the criminal conduct of the large staff attached to his properties all over the Roman world simply forced him to continue his career in the highest echelons of the imperial administration. Ammianus Marcellinus various general characterizations, which are in fact tantamount to indictments, are hardly ever illustrated with any specific facts. It was obviously his prime objective to paint a highly negative picture, which contrasts sharply with the esteem in which this scion of a famous aristocratic Roman family was held by those who depended on his influence and protection.

Keywords: Ammianus Marcellinus; Rome; Sextus Claudius Petronius Probus

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