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The Date and Circumstances of Olympiodorus of Thebes

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 July 2016

Andrew Gillett*
University of Toronto


Olympiodorus of Thebes is an important figure for the history of late antiquity. The few details of his life preserved as anecdotes in his History give glimpses of a career which embraced the skills of poet, philosopher, and diplomat. A native of Egypt, he had influence at the imperial court of Constantinople, among the sophists of Athens, and even outside the borders of the empire. His History (more correctly, his “materials for history”) is lost, surviving only as fragments in the narratives of Zosimus, Sozomen, and Philostorgius, and in the rich summary given by the ninth-century Byzantine patriarch Photius. These remains comprise the most substantial narrative sources for events in the western Roman Empire in the early fifth century. Besides its value as a source, the History is important as a monument to the vitality of the belief in the unity of the Roman Empire under the Theodosian dynasty. Olympiodorus wrote in Greek, and knowledge of his work is attested only in Constantinople, yet his political narrative, from 407 to 425, concerns only events in the western half of the empire. To understand the significance of these facts, it is necessary to set the composition of Olympiodorus's work in its proper context. Clarifying the date of publication is the first step toward this goal. Internal and external evidence suggests that the work was written in 440 or soon after, more than a decade later than the date of composition usually accepted. Taken with thematic emphases evident in the structure of the History, this revised dating explains why an eastern writer should have written a detailed account of western events in the early part of the century. Olympiodorus's account is a characteristic product of the highly literate class of eastern imperial civil servants, and of their genuine preoccupation with the relationship between the eastern and western halves of the Roman Empire at a time when both were threatened by the rise of the new Carthaginian power of the Vandals.

Copyright © 1993 by Fordham University 

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1 The following studies of Olympiodorus are cited by author's name alone: Walter Haedicke, “Olympiodorus 11,” RE XVIII.1 201–207; Thompson, E. A. “Olympiodorus of Thebes,” Classical Quarterly 38 (1944): 43–52; Matthews, J. F. “Olympiodorus of Thebes and the History of the West (A.D. 407–425),” Journal of Roman Studies 60 (1970): 79–97; Baldwin, B. “Olympiodorus of Thebes,” L'Antiquité Classique 49 (1980): 212–31; Blockley, R. C., The Fragmentary Classicising Historians of the Later Roman Empire: Eunapius, Olympiodorus, Priscus, and Malchus. vol. 1, ARCA Classical and Medieval Texts, Papers and Monographs 6 (Liverpool, 1981), 21–41, 107–12; Clover, Frank M., “Olympiodorus of Thebes and the Historia Augusta,” Bonner Historia-Augusta Colloquium 1979/1981 15, Antiquitas Reihe 4 (Bonn, 1983): 127–56.Google Scholar

The following general accounts of the period are also cited by author's name: Otto Seeck, Geschichte des Untergangs der antiken Welt, vol. 6 (Stuttgart, 1920); Bury, J. B. History of the Later Roman Empire, From the Death of Theodosius I to the Death of Justinian,2 vol. 1 (London, 1923; rpt. New York, 1958); Ernst Stein, Histoire du Bas-Empire, trans. J-R. Palanque, vol. 12 (Paris, 1959); Jones, A. H. M. The Later Roman Empire 284–602: Social, Economic, and Administrative Survey, 3 vols. (Oxford, 1964); Stewart Irvin Oost, Galla Placidia Augusta: A Biographical Essay (Chicago, 1968); Walter Emil Kaegi, Jr., Byzantium and the Decline of Rome (Princeton 1968); Adolf Lippold, “Theodosius II,” RE Suppl. 13:961–1044. The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire, vol. 2, ed. Martindale, J. R. (Cambridge, 1980) is cited as PLRE II.Google Scholar

See also John Matthews, Western Aristocracies and Imperial Court, A.D. 364–425 (Oxford, 1975), 381–86; Alan Cameron, “Wandering Poets: A Literary Movement in Byzantine Egypt,” Historia 14 (1965): 470–509; idem, “The Empress and the Poet: Paganism and Politics at the Court of Theodosius II,” Yale Classical Studies 27 (1982): 217–89.Google Scholar

2 The following standard editions and their abbreviated titles are cited frequently in the text and notes. Olympiodorus: C. Müller, Fragmenta historicorum graecorum, vol. 4 (Paris, 1851), 57–68 (hereafter Müller); Blockley, R. C., The Fragmentary Classicising Historians of the Later Roman Empire: Eunapius, Olympiodorus, Priscus, and Malchus, vol. 2, ARCA Classical and Medieval Texts, Papers and Monographs 10 (Liverpool, 1983), 151–220. Citations and translations are from Blockley's edition. His numbering of the fragments is given first, followed in brackets by Müller's, e.g. Olympiodorus, Fr. 16 [15]; Photius's epitome of Olympiodorus: Photius, Bibliothèque, ed. and trans. (French) René Henry, 8 vols. (Paris, 1959–77), vol. 1, codex 80, 166–87; English trans. by Freese, J. H., The Library of Photius, vol. 1 (London/New York, 1920), 134–48. Philostorgius: Kirchengeschichte, mit dem Leben des Lucian von Antiochen und den Fragmenten eines arianischen Historiographen,3 ed. Joseph Bidez, rev. Friedhelm Winkelmann, GCS (Berlin, 1981) (hereafter Bidez). Socrates: Ecclesiastica Historia, ed. Robert Hussey (Oxford, 1853). Sozomen: Kirchengeschichte, ed. Joseph Bidez (text) and Gunther Christian Hansen (introduction and indexes), GCS 50 (Berlin, 1960) (hereafter Hansen). Bidez's text of Sozomen Books I and II is available with French translation by André-Jean Festugière and introduction by Bernard Grillet and Guy Sabbah, Sources chrétiennes 306 (Paris, 1983) (hereafter Grillet and Sabbah). Zosimus: Histoire Nouvelle, ed. François Paschoud, 6 vols. (Paris, 1971–89) (hereafter Paschoud); Historia Nova, ed. Ludwig Mendelssohn (Leipzig, 1887; rpt. Hildersheim, 1963) is an earlier edition (hereafter Mendelssohn), cited here for Mendelssohn's introduction only.Google Scholar

The works of Philostorgius, Socrates, and Sozomen, all entitled Ecclesiastical History, are abbreviated as HE and distinguished from one another by inclusion of the author's name. Less frequently cited editions of printed sources are identified as needed in the notes.Google Scholar

3 Clover is an important redating of Olympiodorus's History which must, however, be modified with regard to the relevance of Philostorgius and Socrates, as argued below. There is no convincing evidence that the work was left unfinished (Clover 130 and n. 11).Google Scholar

4 Photius, , Testimonium, in Olympiodorus, 152.Google Scholar

5 Ibid. Fr. 43.1 [46]. Tillemont considered these termini (425–50) to be the only reliable dates available; cited in Mendelssohn vii n. 1. In fact, Fr 41.2 [44] may indicate a somewhat later terminus post quem; Clover 128–29.Google Scholar

6 It has also been argued that Olympiodorus's work was issued in installments: below, n. 12.Google Scholar

7 Thompson 44 dates publication to before early 427, adducing the author's favorable attitude to Boniface, comes of Africa (423/424–27 and again 429–32); Boniface's declaration as a public enemy by Placidia in 427, and his alleged invitation to the Vandals to enter Africa in 429, set a time limit to approving views of the count. Thompson is followed by Kaegi 88, 90, 230; Matthews 80 and n. 17; idem, Western Aristocracies, 382 n. 6; and PLRE II 799. Blockley rightly rejects Thompson's argument. The story of Boniface's invitation to the Vandals is probably false, and Boniface again enjoyed the favor of the western imperial court from 429/430; Blockley 29, 138 nn. 20–21, 142 n. 110. On Boniface's rehabilitation, cf. Oost 224; Baldwin 218–19. Clover 131–32 adduces the approval of Boniface by other authors who clearly wrote after 427/429, including Sidonius, Procopius, and the author of the letters of pseudo-Boniface. To this list add Boniface's contemporary, Prosper, who wrote the first version of his Chronicle about 443; see Steven Muhlberger, The Fifth Century Chroniclers: Prosper, Hydatius, and the Gallic Chronicler of 452, ARCA Classical and Medieval Texts, Papers and Monographs 27 (Leeds, 1990), 92–101.Google Scholar

8 Jeep, Ludwig, “Die Lebenszeit des Zosimus,” Rheinisches Museum für Philologie n.s. 37 (1882): 433; cf. Mendelssohn vi-vii n. 1; Haedicke 201.Google Scholar

Ammianus Marcellinus is a prominent example of a late Roman historian who chose not to trespass into the reign of the current rulers, Theodosius I and Valentinian II, ending his work in the 370s though publishing in the 390s; John Matthews, The Roman Empire of Ammianus (London, 1989), 20–27. Eutropius and Festus, writing during the reign of the emperor Valens, concluded their Brevaria with the death of Jovian and the accession of Valens respectively. Aurelius Victor, who concluded his biographical Caesares with Constantius II (d. 361), probably wrote at a later date. Eunapius concluded the second edition of his Universal History in 404 but may have written as late as the 410s or 420s; Blockley 5 and 130 n. 15; cf. Brian Croke, review of Blockley, Phoenix 37 (1983): 177. For a contemporary view: Jerome, Chronicle, in Eusebius’ Werke 7: Die Chronik des Hieronymus,2 ed. Rudolf Helm, GCS 47 (Berlin, 1956), Praef. 7. For fifth- and sixth-century authors see Lellia Cracco Ruggini, “The Ecclesiastical Histories and the Pagan Historiography: Providence and Miracles,” Athenaeum 55 (1977): 121 n. 57.Google Scholar

9 Kaegi 90; Blockley 29.Google Scholar

10 New internal evidence shown by Clover is examined below.Google Scholar

11 The proposition that Philostorgius used Olympiodorus, first made by Ludwig Jeep, “Quellenuntersuchungen zu den griechischen Kirchenhistorikern,” Jahrbücher für classische Philologie, Suppl. 14 (1884): 73–81, was denied by Mendelssohn vii n. 1 and Haedicke 203, but endorsed by Bidez cxxxviii; Thompson 43 n. 5 (d); Matthews 80 n. 17; Baldwin 228–30; and Blockley 28–29, 108. For Sozomen and Zosimus: Rosenstein, J., “Kritische Untersuchungen über das Verhältnis zwischen Olympiodor, Zosimos und Sozomenos,” Forschungen zur deutschen Geschichte 1 (1862): 165–204; Georg Schoo, Die Quellen des Kirchenhistorikers Sozomenos (Berlin, 1911; rpt. Aalen, 1973), 3, 58–72; Hansen l–li; Blockley 107–8.Google Scholar

12 Blockley 29 proposes that the division noted by Photius at the end of the first ten of the twenty-two books of the History (Fr. 19 [18]) may indicate publication in sections, i.e., books 1–10, 11–22. Books 1–10 could have been written at any date after 417, for, according to Blockley, the last datable reference in this section occurs in Fr. 16 [15]: Constantius and Galla Placidia mentioned as married, i.e., after 417 (Clover 147 offers an alternative interpretation of this reference). Books 11–22 are dated only by the dedication to Theodosius II; cf. Thompson 44–45 n. 6; Baldwin 218. Blockley also states that the close parallels between Olympiodorus, Philostorgius, and Sozomen come only from the first ten books. If so, the final twelve books could have been written after the Ecclesiastical Histories. But the fragments of Olympiodorus's work identified as parallels or sources for Philostorgius and Sozomen are drawn from both the first ten and the last twelve books; Bidez 252; Schoo, Sozomenos, 58–72, 154–55; Hansen 419. Philostorgius represents the two “halves” of Olympiodorus's work more evenly than does Sozomen, but the extant version of Sozomen is incomplete. The final book of Philostorgius, who is generally considered to have written before Sozomen, relies on Olympiodorus for data and structure. Both writers end with the defeat of the usurper John and the installation of Valentinian III; Philostorgius, HE XII. 14; Bidez cxxxviii. Olympiodorus's History was available in full to Philostorgius and Sozomen.Google Scholar

13 Date of Zosimus: Alan Cameron, “The Date of Zosimus’ New History,” Philologus 113 (1969): 106–10; Walter Goffart, “Zosimus, the First Historian of Rome's Fall,” American Historical Review 76 (1971): 420–23; Clover 132–35; Paschoud 1: xii-xx, 3.2: 80–81.Google Scholar

14 Bidez cxxxii, followed by Johannes Quasten, Patrology, vol. 3 (Utrecht/Westminster, Md., 1960), 531; Altaner, B. and Stuiber, A., Patrologie: Leben, Schriften, und Lehre der Kirchenväter 7 (Freiburg, 1966), 226; Geutz, G., “Philostorgius 3,” RE XX.1 119.Google Scholar

15 The fires of 433 are recorded by Marcellinus comes, Chronicon, ed. Th. Mommsen, MGH AA 11 (Berlin, 1894), s.a. 433 and the Chronicon Paschale, ibid. and trans. Whitby, M. and Whitby, M., Translated Texts for Historians 7 (Liverpool, 1989), 71 and n. 241 (both from the hypothetical city chronicle of Constantinople); also by Socrates, HE VII.39.Google Scholar

16 Philostorgius, , HE XII.8–9, quote from 147 line 3.Google Scholar

17 I.e., the elevation of Theodosius II and Pulcheria's “regency” (404–14 onwards) HE XII.7, and the elevation of Constantius III (421) HE XII. 12.Google Scholar

18 Alanna Emmett Nobbs, “Philostorgius's View of the Past,” in Reading in the Past in Late Antiquity, ed. Clarke, G. et al. (Rushcutters Bay, 1990), 258, considers that Philostorgius recorded these events as signs of divine censure of the court of Theodosius II for the treatment of the Eunomians. This view takes too little account of the apologetic nature of HE XII.9–10, and of Philostorgius's emphasis on the delivery of the city from the earthquake and the “fire from heaven.” The events related in HE XI.7, discussed by Nobbs in relation to those of XII.8–9, are less specifically dated by Philostorgius (according to Photius, they are only described as occurring in the author's time, ἐπ’ ἐμέ), but may well fit into the chronological context of the events in the preceding and following chapters, ca. 400–401; see the references to Claudian and Marcellinus, Chronicon, given by Bidez 137. For the more traditional view that these prodigies indicate an apocalyptic preoccupation by Philostorgius: Fritz, G., “Philostorge,” Dictionnaire de théologie Catholique XII.2 1497; Clover 138–39.Google Scholar

19 Philostorgius XII.9–10 147 line 3ff. The last is clearly the most important of these three chapters in the author's mind, and should be treated as such.Google Scholar

20 Clover 138–39 refutes Bidez's proposal on different grounds: the “apocalyptic fervour of Philostorgius would cause him to search the fasti [of Constantinople, Philostorgius's likely source for the date of the eclipse of 418] for concentrations of natural phenomena, and assemble several of them whether they occurred in a two-year period or not …” Like Bidez, Clover discounts Philostorgius's explicit indication of the time at which the earthquakes and other events occurred, and assumes that Philostorgius's tone is apocalyptic when in fact the passage is an antipagan apologetic.Google Scholar

21 Matthews 80 n. 17, 81 n. 24 suggests that Philostorgius completed his HE “about 440”; cf. Blockley 29. The Oxford Classical Dictionary 2 (Oxford, 1970), 824 suggests ca. 430/440 for Philostorgius's death; The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church 2 (Oxford, 1974), 1085 suggests ca. 439. Clover 139–41 also argues that Philostorgius wrote in the 430s, based on the possible relationship between his HE and the Christian History of Philip of Side; his arguments, however, provide Philostorgius only with a terminus post quem of 434/439. Peter Heather, “The Crossing of the Danube and the Gothic Conversion,” Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 27 (1986): 304–5, suggests that Sozomen may have drawn upon Philostorgius for his account of the Gothic bishop Ulfila. If so, Sozomen's date of publication, 449/450 (see below), provides a terminus ante quem for Philostorgius's HE. Google Scholar

22 Sozomen, , HE IX.4–16, the penultimate chapter of the extant version. Cf. the less coherent narrative of Socrates for the same period; Franz Geppert, Die Quellen des Kirchenhistorikers Socrates Scholasticus (Leipzig, 1898; rpt. Aalen, 1972), 15–16.Google Scholar

23 Sozomen's choice of 439 as his end point has been ascribed to his structural reliance upon Socrates (Hansen xlv); to his discretion in avoiding the political and ecclesiastical embarrassments of his dedicatee, Theodosius II, which arose in the 440s (Cameron, “The Empress and the Poet,” [as in n. 1] 266 n. 158); and to a desire, common with his fellow-lawyer Socrates, to acknowledge the date when the Theodosian Code (hereafter CTh) came into effect (Glenn Chesnut, F., The First Christian Histories: Eusebius, Socrates, Sozomen, Theodoret, and Evagrius 2 [Macon, Ga., 1986], 175–76, 204 n. 21). Chesnut's suggestion is unlikely, as neither Socrates nor Sozomen mentions the CTh, a striking omission in view of the openly panegyrical attitude of both writers toward Theodosius II (cf. Cracco Ruggini, “Ecclesiastical Histories and the Pagan Historiography” [cited above, n. 8], 120–21). The legal context of Sozomen's work is discussed by Grillet and Sabbah 75–78, and more fully by Jill Harries, “Sozomen and Eusebius: The Lawyer as Church Historian in the Fifth Century,” in The Inheritance of Historiography, 350–900, ed. Christopher Holdsworth and Wiseman, T. P., Exeter Studies in History 12 (Exeter, 1986), 45–52.Google Scholar

24 Schoo, , Sozomenos (as in n. 11), 3–8; Hansen lxvi–lxvii; Grillet and Sabbah 28–31.Google Scholar

25 On the old view that Sozomen's dedication (to Theodosius II) was written in 443: Charlotte Roueché, “Theodosius II, the Cities, and the Date of the Church History of Sozomen,” Journal of Theological Studies, n.s. 37 (1986): 130–32.Google Scholar

Grillet and Sabbah 26–27 argue for a terminus post quem of the early 440s. Sozomen's reference to Theodosius II's “sons’ sons” (HE Proem. 21) is taken as an insinuation that the separation of Theodosius II and Eudocia, made final by events of 444, might lead to divorce and the emperor's remarriage, with the prospect of male offspring (Theodosius II and Eudocia had no male children; see Holum, Kenneth G., “Family Life in the Theodosian House,” Kleronomia [1976]: 291–92 n. 62; idem, Theodosian Empresses: Women and Imperial Dominion in Late Antiquity [Berkeley 1982], 178 n. 14). The imperial propaganda surrounding the imperial couple's separation makes this argument improbable; cf. Cameron, “The Empress and the Poet,” 260.Google Scholar

26 Cameron “The Empress and the Poet,” 265–66; Holum, Theodosian Empresses, 95–96.Google Scholar

27 The traditional view that Socrates published in the terminal year of his narrative, 439, or soon after has received new support from Cameron, “The Empress and the Poet,” 243–44, 265–66. Cf. Geppert 7–9 (439–41 for the first edition, 439–50, and probably before 444, for the second); Chesnut, The First Christian Histories, 175–76.Google Scholar

Priority of Socrates to Sozomen: H. de Valois, “De vita et scriptis Socratis atque Sozomeni,” reprinted in Socrates, HE, 1: xvi–xvii; Geppert, Quellen, 16–17; Schoo, Sozomenos, 17–18; Eltester, W. “Sozomenos 2,” RE III A.1 1245; Hansen xliv n. 1. There is no strong evidence that Socrates actually published the first version of HE books 1–2, mentioned in HE II.1. He refers to the first version as his first ύπαγόρευσις (which generally means “composition”; see Thesaurus Graecae linguae, ed. Stephan, H. vol. 9 [Graz, 1954], 103 s.v.; A Patristic Greek Lexicon, ed. Lampe, G. W. H. [Oxford, 1961], 1432 s.v.), rather than his first ἔκδοσις (cf. Eunapius, Testimonia 1 in Blockley vol. 2 = Photius, Bibliothèque, vol. 1 [cited above, n. 2], codex 77). The variant versions of Socrates, HE VI. 11 do not necessarily come from different editions; cf. Geppert, Quellen, 5ff.Google Scholar

28 Bidez cxxxiii–cxxxiv. For an earlier attempt to show that Socrates knew of Philostorgius's HE: Jeep, “Quellenuntersuchungen” (as in n. 11) 130–37; rejected by Harnack, A. in Theologische Literaturzeitung 9 (1884): 631–32; Jeep replied unconvincingly in “Zur Überlieferung des Philostorgius,” TU 17.3b (Leipzig, 1898), 4–5. Jeep's proposal that Socrates used Philostorgius's HE was followed by Schoo, Sozomenos, 83–86, but not by Geppert or Hansen liii–lv. As Harnack emphasized, Socrates named all literary sources except reference works; cf. Geppert, Quellen, 14.Google Scholar

29 Evagrius, , Ecclesiastical History. ed. Bidez, J. and Parmentier, L. (London, 1898), III.40–41. Pauline Allen, “Some Aspects of Hellenism in the Early Greek Church Historians,” Traditio 43 (1987): 379 considers the antipagan apology of Evagrius as “a fossilised part of a literary genre [of HE]”; eadem, Evagrius Scholasticus the Church Historian (Louvain, 1981), 159–61. See also Glanville Downey, “The Perspective of the Early Church Historians,” Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies 6 (1965): 68–70.Google Scholar

30 Notably the “Arian historian” used by Philostorgius; Bidez, “Anhang VII,” 202–41; Hans Christof Brennecke, Studien zur Geschichte der Homöer: Der Osten bis zum Ende der monöischen Reichskirche, Beiträge zur historischen Theologie 73 (Tübingen 1988), 93–94.Google Scholar

31 Cf. Nobbs, “Philostorgius's View of the Past” (as in n. 18), 263.Google Scholar

32 Bidez cxxxiii–cxxxiv; Socrates, HE I.6.41; Philostorgius, HE I.7a lines 9–11 (Socrates states that Arius's antagonist, Alexander, bishop of Alexandria, made a similar letter collection at the same time).Google Scholar

33 Bidez does not identify passages in Philostorgius which could have been derived from the Arian letter collection; Bidez cxxxiv–cxl. The passage referring to the letter collection comes not from Photius's epitome of Philostorgius, but from the anonymous Vita Constantini, which used Philostorgius's HE; exactly how much of this passage derives from Philostorgius is indeterminable.Google Scholar

34 According to Geppert, Quellen (cited above, n. 22), 15–16, oral reports were Socrates’ sources for much of the last two books, including the account of the campaign against the usurper John and the Persian war; these oral accounts did not come from “den leitenden Kreisen” of the military campaigns, so Socrates treated these events anecdotally. Olympiodorus's account is noted for its precision and access to information; Matthews 82, 84, 85–87 (cf. Maenchen, Otto J.-Helfen, The World of the Huns: Studies in their History and Culture, ed. Max Knight [Berkeley, 1973], 459).Google Scholar

35 On the “bewunderungswürdig … Fleiss” of Socrates in collecting and synthesizing his wide range of sources: Geppert, Quellen, 9, 19–65 (main sources), 66–81 (secondary sources). Cf. Alan Cameron, Claudian: Poetry and Propaganda at the Court of Honorius (Oxford, 1970), 475: “Socrates … conscientiously consulted all available sources, pagan and Christian.”Google Scholar

36 Theodoret, who wrote in the late 440s and therefore probably after the publication of Olympiodorus's History, also did not use his work. This may be attributed to his location in Syria. Olympiodorus presumably published in Constantinople, judging from his dedication to Theodosius II and the likelihood that his diplomatic career required regular presence in the imperial city. His users, Philostorgius, Sozomen, and probably Zosimus (at one time employed in the prefectorial courts in Constantinople, PLRE II 1206), also wrote in the capital. No user of Olympiodorus outside Constantinople is known, and it may be that the work was simply not available to Theodoret because of a limited circulation.Google Scholar

37 Clover 144–50.Google Scholar

38 Clover 146 identifies the statue with the ancient images of two pious brothers, usually named Amphinomos and Anapius, at Catania, Sicily (for full references to these statues and their legend: Wissowa, G., “Amphinomos 5,” RE I.2 1943–44). The identification is reasonable but not certain. The images of Amphinomos and Anapius are usually described in the plural, not as a single statue as in Olympiodorus (ἄγαλμα); they were in fact a group of four images, two brothers each carrying one of their parents. The statue described by Olympiodorus had distinctive symbolic features (“in one foot there was a perpetual flame, in the other a never-ending spring,” presumably representing the fire of Etna and the Strait of Messina respectively). These features are not mentioned in the ecphrasis of the statues of the pious brothers by Claudian, who praises their realistic appearance; Claudian, Carmina, ed. John Barrie Hall (Leipzig, 1985), Carm. min. xvii 1–26. Claudian's description is probably that of an eyewitness, written ca. 396–97; see Alan Cameron, Claudian, 392–93. It is by no means inconceivable that more than one apotropaic statue was raised as protection against Mt. Etna, and that Olympiodorus refers to a second statue. The statues of the two pious brothers appear to have still been extant later in the fifth or early sixth century; see PLRE II, “Merulus,” 759; Clover 146.Google Scholar

39 Pagan sympathy: Thompson 47 n. 4; Kaegi 87–88, 90–91; Matthews 95–96; Blockley 38–40; Brian Croke, “Evidence for the Hun Invasion of Thrace in A.D. 422,” Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 18 (1977): 361–62; Cracco Ruggini, “The Ecclesiastical Histories and the Pagan Historiography” (as in n. 8), 123–24 and n. 72.Google Scholar

40 For a thorough survey of the literary sources for Mt. Etna in late antiquity: Clover 147–49. Chester, D. K. et al., Mount Etna: The Anatomy of a Volcano (London, 1985), Table 3.3 conveniently tabulates historical evidence of the volcano's activity (no reports of eruptions of Etna between 252/253 and 812 are precisely datable). In modern times, Etna has erupted on average every six years.Google Scholar

41 De Lepper, assuming that Olympiodorus wrote soon after 425, identifies these barbarians as auxiliaries in the service of the usurper John, sent to secure Sicily in 423/424; J. L. M. de Lepper, De rebus gestis Bonifatii comitis Africae et magistri militum (Tilburg/Breda, 1941), 43f., cited by Blockley 163 n. 16. They may have been Vandals making raids after their entry into Africa in 430, according to Sirago, V. A., “Olimpiodoro di Tebe e la sua opera storica,” in Richerche storiche ed economiche in memoria di Barbagallo C., vol. 2 (Naples, 1970), 15, cited by Blockley 163 n. 16. Both suggestions are conjectural; there is no evidence to support either.Google Scholar

42 Prosper, , Epitoma Chronicon, ed. Th. Mommsen, MGH AA 9 (Berlin, 1892), chaps. 1330, 1332; Clover, 149–50.Google Scholar

43 Scramuzza, V. M., “Roman Sicily,” in An Economic Survey of Ancient Rome, ed. Tenney Frank, vol. 3 (London/Baltimore, 1937), 349–55. Claudian, In Gildonem, in his Carmina, lines 62–63, describes Africa as Rome's only corn supplier, but this is poetic licence, to exaggerate the threat posed by Gildo's control of Africa.Google Scholar

44 Ibid, lines 60–62; Christian Courtois, Les Vandales et l'Afrique (Paris, 1955), 212 and nn. 9–10; Μ. Finley, I. et al., A History of Sicily (London, 1986), 29–45.Google Scholar

45 For examples from the early empire to the fourth century: Jones, A. H. M. “Ancient Empires and the Economy: Rome,” in his The Roman Economy: Studies in Ancient Economic and Administrative History, ed. Brunt, P. A. (Oxford, 1974), 122, 125, 130. Constantius and Galla Placidia may be added to this list. On Sicily under the late empire: Wilson, R. J. A. Sicily Under the Roman Empire: The Archaeology of a Roman Province, 36 B.C.–A.D. 535 (Warminster, 1990), 217–19, 330–38.Google Scholar

46 Above at nn. 27–36.Google Scholar

47 Sources: Clover, F. M., “Geiseric the Statesman: A Study of Vandal Foreign Policy” (MA thesis, University of Chicago, 1966), 68 n. 3, 69–70 n. 1. The entries in Marcellinus, Chronicon and the Chronicon Paschale indicate that the event was recorded in their common source, the city chronicle of Constantinople (cf. Brian Croke, “City Chronicles of Late Antiquity,” in Reading the Past in Late Antiquity [as in n. 18], 182–84).Google Scholar

48 Extension of the city walls of Constantinople: Cameron, “The Empress and the Poet” (as in n. 1), 240–41, 262–63 (quote). Other accounts of Geiseric's activities 439–440: Bury 254–55; Seeck 118–20; Stein 324–25; Ludwig Schmidt, Geschichte der Wandalen 2 (Munich, 1942), 66–70; Courtois, Vandales, 171–73, 190–91, 212; and especially Clover, “Geiseric the Statesman,” 68–76.Google Scholar

49 The only western source for the piratical attacks in 437/438 is Prosper (there is no reference in the sources which Mommsen, in Chronica minora, considers dependent on hypothetical Italian consularia). One eastern source, Marcellinus comes refers to the capture and execution of the leaders of the pirates, without, unfortunately, specifying where this occurred; Marcellinus, Chronicon s.a. 438.1. Although Marcellinus's entry may document eastern awareness of the pirates’ attacks on Sicily, he is generally poorly informed about events in the West, and this passing affair seems an unlikely exception (cf. Brian Croke, “The Chronicle of Marcellinus in Its Contemporary and Historiographical Context” [D.Phil diss., University of Oxford, 1978], 200–205). It seems more likely that these former federates, after plundering freely across the Mediterranean, were captured and put to death somewhere in the East, so that an eastern source brought the event to Marcellinus's attention.Google Scholar

50 This dramatic contrast may be paralleled in Fr. 27 [27] (a Hunnic attack following the removal of three apotropaic statues in Thrace), if Croke is correct to identify this passage with the Hunnic incursion of 422 which resulted in a major defeat for the East; Croke, “Evidence of the Hun Invasion of Thrace in A.D. 422” (cited above, n. 39): 358–65.Google Scholar

51 Frs. 19 [18], 28 [28], 32 [33], 35.1 [36] (parrot), 35.2 [37].Google Scholar

52 Fr. 19 [18]; Müller 57.Google Scholar

53 Hierocles's philosophical tract, On Providence and Destiny, is preserved in Photius, Bibliothèque (as in n. 2), vol. 3, codex 214. Blemmyes: Fr. 35.2 [37].Google Scholar

54 In Photius's summary, the account of Olympiodorus's journey is placed after the deaths of Wallia and Constantius III in 418 and 421 (Frs. 33.1, 34 [34, 35]). This need not indicate true temporal sequence, as Frs. 33–38 do not constitute a chronologically continuous narrative.Google Scholar

55 Cameron, “Wandering Poets” (as in n. 1), 493–94; Matthews, Western Aristocracies (as in n. 1), 383.Google Scholar

56 Cf. Charles William Fornara, The Nature of History in Ancient Greece and Rome (Berkeley, 1983), 47–60.Google Scholar

57 Frs. 41.1–2 [43–44]; Cameron, “Wandering Poets,” 490–91; Matthews 80; cf. Baldwin 217–18; Blockley 27–28.Google Scholar

58 Cf. Treadgold, Warren T., The Nature of the Bibliotheca of Photius, Dumbarton Oaks Studies 18 (Washington, D.C., 1980), 52–66.Google Scholar

59 Holum, , Theodosian Empresses (as in n. 25), 116 and n. 13; Cameron “The Empress and the Poet,” 288 n. 212.Google Scholar

60 Rudolf Helm, “Untersuchungen über den auswärtigen diplomatischen Verkehr des römischen Reiches im Zeitalter der Spätantike,” Archiv für Urkundenforschung 12 (1932), rpt. in Antike Diplomatie, ed. Eckart Olshausen and Hildegard Biller, Wege der Forschung 462 (Darmstadt, 1979), 343–45 and n. 323; Jones 1:369, 3:75 n. 8; Manfred Clauss, Der Magister officiorum in der Spätantike (4.-6. Jahrhundert): Das Amt und sein Einfluss auf die kaiserliche Politike, Vestigia 32 (Munich, 1980), 63–72.Google Scholar

61 The list of magistri officiorum in the early fifth century is incomplete: PLRE II 1258.Google Scholar

62 PLRE II, “Helion 1,” 533.Google Scholar

63 Olympiodorus, , Fr. 43.1 [46].Google Scholar

64 Besides the personal contacts named by Olympiodorus, several high-ranking westerners have been suggested as sources for his knowledge of western events: Blockley 34–35; Matthews 90–92. Failing confirmation by Olympiodorus himself, such contact must remain conjectural. The westerners cannot be considered as forming part of Olympiodorus's circle. Another possible personal contact is the magister officiorum Helion; see above, nn. 61–63.Google Scholar

65 Thompson 44.Google Scholar

66 On Hierocles: Damascius, Vitae Isidori reliquiae, ed. Clemens Zintzen (Hildersheim, 1967), Fr. 106; Elter, A., “Zu Hierokles dem Neuplatoniker,” Rheinisches Museum für Philologie n.s. 65 (1910): 175–77; PLRE II, “Hierocles 1,” 559–60; Cameron, “Wandering Poets,” 476 n. 37.Google Scholar

67 Elter, “Zu Hierokles,” 176–77 dates the work ca. 415, assuming that the diplomatic success of Olympiodorus mentioned by Hierocles is his mission to the Huns of Donatus, dated 412 by Müller 57; Olympiodorus Fr. 19 [18]. But Olympiodorus undertook several embassies in his career; above, nn. 51–63. Hierocles’ dedication could have been written at any date during Olympiodorus's active career.Google Scholar

68 Hierocles, in Photius, Bibliothèque, vol. 3, codex 214 (describing Olympiodorus as ούδὲ σοφίας άπειρος); Etler, “Zu Hierokles,” 176. Another example of an early fifth century philosophical tract dedicated to an imperial servant is Favonius Eulogius, Disputatio de somnio Scipionis, ed. and tr. Roger-E. van Weddingen, Collection Latomus 27 (Brussels, 1957), Preface (dedicated to Superius, consularis of Byzacena).Google Scholar

69 Fr. 31 [32].Google Scholar

70 For the context of Philtatius's recognition: see Alison Frantz, “Honors to a Librarian,” Hesperia 35 (1966): 377–80.Google Scholar

71 Fr. 28 [28].Google Scholar

72 Holum, , Theodosian Empresses, 116.Google Scholar

73 Seeck 82, 406 n. 16; Holum, “Family Life” (cited above, n. 25), 282 n. 11; idem, Theodosian Empresses, 116–18; PLRE II, “Leontius 6,” 668–69; Cameron, “The Empress and the Poet,” 274 (but Leontius was a common name: twenty-three Leontii are listed in PLRE I, twenty in PLRE II).Google Scholar

74 Fr. 27 [27]. Valerius's rank is not given. Ensslin, “Valerius 17,” RE VII.a.2 2298 and PLRE II, “Valerius 4,” 1144 suggest the rank of consularis, without identifying him with Eudocia's brother (for whom: see PLRE II, “Valerius 6,” 1145). Identification: Holum, “Family Life,” 282 n. 15 (with appropriate caution); idem, Theodosian Empresses, 118–19; accepted by Croke, “Evidence” (cited above, n. 50), 361–2 and n. 41; Clover 145 n. 66.Google Scholar

The identification of Valerius is reasonable but, as Holum notes, not firm: Valerius, like Leontius, was a popular name (twenty Valerii in PLRE I and II, and eighty-five examples of the name used as a praenomen or cognomen). That the identification was not suggested before Holum seems to be because of Olympiodorus's unusual dating of this episode: “during the reign of Constantius the Emperor,” i.e., Constantius III, in 421. Because Constantius III was a western emperor, this date has often not been accepted. Instead, the Gothic and Hunnic attack mentioned in Fr. 27 has been placed in the reign of Constantius II (Ensslin, “Valerius 17,” RE VII.a.2 2298, distinguishing two Valerii, a fourth-century governor and a fifth-century informant of Olympiodorus) or of Valens (Matthews 90 n. 110, 96 n. 180); cf. Blockley 164 n. 20.Google Scholar

Olympiodorus's dating formula is curious, since he and his audience were eastern and Thrace was under eastern jurisdiction. But there are other points at which he describes eastern affairs in western terms: e.g., Theodosius II as “the nephew of Honorius and Placidia”: Photius, Testimonium, in Olympiodorus, 152 (rather than “Theodosius the son of Arcadius”). The brevity of Photius's summary obstructs full understanding of these references. An additional reason for placing the career of Valerius and the Hunnic attacks mentioned in this passage in the early fifth century rather than the 370s is that Zosimus does not use this passage in his description of the events of 376–78. Zosimus would presumably have been keen to utilize this example of imperial antipagan policies backfiring with disastrous results; cf. Zosimus V.24.6–8; 41.7.Google Scholar

75 Valerius had held no public office before his sister's marriage; it is reasonable to think that, despite his connection with the empress, he began his public career with the relatively humble position of consularis (with the title vir clarissimus; Jones 1: 379). Eudocia's brother is attested as comes rei privatae ca. 425 and comes sacrarum largitionum ca. 427 (both ranked as vir illustris; Jones 2: 528), consul in 432 and magister officiorum in 435; PLRE II 1145. Narrative sources refer only to his highest office, magister officiorum; Chronicon Paschale s.a. 421; Malalas XIV:5. For a parallel, cf. the career of Eudocia's maternal uncle Asclepiodotus: PLRE II, “Asclepiodotus 1,” 160; Cameron, “The Empress and the Poet,” 276 (“a meteoric rise from nowhere”). Eudocia's other brother, Gessius, is attested only in the literary sources above, as PPO (praefectus praetorio) Illyrici.Google Scholar

76 Cameron, “The Empress and the Poet,” 270; Blockley 29; Kaegi, Walter E., “The Fifth-Century Twilight of Byzantine Paganism,” Classica et Mediaevalia 27 (1966): 265–66; idem, Byzantium and the Decline of Rome, 65–66, 68, 90. Cameron, “The Empress and the Poet,” 239–43, 268–70, 277–79, dispels the alleged paganism of Eudocia and Cyrus; they were nevertheless patrons of hellenistic letters. For examples of patronage of fellow-provincials in the imperial service: Ioannes Lydus, On Powers, or The Magistracies of the Roman State, ed. and trans. Bandy, Anastasius C., Memoirs of the American Philosophical Society 149 (Philadelphia, 1982), III.26 (Zoticus), 58 (John the Cappadocian); Cameron, Claudian (as in n. 35), 81–82.Google Scholar

77 Cf. Blockley 29. For the date: Cameron, “The Empress and the Poet,” 256–63.Google Scholar

78 Thompson 46; Eunapius, II Fr. 66.2 [74].Google Scholar

79 On Eunapius: PLRE II, “Eunapius 2,” 296; Blockley 22–23; Penella, Robert J., Greek Philosophers and Sophists in the Fourth Century A.D.: Studies in Eunapius of Sardis. ARCA Classical and Medieval Texts, Papers, and Monographs 28 (Leeds, 1990), 1–9, 128–34; cf. Sacks, Kenneth S. “The Meaning of Eunapius's History,” History and Theory 25 (1986): 53–54. Eunapius professed the contempt for contact with the world of affairs characteristic of the Neo-Platonists; Blockley 17–18; cf. Porphyrius, On the Life of Plotinus and the Order of His Books, in Plotinus, trans. Armstrong, A. H. (London, 1966), VII.32–47; Peter Brown, Power and Persuasion in Late Antiquity: Towards a Christian Empire (Wisconsin, 1992), 4. His provincial focus is well illustrated by his account of the revolts of Tribigild and Gainas in 400: the actions of Tribigild in Phrygia, neighboring Eunapius's Lydia, are given in great detail, while the politically more important deeds of Gainas in Constantinople are described less fully and with some confusion (Zosimus V.13–17.5; cf. V.18–19, presumably derived from Eunapius's lost account).Google Scholar

80 Of course, Thompson's distinction is somewhat exaggerated, as Eunapius describes conditions specifically at the time of Stilicho, when even physical impediments were placed on communications between the two halves of the empire; Matthews, Western Aristocracies (as in n. 1), 286. 2.Google Scholar

For the common opinion that Olympiodorus resided at Constantinople for at least part of his life: Müller 57; Haedicke 201; Cameron, “Wandering Poets,” 490–91, 497; Paschoud 1: xii n. 3.Google Scholar

81 Lucian, , Historia. trans. Kilburn, K., vol. 6 (London, 1959), XVI; Eunapius, Fr. 15 [8]; cf. Fornara, Nature of History (as in n. 56), 59–60.Google Scholar

82 Despite the attempts of Cyrus of Panopolis to make Greek the language of imperial administration; Ioannes Lydus, De mag. II.12, III.42. On Latin in Olympiodorus: Thompson 48; Matthews 85–86; cf. Cameron, “Wandering Poets,” 494–96.Google Scholar

83 For the view that Olympiodorus presents an anti-Christian polemic: Kaegi and Croke (cited above, n. 39); Kaegi, “Fifth-Century Twilight,” 266; and François Paschoud, Cinq études sur Zosime (Paris, 1975), 169, 180–81 (postulating that Olympiodorus, like Eunapius, employed a lost “Historia adversus Christianos”). For correctives to this view: Matthews 96; Blockley 39–40. Olympiodorus's sincere demonstration of what he believed to be the results of Christian policies against pagan cult-objects may be compared to his treatment of Stilicho, which was sympathetic despite the fact that Stilicho's ambitions antagonized the eastern court. These are examples of a forthright approach to matters of state, rather than polemics against the prevailing regime.Google Scholar

84 For “hostile indifference”: É. Demougeot, De l'unité à la division de l'Empire Romain, 395–410: Essai sur le gouvernement impérial (Paris, 1951), Part III, 493–562; quote at 493. In the years immediately after Stilicho's death, both courts seem to have endeavored to ease the tensions caused by his policies; Bury, 1212 (attributing the initiative to the PPO Anthemius); Matthews, Western Aristocracies, 286; cf. Michael McCormick, Eternal Victory: Triumphal Rulership in Late Antiquity, Byzantium, and the Early Medieval West (Cambridge/Paris, 1986), 117–19. Demougeot's thesis has been qualified: Kaegi; William Niven Bayless, “The Political Unity of the Roman Empire During the Disintegration of the West, A.D. 395–457,” (Ph.D. diss., Brown University, 1972), esp. chapter 3, 50–80.Google Scholar

85 On Theodosius II's short period of sole rule: Hydatius, Continuatio chronicorum Hieronymianorum, ed. Th. Mommsen, MGH AA 11 (Berlin, 1893), chap. 82 (monarchia of Theodosius II; cf. chap. 165); Bury 221; Lippold 972–73; Oost 179–80. In addition to the references there, note that the Chronica gallica a. 452, which employs regnal years rather than consular dating, counts from the first year of Theodosius II's sole rule following the death of Honorius, not from the first year of his joint reign with Valentinian III; MGH AA 9 chaps. 94ff. Presumably both Hydatius and the Chron. gall. a. 452 reflect imperial dating formulae.Google Scholar

86 Seeck 96 holds that Theodosius II had no intention of further elevating Valentinian from Caesar to Augustus; he is generally not followed. On the politics of 423–25 and Theodosius II's intentions: Bury 221–24; Stein 282–84; Oost 179–86; Lippold 972–73; Kaegi 19–26; Matthews, Western Aristocracies, 377–81. Modern references to Theodosius's “restoration” of Valentinian III are misleading. Whatever the intentions of the western court may have been in 421, Valentinian in 424/425 was clearly the eastern nominee for the throne; cf. Matthews 88.Google Scholar

East's refusal to recognize Constantius Ill's imperial elevation in 421: Olympiodorus Frs. 33.1, 2 [34]. Egyptian papyri for 421, however, employing the post-consulate of Theodosius II and Constantius (consuls 420), refer to both consuls as δεσπότης, i.e., emperor. The papyri date from 3 March to 25 July 421; Constantius was emperor from 8 February to his death on 2 September (PLRE II,“Fl. Constantius 17,” 324). The names of the consuls for 421 were not disseminated in Egypt until after July (first attested in late December), but news of Constantius's elevation must have been immediate; Bagnall, R. S. and Worp, K. A., The Chronological Systems of Byzantine Egypt (Zutphen, 1978), 116–17 s.a. 421 (post-consulate); Bagnall, R. S. et al., Consuls of the Later Roman Empire, Philological Monographs of the American Philological Association 36 (Atlanta, 1987), s.aa. 420, 421. If Olympiodorus is correct in saying that Theodosius II refused to recognize Constantius as emperor, then the Egyptian sources must have acted upon a western imperial proclamation to “correct” the post-consulate formula. A similar “correction” was made for the post-consulate formula in 426: Valentinian III, who, as Caesar, was consul in 425, is recorded as Augustus in the post-consulate formula employed in 426; Bagnall and Worp, Chronological Systems, 117 s.aa. 425–426.Google Scholar

The post-consulate formula for 421 is unusual. The usual formula for two imperial consuls refers to both emperors as δεσπότης and αἰώνιος Αὔγουστος, e.g. μ.τ.ύ τών δεσπ. ήμ. ‘Oνωρίου τò ιβ’ καὶ Θεοδοσίου τò η’ αὶων. Αὐγ. (Bagnall and Worp, Chronological Systems, 116 s.a. 419; cf. s.aa. 402, 407, 409–412, 422, 426, 435). The formula for 421 refers to both Theodosius and Constantius as δεσπότης, but only Theodosius as αὶώνιος Αὔγουστος; Constantius is instead described as ὁ λαμπρότατος πατρίκιος (cf. the formulae for private consuls with rank of clarissimus in Bagnall and Worp, ibid., s.aa. 398, 406, 416, 417, 433, 439). The post-consulate formula for 421 seems to be an awkward attempt to accommodate an unusual situation.Google Scholar

87 Kaegi 27–29, 51–58. Lippold 984, 986 and Thompson, E. A. “The Foreign Policies of Theodosius II and Marcian,” Hermathena 76 (1950): 58–75 stress the importance of the Vandal campaigns for the East's own security, but cf. Chron. gall. a. 452, chap. 132; Thompson, E. A., A History of Attila and the Huns (Oxford, 1948), 93–94. A sidelight on relations between the two courts is the nomination of the eastern MVM (magister utriusque militiae) Aspar, on campaign against the Vandals in 431/434, as western consul for 434; Bury 225; PLRE II, “Fl. Ardabur Aspar,” 166; Bagnall et al., Consuls of the Later Roman Empire s.a. 434.Google Scholar

88 Originally by spokesmen for the Ostrogothic regime, defending Theodoric's “reconquest” of these lands for Italy; Cassiodorus, Variae, ed. Th. Mommsen, MGH AA 12 (Berlin, 1894), XI.1.9; Ennodius, “Panegyricus dictus Theoderico,” in Opera, ed. Frideric Vogel, MGH AA 7 (Berlin, 1885), CCLXIII.12. These provinces, particularly the Pannonias, had suffered from repeated barbarian incursions and settlements since the early 380s; Bury 221–22, 225–26 and n. 5; Croke, “Evidence,” 354.Google Scholar

89 Theodosiani libri XVI,3 ed. Th. Mommsen and Meyer, P. M. (Berlin, 1962), vol I.2, CTh I.1.5–6; vol. II Novellae Theodosii (hereafter NTh) I.5.Google Scholar

90 CTh vol. II, Novellae Valentiniani (hereafter NVal) 26; NTh 2.Google Scholar

91 For an (admittedly rare) example: CTh XII. 1.158; cf. XVI.8.13.Google Scholar

92 For Theodosius's emphasis on his initiative, and his decree that the collection be named after him: CTh I.1.5; 6.2; NTh I.3, 4; cf. Sidonius Apollinaris, Lettres, ed. André Loyen, vol. 3 (Paris, 1970), Ep. II:1:3; Chronica gallica a. 511, ed. Th. Mommsen, MGH AA 11 chap. 597. Cf. Tony Honoré, Tribonian (London, 1978), 16 on Justinian.Google Scholar

93 Seeck, Otto, Regesten der Kaiser und Päpste für die Jahre 311 bis 476 n. Chr.: Vorarbeit zu einer Prosopographie der christlichen Kaiserzeit (Stuttgart, 1919), 2, 12–13; Oost 219–20; Jean Gaudemet, La formation du droit séculier et du droit de l'Église aux IVe et Ve siècles 2 (Paris, 1979), 58–61.Google Scholar

94 CTh VI.23.3, cf. vol. 1 pars 2 ccciv; Bury 235 n. 1. Consequently there are no extant laws of Valentinian III between mid-432 and July 438, when he issued his first extant novella. Lippold 987 suggests that the western laws were brought to Constantinople as part of the negotiations for the marriage of Valentinian III and Licinia Eudoxia. Theodosius's first decree on the CTh (I.1.5) was issued almost exactly three years before the last constitutio of Valentinian III. This would seem to be a reasonable amount of time for the western material to be assembled.Google Scholar

95 CTh I.1.5 (March 429) called for a collection of all imperial constitutiones, both current and redundant, classified under titles and arranged in chronological order; it was to be the basis for a second codex containing only the current provisions for each title — a definitive statement of current law. Only this synthesized code was to be called Codex Theodosianus. Not mentioned in CTh I.1.6 of November 435, this synthesis was never produced; the reconstituted commission was not required to undertake the second half of the project (Justinian's commission under Tribonian a century later successfully executed a similar editorial task. In the interim, the Breviarium of Alaric II took a step toward producing a consolidated version of the laws, by removing categories of laws irrelevant to the provincial conditions of the kingdom of Toulouse, and including interpretationes of many laws). It is possible that CTh I.1.6 was issued to recommence the project after it had lapsed, rather than only to reorganize the committee. CTh I.1.6 makes no reference to the earlier CTh I.1.5; instead it restates the (reduced) aims of the project. Cf. Gaudemet, La formation, 48–52; Tony Honoré, “The Making of the Theodosian Code,” Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte: Romanistiche Abteilung 103 (1986): 161–89, esp. 166–67.Google Scholar

96 The embassy of the former PPO Volusianus shows that the western court negotiated the formal confirmation of the betrothal of Valentinian III and Licinia Eudoxia; The Life of Melania the Younger, trans. Clark, Elizabeth A. (New York, 1984), chap. 58. This embassy is usually dated to 436/437 (e.g., PLRE II 1185); cf. Holum, Theodosian Empresses (as in n. 25), 184–85 n. 39. We have no indication what stage of the negotiation procedure Volusianus's embassy represents. On the basis of the ages of Valentinian III and Licinia Eudoxia alone it seems probable that negotiations for the wedding would have begun several years beforehand. Already by 434, Licinia Eudoxia had reached the minimum marriagable age of twelve, and Valentinian III was fifteen and perhaps at least formally ready to enter his majority; cf. Bury 249; Oost 242 (at the time of the wedding, Valentinian was eighteen and Licinia Eudoxia fifteen). Negotiations were probably well under way when Theodosius II issued CTh I.1.6 in December 435, and it is tempting to associate this with the administrative arrangements for the prospective wedding.Google Scholar

97 Gesta Senatus Romani de Theodosiano publicando a. 438 (in CTh) 2–3.Google Scholar

98 CTh I.4.3. According to Oost 217–19 this law reflects a long-standing interest in legal matters by Galla Placidia. Lippold 976 suggests that the “Law of Citations” may have prompted Theodosius to commission the Cth; in fact Theodosius's decrees make no reference to the jurisconsults except to state that the constitutiones in the CTh “have been purged of interpretations” (NTh I:1). Valentinian Ill's “Law of Citations” is the first (extant) imperial edict for almost a century to deal with jurisprudence. Cf. Honoré, “Making of the Theodosian Code,” 179.Google Scholar

99 Constantinopolitan administrative influence on the new regime in Ravenna can also be discerned in court ceremonial: McCormick, Eternal Victory (as in n. 84), 59–60.Google Scholar

Other administrative influences can be conjectured. The family of Cassiodorus, apparently from the East, first appears in imperial service in the West in the time of Valentinian III; Cassiodorus, Variae, I.4.14; PLRE II, “Cassiodorus 1,” 263. Cassiodorus's ancestors may have accompanied Valentinian III from Constantinople, either in 425 or 437, perhaps as part of a more extensive transfer of personnel (a parallel in the late fifth century: PLRE II, “Artemidorus 3,” 155). Bury believed that the Notitia dignitatum Orientis (in the form in which it is preserved) was sent to Ravenna in the late 420s for the western court's reference; Bury, J. B., “The Notitia Dignitatum,” Journal of Roman Studies 10 (1920): 139–41. Bury's proposed dating, though not generally accepted (e.g. Jones 3: 351), remains possible; it accords with other traces of administrative cooperation after the installation of Valentinian III.Google Scholar

100 Faustus: PLRE II, “Faustus 8,” 453: “utriusque imperii iudicii[s] sublimitatus praefectus praetorio Italiae Afric[a]e et Inlyrici.” Together with the PPO Orientis, Faustus was directed by Theodosius II to disseminate the CTh; Gesta Senatus 3. Theodosius II and Faustus were consuls for the next year, but as Faustus was not acknowledged as consul in the East until late in 438, his consulship must not have been announced at the time of the wedding celebrations; Bagnall et al., Consuls of the Later Roman Empire s.a. 438.Google Scholar

Merobaudes: Merobaudes, reliquiae, ed. Frideric Vollmer, MGH AA 14 (Berlin, 1905), Panegyricus I, Fr. IIA, lines 3–5: “ad honoris maximi nomen ille nascenti soli proximus imperator evexit.” The nature of this honor is debated; see Clover, Frank M., Flavius Merobaudes: A Translation and Historical Commentary. Transactions of the American Philosophical Society n.s. 61, part 1 (Philadelphia, 1971), 35–38 (identifying it as the patriciate, but granted at a later date); Barnes, T. D., “Patricii Under Valentinian III,” Phoenix 29 (1975): 159–63 (suggesting the honorary consulate); PLRE II, “Merobaudes,” 756–59 (the patriciate, granted in 437).Google Scholar

101 On the children of Theodosius II and Aelia Eudocia: Marcellinus, Chronicon s.aa. 422.1, 431.1; Holum, Theodosian Empresses, 178–79 and n. 14; Barnes, T. D., “The Baptism of Theodosius II,” Studia Patristica 19 (1989): 12 n. 21. The birthdate of their second daughter, Flaccila, who died in 431, is not recorded. Cf. Oost 185–86.Google Scholar

102 The exact aim of the imperial courts in securing the marriage is variously interpreted. Oost 242–45 considers that it was intended to secure the stability of Valentinian's court, and to provide future heirs to rule both halves of the empire. This latter view is based upon interpretations of an eastern solidus struck for Licinia Eudoxia in ?437, with the legend SALUS ORIENTIS FELICITAS OCCIDENTIS; cf. J. F. W. de Salis, “The Coins of the Two Eudoxias, Eudocia, Placidia, and Honoria, and of Theodosius II, Marcian, and Leo I, Struck in Italy,” Numismatic Chronicle n.s. 7 (1867): 206; Boyce, A. A., “Eudoxia, Eudocia, Eudoxia: Dated Solidi of the Fifth Century,” American Numismatic Society Museum Notes 6 (1956): 131–42. Albert Güldenpenning, Geschichte des oströmischen Reiches unter den Kaisern Arcadius und Theodosius II (1885; rpt. Amsterdam, 1965), 309 considered that the marriage provided, in the event of Theodosius II's death, for rule of the whole empire to devolve upon Valentinian — an unlikely suggestion in view of the tradition for two imperial courts and the dominance of the eastern court since 425. Bury 225–26, Stein 285, and Lippold 987 suggest no more than a continuation of the relationship formed in 424/425.Google Scholar

103 On the former solidus (SALUS REIPUBLICAE): Hugh Goodacre, A Handbook of the Coinage of the Byzantine Empire (London, 1960), 31 no. 9; Oost 183; Kaegi 23–26; Carson, R. A. G., Coins of the Roman Empire (London/New York, 1990), 213. On the FELICITER NUBTIIS issue of 437: Bury 225 n. 4; Oost 244; Kaegi 27–28 (“this was the last coin issued by an eastern emperor which depicted himself together with a western colleague”); de Salis, “Two Eudoxias,” 206; Boyce, “Eudoxia, Eudocia, Eudoxia,” 132.Google Scholar

104 Socrates, , HE VII.44, counting this as an example of divine reward for Theodosius's piety. According to Socrates, Thessalonica was originally chosen as the site for the ceremony, as it was “about half way” between the two capitals. The city had previous experience with imperial ceremonies: it was the first imperial residence of Theodosius I; the western emperor Valentinian II and his mother Justina, fleeing the usurper Magnus Maximus, resided at Thessalonica in 387 until Theodosius I decided to support their reinstatement (Zosimus IV.43.1–2; Socrates, HE V.11.12); and in 424 Valentinian II was made Caesar there (Olympiodorus, Fr. 43.1 [46]), rather than at Hebdemon, the usual site for elevations in the East (e.g. Chronicon Paschale s.aa. 364, 383, 402, 450, and cf. 391; Marcellinus, Chronicon s.aa. 383.2, 393). Although Thessalonica was part of the eastern half of the empire, it perhaps represented “neutral” territory. Cf. Clover, Merobaudes, 22 and n. 56.Google Scholar

105 The unity of the empire was a dominant theme in court propaganda. Several statues of Valentinian III adorned Constantinople: Constantinople in the Early Eighth Century: The Parastaseis syntomoi chronikai, ed. and trans. Averil Cameron et al., Columbia Studies in the Classical Tradition 10 (Leiden, 1984), chaps. 51, 71, 75, 87 with 276. A fifth-century ivory diptych features personifications of Rome and Constantinople. The diptych may commemorate the imperial wedding of 437. Rome is shown with a figure of Victory bearing a ship's prow, Constantinople with a cupid. It has been suggested, from the presence of the cupid, that the diptych commemorates a marriage between families from the two capitals, perhaps Ricimer's marriage to Alypia, daughter of the emperor Anthemius; Richard Delbrueck, Die Consular-diptychen und verwandte Denkmäler (Berlin, 1929), 161–65, no. 38; Age of Spirituality: Late Antique and Early Christian Art, Third To Seventh Century, ed. Kurt Weitzmann (New York, 1979), 173–75, no. 153. The Victory, however, an imperial attribute, parallels the cupid and so associates the diptych with a specific military occasion involving naval power. The association of the cupid and the Victory with the imperial cities would be explained if the diptych commemorated the imperial wedding of 437, simultaneously recalling the defeat of John in 424.Google Scholar

Other extant propaganda concerning the wedding does not address the relationship between the two courts, but rather portrays the marriage as an act of piety: Aelia Eudocia's first pilgrimage to Jerusalem in fulfilment of a vow to do so if she lived to see the wedding (Socrates, HE VII.47.2; Bury 226–27 and n. 2; but cf. The Life of Melania the Younger, chap. 58); Valentinian's remission of taxation arrears in honor of the “sacred festivity of the recent vows” (NVal I.1 Preamble, and Mommsen's note 73).Google Scholar

106 Cf. Mendelssohn vii n. 1; Thompson 46–47. Cameron, “The Empress and the Poet,” 280 n. 195, seeks to qualify Thompson's statement that Olympiodorus dealt exclusively with the West. Olympiodorus's references to the East, however, are all autobiographical digressions; there is no treatment of political events in the East comparable to the western narrative.Google Scholar

107 Matthews 88 (quote), 97; cf. Blockley 32–33, 139 n. 37.Google Scholar

108 See Appendix.Google Scholar

109 On the amount of time required to compose the History: Matthews 89.Google Scholar

110 Cf. Matthews on the environment of Ammianus Marcellinus, Roman Empire of Ammianus (as in n. 8), 114. On the literary background of late imperial administrators: Cameron, “Wandering Poets,” esp. 497–507.Google Scholar

111 I am indebted to Professor Walter Goffart and Professor Timothy Barnes for their generous advice and encouragement on this paper.Google Scholar

112 On Merobaudes: PLRE II 756–58. Merobaudes's carmina and panegyrics are edited in Merobaudes, Reliquiae (cited above, n. 100).Google Scholar

113 On Aetius: Merobaudes, Carmen IV, Pan. I and II; on the baptism of Placidia: Carm. I lines 19–23, Carm. IIGoogle Scholar

114 The third poet, unnamed, was associated with the comes Africae Boniface and his son-in-law Sebastian; Sidonius, Carm. IX.277–301. Sidonius mentions the bronze statue raised in the Forum of Trajan in honor of Merobaudes; cf. ILS I no. 2950 (= CIL VI: 1724).Google Scholar

115 The poem refers to the infant baptism of Placidia, youngest daughter of Valentinian III and Licinia Eudoxia. Placidia's birth has been dated to 439/443 (Clover, Merobaudes [as in n. 100], 25–26; PLRE II, “Placidia 1,” 887), but the evidence is not firm: it depends upon the assumption that the usurper Petronius Maximus would not have offended law and piety by marrying his son to Placidia if the girl were below the legal age for marriage. But Maximus himself forcibly married Licinia Eudoxia immediately after Valentinian's murder. Placidia's birth can only be dated to the early 440s or perhaps 439.Google Scholar

116 For text, translation, and commentary: Clover, Merobaudes, 11, 16–27, 60; Barnes, T. D., “Merobaudes on the Imperial Family,” Phoenix 28 (1974): 314–19.Google Scholar

117 Merobaudes, , Pan. I, Fr. IIA.4–5.Google Scholar

118 Cameron, “The Empress and the Poet,” 256–63.Google Scholar

119 I follow Bury, J. B., “Justa Grata Honoria,” Journal of Roman Studies 9 (1919): 7–8 in seeing a linear progression of action in lines 7–10.Google Scholar

120 McCormick, , Eternal Victory. Google Scholar

121 Carm. I 19: “nova … suboles,” describing the recently born Placidia. In line 8, Merobaudes exploits the dual sense of novus by placing it close to subito. Google Scholar

122 Other interpretations take insufficient notice of the sequential nature of lines 7–10. Clover, Merobaudes, 21 identifies the exile as the Vandal prince Huneric, sent to Ravenna as a hostage in 442. This would be an inaccurate and, more importantly, insulting portrayal of the son of Geiseric, with whom Valentinian had concluded a treaty; cf. Barnes, “Merobaudes,” 318. Moreover, in this reading the poem leaps from the events of 442 to the imperial wedding of 437, which Clover admits to be a “rather abrupt transition.” Barnes, “Merobaudes,” 318–19 identifies “praeses noster” with “ipse princeps” (line 5), and denies that the antecedent of cui is the exul. The relationship between lines 7–9 and 10 is thus synchronistic, i.e., lines 7–9 refer to a victory which occurred at approximately the same time as Valentinian's wedding. Neither reading explains satisfactorily why a victory is included in a fresco which primarily portrays the members of the imperial family.Google Scholar

123 See Kessler, Herbert L. “Pictorial Narrative and Church Mission in Sixth-Century Gaul,” in Pictorial Narrative in Antiquity and the Middle Ages, ed. Kessler, Herbert L. and Marianna Shreve Simpson, Studies in the History of Art 16 (Washington, D.C., 1985), 75–91, esp. 76 and 90 nn. 15–19; Baldwin, Carl R. “Making the World Material,” in Narrative Art, ed. Hess, Thomas B. and John Ashbery, Art News Annual 36 (New York, 1970), 84–97; cf. Kurt Weitzmann, Illustrations in Roll and Codex: A Study of the Origin and Method of Text Illustration 2 (Princeton, 1970), 17–33.Google Scholar