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Chapter 2 - Beside the Rim of the Ocean

The Edges of the World in Fifth- and Sixth-Century Historiography

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 August 2019

Peter Van Nuffelen
Affiliation:
Universiteit Gent, Belgium
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Summary

In his panegyrical description of Hagia Sophia, delivered between 24 December 562 and 6 January 563, Paul the Silentiary praises Justinian for having domesticated seas and rivers. ‘These things’, he continues, ‘together with Western, Libyan, and Eastern triumphs, honour your power beside the rim of the Ocean’.1 This is reminiscent of the praise of Pseudo-Themistius for an emperor tentatively identified with Justinian.2 Such statements are topical, for imperial power was inherently universal: the claim to dominate the entire world is the spatial expression of the Roman Empire.3 As C. Nicolet has shown for Augustus, claims of world domination go hand in hand with claims to knowledge about that world.4

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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