Politics, Philosophy, and Empire in the Fourth Century: Select Orations of Themistius

By Themistius; Peter Heather et al. | Go to book overview
Save to active project

PREFACE

Around the year 350, a young orator and philosopher by the name of Themistius delivered a speech to the Emperor Constantius II in Ancyra (modern Ankara). Although Constantius was a Christian and Themistius a non-Christian educated in traditional Hellenic paideia, imperial favour quickly followed. Themistius first graduated to an officially funded teaching post in Constantinople, the new capital of the eastern half of the empire. Then, much more dramatically, Constantius catapulted Themistius into the city's senate in 355. Constantius continued to show Themistius great favour until his death in November 361, as did three subsequent Christian emperors. Themistius pronounced keynote speeches for the Emperors Jovian (363–4), Valens (364–78), and Theodosius (379–95), before he eventually disappeared from public life, probably through retirement, in around 384/5.1

This project, designed to make accessible a selection of the public speeches Themistius delivered in the course of his lengthy career, has itself been a long time in the making. Mooted as long ago as 1983, it has been through several stages of evolution, even if basic methods have remained constant, with David Moncur being responsible in the first instance for translating and literary comment, and Peter Heather for historical introductions and annotation.2 The original plan was to translate three of Themistius' best-known speeches - Orations 5, 10, 16 together with Orations 3 and 6 as examples of Themistius' art under the Emperors Constantius and Valens. Oration 10 eventually became part of an earlier volume in the Translated Texts for Historians series, paired there with a large part of Oration 8 to explore the Gothic policy of the Emperor Valens in the late 360s.3 At the same time, the project steadily expanded to investigate Themistius' career in much more comprehensive fashion. In the end, we have grouped the speeches into chapters, each of

1 On the circumstances of his retirement, see Chapter 5. Libanius, Ep. 18, implies that
Themistius was still alive in 388, but he delivered no speeches after 384/5.

2 We have, however, commented robustly and fully in the intervening years on each
other's efforts and take an entirely cabinet responsibility towards our final text.

3 Heather and Matthews, 1991, ch. 2.

-ix-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Politics, Philosophy, and Empire in the Fourth Century: Select Orations of Themistius
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 366

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?