THE ANNALES OF NICOMACHUS
For a variety of reasons Flavianus’s lost Annales simply cannot play the role for which it has increasingly often been cast in recent years. But both Bleckmann and Paschoud insist that their argument for an ultimate Latin source for the Byzantine tradition is entirely independent of its identification as Flavian’s Annales, Paschoud himself has of late begun to berate his critics for their failure to realize that this identification is no more than a distraction and a detail. The real issue is the necessity of postulating a lost Latin history—the identification of which as Flavian’s Annales remains (of course) “seductive and plausible.”1 Is it possible that we do in fact need to postulate a lost Latin history of the fourth century?
Bleckmann, Paschoud, and Festy have done their best to come up with linguistic proof, words in Byzantine texts alleged either to reflect a Latin source or to mistranslate a Latin term.2 Given enough convincing examples, this is a thesis capable of proof. Yet they have barely been able to get into double figures, and not one comes close to passing muster. Seven are (just) worth scrutiny.
1) The piece de resistance has alreadybeen discussed at length: Zosimus’s chapter on the pontifex maximus, with its supposed double Latin pun. So far from deriving from a Latin source, the information in this chapter is wholly Greek.
2) The Anonymus Continuator of Dio, on inadequate grounds often identified as Peter the Patrician,3 describes a certain Cledonius, an official at Valerian’s court in 260, as “the man who brings judges (dikastas) into the imperial presence.”4 According to Bleckmann, Cledonius is being anachronistically described as magister admissionum, the official who regulated audiences with the emperor, and the translator did not realize that iudices in his Latin source was being used in the late antique sense of civil servant or official. He cites a passage of Lactantius describing how “a few civilian
1. See his significantly titled paper “Preuves de la presence d’une source occidentale latine dans la tradition grecque pour l’histoire du 4e siècle,” now in Paschoud 2006, 413–22; and his most recent statement, 2006a, 338–44.
2. “countless words derived from Latin,” Bleckmann 1995, 84.
3. In favor, de Boor 1892, 13–33; Bleckmann 1992, 51–53, 411–15; against, Mazzarino 1980, 69–103; Potter 1990, 395–97; M. R. Cataudella, in Marasco 2003, 437–40 Treadgold 2007, 48–49, suggests Heliconius of Byzantium, whose lost Chronological Epitome stopped in 379.
4., Anon. Cont. F 3 (FHG iv. 193); Bleckmann 1995, 86.