Ammianus Marcellinus

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Ammianus Marcellinus

Ammianus Marcellinus (ămēā´nəs märsĬlī´nəs), c.330–c.400, Roman historian, b. Antioch. After retiring from a successful military career, he wrote a history of the Roman Empire as a sequel to that of Tacitus, his model. The history, in 31 books, covered the years from AD 96 to 378; only Books XIV–XXXI, covering the years AD 353–78, survive. Though written in an extremely rhetorical style, this reliable and impartial history is praised not only for its coverage of military events, but for detailed information concerning economic, administrative, and social history, biographical information about the various emperors, and tolerant descriptions of foreign cultures. Although a pagan and an admirer of Julian the Apostate, Ammianus was able to write about Christianity without prejudice.

See E. A. Thompson, Historical Work of Ammianus Marcellinus (1947); Ammianus Marcellinus (his work tr. by J. C. Rolfe 1935, repr. 1963); R. Syme, Ammianus and the Historia Augusta (1968).

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