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The itinerary of Alexander: Constantius to Julian

  • R. J. Lane Fox (a1)

Constantine, the first Christian Emperor, bequeathed war against Persia to his son Constantius, a legacy which haunted the next two decades, culminating in Julian′s debacle in 363. Much has been written on the timing, motives, and strategy of these campaigns but the same role model appears at their beginning and end: Alexander the Great. Here, I wish to re-examine the evidence for his presence: recent scholarship has minimized it at one end and maximized at the other.

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1 My greatest debt is to T. D. Barnes, whose work is the impulse for this article and who kindly read Part Two and improved it for me. I am also grateful to S. N. C. Lieu and Hunt, E.D. for helpful comment on an earlier version and Smith, R.B. for further discussion, reflected in his valuable study, Julian′s Gods(London, 1995). A re-edited text of the first 22 sections of the ‘Itinerary’ is given by R. Tabacco, Per Una Nuova Edizione Critica dell′Itinerarium Alexandri(Bologna 1992); H. Volkmann, Itinerarium Alexandri(Landschule Pforta, 1871) and H.-J. Hausmann, Itinerarium Alexandri(Diss Koln, 1970) are particularly helpful studieHerzog, s.R. (ed.), Restauration und Erneuerung, R. Herzog and P. L. Schmidt (edd.), Handbuch der Lateinischeti literatut der Antike,Funfter Band (Miinchen, 1989), pp. 212–15 gives the full bibliography and a survey of the textual and literary issues which this text has raised. J.-P. Callu ′La Pr6face a L′ltineraire d′Alexandre′in De Tertullien Aux Mozarabes: Melanges Offerts a J. FontaineI (Paris, 1992), pp. 429–43 is a re-edition and commentary on the Preface of the text only. The most valuable survey, however, is by R. Tabacco, ‘Itinerarium Alexandri:Rassegna Critica degli Studi e Prospettive di Indagine’, Bollettino di Studi Latini17 (1987), 77–120, the essential starting point for future study of the work.

2 Itin. Alex. 6; for Varro′s work (written by 77 B.C.), see E. Rawson, Intellectual Life in the Late Roman Republic(London, 1985), pp. 105, 164, 183, 265, 288. This Ephemeris Navalis should probably be identified with the ‘libri navales’ of Varro in Vegetius 4.41 and perhaps with his De Ora Maritima.

3 Itin. Alex.9 (revenge); 15 (similar physique).

4 Mai, A., Itinerarium Alexandri (Milan, 1817); R. Tabacco, ‘studi Sull’Itinerarium Alexandri1: I Codici′, Atti dell′Accademia di Torino122 (1988), 56–78 is fundamental with id. ‘studi Sull’ Itinerarium Alexandri2: II Contribute al Testo del Codice Parisino 4880′, 123 (1989), 5897.

5 Itin. Alex 2;H. Tonnet, ‘L′“Anabase” D′Arrien Dans L′“Itinerarium Alexandri’”, Revue d′Histoires des Textes9 (1979), 243–54.

6 Barnes, T.D., ‘Constantine and the Christians of Persia’, JRS75 (1985), 126–36, at 135.

7 Grion, G., I Nobili Fatti di Alessandro Magno (Bologna, 1872), pp. xxvi–xxxix.

8 R. Tabacco (supra, n. 1), pp. 77120.

9 Romano, D., Giulio Valerio(Palermo, 1974), p. 92, developed in his article, ‘La Questione della Paternita dell′Itinerarium Alexandri’, Atti dell Accad. di Scienze, Lettere edArti di Palermo(1970-1971), pp. 93–8: critical discussion by R. Tabacco (supra, n. 1), pp. 93–7, esp. p. 97 n. 63.

10 Printed in B. Kuebler′s Teubner edition, Mi Valeri Res Gestae Alexandri(Leipzig, 1888), p. 65.

11 Mai (supra, n. 4), p. 68.

12 Berengo, G. (ed.), Itinerario di Alessandro Magno (Venice, 1851), p. xii.

13 Berengo, G., Le Imprese di Alessandro Macedone (Venice, 1852);Kluge, C., De Itinerario Alessandri Magm (Diss., Breslau, 1861), pp. 34–55.

14 Tabacco, R. (supra, n. 1), pp. 8490 for a full and cautious survey of the various scholarship on the matter since 1851.

15 R.-E.9.2 (1916), 2363, s.v. Itinerarium Alexandri (W Kubitschek).

16 Itin. Alex. 2.

17 Zacher, J., Pseudocallisthenes(Halle, 1867), pp. 55 and 81 prints the texts for comparison.

18 Merkelbach, R., Die Quellen des griechischen Alexanderromans2(Munchen, 1977), pp. 179–82.

19 Merkelbach (supra, n. 8), pp. 180 recognizes the difficulty.

20 Romano (supra, n. 9; 1970-1), pp. 103–17 and, (supra, n. 9; 1974), p. 112. Counterarguments are given by Tabacco (supra, n. 4; 1989), pp. 58–97.

21 Romano (supra, n. 9; 1970-1), p. 111 on Jul. Val., Res Gestae1.47 with /fin. Alex.18.

22 Gaulmin, G., De Vita et Morte Mosis(Paris, 1629), p. 235, discussed by J. Zacher (supra, n. 17), p. 45. Gaulmin remarks, concerning Aesop (whom he presumed to be the translator of the Greek Romance, supposedly by Callisthenes): ‘est autem hie Aesopus interpres Callisthenis antea laudati qui et versionem suam Constantio, Constantini M. filio, dicavit quam ex codice doctissimi Salmasii olim descripsimus’.

23 Mai, A., Vergilii Maronis Interpretes Veteres (Milan, 1818), p. XXXVIII.

24 Evidence in A. H. Jones, M., Martindale, J.R. and Morris, J., PLREI (Cambridge, 1971), pp. 709–10:1 accept that most, probably all, of the evidence for their ‘Flavius Polemius 4’ concerns ‘Julius Valerius Polemius 3’, despite A. Stein, ‘Zum Julius Valerius’, Berliner Philologische Wochrenschrift33 (1913) 1436–7.

25 Cameron, A., ‘Polyonymy in the Late Roman Aristocracy’, JRS75 (1985), 178.

26 Romano (supra, n. 9), pp. 13–15.

27 Jul. Val., Res Gest.1.27 with Ps. Call. 1.32 imply to Romano ‘in maniera irrefutabile che Giulio Valerio e egiziano’, but the first paraphrase and the use of ‘ad nos’ and ‘inter nostros Heroos’ in this passage need only imply that Valerius knew Alexandria or that his text of the Romance differed slightly from ours at this point. Romano (supra, n. 9), p. 14 n. 6 lists the other ‘Alexandrian’ additions which he sees as significant too.

28 Fuhrmann, H., in R. Heizog and Schmidt, P.L. (edd), (supra, n. 1), p. 213; H. Tonnet (supra, n. 5), pp. 248–50.

29 Fraser, P.M., Ptolomeic Alexandria II(Oxford, 1972), p. 5 on Jul. Val. 1.25.

30 Itin. Alex.4.

31 Piganiol, A., L′Empire Chretien(rev. edn, Paris, 1972), p. 84.

32 Barnes (supra, n. 6), p. 135 with nn. 65 and 66.

33 Zonaras, Epit.13.3 (ed. Buttner-Wobst, 1897); 13.13.

34 Epitome de Caesaribus41.21.

35 Eutrop., Brev.10.9.2.

36 Aur. Victor, Epit. de Caes.41.42.

37 Bird, H.W., Sextus Aurelius Victor(Liverpool, 1984), pp. 1011.

38 Zosim. 2.41, with F. Paschoud, Zosime: Histoire Nouvelle,Tome I (Paris, Bude, 1971), p. 113 n. 54.

39 Rolfe, J.C., Ammianus Marcellinus II (London and Harvard, Loeb, 1937), p. 116 n. 2.

40 Amm. Marc. 16.7.3 with Matthews, J.F., The Roman Empire of Ammianus(London, 1989), p. 25.

41 Barnes (supra, n. 7), p. 135 n. 65 cites E. Ferrero, ′Constantinus IF, in E. de Ruggiero (ed.), Dizionario EpigraphicoII (Rome, 1892–1900), p. 657: as he has kindly pointed out to me, the most recent discussion is H. A. Cahn, ′Abolitio Nominisde Constantin IF, Melanges de Numismatique Offerts a P. Bastien(Welteren, 1987), pp. 201–2.

42 Petzi, G., Die Inschriften von SmyrnaII. 1 (Bonn, 1987), nos 818 III, 815d, 812B, 813 (possibly the same text as 812B). The other Eastern inscriptions cited by Ferrero (supra, n. 41) are fragmentary or of uncertain relevance.

43 By T. Drew-Bear and H. Malay, cited in Petzl (supra, n. 42) on no. 818 III.

44 Cahn (supra, n. 41), pp. 201–2.

45 Miinsterberg, R., ‘Damnatio Memoriae’, Monatsblatt der Numiscmatischen Gesellschaft in WienW(1918), 32–7.

46 Libanius, Or.59.43, 59.73.

47 Athanasius, Apol. ad Constantinum4 with Barnes (supra, n. 7), p. 135 n. 66; Barnes Athanasius and Constantius(Harvard and London, 1993), pp. 51–52, 63–70 is now fundamental to the dating and interpretation.

48 Julian, Or.19B, 20A-B, 33B-C, 41B-C, 45C

49 Cod Theod11.12.1.

50 Barnes (supra, n. 47), p. 312 n. 19 for previous bibliography: he, too, accepts Portmann, W., ‘Die 59 Rede des Libanios und das Datum der Schlacht von Singara’, BZ82 (1989),118.

51 Itin. Alex., Praefatio1 with J.-P. Callu fsupra, a 1), pp. 440–3.

52 Barnes (supra, n. 7), p. 135.

53 Itin. Alex., Praefatio9 with J.-P. Callu, ‘Aspects du Quadrimestre Monetaire’, MEFRA98.1 (1986), 196 n. 92.

54 T. D. Barnes, ‘Christians and Pagans under Constantius’, Entretiens Fondation Hardt(1987), 313–5.

55 Athanasius, Hist. Arianorum(ed. H. Opitz, G., 1935), 22.1.

56 Jul. Val., Res Gest.130–2.

57 Itin. Alex., Praefatio9 for deuspraeses; Itin. Alex.49–53, 90, 107–8.

58 Romano (supra, n. 9; 1970–1), p. 100 and (1974), p. 113.

59 Barnes, T.D., ‘Two Senators under Constantine’, JRS65 (1975), 40–9, esp. 49 with n. 109.

60 Barnes, T.D., ‘Another Forty Missing Persons’, Phoenix28 (1974), 226–7.

61 Bosworth, A.B., Commentary on Arrian′s History of Alexander I (Oxford, 1980), p. 230, on AIT. 2.14.3 (already proposed by R. Merkelbach, supra, (n. 18), p. 128). At pp. 115–16, Bosworth argues that the ‘confused and rhetorical narrative of the Itinerarium Alexandri 20’ supports Diod. Sic. 17.19.1–3 in timing the Granicus battle at dawn. This is wrong: sub lucein Itin. Alex.20 means ‘in broad daylight’. There is no confusion: Itin. Alex,agrees (as we should expect) with Arrian 1.13, making Alexander delay only briefly (paulisper)before attacking. This version does not imply (despite Bosworth) that Diod. Sic.′s dawn battle was derived from a lost source rather than Diod′s own error. On the general hazards of correcting Arrian from the Itin. Alex.,compare H. Tonnet (supra, n. 5), pp. 253–4.

62 Itin. Alex.34, not in Arrian but in Plutarch, Alexander32.1, Diod. Sic. 17.56, Q. Curt. 4.13.17; Justin 11.13.1; Kluge (supra, n. 13), p. 8 n. 8.

63 ed. Kuebler (supra, n. 10), 1.46. See also 1.23 (hexameters) and 1.31 (iambic trimeters); 1.52 is more desperate!

64 Itin. Alex.11.

65 Itin. Alex.118, with Diod. Sic. 17.117.1; Plut., Alex.75.3–4 explicitly rejects the story, and AIT. Anab.7.24–5 ignores it.

66 Julian, Epist. ad Themistium253B, with C. Lacombrade, ‘L′Empereur Julien, Emule de Marc Aurele’, Pallas14 (1967), 9, and my n. 85 below.

67 Libanius, Or.17.17.

68 Baynes, N.H., ‘Julian the Apostate and Alexander the Great’, EHR(1912), 759–60, reprinted in his Byzantine Studies and Other Essays(London, 1953), pp. 346–7.

69 Athanassiadi-Fowden, P., Julian and Hellenism(Oxford, 1981), p. 192.

70 Athanassiadi-Fbwden (supra, n. 69), 224–5: Alexander′s importance is also emphasized by G. Wirth, ‘Julians Perserkreig’, in R. Klein (herausg.), Julianus Apostata(1978), pp. 455–68 and Wirth, G., Alexander und Rom′, Entretiens Fond. Hardt(1973), pp. 203–10.

71 Passio S. Artemii, PG 1273B and 1317B.

72 Socrates, H. E. 3.21.

73 The classic study by J. Bidez, Philostorgius Kirchengeschichte(G. C. S. 1913, 3rd edn, 1951), pp. XLIV-LXI with Anhang III. H. G. Beck, Kirche und Theologische Literatur im Byzantinischen Reiche(Miinchen, 1959), p. 452 opts for John of Damascus.

74 Bidez (supra, n. 73), Anhang III.

75 Bidez (supra, n. 73), L.

76 Amm. Marc 22.9.13.

77 Greg. Naz. Orat.5.14 with Arr.7.27.3; J.-P. Callu, ‘Les Constitutions d′Aristote’, REL33 (1975), 268–00, esp. 289 and n. 4 on Greg. Naz. and the dating.

78 Alfoldi, A., ′some Portraits of Julianus Apostata′, AJA66 (1962), 404, not altogether overturned by Leveque, P., ‘De Nouveaux Portraits de L′Empereur Julien’, Latomus22 (1963), 82–3.

79 Above all Libanius Or.17.17, although 17.32 is more guarded about Alexander′s merits.

80 Libanius, Or.18.260 and 261.

81 Socrates, H. E. 3.21.

82 J. Szidat, ‘Alexandrum Imitatus (Amm. 24.4.27)’, in W. Will and J. Heinrichs (herausg.), Zu Alexander d Gr. Festschrift G. Wirth(1988), pp. 1023–35, esp. pp. 1025–7.

83 Amm. Marc. 24.4.27 and 25.4.15.

84 Szidat (supra, n. 82), pp. 1027–35, with full discussion.

85 Julian, Epist. ad Themist.253B where the force of is relevant, and made sharper by the following sentence; on Marcus, E. D. Hunt, ‘Julian and Marcus Aurelius’, in D. Innes, H. Hine and C. Pelting (edd.), Ethics and Rhetoric: Classical Essays for Donald Russell(Oxford, 1995), pp. 287–98.

86 Julian, Epist.257B: Or.45D-46A: Caesars,330 B-C: Epist.446.

87 Baynes (supra, n. 68), n. 3; Julian, Or.212C naturally cites Dio for a tale concerning Diogenes and Alexander.

88 Julian, Or.41C, 46A; Epist. ad Themist.264C and Or.96A-C.

89 Julian, Epist.443C, esp. 446A.

90 Julian, Epist.446A.

91 At 446A, Julian implies two stories of the death of Hector, son of Parmenion. We know only one (the Nile version) and then only in Q. Curt. 4.8.7–9, 6.9.27. The Emperor knows more evidence than we now have.

92 Baldwin, B., ‘The Caesares of Julian’, Klio60 (1978), 449–66; Smith (supra, n. 1), p. 125 is excellent on the Caesars′ tone.

93 Matthews (supra, n. 40), pp. 137–8.

94 M Julian, Caesars321C, 330C-331C.

95 Bowersock, G.W,‘The Emperor Julian On His Predecessors’, YCS27 (1982), 161–2.

96 Amm. Marc. 23.4.15 on Julians reputed remarks (‘aliquotiens’) about Alexander and his friends; compare Julian, Or.86B (and in another sense, 43C). The saying was quite commonplace: Themistius, Or.203C.

97 Julian, Epist. ad Nilum446; see also Or.251 B-C (leaving open the possibility of blaming Alexander).

98 Amm. Marc. 25.3.15: Ephrem, Hymns Against Julian,now translated in S. N. C. Lieu (ed.), The Emperor Julian: Panegyric and Polemic(Liverpool, 1986), pp. 91–124.

99 Itin. Alex.30 stresses Alexander′s virtue to his friends (supra, n. 96) by transposing Arr. Anab.2.4.11 to the start of the incident.

100 R. T. Ridley, ‘Notes on Julian′s Persian Expedition’, Historia22 (1973), 317–26 esp. 326; for other views, A. Marcone, ‘II Significato della Spedizione di Giuliano Contro La Persia’, Athenaeum,n.s. 57 (1979), 334–556, esp. 342–5 and the important study in Matthews (supra, n. 40), pp. 130–79.

101 The phrase is Gibbons, E.Decline and Fall,ed. Bury, J. II (London, 1909), p. 506.

102 L. Cracco Ruggini, ′sulla Christianizzone della cultura pagana: ii mito greco e latino di Alessandro dell′eta antonina al medio aevo′, Athenaeum43 (1963), 3–80 surveys earlier and later texts on Alexander′s deeds. She discusses the Itinerary only in passing: ′sorta di guida anonima, pure esse certamente non cristiana′ (op. cit., p. 5) and refers, without committing herself, to the view that Julius Valerius wrote it.

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