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Dexippus and the Gothic Invasions: Interpreting the New Vienna Fragment (Codex Vindobonensis Hist. gr. 73, ff. 192v–193r)*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 August 2015

Christopher Mallan*
Wadham College, Oxford
Caillan Davenport*
The University of Queensland


This article presents an English translation and analysis of a new historical fragment, probably from Dexippus’ Scythica, published by Gunther Martin and Jana Grusková in 2014. The fragment, preserved in a palimpsest in the Austrian National Library, describes a Gothic attack on Thessalonica and the subsequent preparations of the Greeks to repel the barbarian force as it moved south into Achaia. The new text provides several important details of historical, prosopographical and historiographical significance, which challenge both our existing understanding of the events in Greece during the reign of Gallienus and the reading of the main literary sources for this period. In this article we look to secure the Dexippan authorship of the fragment, identify the individuals named in the text, and date the events described in the text to the early 260s a.d.

Copyright © The Author(s) 2015. Published by The Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies 

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We would like to thank Professor Chris Pelling, Mr Nigel Wilson, Mr James Morwood, and the anonymous reviewers for their comments on this article and/or on the text. Any mistakes are, of course, our own responsibility. We are grateful to Dr Gunther Martin for drawing our attention to this new fragment and encouraging us to engage in this debate. It should be noted that Professor C. P. Jones has made available a translation and brief commentary of the fragment under discussion here on his website entitled ‘The New Dexippos’, in which he reaches some of the same conclusions as we do in this paper. We thank Dr Christina Kuhn for drawing this to our attention. All dates are a.d. unless otherwise indicated. The translations are our own, except where noted.



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