Abstract

This paper argues that chapters 22–28 from the second book of Zosimos’ New History can no longer be treated as historical. Rather they draw from a source that appears to have modeled Constantine’s war against Licinius on the battles of Salamis and Hydaspes, while at the same time casting Licinius as an oriental despot—a Roman Xerxes of sorts—fighting against the forces of Hellas. The deployment by the pagan Zosimos of material rather positively disposed towards Constantine forces us to reopen the question of the New History’s sources and consider the possibility that book two of this work preserves elements from the oeuvre of a yet unidentified pro-Constantinian author. Here I suggest that this man may in fact be Praxagoras of Athens, who, according to Photios, wrote two books on the Kings of Athens, a Life of Constantine, and six books on the Life of Alexander, all lost to us. A pagan apologist of Constantine may therefore be implicated in Zosimos’ peculiarly Hellenic and surprisingly even-keeled account of this emperor’s wars against Licinius.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1942-1273
Print ISSN
1939-6716
Pages
pp. 110-130
Launched on MUSE
2014-10-07
Open Access
No
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