Greek Literature in Late Antiquity: Dynamism, Didacticism, Classicism
Scott Fitzgerald Johnson, Introduction
Part I. Dynamism
Averil Cameron, New Themes and Styles in Greek Literature: A Title Revisited Adam H. Becker, The Dynamic Reception of Theodore of Mopsuestia in the Sixth Century: Greek, Syriac, and Latin Christopher P. Jones, Apollonius of Tyana in Late Antiquity Part II. Didacticism
Aaron P. Johnson, Eusebius' Praeparatio Evangelica as Literary Experiment Yannis Papadoyannakis, Instruction by Question and Answer: The Case of Late Antique and Byzantine Erotapokriseis Ruth Webb, Rhetorical and Theatrical Fictions in Chorikios of Gaza Part III. Classicism
Elizabeth Jeffreys, Writers and Audiences in the Early Sixth Century Adrian Hollis, The Hellenistic Epyllion and Its Descendants Mary Whitby, The St Polyeuktos Epigram (AP 1.10): A Literary Perspective Scott Fitzgerald Johnson, Late Antique Narrative Fiction: Apocryphal Acta and the Greek Novel in the Fifth-Century Life and Miracles of Thekla
Writers and Audiences in the Early Sixth Century
Elizabeth Jeffreys, Exeter College, Oxford
This paper takes as its starting point three passages that have to do with Helen of Troy and her seducer Paris:
Ἐν δέ τοῖς χρόνοις τοῦ Δαβίδ ἐβασίλευσεν τοῦ Ἰλίου, ἤτοι τῆς Φρυγῶν χώρας, Πρίαμος, ὑιὸς Λαομέδοντος, ἐν δὲ τῇ αὐτοῦ βασιλείᾳ τότε καὶ τὸ Ἵλιον καὶ τὸ Δάρδανον καὶ ἡ Τροία καὶ πᾶσα ἡ χώρα τῆς Φρυγίας πορθεῖται ὑπὸ τῶν Ἀχαιῶν· ἐν οἷς ἱστορεῖται Ἀγαμέμνων καὶ Ἀχιλλεὺς καὶ Μενέλαος καὶ οἱ λοιποὶ σὺν τῷ Νεοπτολέμῷ Πύρρῳ, ὅσοι ἐπεστράτευσαν κατὰ τοῦ Ἰλίου διὰ τὴν ὑπὸ Πάριδος τοῦ καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου κλοπὴν τῆς Ἑλένης· ἐτρώθη γὰρ εἰς αὐτὴν. ἡ γὰρ Ἑλένη ἦν τελεία, εὔστολος, εὔμασθος, λευκὴ ὡς χιών, εὔοφρυς, εὔρινος, εὐχαράκτηρος, οὐλόθριξ, ὑπόξανθος, μεγάλους ἔχουσα ὀφθαλμούς, εὔχαρις, καλλίφωνος, φοβερὸν θέαμα εἰς γυναῖκας· ἦν δὲ ἐνιαυτῶν κς´.
(Malalas, Chronographia 5, 1) 
Οἰνώνη δὲ χόλῳ φρένας ἔζεεν, ἔζεε πικρῷ
ζήλῳ θυμὸν ἔδουσα, Πάριν δ᾽ ἐδόκευε λαθοῦσα
ὄμματι μαινομένῳ· κρυφίην δ᾽ ἤγγειλεν ἀπείλην,
δεξιτερῇ βαρύποτμον ἀναινομένη παρακοίτην,
αἰδομένῳ μὲν ἔοικεν ὁ βουκόλος, εἶχε δ᾽ ὀπωπὴν
πλαζομένην ἑτέρωσε δυσίμερος· αἴδετο γάρ που
Οἰνώνην βαρύδακρυν ἰδεῖν, Κεβρηνίδα νύμφην.
(Christodorus, Greek Anthology, Book 2, lines 215–221) 
ἡ δὲ φιλοξείνων θαλάμων κληῖδας ἀνεῖσα
ἐξαπίνης Ἑλένη μετεκίαθε δώματος αὐλὴν
καὶ θαλερῶν προπάροιθεν ὀπιπεύουσα θυράων
ὡς ἴδεν, ὣς ἐκάλεσσε καὶ ἐς μυχὸν ἤγαγεν οἴκου
καί μιν ἐφεδρήσσειν νεοπηγέος ὑψόθεν ἕδρης
ἀργυρέης ἐπέτελλε· κόρον δ᾽ οὐκ εἶχεν ὀπωπῆς
ἄλλοτε δὴ χρύσειον οἰσαμένη Κυθερείης
κοῦρον ὀπιπεύειν θαλαμηπόλον· ὀψὲ δ᾽ ἀνέγνω,
ὡς οὐκ ἔστιν ῎Ερως· βέλων δ᾽ οὐκ εἶδε φαρέωτρην·
πολλάκι δ᾽ ἀγλαΐῃσιν ἐυγλήνοισι προσώπων
παπταίνειν ἐδόκευε τὸν ἡμερίδων βασιλῆα·
ἀλλ᾽ οὐχ ἡμερίδων θαλερὴν ἐδόκευεν ὀπώρην
πεπταμένην χαρίεντος ἐπὶ χθνοχῇσι καρήνου.
ὀψὲ δὲ θαμβήσασα τόσην ἀνενείκατο φωνήν·
ξεῖνε, πόθεν τελέθεις; …
(Colluthus, The Rape of Helen, lines 249–277) 
Of these writers the ﬁrst, Malalas, is using prose to write a substantial chronicle, an overview of world history from Creation to the sixth century. The other two are using hexameters to produce short works with, broadly speaking, a Hellenic mythological setting—Christodorus depicting a display of statuary in Constantinople, and Colluthus recounting the abduction of Helen. I want to use the divergences and similarities of these three to set out brieﬂy some thoughts on the nature of the literary culture in Constantinople in the last years of the ﬁfth century and the early years of the sixth—that is, who was writing what and for whom during the reign of the emperor Anastasius I (491–518). 
First, the dates of these writers. As with very many of the literary ﬁgures from late antiquity we know little about any of these as individuals. Christodorus, however, has left a clear sign of his involvement with Anastasius, for in his description of the statues displayed in the public gymnasium of Zeuxippos (in the heart of Constantinople, close to the imperial palace) he refers to a ﬁgure of Pompey, trampling underfoot Isaurian swords, explicitly comparing Anastasius’ achievements with Pompey’s and incidentally implying that Anastasius had caused the statue to be erected. Pompey was a name current in Anastasius’ family and Christodorus is here allusively leading to potential panegyric.  He is also implying that he had seen the statue collection with his own eyes. As for Colluthus, an entry in the Suda has him writing on Anastasius’ military campaigns, in works that have not survived.  So these two are unproblematically to be located as working at the turn of the ﬁfth to the sixth century. The situation is less clear for Malalas. The ﬁrst edition of his chronicle arguably ran to 527 and was completed some time around 530.  However, Malalas was a compiler—he cut and pasted; he had, also arguably, reached early maturity and begun his career under Anastasius. He certainly drew on writers like Eustathius of Epiphaneia (now lost but whose history went to 503) and a Greek text which underpins the surviving Latin farrago known as the Excerpta Barbari and which was originally compiled some time around 502. For the part of the chronicle which covers the Trojan war narrative, and includes the passage on Helen quoted above, Malalas was—again arguably—taking his material from a shadowy ﬁgure conventionally known as Domninos, whom one can reconstruct as a patridographer of Antioch. Domninos was perhaps writing in the mid-ﬁfth century. So, even if the ﬁrst edition of his chronicle is put early in the second quarter of the sixth century, Malalas can be taken to reﬂect the literary environments of an earlier period, and to have this in common with Christodorus and Colluthus. 
These writers also share another feature. This is that, despite their connections with the Constantinopolitan centre—Christodorus and Colluthus had both produced what were presumably epic-panegyrics on the emperor’s campaigns, and in the ﬁnal editions the last book of Malalas’ chronicle focussed on the capital—all three writers came originally from the edges of the empire, or at the very least, from outside Constantinople itself: Christodorus from Coptos in Egypt, Colluthus from Lykopolis and Malalas from Antioch. This reﬂects what became almost a cliché in later Byzantium—with the loss of cultural centres such as Alexandria or Beirut the only place for the successful pursuit of a career based on literary achievements became Constantinople. With Alexandria, Gaza, Antioch and Beirut still ﬂourishing, as other studies in this volume make clear, migration to the centre at this time reﬂects the increasing concentration of authority and the potential role of the emperor as a major patron; in Malalas’ case the reorganization of the administrative unit to which he was—once more arguably—attached would have been relevant. 
Let us brieﬂy consider the form in which these examples appear. Two are of a piece. Christodorus and Colluthus use hexameters, with a reasonable observance of the ancient quantities, something that by this period ran counter to the normal rhythms of speech and could only be achieved after instruction and by careful lexical observation.  The poems from which the passages are taken are roughly the same length: about 400 lines. Malalas, on the other hand, uses prose, of a kind that allows much—to our ears—inartistic repetition, exempliﬁed in the passage quoted above by the phrases referring to Helen (elsewhere there is much use of redundant ‘aforementioneds’ and ‘so-calleds’).  Malalas employs a largely paratactic syntax (though in the sample passage there is a relative clause), and vocabulary that would not please the grammarians.  The sample demonstrates his matter-of-fact tone, while the staccato description of Helen has parallels in descriptions of emperors with roots ultimately in legal notices about runaway slaves in Egypt.  The chronicle as a whole covers 321 large parchment folios in the late eleventh-century manuscript that is its chief witness today. This represents a considerable quantity of expensive material. The book would have consumed even more sheepskins, and been even more expensive, in its initial uncial format.  So the physical reproduction of this text, unlike the brief—in comparison—works of Christodorus and Colluthus, would demand sufficient material investment to make both initial composition and subsequent copying a serious proposition.
This leads us to consider the reasons for the production of these three texts, and the audiences at which they were aimed.
There are different factors at work, some clear, others not. Let us take the two hexameter poets. They can both be considered late examples of the phenomenon that Alan Cameron famously named the Wandering Poet.  The Wandering Poets were itinerant writers and performers in the late fourth and ﬁfth centuries, most of them hailing from Egypt, who practised their craft for a living, praising men and cities on commission throughout the Greek-speaking Mediterranean. Little of their work survives, but enough does, together with names and hints, to understand the framework within which they functioned. Christodorus ﬁts. His lost Isaurica must have celebrated Anastasius’ successful campaigns against the turbulent hill-tribes; he also celebrated cities other than Constantinople; and he celebrated prominent citizens of Anastasius’ home town of Dyrrachium.  This is precisely the sort of publications list one would expect from a competent itinerant poet. The poem from which the quotation at the start of this paper comes is his ekphrasis of the statues in the Baths of Zeuxippos, a collection initially brought together in the early years of the City’s foundation and slightly augmented subsequently; the ekphrasis is predicated on his presence, so, as said earlier, he had wandered from Coptos to Constantinople. Colluthus follows a similar pattern (with his lost Persika on Anastasius’ Persian campaigns, which ended with a seven-year truce in 506),  though his connections with Anastasius are not neatly demonstrated in his Abduction of Helen as are those of Christodorus in his Zeuxippos poem.
One way of looking at these pieces is to consider them as ‘master pieces’, in the medieval sense; that is, they are polished specimens of an artist’s, or perhaps better, an artisan’s skills to demonstrate his competence to future employers and patrons.  Both writers are proving that they can control a complicated metrical medium, that they command a detailed and allusive knowledge of Greek legends and mythology and that they are deeply aware of their predecessors in this medium— whether Homer, or perhaps more pertinently Nonnos or Quintus Smyrnaeus, or even Callimachos. The scene of Paris and Oenone, for example, captured by Christodorus and quoted above, involving presumably two related free-standing ﬁgures or perhaps a plaque, refers to Paris’ return to Mount Ida and his abandoned wife Oenone after he had been wounded by Philoktetes in the aftermath of the sack of Troy; she sent him away. It has its textual precedents in Apollodorus’ Bibliotheca and the tenth book of Quintus Smyrnaeus’ Posthomerica, that is, this episode is part of the mythographers’ attempts to ﬁll in the lacunae in the Homeric narratives.  As it happens, it is not a scene that was often represented visually: apart from this textual account the handbooks list only a fragmentary wall-painting at Pompei.  As with the depiction of other ﬁgures included in the Zeuxippos collection, some well-known, some obscure, Christodorus is attempting to show his ability to turn an appropriate phrase, to elucidate an allusive scene. As for Colluthus, the allusiveness is entirely of his own making: he sets up the abduction of Helen with a series of set-piece, highly visual scenes which fall short of a full narrative and demand the complicity of the audience to appreciate his purpose. In the sample passage given above Helen and Paris meet face to face: Paris has been built up in the preceding lines as a handsome dandy who was reluctant to dirty his feet on the dusty road or ruﬄe his hair under his helmet, so we are prepared for his impact on Helen—he could be Eros or Dionysos. Colluthus does not shy away from introducing the Olympian gods. These allusions are straightforward; less obvious are the Nonnian verbal echoes: νεοπηγέος (‘new-wrought’), κόρον δ᾽ οὐκ εῖχεν ὀπωπῆς (‘she could not satisfy her eyes with gazing’).  Were his audience expected to resonate to these phrases, or were they simply part of the embedded tools for his trade?
Before turning to Malalas, it is perhaps appropriate to consider the mechanisms for the publication of these texts. It was commented earlier that these poems are perhaps best explained as show-pieces to attract the attention of a potential patron. In that case, would publication and publicity be in written form, or by some sort of performance or declamation? At about 400 lines, both of these are units of performable length.  However, it is legitimate to wonder just how widely the detail of literary skills of this sort demonstrated by both Colluthus and Christodorus were appreciated—this is, of course, the perennial problem with high style writing at any phase of Byzantine culture. Both of the passages quoted here, and indeed the works as a whole, take their effect from a full knowledge of the Trojan stories and what has been left out, together with a deep awareness of epic vocabulary and imagery. How many members of the Constantinopolitan court circle, whom one must take to have been the primary target as source of commission, would have picked up on every point, either linguistically or over details of the legend? 
This is where the case of Malalas is instructive. He came, he tells us, from Antioch. This is a Syriac-speaking region; the Syriac root to his name, ‘mll’, has connotations of eloquence and learning and could be interpreted as ‘rhetor’; it has also been quite convincingly suggested that, to judge from his interests and the documents he must have been able to access, Malalas would have served in the office of the comes Orientis.  He can be viewed as an older contemporary in Antioch of the mid-sixth-century erudite Constantinopolitan John Lydus, but functioning at a lower rank. All this implies a certain level of both legal and literary training. A number of points can be made. His chronicle is long, but there is no sign of any patron who commissioned it. It ran into several editions or versions; though it could be that, given the ﬁnancial investment each re-copying entailed, these simply represent each copy that was made; it was widely excerpted by the end of the sixth century so must have met some need. What then was its purpose? Apart from a contributory eschatological impulse, Malalas attempted to reconcile into one narrative the three streams that, for the world of late antiquity, made up the Roman past—the Judaeo-Christian, the Hellenic mythological and the secular Roman. So the ﬁrst half of the chronicle is intensely interested in correlating Old Testament narratives with the stories associated with major Hellenic ﬁgures, both mythological and legendary. Hence, Book 5, headed in the eleventh-century manuscript in which the bulk of the chronicle survives, ‘The Time of the Trojans’, opens with the synchronization, given in the passage quoted above, of Priam son of Laomedon and the time of David; this, we learn later, is 4755 years from Adam and Creation. The lengthy narrative given in Book 5 arguably is drawn from Domninos and acknowledges, amongst others the second-century euhemerizing account of Diktys of Crete—for once there are convincing parallels between Malalas’ version and an independently surviving text (most of Malalas’ citations are spurious). It is striking that Book 5 in Malalas is disproportionately long. One can perhaps conclude from this that, amongst the unknowable number of Malalas’ potential readers and audience who had passed through more than the basic stages of paideia in Greek, there was an awareness of the centrality of the Homeric stories to the Byzantine cultural heritage, in both literature and as political symbols. The role of the Trojan Aeneas as founder of Rome was one that resonated throughout the Greek, as well as the Latin, middle ages.  But what, of course, above all else, the version of Diktys achieves is—like the ﬁlm Troy (2004)—to write out the Olympian gods; unlike the goddesses in Colluthus’ account of the Judgment of Paris, who are given a vivid physicality, those in Malalas, via Diktys, are allegorised into Paris’ encomium on Desire, for which Aphrodite is taken as a personiﬁed synonym.
For many reasons, which cannot be gone into here, but not least of which is his assumed position in the well-populated ranks of the civil bureaucracy, it is probably not unreasonable to take the views that come through in Malalas as representative of a middle order of Byzantine society. If one were to try to equate Christodorus, Colluthus and Malalas in terms of their linguistic and thematic acceptability to a broader public, it is clear that on issues of style there can be no comparison—Malalas must have been far more widely intelligible that the two poets. But on questions of content, however, I would suggest that Christodorus and Malalas would ﬁnd much in common: for example, Christodorus devotes his longest description to Homer (lines 311–350), and has space for only three Olympian gods (that, of course, begs many questions about the contents of the Zeuxippos collection). Colluthus, however, is working within a stylistically reﬁned framework that has made no concessions to a changing environment, whether on matters of language use, aesthetic taste or religious cult; he was to have few successors in this manner of writing.
Now this discussion has been hung on the appearance in three writers of passages involving Helen of Troy: she was taken exempli gratia. The underlying questions have been about the accessibility and acceptability of different ways of writing (elaborate poetic styles versus plain prose) and about content, where the subtext is wondering how far down a largely Christianised society went detailed knowledge of abstruse literary texts with a pagan background.
It should, of course, be pointed out that accidents of survival throw Colluthus’ somewhat precious classicizing into higher relief that might have been apparent to his contemporaries; we should not forget Musaios’ more subtle Hero and Leander, which again is predicated on a nuanced awareness of the epic and background, whether of Homer or Nonnos. There are also epigrams, largely honoriﬁc for individuals, and more signiﬁcantly, panegyric to Anastasius where, fascinatingly, the paradigms of excellence are Homeric or taken from the period of the Greek city-states. 
But here one comes to a wider point—which is that there is a great diversity of literary products in Greek at this time, which we are inclined to overlook if we focus on one aspect at the expense of another.
If we remain with poetic styles for the moment, the type of poetry that would have reached the widest audience of all would without question have been that of contemporary hymnography. Of which the most striking form was that of the kontakion. Its metrical complexity rivaled that of the hexameters of Colluthus or Christodorus, but with one major difference—the metre was rhythmic and reﬂected the stress patterns of the spoken language. Its origins clearly affected by Syriac poetic practice, the chief exponent of this form was Romanos the Melode. His dates are uncertain but he was born in the latter years of the ﬁfth century and lived on until the 50s of the sixth century, so his greatest achievements come technically outside the time-frame taken for this paper.  However he was building on work of others and recent studies on the Akathistos Hymn, perhaps the masterpiece of this genre, have deﬁnitively taken it away from Romanos and pushed its date of composition back to the middle or later years of the ﬁfth century;  and Romanos had other predecessors. Characteristic of the kontakion, apart from the rhythmic complexities, are a lively retelling of Biblical narrative, of which Romanos’ Christmas Kontakion is a good example, combined with elaborate rhymes and assonances, and word-play. The Akathistos Hymn abounds in these.
To return to the writing of history, Malalas may be presenting a Christianized and euhemerized world view that, the evidence suggests, met with broad acceptance. There was another historian from the turn of the century who reacted rather differently to an increasingly Christianised environment. This is Zosimus, author of the New History. Like Malalas—though on more explicit grounds—he was a member of the civil bureaucracy, at a rather higher level than has been suggested for Malalas: he served as an advocatus ﬁsci, a well-paid office marking the climax of a legal career although it is not known to which court he was attached. His history ends abruptly in 410 (whether through the author’s death or impaired transmission is not clear—the version that Photios knew in the ninth century was no longer);  internal evidence suggests that he was writing nearly a century later, after 498 and before 503. The evidence for the 503 date is clear, that for 498 is debatable.  But the current orthodoxy is that Zosimus is to be placed under Anastasius, tempting though it might be to see him as a contemporary of the ecclesiastical historians Socrates and Sozomen, writing some ﬁfty years previously.  The thesis he puts forward allows no equivocation: since the officers of state had ceased to perform the customary rituals, since the emperors were no longer also Pontifex Maximus, the empire had gone from bad to worse: the rot had deﬁnitively set in with Constantine’s refusal to hold the Saecular Games in 313. However, if Zosimus is correctly placed under Anastasius, and if the argument is allowed that much of Malalas’ material dates from early in the sixth century, then here we have a nice set of parallels. Two members of the civil bureaucracy are writing histories from opposing stand-points. Malalas starts from Creation but continues to his own lifetime. Zosimus refers to Troy and Alexander, leaps to potted history with Augustus and develops a fuller narrative from the early third century; presumably he too intended to reach his own day, though he might have had difficulties of sustaining an argument that the Roman state under Anastasius was in total decline. Both make extensive and not always critical use of their predecessors.  But while Zosimus focuses on the Roman polity, and the world order in which he wishes to place it is conﬁned to its own tradition, Malalas has a wider perspective: he is writing salvation history with the Incarnation as the pivotal point. His was the version of world events that won through in the tradition. A case can be made that Zosimus’ history is ‘New’ because it responds to the ecclesiastical histories of the mid-ﬁfth century, but perhaps the more creative tension should be seen to be with Malalas’ cosmically Christianizing chronicle. But for whom was Zosimus writing? Following points made in connection with Malalas, he would have been targeting his fellow advocates and members of the civil bureaucracy, and would then be evidence for the survival of a pool of classicizing non-Christian die-hards. Like Malalas, Zosimus makes no reference to a patron who had prompted his composition.
This paper has pointed to several important strands in the literary scene under Anastasius. There are more. There is more verse: iambic paraphrases of Theocritus (now lost) by the ex-consul Marianus of Eleutheropolis, amongst others.  There is more prose: secular history, for example, of which the most tantalising is the lost narrative of Eustathios of Epiphaneia referred to earlier, which may have moulded much of Malalas’ account of Zeno and the early years of Anastasius; ecclesiastical history, such as that of John Diakrinomenos which, surviving in fragments, appears to have reached the controversies of Anastasius’ reign;  hagiography, or biographies of holy men drawing on secular patterns but redirected: from this period the outstanding example is the Life of Daniel the Stylite. 
Nor should it be forgotten that—although the focus of this collection of papers is the Greek literature of late antiquity—Constantinople of the early sixth century was still, and remained so for most of the next century, a home for writing in Latin. Priscian’s encomium of Anastasius is one example,  and the chronicle of Marcellinus Comes is another.  Note too that although the majority of the statues described by Christodorus were of Greek heroes, legendary or historical, not a few, perhaps unsurprisingly, were of Latin worthies—Virgil, Apuleius, Julius Caesar as well as Pompey.
Was the period under Anastasius particularly fertile? Perhaps. Anastasius, a former silentarius and with problematic religious convictions, was commended in his life time by his panegyrist Priscian, in a not over-subtle hint, for his generosity to the learned, though similar terms are used of him much later by John Lydus.  But panegyrics (paid for by whom?) demand scepticism and Anastasius does not appear to have been associated with the seemingly patronless large-scale historical works to which reference has been made in this paper. Nevertheless it seems likely that far fewer literary names can be placed in the reigns of Zeno and Justin, his predecessor and his successor, both primarily military men.
So, in conclusion, I would like to suggest that at the turn of the ﬁfth to the sixth century late Roman—or early Byzantine—literary culture could tolerate a wide range of tastes, styles and attitudes; that writers could move between traditional genres and more innovative ones; that history could be composed either in a framework that Polybius could have comprehended (as exempliﬁed by Zosimus) or in one which was predicated on the Christian revolution (in the case of Malalas); that poetry, according to context, could either look back to a Callimachean epyllion (as did Colluthus) or across the plateia to an incense redolent cathedral (for the hymns of Romanos). However, Byzantine linguistic conservatism had begun to set in. While one might argue, as has been done here, that the widest and most fully comprehending audience would be for the rhythmic kontakion rather than the quantatative hexameter, the social pressures that demanded elegant composition as a career ticket meant that the hexameters would be produced for some time to come,  though it would not be unfair to wonder how widely they were read. There is much work still to be done on the economics of book production and the implications for the circulation of texts.
To return to Helen with whom we began. The three quotations represent three phases of the reception of classical antiquity at this time and the literary transition into medieval Byzantium. Colluthus is emblematic of the full tradition, Christodorus shows the world on a cusp—looking knowledgably at an image but giving a tactful account, guaranteed not to offend, while Malalas (or his source) has assimilated and recast the legendary past of the Graeco-Roman cultural world within his Christianized view of the developed Roman polity. All three are equally valid aspects of their contemporary society.
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[ back ] 1. Thurn, Berlin: 2000. ‘In the time of David, Priam, son of Laomedon, reigned over Ilion, of the land of the Phrygians. In his reign Ilion and Dardanon and Troy and the whole land of Phrygia were laid waste then by Achaians, amongst whom are recorded Agamemnon, Menelaos and the rest together with Neoptolemos Pyrrhos, all of whom joined the expedition against Ilion because of the abduction of Helen by Paris Alexander; for he had fallen in love with her. Helen was well grown, with a good ﬁgure and good breasts; she was white as snow, with good eyebrows, a good nose, good features, curly fairish hair, and large eyes; she was charming, with a lovely voice and was a tremendous sight among women. She was 26 years old.’ (trans, E. Jeffreys, 1986).
[ back ] 2. Paton, 1916: ‘Oenone was boiling over with anger—boiling, eating out her heart with bitter jealousy. She was furtively watching Paris with her wild eyes and conveyed to him secret threats, spurning her ill-fated lord with her right hand. The cowherd seemed ashamed, and he was looking the other way, unfortunate lover, for he feared to look on Oenone in tears, his bride of Kebrene’.
[ back ] 3. Livrea, 1968; Mair, 1928: 561: ‘And Helen unbarred the bolts of her hospitable bower and suddenly went to the court of the house and, looking in front of the goodly doors, soon as she saw, so soon she called him and led him within the house and bade him sit on a new-wrought chair of silver. And she could not satisfy her eyes with gazing, now deeming that she looked on the golden youth that attends on Cytheria—and late she recognised that it was not Eros; she saw no quiver of arrows—and often in the beauty of his face and eyes she looked to see the king of the vine; but no blooming fruit of the vine did she behold spread upon the meeting of his brows. And after a long time, amazed she uttered her voice and said: ‘Stranger, whence art thou? …’
[ back ] 4. For a discussion focussing on the classicizing writers of this period, see Nicks, 2000: 183–204.
[ back ] 5. Greek Anthology 2, lines 398–406; Martindale,1980; Bassett, 2004: 182.
[ back ] 6. Suda, s.v. Κόλουθος. In addition to the Persika, presumably on Anastasius’ Persian wars, the Suda entry states that Colluthus wrote Kalydoniaka in six books and encomia; cf. the biographical notice in Par. Suppl. Gr. 388 (Livrea, pp. xxiv–xv).
[ back ] 7. Croke, 1990: 17–21.
[ back ] 8. On Malalas’, see Jeffreys, 1990: 167–216. On the Excerpta Barbari, see most recently, Jouanaud, 2004: 164–180.
[ back ] 9. E. Jefferys, 1986: 161-162.
[ back ] 10. A much discussed topic, especially in connection with the Nonnian hexameter; for recent pertinent comments on the issues, see Whitby, 1994: 99–155 and Cameron, 2004: 346–349.
[ back ] 11. James, 1990: 217–244.
[ back ] 12. Horrocks, 1997: 179–183.
[ back ] 13. Kokoszko, 1998.
[ back ] 14. On issues to do with book production in late antiquity, see the papers in Holmes, 2002.
[ back ] 15. Cameron, 1965: 470–509; Cameron 1982: 217–289; Cameron, 2004: 339–340.
[ back ] 16. E.g. John of Epidamnus (PLRE 2, Ioannes 29): cf. Greek Anthology 7, nos. 697–698.
[ back ] 17. See note 6 above.
[ back ] 18. Peter Heather’s remarks on the pressure of ﬁnancial beneﬁts as a factor supporting classical literacy come in the context of the Latin west, but are applicable, mutatis mutandis, in the Greek East: Heather, 1994: 196. Cameron, 2004: 344–346.
[ back ] 19. E.g. Apollodorus, III.xii.6; Quintus Smyrnaeus X.253–488; cf. F. Vian, 1969: 6–12.
[ back ] 20. Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae, 1981–1999: 23–26; Basset, 2004: 179.
[ back ] 21. Cf. Livrea, ed., passim, here on lines 254 and 257.
[ back ] 22. Cameron 2004: 347–349.
[ back ] 23. On the publication processes and the literary attainments of potential audiences later in the sixth century, see the perceptive comments of Claudia, 2005: 377–382, which are equally applicable to the previous reigns; Rapp takes a helpfully broad perspective and, as this paper also attempts on a smaller scale, views the literary output without restrictions of genre.
[ back ] 24. Croke, 1990: 11.
[ back ] 25. There is a vast literature on this. Amongst recent studies, see Erskine, 2001, and the comments in Basset, 2004: 68–69.
[ back ] 26. Chauvot, 1986: 11, 13 for a list of comparanda from classical antiquity, both mythological and historical, where no historical ﬁgure is later in date than Philip of Macedon.
[ back ] 27. Most recent edition: Maisano, 2002; most recent study on literary rather than formal aspects of Romanos’ writings, Krueger, 2004: 159–189.
[ back ] 28. Peltomaa, 2001.
[ back ] 29. Biblioteca, Codex 98.
[ back ] 30. 503: Evagrius states (5.24) that Zosimus was used by Eustathius of Epiphaneia, whose (now lost) history, cut short by his death, broke off in the twelfth year of Anastasius. 498: the year of the repeal by Anastasius of the chrysargyron tax, the last of Constantine’s ﬁnancial iniquities; for the dating evidence cf. Paschoud, 1971: xiv.
[ back ] 31. I owe this thought to fruitful discussions with Brian Croke. Most recently on Zosimus see Liebeschuetz, 2003: 206–215; Liebeschuetz is also inclined to see Zosimus as more appropriately placed earlier than the conventional date.
[ back ] 32. Zosimus’ use of Eunapius was notoriously wholesale, as noted from Photios onwards (Blockley, 1981: 1–26) while his switch to Olympiodorus, from around Book 5.34 onwards, left some incongruities, e.g. in his presentation of Stilicho.
[ back ] 33. Suda, s.v. Μαριανός; PLRE 2, Marianus 3.
[ back ] 34. PLRE 2, Ioannes (Diacrinomenus) 52.
[ back ] 35. BHG 2099. For a thoughtful recent discussion, see Fox, 1997: 175–225.
[ back ] 36. See Chauvot, 1993: 87–110
[ back ] 37. See the comprehensive study by Croke, 2001.
[ back ] 38. De magistratibus 3.47.
[ back ] 39. See the comments of Heather and Cameron adduced in note 18 above.