Classica et Christiana, 17/2, 2022 / 617

Nelu ZUGRAVU (Centro di Studi Classici e Cristiani, Facoltà di Storia, Università “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” di Iași),
Idee politiche negli epitomatori latini dei secoli IV-V. L’unità e l’unicità della storia romana [Political ideas in Latin breuiaria from the 4th-5th centuries. The unity and uniqueness of Roman history] 

Keywords: late Latin breuiaria, Roman history, political ideas.

Abstract: Political ideas in Latin breuiaria from the 4th-5th cen­tu­ries. The unity and uniqueness of Roman history. In Late Antiquity the breuiaria enjoyed a very wide diffusion in the field of literature, historiography, theology, law, military art, etc. The paper focuses on the historiographical bre­ui­a­ria, especially Historiae abbreviatae by Aurelius Victor (ca. 358-360/1), Bre­uia­rium ab Vrbe condita by Eutropius (369), Breuiarium rerum gestarum populi Ro­mani by Rufius Festus (369-370), Epitome of Caesaribus composed by an anony­mous person in the first years of the 5th century. The purpose of our analysis is to highlight the way in which these writings reflect the evolution of the main ideas circulated in the IV-V centuries. In this sense, it can be appreciated that, although in a less developed and analytical way than other writings, the brevias capture the general course of thought of the time: from the “iconicity” of Rome to the re­cog­nition of the imperial character of Constantinople; from the anti-barbarian sen­timent to the possibility of “Romanization” of the barbarians; from aggressive imperialism to defensive and pacifism; from imperium indiuisum to veiled cri­ti­cism and, finally, acceptance of the division of the state; from imperium sine fine to imperium restitutum; from religious “neutrality” to prudent defense of pa­ga­nism and tacit recognition of the supremacy of Christianity; the “romano­cen­trism”; the monarchical legitimism; the concept of princeps bonus etc. This text dis­cusses the ways in which the authors of the above works emphasize the unity and uniqueness of the history of Rome. Two ways have been identified: the first is a programmatic, explicit one. The second is indirect, performed by several me­thods: the constant relationship with the foundation of Rome; the use of exempla regum; the appeal to the constants of the republican civic and moral catechism; the connection that they make, through the person of the sovereign, between the “recent past” (immediate past) and the late antique present. In conclusion, the breuiaria attest that, in the second half of the fourth century and in the first decade of the following, the awareness of a division of the Roman state was absent.


DOI: 10.47743/CetC-2022-17.2.617