Philological and Historical Commentary on Ammianus Marcellinus XXVIII


In Book 28 Ammianus describes the military activity of Valentinian on the Rhine. The historian speaks with admiration about his efforts to strengthen the northwestern border of the empire. He shows a similar esteem for the general Theodosius, who re-established order in Britain. However, in the greater part of Book 28 there is an air of gloom. Ammianus writes reluctantly about the judicial terror inflicted on the Roman aristocracy by powerful magistrates. In his digression about Roman manners he speaks with contempt about the senatorial elite and the Roman plebs, because they fail to live up to the standards of their ancestors. The final chapter illustrates the disastrous effects of the mismanagement of the province of Tripolis by corrupt officials.
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Biographical Note

Jan den Boeft, Ph.D. (1970) in Latin, Leiden University, is emeritus Professor of Latin at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam and of Hellenistic Religions at Utrecht University. He has published on i.a. Ambrose, Augustine and Erasmus.

Jan Willem Drijvers, Ph.D. (1989) in History, University of Groningen, is Senior Lecturer in Ancient History at the University of Groningen. He is author of i.a. Cyril of Jerusalem: Bishop and City (Leiden 2004).

Daniël den Hengst, Ph.D. (1981) in Latin, University of Amsterdam, is emeritus Professor of Latin at the University of Amsterdam. He has published on Late Antique Historiography.

Hans Teitler, Ph.D. (1983) in Ancient History,Utrecht University, was formerly Associate Professor in Ancient History at Utrecht University. He is the author of Notarii and Exceptores (Amsterdam 1985).

Review Quotes

" Ein weiteres Buch des Ammianus Marcellinus ist nunmehr durch einen umfangreichen und detaillierten Kommentar erschlossen und ermöglicht der Spezialforschung, die im Kommentar gesammelten Ergebnisse zu verfeinern oder zu hinterfragen. Historiker wie Philologen werden gleichermaßen auch diesen Band dankbar nutzen und den größten Teil des relevanten Materials zum 28. Buch des Ammianus Marcellinus darin aufbereitet finden. Es bleibt zu hoffen, dass dieses niederländische Großprojekt in naher Zukunft mit den verbleibenden drei Büchern der res gestae des Ammianus Marcellinus ein würdiges Ende findet." Raphael Brendel in H-Soz-u-Kult, 23-7-2012

The Dutch Ammianus commentary is a glorious example of collaborative scholarship. (…) Before any disagreements uttered in this review, it should be said that the achievement is magnificent, a model of linguistic, literary, and historical learning; this work will be consulted with profit for generations. And before a review focusing mainly on chronology and textual criticism, it should be emphasized that the authors’ coverage is wide-ranging—from the nuances of Latin particles through subtleties of characterization to detailed questions of topography—and the bibliography comprehensive.
Gavin Kelly ( Journal of Roman Studies 103, November 2013, pp 351 – 353)


All those interested in the history and literature of Late Antiquity, Early Christianity, Late Latin, source criticism, literary aspects and the historiographical method of Ammianus Marcellinus.