THREE HISTORIOGRAPHICAL PROBLEMS IN THE ANCIENT SOURCES FOR THE REIGN OF CONSTANTIUS II (337-361)

KELLY LUISE DEL TREDICI, Fordham University

Abstract

Constantius has no ancient biographers, and detailed studies of the emperor by modern historians are few. This dissertation is a partial response to the need for both. It examines the evidence and predominantly anti-Constantian (i.e., pro-Julianic) Tendenz in the sources, both eastern and western, from the fourth through the sixth centuries beginning with Eusebius Pamphili and finishing with the pagan Zosimus, for three crucial unresolved issues of Constantius' reign which pertain to the larger problem of the imperial succession.^ In the first chapter, judging from Eusebius' silence and the Arian Philostorgius' fictional version of Constantine's will, one may conclude that Constantius participated in, or permitted the army's murders of his relatives and/or co-heirs, most of which probably occurred at Constantinople immediately after his father's funeral in 337. It is difficult to determine if all four of the Caesars appointed by Constantine were to become Augusti, but the sources do not attempt to explain why the emperor's succession plan of 335 was disregarded by his sons following his decease.^ In chapter two Gallus Caesar's downfall in 354 must be attributed largely to his own character (even his half-brother Julian concedes as much) and to the bureaucracy of imperial courtiers which surrounded the emperor rather than to Constantius' deliberate ill-will. Ammianus Marcellinus' highly negative portrayal of Constantius and Gallus is extreme because the author focuses only on Gallus' disastrous final year at Antioch and on the trials conducted under Constantius for laesa maiestas.^ The third chapter demonstrates, by way of inconsistencies within the pro-Julianic tradition, that Caesar Julian in fact did usurp in 360 owing to his own imperial aspirations and not because of alleged intolerable conditions imposed on him by Constantius, who refused to recognize his cousin as co-Augustus in the West.^

Subject Area

Literature, Classical

Recommended Citation

KELLY LUISE DEL TREDICI, "THREE HISTORIOGRAPHICAL PROBLEMS IN THE ANCIENT SOURCES FOR THE REIGN OF CONSTANTIUS II (337-361)" (January 1, 1982). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI8219237.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8219237

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