Justin and Pompeius Trogus: A Study of the Language of Justins Epitome of Trogus

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In the case of Cicero, it is usually impossible to assign particular phrases to either Trogus or Justin with certainty. The three historical writers, however, yield clear results: Yardley shows that the influence of Caesar and Sallust on Trogus was probably slight, that of Livy 'deep and pervasive.

Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus - Vol. 1

In the second part, Yardley offers some seventy pages of 'Justinisms' in Justin and more than thirty pages documenting poetic elements in the Epitome : predictably, Virgil is the poet who bulks largest, but Justin also echoes later poets, including Ovid, Seneca, and probably Statius.

Yardley's most significant discovery is that there are 'closer and more persistent parallels' between the Epitome and the Minor and Major Declamations transmitted under the name of Quintilian than with any other extant Latin author: indeed, the similarities are such that Yardley floats the suggestion that Justin may have composed some of these school exercises himself. Yardley also documents Justin's use of phrases found most frequently elsewhere in the Roman jurists, but here his scholarship reveals an unfortunate limitation.

He argues that, since 'the greatest number of parallels are to be found in Ulpian and Papinian,' Justin is likely to have been their contemporary.

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The inference looks plausible only until one realizes that Yardley has not searched later legal sources such as the Theodosian Code systematically. I give one random example.


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Yardley states that the phrase 'matrimonium contrahere' occurs six times in the jurist Gaius, more than twenty times in the Digest , and 'elsewhere only' in Apuleius, Suetonius, and Servius. In fact, the expression also occurs twice in a law issued by Constantine in and twice again in a law issued by Theodosius in The date of Justin is disputed.

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Yardley follows the communis opinion that Justin was writing in the late second or early third century. But in Ronald Syme argued for the fourth century, partly at least on linguistic grounds. Since the first author either to use or name Justin is Jerome in the late s, the onus probandi lies on those who advocate a significantly earlier date. Regrettably, Yardley contents himself with declaring that 'the problem of dating has recently been discussed elsewhere and there is no need to revisit the arguments here. But even if Yardley's rebuttal were cogent, that would not in itself establish a date of c as correct.

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Positive arguments are needed. Yardley asserts several times that his computer-assisted researches confirm the traditional date for Justin, but he passes up the opportunity of explaining exactly how and why he believes that they do so.

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Built on the Johns Hopkins University Campus. This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Alexander the Great's life has been examined in minute detail by scholars for many decades, but the period of chaos that ensued after his death in BC has received much less attention. Few historical sources recount the history of this period consecutively. Justin's abbreviated epitome of the lost Philippic history of Pompeius Trogus is the only relatively continuous account we have left of the events that transpired in the 40 years from BC.

This volume supplies a historical analysis of this unique source for the difficult period of Alexander's Successors up to BC, a full translation, and running commentary on Books His research specialty is the history and historiography of the Successors to Alexander the Great. He has published articles on the chronology, coinage, and social aspects of this period.

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