Date of Award

12-2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Major

History

Major Professor

Michael Kulikowski

Committee Members

Maura Lafferty, Christine Shepardson

Abstract

The purpose of this thesis is to demonstrate that the late Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus used his portrayal of the emperor Constantius II (r. 337-361) as a response to Christian polemic against the pagan emperor Julian (r. 361-363). It argues that, based on the similarities between Ammianus’ account of Constantius and some Christian polemical accounts of Julian, the Res Gestae should be seen as part of the broader discourse between Christians and pagans that began after the death of Valens at Adrianople in 378. By examining the narrative similarities Ammianus shares with several of his prominent Christian contemporaries—notably Gregory of Nazianzus, Ephrem, and John Chrysostom—this thesis shows by accumulation of evidence that a relationship between the two is probable.

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